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Posts tagged 'Cantaloupe Music'

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:

New Albums featuring Annie Gosfield and Ted Hearne

Two albums out this month by Philadelphia-based ensembles showcase the music of Ted Hearne and Annie Gosfield. The Jasper String Quartet's album Unbound, released on March 17, includes a recording of Gosfield's string quartet The Blue Horse Walks on the Horizon, and the intrepid chamber choir The Crossing releases a recording of Hearne's Sound from the Bench on March 24.



Gosfield's The Blue Horse Walks on the Horizon, which was commissioned and premiered by the Jaspers in 2010, was inspired by the radio broadcasts, encryption methods and secret codes used by European resistance groups during World War II. The work's title references one of the statements broadcast from the British to the French Resistance in their "messages personnels" radio program ("Le cheval bleu se promène sur l'horizon"), and which Gosfield uses as a rhythmic basis for the work's opening figure. The new album, released on New Amsterdam Records, also includes an excerpt of Hearne's Law of Mosaics, as well as works by Caroline Shaw, Missy Mazzoli, Judd Greenstein, David Lang and Donnacha Dennehy. 

Following performances of Hearne's politically-charged cantata Sound from the Bench in Philadelphia, Boston and New York, The Crossing's new album (released by Cantaloupe Music) features the first recording of that work alongside new recordings of Hearne's Consent, Ripple and Privilege



Donald Nally, who leads The Crossing, notes that Hearne's works on the album are "fundamentally about asking questions—questions about the world we live in, about art, and about language and music." The album, containing some of Hearne's most adventurous works to date, demonstrates his socially conscious approach to composition and his goal to "bring the chaotic forces of life into the work itself." Listen to a sample of Hearne's Consent:

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