Hubert S. HOWE (b. 1942)
Clusters (2010) [8:33]
Inharmonic Fantasy no. 2 (2007) [6:32]
Timbre Study no. 7 (2008) [10:25]
Pi (2011) [3:20]
Macro Structure 2 (2006) [7:06]
19-tone Clusters (2010) [9:33]
Groans (2007) [8:50]
RAVELLO RR7817 [53:43]
Hubert Howe. was born in Portland, Oregon and brought up in California. Among his teachers at Princeton was Milton Babbitt. He researched computer music and soon found himself appointed Professor of Music and Director of the Electronic Music studios at Queens College of the City University, New York. He taught at Juilliard (1974-1994). He also held senior academic posts at the University of Alabama and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. He directed the first non-European-based ISCM World Music Days. His music has, it seems, been recorded by Opus One and Capstone. He provides the commentary for this disc - who better.
Clusters is an evolutionary electronic score emulating resonating quasi-bell sounds produced through computer synthesis. It’s sensitive and quite accessible - like a magical science-fantasy landscape. There’s the impression of a gleaming silvery snow-scape in Inharmonic Fantasy No 2. Timbre Study no. 7 features less of the bell sounds and more slow fizzing and buzzing. Pi was the result of the annual Pi Day celebration competition in 2011. The mission was to write a composition on pi lasting precisely 3:14 minutes. It’s another glittering mysteriously warbling rhapsody. Macro Structure 2 - tingles and snarls when it is not buzzing with white noise. In 19-tone Clusters we encounter a metallic tam-tam resonance. The sounds are high and ‘spacey’ with occasional discreet metallic harpsichord and bell sounds. This is music for contemplation or backdrop. Groans is at one level more of same but because it is slower still it is somehow more tender and kindly. There’s the same buzz and tizz but occasional deeply groaning incursions [provide incident and punctuation. The predominance, as with all the other pieces, is on high-lying material. Howe makes good use of the spatial dimension to achieve a measure of fairly subdued drama and variegation - even conjuring the image of a slowly swirling galaxy. The spirit of science-fiction à la ‘Forbidden Planet’ (Louis and Bebe Barron) floats up unbidden fairly often. Whether this is due to the hackneyed mindset of this listener or to the music itself hardly matters.
For those who like their electronic music and like it mysteriously evolutionary.

Rob Barnett 

For those who like their electronic music and like it mysteriously evolutionary.