A Maze (With Grace)

(1975; revised 2003)

“A Maze (With Grace)” was inspired by a thought: could a free-form piece be fashioned on a play on the words “Amazing Grace?” The alternating short notes-long note rhythm of the hymn suggested grace notes, and “Amazing” suggested a maze. The resulting piece was first rendered in pen and ink, using a set of Rapidograph pens and a killer drafting table with a built-in, moveable ruler. Add a plastic right triangle, and “A Maze (With Grace)” was completed. Except: the original was drawn on a huge piece of translucent paper, and had to be printed by a laborious chemical process. The current version was computer-generated many years later, and is rendered in a more manageable size.

Press for “A Maze (With Grace)”

“…intriguing to the ear…”

– The New York Times
“Thomas Albert’s 1975 ‘A Maze (With Grace)’ is a free-form collaboration, almost improv, in which the musicians find their own way toward actualization of the hymn, over piano chords echoing the hymn’s harmonics — a hazy impressionistic pastorale at mesmerizing pace.”

– Sequenza21
“The Relâche Ensemble’s first full CD is like them: smooth, hip, understated.… Thomas Albert’s mid-’70s ‘A Maze (with Grace)’ and ‘Devil’s Rain’ mark the edge where minimalism seeped into its postgenre, but they transcend either style, the latter a bopping tune in 13/16 rhythm that you can’t stop humming. Rating: A PICK HIT.”

– Kyle Gann, The Village Voice
“…a mesmerizing improvisational piece…has to be heard to be believed. The tonal mist that the ‘Amazing Grace’ tune rises out of could not possibly be created within normal musical structures.”

– The Daily Yomiuri, Tokyo
“Most spectacular of the works was ‘A Maze (With Grace)’ by Thomas Albert…. It used the old hymn tune ‘Amazing Grace’ as a cornerstone and employed an ensemble consisting of trumpet, flute, bassoons and accordion. The texture was highly involved with interweaving of melodies and harmonies like a tapestry…”

– The Baltimore Evening Sun
Please visit my page at Media Press, Inc. for score samples and purchase information.
Shenandoah Conservatory, Winchester VA, April 1975

Shenandoah New Music Ensemble, Thomas Albert, conductor, and Atlantic Christian College Contemporary Chamber Players, Marvin Lamb, conductor
Media Press, Inc.
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