New From New Amsterdam This Month – “Drawn Only Once” and “Requiem”

New Amsterdam Records is at the heart of the New Music environment

Due East Drawn Only Once
New Amsterdam

Erin Lesser, flute
Greg Beyer, percussion

drawn only once represents the NewAm debut for accomplished duo Due East (Erin Lesser, flute; Greg Beyer, percussion) and innovative new music composer John Supko. The album contains two pieces, Littoral, written for the duo, and This window makes me feel, both coupled with cutting-edge videography by Kristine Marx and Don Sheehy, respectively. The pieces explore, among other things, Supko’s interest in field recordings, and computer-generated randomness of harmonies and melodic material. The multimedia pieces are presented in both CD and 5.1 surround sound DVD formats.

Littoral melds the lustrous timbres of flute, electronics, and an impressive array of percussion with texts by contemporary Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom and 16th Century English writer Richard Hakluyt. Supko calls Littoral ‘music of shifting terrains, each with its distinct sense of time and color and space… more alluring than any destination plotted on a timetable.’ These impressions are realized by flute, alto flute, piccolo, an array of unorthodox percussion instruments, and synthesized field recordings of the sea, Supko’s voice, and the voice of a poet. Marx’s entrancing video accompanies the piece with rapidly changing geometric forms superimposed over transient oceanic landscapes. This window makes me feel is based on Robert Fitterman’s brilliant poem of the same title, which makes use of completions of the poem’s title based on hundreds of Google searches, chronicling a vast range of humane poetic sensibilities. The work includes pre-recorded mezzo-soprano (Hai-Ting Chinn), keyboards (David Broome), and other electronics. Sheehy’s video accompaniment captures the hysteria of the congested cityscape with short clips clandestinely captured on the streets of New York that visually amplifies the pre-recorded poetic whispers of Fitterman’s poem.

The album will be released November 15th, followed by a record-release performance of Littoral at Galapagos Art Space on November 21st, alongside a piece by composer Gregory Spears.”

Purchase: Amazon | iTunes | eMusic

Gregory Spears Requiem
New Amsterdam

“Gregory Spears is a composer of refined and ‘astonishingly beautiful’ (New York Times) instrumental and vocal works. His recording debut is marked by Requiem, an otherworldly album-length composition scored for six voices, baroque viola, harp, troubadour harp, recorders, and electric organ, containing vastly eclectic influences. While the piece’s title and instrumentation suggest a characteristically baroque structure, these indices are juxtaposed with Feldmanesque harmony, Reichian repetition, and motet-like vocal stylings, liberating the piece from a particular musical era. The music is wedded to an array of time- and place-exclusive languages, including Latin, Middle French, and Breton, allowing for further multi-referentiality and conceptual intricacy.

The piece premiered in in June 2010 as an opera an opera/dance collaboration with choreographer for Christopher Williams for his dance production Hen’s Teeth. The performance enhanced the collage-esque sonic references with the disparate imagery of 19th century Breton fairy tales, Greek mythology, and middle age relics. The interdisciplinary realization was called ‘splendid…’ and ‘the jangling together of singing voices, violin, harp, recorder, chimes, and electric organ is magical, like feathers stroking the back of your neck’ (Village Voice). The New York Times called Spears’ score ‘the most distinguished component of the evening,’ the instrumentation evoking a ‘shimmering medieval aura,’ and New Yorker critic Alex Ross described it as ‘cooly entrancing.’

The album will be released November 15th, followed by a performance at Galapagos Art Space on November 21st, alongside a piece by composer John Supko performed by the dynamic duo Due East.”