From INNOVA: “Two new releases in April”

Innova is the home for New Music in America

Innova is the recording arm of American Composers Forum, St Paul Mn.

Composer and percussionist Baljinder Sekhon, brings forth his exuberant and ear catching pieces for percussion ensemble on Places and Times. David Kechley’s The Walbrzych Project consists of two orchestral works, brought to life in the Polish town bearing the same name, that are influnenced by everything from a classroom in Japan, to Shakespeare, to the Old Testament, to Proust. All combined, these influences are reflected by the expansive pieces on this album.

Places and Times BY Baljinder Sekhon
RELEASE 27 April 2018

Places & Times is a collection of sonorous landmarks and magical moments; percussion ensemble works that are as compelling as they are mysterious. It is also a record of some of the ways in which life and art might share a journey. Composer and percussionist Baljinder Sekhon, with a doctorate from Eastman and currently teaching at the University of South Florida, has brought together three fine percussion ensembles to present his exhilarating vision: Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, McCormick Percussion Group, and Line Upon Line Percussion.

Three of the works on the album feature solo instruments with ensemble: steel pan (Dave Gerhart), guitar (Dieter Hennings), and piano (Eunmi Ko). The combinations afford a wide range of possibilities, from the aggressive noise of a cymbal on piano strings, and peaceful meditations created by finger cymbals gently buzzing on a vibraphone, to the curious thump of a person falling onto a bass drum.

Death Is an Adviser is one of a series of works modeled after the shamanistic philosophies described by anthropologist Carlos Castaneda in his writings about being an apprentice to the sorcerer Don Juan Matus in the 1960s.

Sekhon writes: I have been heavily influenced by the teachings of Don Juan, specifically those found in the book Journey to Ixtlan. Death Is an Adviser is a chapter from the book that deals with the awareness of death and how such awareness advises our decision-making in life. The movement titles each have double meanings, which reflect both the philosophy that inspired the piece and the compositional process. I am interested in finding ways for my creative work as a composer and other life activities to intersect and become the same. For this piece, in an effort to work and spend time with my family at once, my daughters and wife drew numbers from a hat to determine pitch orderings, durations, and contour. After selecting numbers for pitch and duration, and combining them, we’d run to the piano to play it and hear how it turned out. We made a game out of it.

Passageways 9:31
Musica Casera 12:14
I. any time. any place 2:24
II. maybe today. maybe tomorrow 3:28
III. touched. not felt 2:55
IV a worthy opponent 2:27
V now or later 3:31
VI dream come true 5:55
Sun 9:30
Refuge 8:50

The Walbrzych Project BY David Kechley
RELEASE 27 April 2018

David Kechley’s latest album of orchestra music is a lot easier to listen to than pronounce. It draws from far flung parts of the world, and historical origins, and brings them into a grand compelling vision.

The album features two large scale orchestra works recorded with dazzling clarity by the Sudeten Filharmonie in a small Polish town, Walbrzych (most recently in the news for supposedly being the subterranean hiding place of the infamous Nazi gold train).

The first work, KARASUMA: A Fast Funk for Orchestra, started life as a classroom exercise at the Doshisha Women’s College in Kyoto, Japan, where Kechley demonstrated how acoustic musical fragments could be combined in various ways by computer. The work was so successful it was expanded and premiered by the Boston Pops in 1993.

The other major work on the album is a symphony exploring various aspects of dreams, WAKEFUL VISIONS / MOONLESS DREAMS. Each of the four movements is associated with literary references; from the Old Testament, a haiku by Buson, the Witches’ scene from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and musings on remembrance by Marcel Proust.

David Kechley recently retired from teaching at Williams College, Massachussetts. Taken as a whole this is a record of an expansive imagination and an intercontinental achievement.

Karasuma_ A Fast Funk for Orchestra 8:11
Wakeful Visions _ Moonless Dreams_ Notari … 10:21
Wakeful Visions _ Moonless Dreams_ Whirlwind 6:37
Wakeful Visions _ Moonless Dreams_ Somethi… 8:36
Wakeful Visions _ Moonless Dreams_ Moments 9:45

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