Bang On A Can All-Stars Big Beautiful Dark and Scarey
Cantaloupe CA21074 releases 02/28/12
“The Bang on a Can All-Stars have recorded their first studio album in five years and is the first to include the All-Stars’ current line-up: Ashley Bathgate, cello; Robert Black, bass; Vicky Chow, piano; David Cossin, percussion; Mark Stewart, electric guitar; and Evan Ziporyn, clarinets. With Big Beautiful Dark and Scary, the Bang on a Can All-Stars show off their blazing speed, polyrhythmic virtuosity and all-world versatility in a return to the core Bang on a Can sound – an uncategorizable supermix of classical and electric instruments that is part classical ensemble, part rock band.
The album is the first in a decade that features the All-Stars exclusively, rather than as part of a collaborative project. Each of the pieces on the double-CD calls upon a different kind of virtuosity, demonstrating the range of musical abilities and experiences arguably unique to this ensemble. Recorded in New York City, all of the music on Big Beautiful Dark and Scary (including the arrangements of the works by Conlon Nancarrow) were written for and premiered by the Bang on a Can All-Stars.”
David Lang This Was Written By Hand
Cantaloupe CA21073 (11.15.11)
“Although Lang is known for his fearless innovation and daring experiments, a certain amount of introspection and longing is not unknown in his work. His latest album, this was written by hand, is the perfect marriage of the composer’s relentless need to expand the forms of classical music and his desire the recover lost memories. The CD is made up of two compositions, the title work this was written by hand and memory pieces, both performed by Andrew Zolinsky. Zolinsky and Lang have a history of collaboration, as Zolinsky gave the first performances of both the works on this disc, as well as the premiere of fur, commissioned by the BBC, and the ensemble works how to pray and forced march.
this was written by hand is a 10-minute piece for solo piano. The inspiration for the piece came from the physical process of writing music. ‘Writing music [used to be] an intensely physical activity,’ Lang muses in the album’s liner notes. ‘I got my first computer in 1993, and I have not written music with a pencil ever since, but I wonder how – or if – the means of my writing had any effect on the writing itself. I wrote this piano piece to find out.’ The second part of the release is the eight-sectioned ‘memory pieces.’ Each was written to honor a friend of the composer who have passed away. They serve, however, less as monument than as an attempt to enclose a specific memory about the loved one. Lang explains, ‘Each of these little pieces highlights some aspect of my relationship with each friend. I hope this will help me hold on to these memories just a little while longer.'”
Bang On a Can is the original DIY New Music Organization
At the centerpiece of the program is the New York premiere of Life by the revolutionary Louis Andriessen, with film by Marijke Van Warmerdam. Also on the program is the quiet and poignant for Madeleine by Bang on a Can co-founder Michael Gordon; the hard-driving sunray by Bang on a Can co-founder David Lang; the poly-rhythmic Glamour Girl by Lukas Ligeti (founder of Burkina Electric); the sizzling Instructional Video, Matt Damon, Breakfast at J&M by David Longstreth (of the Dirty Projectors); and the dramatic and mesmerizing Ridgeway by Australian composer Kate Moore.
And stay tuned for the upcoming All-Stars two-CD set titled Big Beautiful Dark and Scary featuring work by Louis Andriessen, Michael Gordon, David Lang, David Longstreth, Kate Moore, Conlon Nancarrow, Julia Wolfe, and Evan Ziporyn to be released on Cantaloupe Music in early 2012.”
New From Cantaloupe Records: Music By Martin Bresnick and Annie Gosfield For Lisa Moore and So Percussion
Martin Bresnick Caprichos Enfaticos
Cantaloupe CA21075 Releases 10/25/11
Composer Martin Bresnick returns to follow up his first Cantaloupe release, The Essential Martin Bresnick (2006) with Caprichos Enfaticos (Emphatic Caprices). A concerto in eight movements for piano/keyboard and percussion quartet, Caprichos Enfaticos was commissioned by Meet the Composer for Cantaloupe artists Lisa Moore, pianist, and So Percussion. The 8 movements are accompanied by interpolated DVD projections (available on Youtube), created by Johanna Bresnick based on Francisco Goya’s book of etchings Los Destastres de la Guerra, or The Disasters of War, a piece that laments the excesses and tragedies of war.
Says Bresnick, ‘The titles of the eight movements are either by Goya himself, or suggested by his ideas. A farandula, or farandole, was a chain dance popular in Provence, although it’s origins are much older. The dance is often in 6/8 time, with a moderate to fast tempo. In modern Spanish, a farandula is a company of actors.’
Martin Bresnick is presently the Professor of Composition and Coordinator of the Composition Department at the Yale School of Music. His principal teachers of composition include Gyorgy Ligeti, John Chowning, and Gottfried von Einem.
Lisa Moore Lightning Slingers and Dead Ringers
Cantaloupe CA21061 Releases 10/25/11
Lisa Moore is back with her second EP, Lightning Slingers and Dead Ringers, written specifically for her by composer Annie Gosfield, who is described as ‘…a major figure of the downtown scene with pieces that use nonmusical sounds in a strikingly expressive manner.’
Wondering where such an eclectic title comes from? A “Lightning Slinger” is an archaic term for a telegraph operator, and an apt simile for a pianist who translates musical ideas into an electric medium. This piece is performed on a piano and a keyboard sampler simultaneously, so that the pianist can use piano techniques and interpretive skills in both the acoustic and electronic realms. A “Dead Ringer” literally means an exact substitute of something. The dead ringers in this case are samples of piano sounds: the detuned, retuned, pinging, sliding, and rattling sounds are altered piano, prepared piano, and inside the piano techniques, which sometimes resemble guitar, bass, and even synthesizer sounds.
The last track, Brooklyn, October 5, 1941 was inspired by the 1941 Dodgers vs. Yankees World Series, and is performed with two baseballs and a catcher’s mitt. The baseballs are rolled, rubbed and struck on the keys, strings, and soundboard of the piano, and the mitt provides an expanded span for giant clusters and chords.
Lightning Slingers and Dead Ringers was commissioned by Lisa Moore with funding provided by Meet the Composer’s Commissioning USA and The Argosy Fund for New Music.
Bang On a Can is the original DIY New Music Organization
The Bang on a Can All-Stars take the stage at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall on Saturday, November 5 to perform the New York premieres of Louis Andriessen’s Life with film by Marijke Van Warmerdam and David Lang’s sunray. Also on the program is Michael Gordon’s for Madeline, Kate Moore’s Ridgeway, three pieces commissioned by Bang on a Can from David Longstreth of the Dirty Projectors, and Lukas Ligeti’s Glamour Girl. Get your tickets here.
Recordings of these works and more appear on the All-Stars’ first studio album in five years: a two-CD set titled Big Beautiful Dark and Scary to be released on Cantaloupe Music in January 2012.
Original article is here.
Florent Ghys Baroque Tardif
Cantaloupe Records CA21052 (09/27/11)
“Following his 2009 EP release, Baroque Tardif: Soli (CA21051), Florent Ghys is back with a full-length album, Baroque Tardif, revealing the various directions his work has taken him the last four years.
The answer to the common question musicians often get – “what kind of music do you play?” – is summed up neatly in this title (meaning “late Baroque”). Says Florent, ‘When I was a teenager I had an odd classical guitar teacher who was convinced that baroque music would come back one day and would crush all other kinds of music. I remembered this peculiar idea while working on the first draft for this album since the pieces in it are often very dense and contrapuntal. Baroque Tardif could be like the resurrection of a very late baroque’
Baroque Tardif encompasses a diverse medley of multimedia experimentation. Phase parisienne features some contrapuntal experiments while Quatrieme implores an extended canon technique. Pull blanc , chemise rouge, always remaining playful and modal, brings out an accessible pop side to Florent’s music. The album also unveils Florent’s personal vocal technique, as in Simplement, in which his voice sings on top of a speech sample. Even more compelling is the dominate use of solfege (do re mi…) as lyrics, leading the listener to consider voice as an instrument.
As with his first EP, Florent has recorded this album using a unique and personal tuning of the double bass, bringing the instrument nearer from the cello and extending the range of possibilities of his virtual “multiple-me ensemble” made of basses, guitars, voices and percussion.”
Here is Bang On A Can’s 25th Anniversary news:
“When we started Bang on a Can in 1987 in an art gallery in SoHo, we never imagined that our one-day, 12-hour marathon festival of mostly unknown music would morph into a big international organization dedicated to the support of experimental music. But it has, and here we are in 2011 about to launch our 25th Anniversary Season!
We have a tremendously exciting year planned for this milestone season. The calendar features the Bang on a Can All-Stars in a dizzying array of collaborations with friends old and new, joining forces with Norwegian superstars Trio Mediaeval (in Steel Hammer by Julia Wolfe); with percussion legend Steven Schick (in an evening of music by Steve Reich in Los Angeles); with an all-new expanded live tour of the Brian Eno ambient classic Music for Airports; and with a host of composers, visual and sound artists (in the premiere of a new evening-length touring project, Field Recordings, a collaborative program created from found sounds, images, and voices featuring works by Tyondai Braxton, Nick Zammuto, Christian Marclay, Mira Calix, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Evan Ziporyn ).
The season also includes the premiere of a newly staged show featuring the avant marching band Asphalt Orchestra, new CD releases on Bang on a Can sister-label Cantaloupe Music, and more. See the full season calendar online. We are so gratified to still be hard at work, all these years later. The reason is really clear to us: we started this organization because we believed that making new music is a utopian act, that people needed to hear this music and they needed to hear it presented in the most persuasive way, with the best players, with the best programs, for the best listeners, in the best context. Our commitment to changing the environment for contemporary music has kept us busy and growing for the last 25 years, and we are not done yet. We hope to see you this season.”
So Percussion, Steve Mackey It is Time
Cantaloupe CA21076 Release 09/27/11
2 Steel Drums [ MP3 ]
“It Is Time will be released on September 27, 2011. The physical release will include CD and full-length performance DVD.
‘It Is Time marshals the virtuosity of the individual members of So Percussion to speed, slow, warp, celebrate and mourn our perceptions of time. Each of the four sections of the piece is a mini-concerto for one of the players. First Eric Beach leads the music in a multi-percussion set up composed of metronome with delay, pump organ, bells, china cymbal on hi-hat stand and a few other assorted toys. Josh Quillen follows on steel drums, Adam Sliwinski on marimba, and Jason Treuting on drumset.
It Is Time was inspired by my young son Jasper (now 30 months old). As an older father (now 664 months old) I felt, for the first time in my life, saddened by the immutability of time and the finite limits to how much of It I will be able to spend with my young family. It Is Time fantasizes that we might have agency with respect to time. An African poet named Isaac Maliya wrote a poem called ?Time is Time.? The first stanza ? ?Time sits, Time stands, Time is Time? ? suggested a terse melody that became a dominant lyrical element in the piece. It is first unveiled in the Steel Drum movement but shards of it permeate much of the music.”
Michael Gordon Timber
Cantaloupe CA21072 (08/30/11)
“Musical pioneer and Bang on a Can co-founder Michael Gordon’s subtle rhythmic investigations and fearless compositional inventions have led WNYC to note, ‘ Gordon’s music is an outgrowth of his underground New York rock band experience combined with formal music training from Yale, so it’s no surprise that he’s obsessed with the nature of rhythm. ?[He] has built his career on exploring rhythm and what happens when different rhythms are piled on top of each other, to mesmerizing effect.’ For his most recent composition, Gordon has ventured outside the realm of traditional instrumentation to achieve an evening-length tour de force.
His new work, Timber, is scored for six wooden 2x4s, each cut into different sizes, giving each one a slightly different pitch. Called a ‘simantra’, this percussion instrument was first devised by composer Iannis Xenakis. Far from a gimmick, the instrumentation allows Gordon to create the impression that the sound is traveling around and through the room by subtly shifting the accent of sound from one player to another. The result is a meditation on sound and rhythm, bringing the physicality, endurance and technique of percussion performance to a new level.”
See the full article here.
“Composer’s Notes by Arnold Dreyblatt
On “Resonant Relations”
With support from the Irish Arts Council in 2004, I was commissioned by the Crash Ensemble, Dublin to compose a new work. During a series of intense working visits over a one and half year period, members the ensemble was introduced to the Dreyblatt tuning system. The Crash Ensemble is the only group outside of my own previous ensembles which has learned to perform in my intonation of 21 unequal tones based on the first eleven partials of the harmonic series and their multiples. The resulting work, Resonant Relations was composed for flutes (wooden and metal), trombone, violin, viola, cello, contrabass, harpsichord, and percussion (timpanies, snare and bass drum, metal pieces).
The work was first performed at the Sugar Club in Dublin on 27 October 2005 in a program co-curated with Crash artistic director Donnacha Dennehy which included performances of compositions by my two composition teachers La Monte Young and Alvin Lucier.”
Arnold Dreyblatt Resonant Relations
Release date: 06/28/11
From Cantaloupe on Arnold Dreyblatt:
“Among the second generation of New York minimal composers, Arnold Dreyblatt has developed a unique and original approach to composition and performance. He has invented a set of new and original instruments, performance techniques, and a system of tuning. Working closely with various ensembles and in theatrical and installation projects, he creates a music with exciting rhythms and rich textures, an exploration of the potential inherent in the natural overtone series. The musicians who have performed with Dreyblatt generally come from vastly varied musical backgrounds and interests – in common, however, is a sensitivity for an approach to music making, sonority and hearing which Dreyblatt has been developing together with musicians over the last twenty-five years. In his former Orchestra, all the members contribute to this music with their own ideas and performance techniques, gradually forming an individual musical role within the ensemble dynamic. Just as this music essentially exists only in performance, the combined acoustic effect results from a sum which is greater than its parts. Arnold Dreyblatt’s compostions involve a re-thinking of sound making tools; modified and newly created acoustic instruments are utilized for specific timbral effect and perform in an unusual tuning system. Traditional and non-traditional percussion instruments accentuate the rhythmic character of the music.
Arnold Dreyblatt was born in New York City in 1953. He has been based in Europe since 1984 and is presently living in Berlin. Dreyblatt studied Film and Video Art at the State University of New York at Buffalo (M.A. from the Institute for Media Studies) with Woody and Steina Vasulka and later Music Composition with Pauline Oliveros (1974), La Monte Young (1974-76) and with Alvin Lucier at Wesleyan University where he received an M.A. in Music Composition in 1982.
From 1979-1997 he was director and composer for his music ensemble, The Orchestra of Excited Strings. The ensemble performed extensively in the United States from 1979-83 and recorded an LP for India Navigation Records in 1982 entitled, Nodal Excitation (IN 3024). In 1984, Dreyblatt moved his base of operations to Berlin where he formed a new ensemble while composer-in-residence at Künstlerhaus Bethanien. This ensemble has performed throughout eastern and western Europe as well as in the States at numerous festivals, museums, galleries and other music venues. An LP entitled Propellers in Love was issued by Künstlerhaus Bethanien in 1985. This recording was reissued by Hat Art Records in 1986 on compact disc along with newly recorded material. In composing a performance opera entitled Who’s Who in Central & East Europe 1933, Dreyblatt formed a new ensemble in 1991. The ensemble also recorded a number of pieces in New York with clarinetist Andy Statman which appeared on A Haymish Groove, issued by Extra Platte, Vienna, 1992. In 1995, recordings by the ensemble were released by Zaddik Records (produced by [the great] John Zorn) under the title Animal Magnetism.
In 1998, his first recording, Nodal Excitation, was re-mastered by Jim O’Rourke and was released by his Dexter’s Cigar label. Also in 1998, Table of the Elements Records released a compilation of Solo and Ensemble pieces entitled The Sound of One-String. In 2000, the Bang On A Can All-Stars recorded a version of Dreyblatt’s Escalator for Cantaloupe Records. A complete CD entitled The Adding Machine, also involving musicians from the Bang On A Can All-Stars, was issued by Cantaloupe in 2002.
In 1991, Dreyblatt composed Who’s Who in Central & East Europe 1933 as a co-production between Inventionen ’91/DAAD, Berlin and Wiener Fest Wochen, Vienna. He has received commissions from among others: “Ars Electronica”, Linz (1988), Oeyvaer Desk, Den Haag (1989), Prime Foundation, Groningen (1989), DAAD- Inventionen ’91, Berlin (1990), Werkstaat Berlin, 1991, Podewil/US Arts Festival, Berlin (1993), Bang in A Can All-stars Ensemble, New York (1996), Saarlandischer Rundfunk (2002) and Academy of Art, Berlin (2003), Crash Ensemble Dublin (2005); Austin New Music Coop (2007).
He has been a guest composer at The Music Gallery, Toronto; STEIM, Amsterdam; Het Apollohuis, Eindhoven; K?nstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin and has received numerous Grants and Stipendiums including: Creative Artist Public Service Program, New York (1979-80); Overbrook Foundation, New York (1983-85); Luftbrückendank Stiftung, Berlin (1985); Philip Morris Art Prize (1991); Kunstfonds e.V., Bonn (1992), Kulturfonds e.V., Berlin (1995), Foundation for Creative Performance Arts, N.Y.C. (1998) and Förderpreis, Akademie der Kunste, Berlin (2000).
In recent years, Dreyblatt has been increasingly involved in integrating archival and biographical texts with his sound work in performance and installation. In 1997, he disbanded The Orchestra of Excited Strings, which had been performing continuously in New York and then in Europe since 1979. He began a period of commissioned compositions on the one hand, and occasional solo and smaller group projects. He has worked with the Bang On A Can All-Stars in New York and founded a new Orchestra in 2000 with the assistance of Evan Ziporyn and David Weinstein which resulted in the Cantaloupe CD: The Adding Machine. Recent Commissions include a String Quartet (Music for 16 Strings) for the Pellegrini Quartet in Freiburg (2003); Resonant Relations for the Crash Ensemble Dublin (2005); and Kinship Collapse for the Austin New Music Coop (2007). He has recently been touring with a new solo performance version of Nodal Excitation (1979) and continues to lead composition and performance workshops, such as at the “Music Gallery”, Toronto, 2007.
This is copyright protected, so just a few notes
By PHILLIP LUTZ
Published: June 10, 2011
“In a musician’s life, few moments reveal themselves to be genuinely subversive. But when the clarinetist Evan Ziporyn first heard Brian Eno’s Music for Airports in 1978, he knew such a moment was at hand. ‘ It upended certain ideas a lot of us were holding,’ Mr. Ziporyn said
On Tuesday, Mr. Ziporyn’s sextet, the new-music group Bang on a Can All-Stars, will bring the first of four parts of Music for Airports, along with five other works, to Yale Law School as part of the courtyard concert series at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven. He expects that some listeners will find the piece as provocative as he did when he first heard it.”
See the full article here.
Also, see my previous post, http://musicsprings.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/cantaloupe-re-releases-brian-enos-music-for-airports/
“The collaboration between Cantaloupe Music and Sentieri Selvaggi continues with the 10th album release of the Italian ensemble; a group comprised of some of the best Italian musicians who have spent over 14 years working to promote contemporary music.
The title Zingiber takes its name from a composition by Carlo Boccadoro, founder and conductor of Sentieri Selvaggi and eclectic figure of contemporary Italian culture. Zingiber, which is Latin for “ginger”, underlines the irreverent character of the piece and the record – a dash of ginger with frantic bells, cows, mechanical birds, whistles and a polyrhythmic clashes of various objects.
The remaining tracks move between different musical languages and very different moods – strong incisive rhythmic compositions are intermixed with more reflective pieces. Hints of minimalism and popular music give way to more complex and intricate structures that give life to a colorful mosaic of various sounds and atmospheres, fully exploring the virtuosity of the performers.
After touring the various works featured on Zingiber in their native country of Italy, Sentieri Selvaggi will present the album release in the U.S. as they perform on June 19, 2011 at the Bang on a Can Marathon at the World Financial Center, Winter Garden in NYC.”
Brian Eno Music for Airports
From Cantaloupe Records:
Composers:Brian Eno, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon, Evan Ziporyn Music For Airports
Peformers Bang On A Can: Maya Beiser cello, Evan Ziporyn clarinets, Mark Stewart guitar, Steven Schick percussion, Lisa Moore piano, Robert Black bass
Point Music (1998)
“Before the term “ambient” came to be applied to everything from the eerie soundscapes of the Aphex Twin to such hybrids as ambient-techno and “illbient,” there was Brian Eno’s MUSIC FOR AIRPORTS. A definitive precursor of today’s ambient music, this four-part instrumental piece is devoid of all but the most basic aspects of song and, therefore, challenges listeners to re-imagine what music might be. As easy to listen to as it is ignore, the piece hardly seems as though it would benefit from being played by live musicians. But the New York-based Bang on a Can ensemble proves otherwise. Recontextualizing AIRPORTS–originally an all-synthesizer work–serves to bring its Zen-like elements into bolder relief. The magisterial calm of “1/1″ is enhanced with touches of instrumentation behind and around its central six-note piano phrase. In the two sequences that follow, a choir of heavenly voices fades in and out against the sparest of sonic landscapes. While the concept of “music for airports” evokes a certain chilly, antiseptic feeling, the essential humanity of the music is always evident, becoming all the more apparent in this “performance” recasting. “
At the Bang On A Can Store $15
These are my sources for music and information. If you have any suggestions for me, I would appreciate seeing them in Comments.
New Amsterdam Records – “…a non-profit-model record label and artists’ service organization that supports the public’s engagement with new music by composers and performers whose work grows from the fertile ground between genres….”
” Provocative and intense, Bang on a Can and Cantaloupe Music founder, Julia Wolfe’s music combines minimalist techniques, repetitive rhythms, sustained harmonies with a rock sensibility. Her music has been described as “invariably fresh and surprising” by the New York Times, and she was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her 2009 composition Steel Hammer.
Cruel Sister, composed in 2004, is a 35-minute long piece for string orchestra. It was originally written for the Munich Chamber Orchestra and premiered in New York in February at the Miller Theater to positive reviews. Wolfe elaborates on Cruel Sister: ‘ [It] takes its title from a dark and fantastic old English ballad of the same name. I first heard a beautiful and eerie rendition of the song while in college, on an album by the British folk/rock group Pentangle. While there are no musical references to the original tune, the story of the ballad inspired a response. I was fascinated and horrified by the overwhelming greed and jealousy of the tale.” The New York Times said of the Miller Theater performance of the work, “The harp music at the wedding is suggested at first by the violas playing staggered staccato notes. Soon the entire ensemble breaks into aggressive pizzicatos: a horrific din of plucking, the ‘harp gone mad,’ as Ms. Wolfe put it. The piece ends with just a hint of a sad song, as if coming from some far-off place.’
Cruel Sister Julia Wolfe
1. Cruel Sister: Part 1
2. Cruel Sister: Part 2
3. Cruel Sister: Part 3
4. Cruel Sister: Part 4 [ MP3 ]
5. Fuel: Part 1
6. Fuel: Part 2
7. Fuel: Part 3
8. Fuel: Part 4
9. Fuel: Part 5
Fuel, on the other hand, is a collaboration with filmmaker Bill Morrison which examines the impact of globalization. Commissioned by Ensemble Resonanz, a Hamburg-based group of 18 musicians, Fuel was premiered in 2007 as a multi-media performance. The ideas for the piece came about through conversations related to the necessity and controversy of fuel. Ensemble Resonanz violinist, Juditha Haeberlin then challenged Wolfe to create something virtuosic, something to push the limits of the ensemble. Her request merged with the sounds of transport and harbors – New York and Hamburg – large ships, creaking docks, whistling sounds and a relentless energy.”
At Amazon, the CD $14.93. The .mp3 album no information.
From Cantaloupe News:”London’s Barbican Centre features Cantaloupe Founders at Reich Festival in May “
March 17, 2011
“Going to be in London this spring? Then you won’t want to miss the London’s Barbican Centre presenting concerts of music by Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe for the Reverberations Festival: the Influence of Steve Reich.
For Gordon, Lang and Wolfe, the work of Steve Reich has been immensely influential. This was the music that changed their world. For them, it was clear that Reich “had unleashed a hidden and locked-up power of the sounds between the sounds.” When they met in New York City in the early 1980s, Reich’s music was what they played for each other and what that they discussed. With the festival in May, the Barbican Centre recognizes this influence and the role these composers have toward influencing the next generation of composers and musicians.”
See the full article here.
“After a 10 year hiatus, Toby Twining is back on the scene with his new album, Eurydice. It’s available at all digital outlets right now, and in physical retails stores nationwide Tuesday, 2/22
Eurydice Toby Twining
“In a career spanning two decades, the New York-based composer and recording artist Toby Twining has “set a standard for the stylistically unrestricted exploration of voice music…using elements as diverse as jazz improvisation, contemporary classical pointillism and repetitions, ethnic throat singing, doo-wop, yodels, vocal sound effects and a few utterly unclassifiable techniques that are uniquely their own” (The Los Angeles Times). His forthcoming album, Eurydice, culminates years of vocal music innovations Twining has made since the runaway success of his 1994 debut, Shaman, which propelled him to acclaim well beyond the world of new music, including numerous appearances on Garrison Kiellor’s A Prairie Home Companion. Cantaloupe Music will release Eurydice on February 22, offering an utterly different but equally joyful alternative to the a capella music currently at the center of mainstream pop culture.
The album’s emotional terrain spans from the energy and promise of youth in Playing in the Waves and Yes! Yes! Yes! (whose groove-oriented style recalls Shaman) to the ominous, wormhole-like Eurydice’s Fall. ‘I want to make music with vocal sounds and harmonies that are truly inventive, but accessible for anyone open to listening,’ says Twining.
Eurydice began as a score for Sarah Ruhl’s play of the same name, directed by Blanka Zizka and produced for the Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia in 2008. The play reinterprets the classic myth of Orpheus, telling the story from Eurydice’s point of view and including a reunion with her father in the underworld.
Composing for four singers and a cello, Twining delights in this underworld, which he found to be the perfect environment – quirky, funny and dangerous – for a variety of surprising vocal effects: tremolos, overtones and ingressive croaks. He employs a male soprano, Eric Brenner, for an unaccompanied solo in The Book. The String Room is an eloquent solo for cello with vocal accompaniment, punctuated by tall, languid jazz chords and vivid overtone singing. In Orpheus at the Gates, a forty-part operatic aria depicts Orpheus’ transformation from self-absorbed composer to heroic lover.
In realizing this range of music, Twining has developed an interest in the neuroscience of listening. He explains, ‘Research tells us how the brain processes harmony – that is, how neurons fire in response to musical pitches that relate to each other. My aim is to write music that triggers neurons in new ways, resulting in new harmonies.’ Furthermore, Twining continues to wrestle with digital technology’s unique ability to produce new chords, progressions, modulations, sonorities and melodic nuances. He traces this study back to John Cage: ‘Cage lectured in the early ’80’s at the University of Illinois, when I was a student there. It was prescient of him to remark, contrary to the usual hype about computers, that it increased rather than reduced his work. Though my artistic direction has gone quite differently from his, the effect of the computer on my work is similar. The computer makes it possible to sing and play harmonies that were previously impossible, or, at best, highly impractical. Now the possibilities are almost endless.’
Raised in Texas, with family roots in country-swing and gospel, Toby Twining has traveled musically from playing for rock and jazz bands to experimental composition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned his Bachelor of Musical Composition degree in 1985. In the mid-eighties he became intrigued by the vast potential of the human voice and delved into a broad spectrum of musical techniques, including Renaissance madrigals, scat, African yodeling, and Mongolian throat-singing. The discovery of his own vocal range and performance talents pulled these influences together for Twining and guided him toward an emphasis on composition for a cappella ensembles.
Twining moved to New York in 1987, initially writing for modern dance choreographers who wanted the sounds of a new choral music. In 1990, with a group of five New York-based singers, he presented the first international live concert of his music in Seoul, South Korea. A year later he formed Toby Twining Music, his own a cappella quartet, which performed at music halls and festivals across the United States and in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Barcelona in Europe. The quartet grew to a 12-voice ensemble in 1999 to accommodate the expanded range of Twining’s Chrysalid Requiem, first performed in Amsterdam as part of the Gaudeamus Foundation’s “Festival of New Spiritual Music.”
In addition to his vocal compositions, Twining has written many pieces for keyboard and other instruments. Two of his best-known piano compositions, Satie Blues and Nightmare Rag, were recorded by avant-garde pianist Margaret Leng Tan on her 1997 album Art of the Toy Piano (Uni/Point) and have received considerable radio and concert exposure.”
At Amazon, the CD $15.37 when issued, the .mp3 album $8.99
About Paul Lansky-
“Paul Lansky (born June 18, 1944 in New York) is widely considered one of the original electronic music or computer music composers, and has been producing works from the 1970s up to the present day. A former student of George Perle, he is a currently professor of music composition at Princeton University, and in addition to his music is known as a pioneer in the development of computer music languages for algorithmic composition (see Real-Time Cmix). He is also former student of Milton Babbitt and Edward Cone.
So Percussion is Eric Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting
About So Percussion-
“Since 1999, So Percussion has been creating music that explores all the extremes of emotion and musical possibility. It has not been an easy music to define. Called an “experimental powerhouse” by the Village Voice, “astonishing and entrancing” by Billboard Magazine, and “brilliant” by the New York Times, the Brooklyn based quartet’s innovative work with today’s most exciting composers and their own original music has quickly helped them forge a unique and diverse career.”
From Cantaloupe about this album-
10. Chorale Prelude
“Threads, written for Sō Percussion in 2005, is a half-hour long “cantata” for percussion quartet in ten short movements. There are three “threads” that are interwoven in the piece: Arias and Preludes that focus on the metallic pitched sounds of vibraphones, glockenspiel and pipes; Choruses in which drumming predominates; and Recitatives made largely from Cage-like noise instruments, bottles, flower pots, crotales, etc. The aim of the different threads is to highlight the wide range of qualities that percussion instruments are capable of, from lyrical and tender to forceful and aggressive, and weave them into one continuous “thread”. The movements are performed without interruption.”
The album, CD at Cantaloupe $7.50, the .mp3 album at Amazon $8.99.
First, I am not nor have I ever been a musician. I am simply an avid listener, a passionate New Music and Jazz listener, with a computer. I cannot even type very well.
But, is it really so bad? Not for some, who have taken the D.I.Y approach, formed new groups, sometimes with interchangeable members, and put themselves out in the public view.
Maybe this dynamic goes back to the seminal D.I.Y group, Bang On a Can, “Formed in 1987 by composers Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe. B.O.A.C “is dedicated to commissioning, performing, creating, presenting and recording contemporary music.” B.O.A.C even has its own label, Cantaloupe Music. And, of course,there are the Bang On A Can All-Stars.
Bang On A Can All-Stars.
While B.O.A.C paved the way, there are now a number of other very worthy groups who have formed up to present themselves to the public.
First to my mind is ACME, The American Contemporary Music Ensemble
Then, there is ICE, International Contemporary Ensemble, mentioned in the article.
Check their web site and look at their concert schedule. They range far and wide and frequently.
A group about which I only recently learned is yMusic, “an expandable group of performers actively engaged and equally comfortable in the overlapping classical and pop music world.”
Do you know the group Ethel, this string group has been around since 1998. It is safe to say that thye are world famous.
There are two common threads here, and they are both very important: these groups are basically smallish new music and contemporary music groups; and I leafrned about all of them at Q2 , WQXR’s 24 hour “New Music” web stream.
So, is it really so bad for freelance musicians, probably, although even most professional journalists are capable of some hyperbole. But maybe the lesson is, what my father did, start your own business.
Gte your group together, get some compositions that either members of the group compose, or existing works, and go out and sell yourselves. Can you do it alone? Sure, if you are Maya Beiser. But, she is pretty rare.