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Missy Mazzoli

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Holy Roller (2012)
G Schirmer Inc
Year Composed
10 Minutes
Programme Note
Missy Mazzoli Holy Roller (2012)
Composer note:
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

  • 10 JAN 2020
    Boettcher Concert Hall, Denver, CO
    Colorado Symphony
    Brett Mitchell, conductor

    Other Dates:
    11,12 January - Boettcher Concert Hall, Denver, CO
  • 13 MAR 2020
    H-E-B Performance Hall, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, San Antonio, TX
    San Antonio Symphony

    Other Dates:
    14 March - H-E-B Performance Hall, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, San Antonio, TX
  • 14 MAR 2020
    Civic Center for the Performing Arts, Idaho Falls, ID
    Idaho Falls Symphony
    Thomas Heuser, conductor

"To say that there were no clunkers on Saturday’s program of the Albany Symphony Orchestra doesn’t quite communicate how enjoyable and powerful the concert really was. Yet that’s still the news, since when it comes to all-American nights like this one, quality is always a question.... Two of the works had a quasi-religious context. Missy Mazzoli’s Holy Roller, which received its premiere, was “devotional music for a non-existent religion.” Though her worshipers were imaginary, Mazzoli built them a grand and solid cathedral. The score was a glittering mosaic with arched and winding passageways."
Joseph Dalton, Albany Times Union,20/05/2012
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