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Posts tagged 'eighth blackbird'

New Works on PSNY: Knight, Wainwright, Cerrone

One characteristic about the idea of "New Music" is that it is always, in some way, new. But this newness is spread out over a few key milestones: a "double bar-line", when the composer finishes the work; a first performance; a recording release; regional premieres across the world. A major milestone, often overlooked, is the availability of performance materials—a score and parts—so that the work can travel. We're featuring here newly published works by three composers—Adrian Knight, Rufus Wainwright and Christopher Cerrone

A few months ago, we wrote about Adrian Knight's Obsessions, a long-form commission by pianist R. Andrew Lee that was released on Irritable Hedgehog records before two East-coast performances in New York and Boston. Knight's work echoes Feldman, Dennis Johnson, and even hints of Bartok's Mikrokosmos in its simplicity and peripatetic repetition. And now, the full score of this mesmerizing work is available to the public. 



We have also recently published another work that is intimately connected to its composer and performer: Rufus Wainwright's Five Shakespeare Sonnets, in both a piano/vocal score and a score of the full orchestration made for the San Francisco Symphony in 2010. Wainwright first set Sonnet 29 in 2002, and in 2009 was asked to set several more for a collaboration with director Robert Wilson at the Berliner Ensemble. (Wainwright also recorded several of these sonnets on his 2010 album, All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu.) Most recently, Wainwright has released a full studio album of sonnet settings to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. Needless to say, the ability to read through Wainwright's genius songwriting and lush orchestration is a true gift, for singers and fans alike. Check out Wainwright performing Sonnet 20, part of the published set, below: 

We end this post by featuring two works by composer Christopher Cerrone: South Catalina and The Branch Will Not Break. Commissioned by eighth blackbird for their remarkable Hand Eye album, South Catalina finds Cerrone reflecting on the city of Los Angeles and the installation-art piece Swarm, by rAndom International. The Branch Will Not Break was commissioned by Present Music for their annual Thanksgiving Concert, and features seven movements for vocal ensemble and ten instrumentalists that pull from the poems of James Wright and from Cerrone's own experience with the midwest. 

Check out eighth blackbird's premiere recording of South Catalina below. 

Sleeping Giant at Carnegie Hall and Le Poisson Rouge

On January 18th, the members of the composer collective Sleeping Giant premiered a new work, Hand Eye, commissioned for the Grammy-award winning sextet eighth blackbird, at Carnegie Hall. Each composer—including PSNY composers Timo Andres, Andrew Norman, Ted Hearne, Christopher Cerrone, in addition to Robert Honstein and Jacob Cooper—composed a piece inspired by a work of art in the collection of the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation. The works they chose ranged from painting to sculpture, resulting in compositions ranging from Hearne's By-By Huey, which meditates on the murder of Huey P. Lewis, to Andres' Checkered Shade, which draws inspiration from Astrid Bowlby's pen and ink drawings

Earler in the month, Sleeping Giant also premiered six new works for cellist Ashley Bathgate, inspired by Bach's suites for solo cello. Perhaps the most paradigmatic set of compositions for solo cello, Bach's suites have become canonical repertoire in the 20th century, and have served as models for many contemporary composers. Sleeping Giant continues this tradition by composing six new movements that form Ashgate's evening-length performance, Bach Unwound. Check out Bathgate performing Jacob Cooper's Arches with the Bang on a Can All-Stars in 2015 for a taste of her playing.  

New Works by Timo Andres on PSNY

Timo Andres: modern troubadour. No, he doesn't wander the French countryside singing Occitan poetry. But like a troubadour, Andres has been performing and composing across the country, commissioned by modern patrons such as Carnegie Hall and the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival for fellow performers such as yMusic, eighth blackbird, and pianists Bruce Levingston and Kristin Elgersma. We're proud to offer a batch of Andres' latest works for direct download on PSNY. 

To begin, consider two new works for solo piano: Clear and Cold, and Heavy Sleep. Both highlight Timo's nuanced take on composers of the past—Ravel and Chopin, respectively—and offer new interpretations on the terrors and pleasures of melancholy and somnambulation. Check out this excerpt from Heavy Sleep

Andres' new works for chamber ensembles expand his palette to include many more hands and instruments than his own two at the piano. Andres describes Safe Travels, composed for yMusic, as "a short, peripatetic piece built on a constantly-shifting harmonic pattern"; these shifts remind the listener of the experience of travel, with its endless, shifting patterns, traversing the gamut of harmonic possibilities.

Checkered Shade, written for eighth blackbird, takes the pen-and-ink drawings of Astrid Bowlby as its metaphorical inspiration. The piece mirrors the experience of seeing Bowlby's work: an intense attention to detail, slowly followed by the realization that the small pattern also constitutes a much more complex whole. 

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