European American Music Distributors Company is a member of the Schott Music Group
2018 announcement (blog size)
Soper IPSA banner USE
Subotnick Greenroom banner
Norman Trip to the Moon Greenroom

Composers

Blog Archive

201920182017201620152014201320122011

Newsletter

Scott Wollschleger's "American Dream"

What is an American dream? Blue skies, the open road, a sense of freedom, optimism for the future? Those are the objects of desire in so many American narratives; but in a dream, the valence of those objects, their interrelation, is radically called into question. Indeed, we might ask: what is an American dream—what is the American dream—in 2019? What can it tell us about ourselves? What makes a dream different from reality? Or: how are the two alike?

Scott Wollschleger's  forthcoming album on Canteloupe Music, American Dream, is a recording of that eponymous work along with two related pieces, performed by Bearthoven (Karl Larson, piano; Pat Swoboda, double bass; Matt Evans, percussion). Wollschleger began composing the piece in the winter of 2017, responding directly to the political upheavals of the previous November; he felt, he says, like he was suddenly and violently removed from the bubble in which he was living. Responding to that adjustment, he turned to abstraction: pitch pipes became the goofy, campy, cheap representation of national politics; in his studio, Wollschleger explored the piano, bass and a variety of percussion instruments to notate the feelings of political abjection, expressed in cinematic, short sections, each flashing like a semi-conscious aural dream.

Part of the affective power of American Dream is that its affect is radically undefined: is it mournful? Hopeful? What do its repetitions mean? What does it mean to be embraced by a strange new world of pitch and timbre, only for it to immediately evaporate and re-appear in slightly altered form? 

American Dream is book-ended by Gas Station Canon Song and We See Things That Are Not There, two works that emerged from the compositional material of American Dream. In this sense, this is at once a work and a kind of "concept album:" the album art, beautifully created by photographer Jamie Boddorf and designer Mariah Tarvainen, evokes the blues and oranges of the American Dream, the horizon that signals both beginning and end. 

As Wollschleger's frequent collaborator Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti writes, 

Is it a love song? A mis-remembered nostalgic anthem? A quiet, hopeful fanfare? A frightened obsessive meandering? In allowing ourselves to be truly vulnerable we can connect with each other, even if only for a moment. Or perhaps we see things that are not there.

American Dream will be released on February 8th, and will be celebrated with an album release performance at the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York. Preview the first movement of this work below:

Katharina Rosenberger's "Folds" at National Sawdust

Katharina Rosenberger has had a busy winter: in December, her Modules was performed by the Ensemble KNM Berlin at the Heroines of Sound Festival; and in January, Rosenberger, the violinist Miranda Cuckson, and the media artist John Burnett premiered Folds at National Sawdust's FERUS Festival.

Folds begins from the cantata "Sino alla morte," composed by 17th-century composer-performer Barbara Strozzi, and interweaves that composition with new music for violin and electroacoustic sounds made by Rosenberger, accompanied by Burnett's projection work; the sounds are "folded" together, often quite literally, with the sounds of paper—manuscripts, sculptures, scraps, sometimes placed between the violin's strings themelves. 

Continuing this busy season, Rosenberger will see her 2013 work Gesang an das noch namenlose Land [Song for the yet nameless land] performed by Ensemble Contrechamps in Geneva and Sion, Switzerland. This work, made in collaboration with New York-based artist Abdolreza Aminlari, explores Amerigo Vespucci's 1503 publication, "Mundus-Novus," written discussing his travels to the "new world." Check out a recording of the work below. 

Vijay Iyer Premieres "Crisis Modes" at LA Phil

Vijay Iyer has long questioned the stylistic, disciplinary, and political boundaries between the worlds of classical music and jazz—boundaries that have been in flux for nearly a century. It's no surprise, then, that Iyer was asked by none other than Herbie Hancock to contribute a new composition for a concert program entitled "The Edge of Jazz," to be performed on January 15th by the LA Phil New Music Group as a part of the LA Phil's Green Umbrella Series. Iyer's contribution to this concert, entitled Crisis Modes, compliments other new works by other luminaries such as Hermeto Pascoal, Tyshawn Sorey, Kamasi Washington, Billy Childs, and Hitomi Oba. 

To compose Crisis Modes, Iyer began with a piano improvisation, which he then orchestrated for strings and percussion. This is unusual for Iyer, although he has spent his career both improvising, composing and orchestrating; in this work, he writes that he hopes to make music both for "now" (improvisation) and "tomorrow" (composition). Iyer writes:

Crisis Modes offers a version of the present in which we call each other to action, push through a haze of denial, and organize ourselves as a coherent, constructive oppositional force. I don’t exactly know what that sounds like, but I can at least imagine how it feels, so this piece is my attempt to trace that affective landscape. 

For an intimate look at Iyer's writing for strings and piano, check out his Mutations I–X, which he originally composed for the ETHEL string quartet, here performed by Iyer and the Brentano Quartet in 2014:

Tag Cloud