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Chamber Music of Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller

Ronda Mains, flute
Suzanne McGowen, English horn
Leigh Muñoz and Lia Uribe, bassoon
Eric Troiano, alto saxophone
Er-Gene Kahng and Tara Mueller, violin
Timothy MacDuff, viola
Dominic Na, violoncello
Tomoko Kashiwagi and Robert Mueller, piano

World Premiere Recordings | 2CD set



"[Robert Mueller's] carefully crafted neoclassical style leaves listeners with little doubt about what material is important at any given time. The variety of contrapuntal texture and density included in each piece make for enjoyable listening. There is a bit of a paradox in Mueller’s music. It’s as if the heavy emotional melodies of Josef Suk were joined or superimposed with playful aspects of music by Bela Bartok and Francis Poulenc, becoming entirely different from any of these examples. After several hearings, I find myself most captivated by Deserted Paths. It’s a clear illustration of this quirky paradox."
American Record Guide [November/December 2023]
"Robert Mueller is a frequently awarded and commissioned composer who teaches at the University of Arkansas, and conducts the university’s symphony orchestra. He is not to be confused with the former FBI director Robert Mueller, although the latter’s qualities of honesty, integrity, and forthrightness certainly inform the earnest workmanship and accessibility of the 'other' Robert Mueller’s chamber music... Three of the works feature Mueller at the piano, and one assumes that all of the performances were prepared under his supervision. I hesitate to single out any particular musician for praise, for each displays great skill, flexibility, and obvious commitment to doing well by the composer, who also provides articulate and informative annotations for this excellently engineered release."
Jed Distler, Classics Today [July 2023]
"The number of instruments used in chamber music may be small, but the expressive possibilities are large. And new ones are constantly being developed by some contemporary composers, even as others continue to produce chamber music in more tried-and-true ways. A generous helping of world première recordings of works by Robert Mueller show [him] looking for a blend of modern techniques and sound with long-established forms of emotional communication... This release shows throughout that Mueller is highly skilled at composing for various chamber-size combinations and using them for a wide variety of expressive purposes...
all of them do contain elements that are very well thought through and mixed with considerable skill."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [July 2023]
From the composer: I endeavor for my music to be the expression of human emotion, from excitement to ecstasy, from sadness to shame, from joy to rejection and a myriad of other feelings that are part of our human experience. Writing almost exclusively in acoustic media, I am energized by the countless possibilities of structural, harmonic, melodic, timbral and rhythmic sounds that can be utilized to reveal sentiments and passions (without pandering to the basest of emotions), but always with an ear to satisfying logical development and conclusion. Works that I have created for public performance include large orchestral or wind ensemble pieces, chamber music and works for solo instruments. It is my hope that the performers and listeners will connect with my music in a visceral way. Do they hear a melody and identify with its haunting quality? Does a chord progression “strike a chord” within their own hearts? Does a certain orchestration evince a particular mood? The great poet William Wordsworth said, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” I strive  through my music to communicate the essence of human expression, from the breathings of my own heart to those of the listener.

Robert Mueller has been composer-in-residence three times for the Fort Smith Symphony, and his music has been performed nationwide by several orchestras, including the Cincinnati, Omaha, Fort Smith, Lansing, Arkansas, Missoula, Helena, Jackson, and North Arkansas symphony orchestras. Mueller has received numerous commissions, has been widely published and has produced a chamber music CD entitled Time Labyrinths. Several music festivals have  programmed his music, including the Bowling Green New Music and Art Festival, Music Festival of Arkansas, Southwest Contemporary Music Festival and conferences of the Society of Composers, International Double Reed Society, National Flute Association and College Music Society. He has also been composer-in-residence for Missouri State University’s Annual Composition Festival. Mueller has been the recipient of more than 30 awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He has also been awarded an American Music Center grant, an individual artist grant from the Arkansas Arts Council, prizes from the Omaha, Lansing, Jackson and Cincinnati symphony orchestras, and other awards as well. Mueller attended Northern Michigan University, where he received the Outstanding Pianist Award upon graduation. He has also received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the university, and he was invited to be Composer-in-Residence. He earned the Master of Music in Composition degree from Bowling Green State University, where he studied composition with Marilyn Shrude. At Bowling Green, he also did extensive studies in orchestral conducting. Mueller received a DMA in Composition at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where his teachers were Earle Brown, Joel Hoffman, Jonathan Kramer, Frederic Rzewski and Allan Sapp. He is currently Professor of Music at the University of Arkansas, where he teaches music composition and music theory and conducts the university’s Symphony Orchestra.
EMBLEMS for oboe, violin, viola and cello (2008)
LA POINTE AU PORTAIL for oboe, violoncello and piano (2002)
DESERTED PATHS for flute, oboe and piano (2014) the hayfield the mountains the old cemetery
FIELDS ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER for violin, alto saxophone and piano (2002)
DREAM GARDENS for oboe, English horn and two bassoons (2013)
I. Elegy for Chaos – Allegro maestoso (1936)
II. Ode to the Enemy of the People – Adagio (1948)
III. Sweet Dreams – Scherzo (1917)
IV. In Memoriam – Mesto (1975)
MANTRA for oboe and piano (1999)
RHAPSODIES AND INTERLUDES for flute, oboe and bassoon (2012)
ECHO FANTASY for violin, violoncello and piano (1989; rev. 2018)

Recorded 16-19 October 2021 in the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas. A Candlewood Digital high resolution Natural Presence recording: Produced, engineered, edited and mastered by Richard Price.

MSR Classics
Music for Oboe and Piano THERESA …