Mark Rimple's compositions blend lyricism and contrapuntal rigor, and are driven by a unique sense of rhythmic propulsion and metric fluidity. He writes mainly small-scale chamber works and art songs, integrating his deep knowledge of early music with a composerly drive for modernist expression. His recent compositions have increasingly incorporated early instruments and voice including countertenor, harpsichord, lute, and viola da gamba.
Mark's compositions have been presented by Melomanie, The League of Composers/ISCM Chamber Players, Parnassus, Network for New Music (a sadly lost electronic work), Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, In Clara Voce, Choral Arts Philadelphia, Saxophonist Marshall Taylor, harpsichordist Joyce Lindorff, organists James Smith and Matthew Glandorf, pianists Charles Abramovic, Carl Cranmer, Vincent Craig, Brian Ciach, Greg Wilder, and Christopher Oldfather, Baritone Randall Scarlata, Trumpeter J.C. Dobrezelewski, The St. Joseph's Choir, and guitarists William Anderson, Oren Fader, Marc Wolf and Van Stiefel, among others. In 2011-12, his works will be presented by Melomanie and Choral Arts Philadelphia.
His compositions are currently self-published, and may be requested via email.
"Mark Rimple’s Sonata Circumdederunt me had an entirely different accent – of modernist tendencies and humor interspersed with a flash of technical virtuosity from Donna Fournier on the viola da gamba. The harpsichord accompaniment helped ground the harmonic [sic] base of the exploratory composition."
Delaware Arts Info (deartsinfo.org).
"It was that new work that most impressed Friday evening. “Le nouveau chant des oiseaux” (The new song of birds) by Mark Rimple is nothing short of a masterpiece of vocal solo and choral settings of evocative poems about birds in their flights and in their songs. Rimple – who was on hand to accompany his own music on the lute as well as play throughout the evening – employed a remarkably delicate harmonic language of subtly changing voicings and continually shifting textures to provide an organic, flowing river of sound that enveloped the listener in a cloud of sonority. The French text was laid out with supple flexibility in the choral settings and shimmering clarity in the solo sections, and Rimple efficaciously balanced homophonic textures with Renaissance-inspired counterpoint for the choir. I found Rimple’s newly minted version far superior to its Renaissance original, “Le chant des oiseaux” by Clement Janequin, heard just prior to its rendition.
Michael Caruso, The Chestnut Hill Local 9/29/11
"The program also included a stunning new work by Mark Rimple, who served as lutenist for the occasion. Rimple’s Nouveau Chansons des Oiseaux followed a 16th-Century Chants des Oiseaux, and the juxtaposition provided a striking lesson in the development of our attitudes toward the natural world...
Rimple’s movingly beautiful piece takes a very different approach. The four soloists perform in front of a chorus that permeates the work with a mood of reverence and mystery. We may know more about the natural world than our ancestors did, but our knowledge of subjects like molecular biology and the long evolution of life makes it seem far more mysterious and miraculous."
Tom Purdum, Broadstreet Review, 9/27/11
“A Chantar” by Beatriz de Dia had a world music quality, with Ms. Cama’s viola pulsing like a sitar and Johnson’s silvery soprano hovering. This cross-cultural surprise was echoed with Rimple’s “Nouveau Chanson des Oiseaux” composed eight years ago, with themes of chastity but fitting right into this period work with its atmospherics that are both ethereal and earthy. Rimple captivates with an obvious complete understanding of early musical structures. Inspired as Anonymous was, by birds, Rimple builds a medieval song and inserts oblique choral sections as a harmonic field.
Tom Whittington, Concertonet.com, 9/29/11
Fellow composer Mark Hagerty recently remarked about Rimple's Partita 622 (2008): "It's effective, subtle, evolved, and individual, and just generally superb."
In regards to his Lute Suite (1996), Daniel Webster of the Philadelphia Inquirer noted that it
"casts a chromatic grid on the lute's light, clear sounds and shows how contemporary rhythmic complexity is an outgrowth of tradition and the potential of the traditional instrument itself."
In Twentieth Century Music for Countertenor, Steven Rickards wrote of his Three Odes to Music for countertenor and archlute:
“Rhythmically, the songs are reminiscent of the recit-like writing of Henry Purcell, where the frequent meter changes are an attempt to preserve the natural cadence of the language. The lute part often supports the singer in a harmonic sense, but functions rhythmically and melodically independent of the vocal line. The song cycle is wonderfully colorful and serves the texts most expressively.”
His writing of incidental music for theater has also garnered praise including a favorable mention by nytheater.com for his songs for an off-off Broadway production of Life's a Dream (2001) and a Certificate of Merit from the Kennedy Center's American College Theater Festival (2010).
Mark co-wrote a protest song about PA Governor Tom Corbett's draconian higher education budget proposal in 2012. A story that features Mark and his collaborator, WCU student composer & recording artist Hassan Estakrian appeared in the Philly Weekly: "With no context, the track sounds like a school marching band busting into a Glee-inspired take on the Jackson Five, which is pretty close to what it actually is." (Yes, she said "Jackson Five" - thanks, Hassan for the retro-hip sound!) To read more, click here for the full story.