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Posts tagged 'Ensemble Intercontemporain'

Anthony Cheung's "Dystemporal" Now Available from Wergo

Wergo, the iconic new music recording label, has released a new album of six premiere recordings of works by Anthony Cheung. 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 Cheung's unique compositional voice. 

The earliest work on this album also is scored for the smallest ensemble; Windswept Cypresses, for flute, viola, harp, and percussion, was written in a period of ten days when Cheung was only 23 years old. Enjamb, Infuse, Implode, available on PSNY, is scored for six players and describes the actions taken by several dimensions of this work—melody, harmony, and phrasing. Centripedalocity, along with Running the (Full) Gamut), were both composed in 2008, and show Cheung's connection to post-Bop jazz, enjambing melodic lines remeniscent of Thelonious Monk with elegant writing for microtonal harp.  

(excerpt from "Enjamb, Infuse, Implode") 

The two larger ensemble works on this recording, SynchroniCities and Dystemporal, are more recent works, both performed by the ensembles who commissioned them. SynchroniCities, commissioned and performed by the Talea Ensemble under James Baker, sees Cheung's multivalent compositional style explore the concept of space—Cheung calls it a "personal sonic travelogue". And Dystemporal, commissioned and performed by Ensemble Intercontemporain, conducted by Susanna Mälkki, explores that other major dimension: time. Smooth and striated, time in this work becomes a spiral, a groove, a canon; the final movement stunningly imagines an orchestration of Henry Cowell's "Rhythmicon", which Cheung describes as "a machine designed by Léon Theremin to re-create Cowell’s theories about the unification of overtone and rhythmic ratios, a true rhythmic and harmonic 'consonance' resolving the overall arrhythmic dissonance that permeates the piece."

Soper, Lash, and Pintscher Performances on the East Coast

Brooklyn's National Sawdust has already become one of the most vital venues for new music in New York, adding to an already-vibrant cultural scene on the East Coast. The New York Philharmonic has recognized this by holding their 2015 CONTACT! Series in this new venue, and on November 16th, they give a performance of Kate Soper's Into That World Inverted, for horn and piano.

Inspired by the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop, Into That World Inverted imagines the inside of instruments, "where left is always right,/where the shadows are really the body,/where we stay awake all night,/where the heavens are shallow as the sea[...]". Check out a recording of it below. 

 This performance comes on the heels of the world premiere of Hannah Lash's Two Movements for Violin and Piano and the US Premiere of Matthias Pintscher's Profiles of Light triptych, both given brave and empassioned debut performances on November 13 by the Ensemble InterContemporain at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. A Washington Post review of the performance sums it up:

A work of almost prayer-like gentleness opened the program. Hannah Lash’s lovely, understated “Two Movements for Violin and Piano” (a commission by the Library’s McKim Fund, in its premiere) used the simplest of means — a cantabile violin line over a spare and open piano accompaniment — to create a sense of wistful reflection, then hesitation, before finding release in the soaring second movement.

Hannah Lash Premieres Two Works with ACO and Ensemble Intercontemporain

In the next two months, two new works by PSNY composer Hannah Lash will be heard by audiences in New York and Washington, D.C. On October 23rd, Lash premieres her new Concerto for Harp and Chamber Orchestra with the American Composers Orchestra, as a part of their SONiC Festival, at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall. George Manahan conducts, with Lash herself as soloist. For the concerto, Lash was concerned with taking on "all the ramifications of our perception of this instrument's character," creating a work that is "mysterious and beautiful and at the same time fearful, aggresive, lonely."

To get a sense of what some call her "avant-garde post-romantic" style, check out this in-depth interview produced by Harvard Magazine: 

Some weeks later, Lash will see a second world-premiere of a brand-new work by Ensemble Intercontemporain, led by Matthias Pintscher. Commissioned by the McKim Fund in the Library of Congress, Lash's Two Movements for Violin and Piano premieres at the Library of Congress on November 13th. This new work will be heard alongside works by Berg, Varèse, Ligeti, and the U.S. Premiere of Now I & II from Profiles of Light by Matthias Pintscher.  

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