Holy Roller is devotional music for a non-existent religion. This piece has its roots in melodies and harmonies from Thomas Tallis's 16th-century Psalm settings, but the original material has been transformed, stretched, turned inside-out and all but obliterated by the orchestra.
While writing this piece I had in mind the visionary architecture of Ferdinand Cheval and Simon Rodia, men typically labelled "ousider artists." Cheval, a french postman, spent thirty-three years of his life creating Le Palais Ideal, an ornate palace made of rocks he picked up on his postal route. Simon Rodia was an Italian construction worker who, also over thirty-three years, built the now iconic Watts Towers in Los Angeles out of steel pipes decorated with found objects. These artworks have always seemed to me to be monuments to a personal or even non-existent religion, private expressions of obsession and devotion. In a way this music is my "outsider architecture" — a cathedral of found musical objects, a sonic temple of bottle caps and broken glass.
Holy Roller was commissioned ad premiered by the Albany Symphony.
— Missy Mazzoli