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Momentary Undertow



 Genre: Piano

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"Momentary Undertow" is the second movement of my "Suite: Flow," the first of two suites that makes up Disc 2 of my latest album, FLOW: The Music of J.S. Bach and Tobin Mueller. This movement takes the initial theme from the first movement and gives it a different feel, then inserts an almost Impressionist section that illustrates the undertow feeling (more emotionally than physically).

Bach's Goldberg Variations was what first drove me to try this sort of second movement. I swayed with the swirl of shallow currents as I played, like submerged seaweed. The middle whole-tone arpeggio section represents the moment in which the undertow kicks in. Although the piece may seem more akin to Beethoven's Für Elise at first blush, it was composed after listening to Bach's Chorale Prelude, "In dulci jubilo" (BWV 729). In my mind, it also conjures the elder couple from Cabaret, Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz ("Married"). Such is the wandering might of imagination.

Disc 2 of "Flow" is supposed to be original music directly affected by my work during the past year with Bach. Yet, to be truthful, the pieces are more influenced by composer-pianists like Keith Jarrett, Thelonious Monk and Fred Hersch. This one has more Jarrett and Hersch in it. I love standing on the shoulder of giants.

Here is the other track from "FLOW: The Music of JS Bach and Tobin Mueller" shared on MacJams:

from "Suite: Flow" (Disc 2):
Momentary Undertow (second movement)
Salmon Ladder Variations (fourth movement)

from "The New England Suite" (Disc 2):
River Ice (Winter)
Lighthouse (Spring)

And from Disc 1, Tobin plays Bach:
Reinvention #13

If you haven't yet, please check out the review of "Flow" at Fanfare Magazine's "Not-to-be-missed 2015 Want List", favorite 2015 albums chosen by it's in-house music critics.

Also, if you'd like to read more (and listen to more) from this album:
Tobin's "Flow" project page on Tobin's website
"Flow" on CDBaby (where you can buy the CD Box Set
"Flow" is also on iTunes. Simply search "Tobin Mueller" via iTunes, or google "Tobin Mueller music"
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Song Stats
Hits: 3014
Comments: 5
Fans: 11
Plays: 66
Downloads: 23
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Uploaded: Oct 22, 2015 - 08:24:33 AM
Last Updated: Oct 27, 2015 - 09:13:18 AM Last Played: Jul 24, 2019 - 11:52:49 AM
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lyzak said 1459 days ago (October 22nd, 2015)
Momentary Undertow
I've enjoyed reading your commentary, a few times, while pleasurably listening!
It's helpful hearing where you're coming from as the movement plays.
Check out my latest song called Playful Al with A-man
TobinMueller said 1459 days ago (October 23rd, 2015)
Thanks for spending the time to both read and listen. There are so many things I think about while arranging and choosing styles in performance, and then while getting caught up in the emotions of playing. It's hard to decide what to communicate to others. The metamorphosis of a piece, from first thoughts to the repetition of rehearsal, where sometimes a great deal of tweaking takes place, is, in itself, an interesting series of choices, cuts, additions. I sometimes think posting various versions of a piece might be interesting, yet who wants to listen to versions that simply don't work quite right? MacJams used to do such things, and even considered having a special song page where variations could be listed in specific order to show the progression of thought and choices. Although I love hearing Bob Dylan's differing takes on his music, not sure the same would apply to mine :-)

But the story is fun to recall, even if only to myself. I know my wife gets tired of listening...
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Philip18 said 1459 days ago (October 23rd, 2015)
Momentary Undertow
Skilfull playing and beautiful tone, but it's the note selection that is really interesting - fascinating to get inside your thinking a little through the music.
Check out my latest song called Refuge
TobinMueller said 1455 days ago (October 27th, 2015)
Note selection really interesting...
This is another one of those pieces that I wrote as a melody line with only a chord chart over the top, not working out specific voicing on paper, nor caring about a time signature (although I rehearsed it many many times to get a feel for the left hand). I played it how it felt most natural, without ever feeling a deliberate time signature. I love the bass note choices in the "Impressionistic" middle section. Those I worked out before hand to make sure the drama was something that felt new to me. I've never written a section exactly like that. That it is merely a parenthetical comment in an otherwise "normal" variation of a theme makes me smile. Like a hidden gem accidentally found on the sea floor while being pulled downward, until buoyancy wins and I float back to the world and the job at hand...
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
tmcfate said 1419 days ago (December 2nd, 2015)
in both content, arrangement and creative thought. I am always taken by your commitment to the process.I really like this a lot and will go back to listen to the other movements.
Check out my latest song called Beautiful Rose
Artist Info
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Name: Tobin Mueller
Location: Rowayton CT USA
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I am a professional musician, composer, playwright and director. I've led a charmed life. I'm married to fellow MJer Suzanne and MJer Twonicus is my son, who currently sings and writes for rock bands in the NYC, D.C. and Cleveland areas. My second s... [see more]

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