Big cities have always fascinated me. Sophisticated, crude, tense, funky, sometimes frightening, always stimulating -- it is this mood I have tried to capture in North Beach Rhapsody. Although I have lived in or near San Francisco for many years, I had no thought of its famous North Beach neighborhood until after the piece was completed. Rather than take the title literally, I’d prefer the listener consider it a symbol of the impulse and energy we find in both big cities and ourselves.
First Prize winner of the Chicago Ensemble's
1999 "Discover America" Composition Competition.
Emil Sein, Capstone Records
Richard Goldsmith, North South Recrods
Nathan Williams, Arizona Records
Available through Roncorp Publications
Listen to Gregory Dufford and pianist Roxanne
Michaelian play North Beach Rhapsody. Duration: 7:00
". . . The work evokes a mystique and vibrancy that I wish North Beach still had." San Francisco Chronicle
"North Beach Rhapsody' by Martin Rokeach exhibits a jazzy, neo-tonalist feel suggesting elements of Gershwin and Messiaen in its clean textures and snappy melodies."
New Music Connoisseur
"A lively contrast is supplied by the opening piece, North Beach Rhapsody, by Martin Rokeach, which captures what the composer calls the 'impulse and energy' of American cities."
American Record Guide
". . . jazzy syncopation peppers Martin Rokeach's piece . . . " Fanfare Magazine
"[Nathan Williams'] . . . recital is probably a must for anyone who is taken with the possibilities of the modern clarinet, heard here in a largely tonal context. To take the opening work, Martin Rokeach's North Beach Rhapsody, the clarinet skitters along in the outer fast sections right at the extreme top of its range. This imbues what is actually fairly conservatoive music with a nice edge and goes a long way toward evoking the tribute to big cities, San Francisco in particular, that the composer envisioned." Fanfare Magazine
North Beach Rhapsody
clarinet and piano
Composed in 1991 for Gregory Dufford of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra
"Martin Rokeach's 'North Beach Rhapsody' for clarinet and piano was a frenetic, surprising, boppin' and truckin' and utterly delicious essay on the colliding rhythms of city life. Such serious craft seldom produces so much fun."
San Antonio Express News