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Posts tagged 'Gavin Bryars'

Gavin Bryars' "The Fifth Century" Out on ECM

Gavin Bryars' music moves slowly, intentionally, across planes of time, emotion, and medium. Since his early works such as Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet (1969) and The Sinking of the Titanic (1971), Bryars has fused together text, music, sound, image, and performance, working across and between established music forms and media. Recordings of his work become windows into this unique compositional plane, and ECM has released several renowned albums of Bryars' in the 80s and 90s. 

Now, for the first time in several decades, ECM has released a new album of music by Bryars: The Fifth Century, featuring his major recent work of the same name for chorus and saxophone quartet, as well as his Two Love Songs. The Fifth Century is a setting of texts by English mystic Thomas Traherne, which was commissioned and premiered by The Crossing and PRISM Saxophone Quartet led by Donald Nally. The work unfolds in seven short sections, with PRISM recalling 16th and 17th century organ accompaniment, and The Crossing singing lushly voiced settings that compliment the text's mysticism. 

Bryars also recently saw the world premiere of a new work in the US, titled The Other Side of the River, which premiered on November 17th at Peak Performances' program "See You Later." Part of a "staged concert" performed by Third Coast Percussion, The Other Side of the River, which features marimbas and bells, was performed alongside a new film by Laura Colmenares Guerra, and complimented a performance of David T. Little's Haunt of Last Nightfall. Check out some of Guerra's experimental film work below. 

The British Are Coming! To PSNY!

Steve Martland (1954-2013) and Gavin Bryars (1943-) are two of the most interesting British composers of the 20th and 21st century, bringing unique compositional voices to the concert hall and beyond. Both innovators, they bent the rules of what concert music could be to introduce a plurality of musical aesthetics into their work, and into the lives of their listeners. And now, for the first time, select pieces of chamber music by both of these composers are available for immediate digital download from PSNY. 

Steve Martland, whose voracious appetite for musical influence knew no boundaries, and whose work involved groups as diverse as Manchester's Factory Records and the King's Singers, brings us two works: Kick, for flute, bass clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, and cello; and Starry Night, for string quartet and marimba. 

Bryars' works on PSNY include It Never Rains, for electric guitar, viola, cello, and double bass; and The South Downs, for cello and piano. Listen to a recording of The South Downs here. 

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