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Posts tagged 'Christopher Cerrone'

Christopher Cerrone's "The Insects Became Magnetic" Premieres at LA Philharmonic

On November Sixteenth, the Los Angeles Philharmonic will premiere their newly-commissioned work by Christopher Cerrone, entitled The Insects Became Magnetic. Cerrone's choice of title comes from a poem by Adam Clay, in which the poet elegiacally ruminates on nature, music, and materiality. Looking at a painting, birds become "the trash scattered in the air"; the hull of a car emerges; the poet responds with his own hope: "I hope the insects become magnetic // to eat plastic hillsides, to pull a drone down, even." 

Cerrone's composition reflects this merging of organic life with technology: it begins with sound heard as "noise", the squeal of a laptop's speakers feeding back signal from its own microphone. Clay's poem continues: "And music is the fluttering trash / in the collage or painting or whatever / we want to call it;" Cerrone that noise, that  "fluttering trash," and with the same laptop, began to manipulate it into something otherwise. This is not a simple transformation from noise to signal, but rather a kind of collage in which the distinction fades away. 

The collage is unabshedly poetic: electronic textures meld with insect-like, near-electronic sounds from an expertly-orchestrated percussion section, and delicate sonorities emerge from hyper-precisely notated wind, brass, and string sections. The effect of this piece is almost static, a kind of nocturnal rumination on gentle feedback. Indeed, listening to the piece mirrors the final vision from Clay's poem, of the music-like panting-collage in which insects become magnetic: "It is under glass so I place / my face up against the reflection and wait for it to pull me inside."

PSNY Recent Recordings: Part II

We're continuing our celebration of recent recordings by PSNY composers this week, and that celebration begins with a landmark album for Anthony CheungDystemporal, a portrait CD released on Wergo in 2016. Containing six premiere recordings of works Cheung, Dystemporal is performed by the Talea Ensemble, which Cheung co-directs alongside percussionist Alex Lipowski, and Ensemble Intercontemporain. These works represent a formative period in Cheung's career, and this new recording presents a landmark document of his unique compositional voice. They include: SynchroniCities (2012) for 8 musicians with electronics; Windswept Cypresses (2005) for flute, viola, harp, percussion; Running the (Full) Gamut (2008) for piano; Centripedalocity (2008) for 7 musicians; Enjamb, Infuse, Implode (2006) for 6 musicians; and Dystemporal (2012) for 23 musicians.

Another PSNY composer also saw a major portrait CD released in 2016: Lei Liang, whose Luminous, released on New World Records, documents five recent compositions that explore his long-standing research into traditional Asian arts and music, and their incorporation into a contemporary music aesthetic. These works, performed by musicians and ensembles including Steven Schick, Daniel Schlosberg, Aleck Karis, Third Coast Percussion, the Formosa Quartet, and the Palimpsest Ensemble, include: Verge Quartet (2013) for string quartet; Trans (2013) for solo percussion; The moon is following us (2015) for solo piano; Inkscape (2014) for percussion ensemble and piano; and Luminous (2014) contrabass solo and ensemble. Check out a performance of Luminous below.

With the Mivos Quartet, Kate Soper recorded her work 2015 work Nadja, a three-song cycle sets texts by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Ovid, and André Breton that incorporates the composer's own voice into the quartet. Released on New Focus Recordings, Nadja is accompanied by works by Taylor Brook and Andrew Greenwald to complete Mivos's album, titled The Garden of Diverging Paths. Check out Soper and Mivos performing the work in 2015 below. 

Narrowing from large ensemble pieces to solo works, we're thrilled to feature percussionist Ian David Rosenbaum's solo album, Memory Palace, released on VisionIntoArt Records, the in-house label of Brooklyn venue National Sawdust. Memory Palace contains recordings of the eponymous 2012 work by Christopher Cerrone, as well as Timo Andres'Crashing Through Fences, which Rosenbaum originally commissioned and premiered in 2010. Check out a performance of Memory Palace at EMPAC below: 

Christopher Cerrone Portrait Concert at Columbia's Miller Theatre

Christopher Cerrone has taken inspiration for many of his works from the worlds of literature and poetry; on March 29th, he will see the premiere of a new work entitled "A Natural History of Vacant Lots" that instead draws from the poesis of the urban landscape.

Echoing the etymological root of the term "poesis" (ποίησις)—to bring something into existence that did not exist before—Cerrone's new piece takes inspiration from a 1987 book that surveys the life that emerges from vacant city lots, a cyclical process that unfolds organically and that can create surprising results. As Cerrone told Broadway World, "Though the growth of the material is extremely gradual, the things that emerge from the cycle of chords are sometimes surprising and veer quite far from the original material." This material is heard developing around the audience in a dimly-lit concert hall, emerging from two vibraphones and several loudspeakers into what New York Magazine calls a "dense sonic tangle."

A Natural History of Vacant Lots will be performed by Third Coast Percussion, with whom Cerrrone has worked extensively, and who co-commissioned the work along with Miller Theatre. Third Coast will also perform Cerrone's 2016 Goldbeater's Skin, accompanied by the soprano Rachel Calloway, and his 2012 work Memory Palace, arranged for percussion quartet. Check out the solo version of Memory Palace below. 

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