REVIEWS

Piano Recital by John Ruggero

"... The works, all written after 1980, gave the audience a clear feeling for Rendleman as a listener and musical thinker. Rendleman knows what he hears when listening to music of other composers and incorporates these elements into his own works as they become more and more familiar to him, but without sounding trite. He bridges popular, jazz and classical elements of rhythm, harmony and melody into works that, when amalgamated, leave a work of substance that has immediate appeal. ..." Tom L. Lohr, The News and Observer, April 18, 1983.

A Song of Celebration

"...Skeptics who think 'modern' music is uniformly tedious and untuneful would have been amazed at this delightfully bright, cheerful and melodic Song of Celebration which sounded as if it had been written by some long-lost second cousin of Mozart. ..."  John Lambert, Spectator, January 26, 1989.

"... Rendleman, who is, curiously enough, not a full-time musician but a professor of finance at UNC-Chapel Hill, describes this engaging short piece as '20th century Baroque,' and it's easy to see why it received generous applause. Accessible, tuneful and full of lean energy, A Song of Celebration proved music of easy, smiling inventiveness." William W. Starr, The State [Columbia, SC]. December 16, 1990.

Chorale and Toccata for String Orchestra

"This tuneful work employed extensive jazz techniques, Broadway-style crescendos, polytonality, and harmonic innovation. After a subdued beginning, energetic syncopation, lilting lyricism in the strings, haunting chromaticism and agitated minor-key modulations maintained listener interest throughout the Chorale. The uplifting Toccata sounded like movie music at times, but there were lovely solos beautifully played by concertmaster Brian Reagin and principal cellist Brian Manker. Rendleman's works have been attracting considerable attention recently and his future as a composer seems bright with several commissions looming ahead. With his business background and compositional success, could he become the next Charles Ives?" Alan J. Senzel, Spectator, March 14, 1991.

"The influences of Aaron Copland, jazz idioms and even Broadway melodic idioms came through clearly, but there also were enough touches of tart dissonances to clear the musical palate. The rich melodic themes are quite beautiful, yet the overall effect is one of dynamic restraint, giving the work at times a wistful poignancy."  Nancy Ping Robbins, News and Observer, March 2, 1991.

"... [N]othing fell quite so hard as the night's opening work: a premiere performance by Raleigh native and UNC business school professor-cum-composer Richard Rendleman, Jr.  His Chorale and Toccata for String Orchestra ... was neither a chorale nor a toccata.  What it is is inconsequent music: illogical, irrelevant and inconsistent. ... [N]ot all 'composers' are fit for public consumption.  More to the point, most do not know when they are ready to go public with their work. ... A symphony with the status of [The North Carolina Symphony] should have at least one masterpiece of the 20th century on every program (preferably post-World War II) and at least two major premiers of substantial works by qualified, serious composers every year."  J. Mark Searce, The Independent Weekly, March 6, 1991.

Trio for Piano, Horn and Clarinet

"...a hauntingly beautiful slow introduction lasts a mere few minutes yet suggests in a way the magic Sofia Gubaidulina achieved in her Bach-influenced orchestral work, 'Offeroritum.'  The second part is also a magical delight jaunty, saucy, lively and, ultimately, great fun.  The concluding section, in two unequal parts, begins with a somber, lanquid section, followed by a shorter finale of considerable brilliance, portions of which sound distinctly French. [Rendleman's work was] warmly received by the large audience."  John Lambert, Spectator, July 16, 1992.

"[Pianist Winifred Goodwin and hornist Einar Anderson] teamed up with clarinetist Doug Graham for Rendleman's Trio for Piano, Horn and Clarinet, a substantial new offering. ...Rendleman has reached master status with this piece and some of his recent creations. He has original ideas and knows how to work them out with subtlety and art.

The introduction to the first movement mused quietly, leading to a main movement of distinctive character as quick, repetitive rhythms enliven the excellent thematic material. This is truly an American piece, with gapped scal effects and perky rhythms, some of which derive from early 19th century syncopated banjo tunes.  Rendleman has a variety of ideas for developing his original material, including a few moments of tart seconds in the piano for increased intensity that still charms.  He knows how to write effectively for the instruments, taking advantage of the best effects on each (clarinet and horn sonority vs. percussive piano rhythms, for instance). The movement is full of clever rhythmic, harmonic and dynamic shifts and contrasts.

The somber, sustained second movemetn makes an extreme but necessary contrast to the first. Here the writing is very deliberate and clear yet has elegance and repose. After the pert first movement and somber second, the third movement offers drama, building quickly to termendous tension and an abrupt stop for the finale of a superb piece of music." Nancy Ping Robbins, The News and Observer, June 30, 1992.

Concertino for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra

"...The two movements, appropriately named 'Affectionately' and 'Lively,' combined to produce a work that lends itself the label 'user-friendly.'  This was music remarkably easy on the ear, but with absolutely nothing slight about it.  Guest artist James Houlik on saxophone was excellent, and the orchestra seemed to enjoy this new breed of chamber music immensely. The first movement could easily have been a love song, full of tuneful passages and phrases that built achingly. ..." Kay McLain, The Herald Sun [Durham, NC], February 16, 1993.

Poems of Margaret Proctor Wood

"The collaboration of soprano Kay Lowe and pianist Scott Tilley provides fine advocacy, and shows these songs to be on par with those of Copland's Old American cycles."  William Zagorski, Fanfare, July/August 2001, page 199.

"... [Poems of Margaret Proctor Wood] is Rendleman's most unified and impressive work to date. It begins with an anthem of great beauty that sings the praises of Massachusetts.  ... The tunes are simple, dignified and frequently moving. Accompaniments are in keeping with the texts.  The cycle gives the impression of being a backward glance at a more lyrical time.  The performance was a big success all around and was warmly received."  John Lambert, Spectator, September 28, 1995.

Celebration!

"...
This single-movement work is a festive piece scored for piano, alto saxophone and orchestra. Written in a quassi duo-concertante mode which carefully integrates the soloists with the ensemble, the music is uncomprosisingly modern in its idiom, but it is very accessible to the listener and has wide audience appeal. It was performed beautifully and was received warmly and enthusiastically by the large, near-capacity audience." G. Larry Whatley, Transylvania Times (Brevard, NC), October 1, 1998.

MMC Recording of Symphonic Overture, Song for My Son and Poems of Margaret Proctor Wood

Review in Fanfare, William Zagorski, July/August 2001.