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Posts tagged 'Fred Lerdahl'

PSNY Recent Recordings: Part III

We're back with another post featuring recent recordings of works by PSNY composers. This round begins with Mario Diaz de Leon's  Sanctuary, a 2017 album performed by the TAK Ensemble, which contains a unified, album-length piece created in collaboration with the performers. Sanctuary continues Diaz de Leon's exploration of intensities—of timbre, including the extensive use of electronics alongside acoustic instruments and the human voice; of rhythm, contrasting the bubbling arpeggios of electronic instruments to the cycles of breath and bow; and of the expressive possibilities of melody, carefully interwoven between instruments and voices. As Seth Colter Walls wrote in the New York Times, "The edgy electronic timbres can serve a range of compositional functions: contrasting dramatically with the purity of a soprano’s sound, in one moment, before finding, in the bass clarinet, a partner in grain." Check out "Sanctuary" below. 

In 2017, Alex Mincek also released a major album that collects recordings of several recent works, entitled Torrent. Released by Sound AmericanTorrent includes recordings of several works performed by members of the Wet Ink Large Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, and the Mivos Quartet. These works were all composed in the past seven years, and include Pendulum VII, which is available from PSNY. Check out an excerpt below: 

Katharina Rosenberger also released a major album in 2017, Shift, performed by memebrs of Los Angeles's wasteLAnd and Rage Trombones (Matt Barbier & Weston Olencki). Released on famed expeirmental label HatHut records, Shift explores spatialization, long-form improvisation, and modularity, and was immaculately recorded by Tom Erbe at the University of California, San Diego. Check out an excerpt below.  

Scott Wollschleger's Soft Aberration, a major release on New Focus Records, collects beautiful performances of many of the composer's works, perfomed by soprano Corrine Byrne, trumpeter Andy Kozar, violist Anne Lanzilotti, cellist John Popham, pianist Karl Larson, Mivos Quartet, and Longleash trio. Check out an in-depth review at I Care If You Listen, which praises Wollschleger's works such as Soft Aberration, Brontal Symmetry, Bring Something Incomprehensible Into This World!, America, and String Quarter No. 2 "White Wall."

And finally on this roundup of dedicated composer portrait albums, we're pleased to feature The Music of Fred Lerdahl, Volume 5, released on Bridge Records. The four performances on this album present works from Lerdahl's long career, including Episodes & Refrains (1982), Quiet Music (1994 arr. 2001), Times 3 (2012), and Time and Again (2014). Check out an excerpt of Quiet Music below.

The Daedalus Quartet Premieres Fred Lerdahl's "Chaconne"

Fred Lerdahl's writing for string quartet has, since 1978, played with musical form and syntax to achieve strikingly dramatic and engaging works. Lerdahl's three string quartets can be heard on a pristine recording performed by the Daedalus Quartet, for whom Lerdahl's Third Quartet was commissioned in 2008, completing the trilogy.

Now Lerdahl, with support from New Music USA, has written another work for Daedalus—entitled Chaconne—which diverges from Lerdahl's asymmetrical "spiral form" and instead explores the symmetrical periodicities inherent in the form of the chaconne. Eight bars of paired symmetrical phrases spell out the name of the Daedalus Quartet in the names of pitch-classes, using the German spelling of Eb (D-A-E-D-A-Es); Lerdahl uses this motive throughout the work to make a piece that is, in his words, "outward and transparent, one that projects delight in playful patterns."

Listen to Lerdahl's first three quartets performed by Daedalus below. 

Lerdahl and Carrick Performed by Sound Icon in Boston

Fred Lerdahl, composer, music theorist, and long-time professor at Columbia University, will be the composer-in-residence at the Boston University Center for New Music twice in the upcoming season: first in September, and later in January 2017. To kick off the residency, Boston's new music sinfonietta Sound Icon will perform Ledahl's Time after Time in their season opening concert on September 30 at Boston University's CFA Concert Hall.

Bridge Records, which has released numerous recordings of Lerdahl's work, including Time after Time, calls Lerdahl "one of the least known among "major" American composers." Of his singular style, Bridge writes that "a Lerdahl composition might at any moment be tonal or atonal, it might luxuriate in Lerdahl's rich melodic and harmonic gifts, or it might make reference to various musics of our past." 

            
(pages from Time after Time)

Time after Time, scored for Pierrot ensemble (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion), was commissioned and premiered by the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society in 2000 and a finalist for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in Music. The work employs Lerdahl signature "spiral form", in which simple ideas become deeply elaborated and more complex with each cycle. Listen to an excerpt:

Sound Icon's program also includes a performance of PSNY composer Richard Carrick's dark flow, a double quartet for saxophone, trombone, acoustic guitar, percussion, violin, piano, cello and cibalom. Carrick takes inspiration for this work from the "hypothetical and unexplained flow of galaxy clusters toward a particular point in deep space," a phenomenon described as "dark flow." Carrick elaborates: 

In astrophysics, dark flow refers to the hypothetical and unexplained flow of galaxy clusters toward a particular point in deep space.  Interestingly, some speculate this influence on galaxies comes from a part of the universe that no longer exists, but somehow still carries an influence on matter.  This "invisible pull" is something that exist deep in music as well, something strongly felt but not easily defined.


Check out a performance of dark flow with the Either/Or Ensemble: 



The program, presented by the Boston University Center for New Music on September 30, also includes performances of works by Rick Burkhardt and features soprano Jennifer Ashe.

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