The title of this recording has multiple meanings for its composer, Larry Polansky (b 1954). These are the generations... is a translation of the Hebrew title for the second work on the program, Eleh Tol'd'ot, the first words of the thirty-fifth verse of the first book (B'rey'sheet) of the Torah. Beyond referencing Polansky's Jewish heritage, the phrase reflects this particular collection of works on several levels.
The compositions included stem from different generations of Polansky's musical output: Some were composed in the 1980s while he was teaching at Mills College in Oakland, California (Eleh Tol'd'ot, Sacco, Vanzetti); some while living in New Hampshire when he was a Professor of Music at Dartmouth College (Glockentood II, 22 Sounds); and others are recent compositions completed in Santa Cruz, California, around the time of Polansky's retirement from the University of California, Santa Cruz (five songs for kate and vanessa, kaddish (ladder) canon).
The performers on the recording are similarly of different generations. Some have known and worked with Polansky since the 1980s or earlier; others are much younger and began working with him as graduate students within the last few years. Moreover, some of these works use some form of algorithmic composition while others use more conventional approaches to composing music. In some pieces, the musicians themselves must enact some kind of procedure to generate the sounds or structures they are to play.
Finally, the works presented here demonstrate Polansky's deep understanding of the history and techniques of experimental music in the United States. Within these compositions one can find compositional approaches that span styles from the Ultramodernists in the early twentieth century to advanced computational algorithms not yet possible in that era. Through these works Polansky somehow manages to integrate older and newer styles of experimental composition into a cohesive voice that despite, or perhaps because of, its eclecticism and diversity is unmistakably the music of Larry Polansky.
"Polansky refuses to be pigeonholed in this program. Every work follows its own muse. The sum total makes for a fine listening experience indeed. I recommend this by all means." — Gapplegate
"Larry Polansky shows once more, in this rich selection of fairly recent chamber pieces, his stylistic eclecticism... particularly compelling is the way in which the contrapuntal tension gradually but inexorably grows, reaches a point of truly remarkable density and pathos, then slowly dissolves." — Kathodik