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Posts tagged 'Hannah Lash'

Yale Choral Artists Perform Hannah Lash's "Requiem"



The "Western Canon", since its conception in the 19th century, has often aspired to the transcendence of music, drawing secular and "absolute" inspiration from often religious sources—embodied in the revival of figures like J.S. Bach, whose liturgical music joined these two worlds. Johannes Brahms, a major Bach scholar, decided in 1865 to rite a Requiem—a musical form that philologists had traced back to the 13th century (and earlier). But Brahms' Requiem, true to his secular and musical aspirations, was translated from Latin and sung in German, inheriting the text and form from liturgical tradition but attempting to universalize the form by making it secular. 

Hannah Lash echos this interest translation with her most recent work, a Requiem commissioned by Jeffrey Douma to be premiered by the Yale Choral Artists on September 24th in New Haven and September 25th in New York. Lash comments: "the interesting thing about this project is that I have no particular connection to the traditional Requiem text, so I found myself needing to rewrite it in such a way that it could beel more personal and more approachable to me." Lash's work sets texts of her own translation and interpretation, once again bridging the liturgical inheritance of the Requiem form and purpose into a new century of art music. 

Ted Hearne: Sounds from the Bench

There is a multiple valence to the "political" aspect of the music of Ted Hearne. Yes, it often sets texts pulled from contemporary politics—WikiLeaks, court testimony, headlines; but it also creates, in the moment of its performance, a polis—a community of performers and witnesses, confronted with texts laid bare by their setting and repetition. At the Philly Fringe Festival this past weekend, The Crossing performed a program of Hearne's music entitled "Sounds from the Bench"—four compositions that use texts drawn from our own contemporary media polis

             
(pages from Consent

The works performed included Sound from the Bench, which used the words of Supreme Court oral arguments on corporate personhood mixed with language from ventriloquism manuals; Ripple, which sets one line of text from the Iraq War Logs; Privilege, which uses text by David Simon, creator of "The Wire"; and Consent, which combines love letters with text messages cited in the Stuebenville High School rape case of 2012. (Consent will also be performed alongside the World Premiere of Hannah Lash's Reqiuem later this month in New Haven and New York, as well as at the Ear Taxi Festival in Chicago on October 6) Listen to a sample of Consent below.

A few weeks earlier, Cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, formerly of the Kronos Quartet, and percussionist Ian Rosenbaum recently performed Hearne's Furtive Movements in Tulsa as a part of a four-day residency, organized through Choregus Productions.

Furtive Movements, a non-texted piece, approaches the political in a different way. Hearne's concern with this piece is to subvert the identities of these two different instruments—one ostensibly melodic, one rhythmic— by moving beyond the concepts of pitch and rhythm, and into the areas of timbre and phrasing. The cello is "prepared" with a wine cork in-between its G and D strings; rhythmic phrases pass between both players, and often they are called to play in unison. 

           
(pages from Furtive Movements

And why might this music be "furtive"? Hearne writes: "this phrase conveys the assumption of guilt [...] based on appearance or demeanor in a given moment, which is striking to me because it speaks more to the expectations of the observer than to a useful description of the subject." Our expectations of what music is, or can be, are called into question here: Hearne points our assumptions back at ourselves, forcing us to grapple with our own desire of what music should be by showing us what it could be, otherwise. 

Furtive Movements will also be performed later in the month by members of The Knights to accompany new choreography by Pam Tanowitz at The Joyce's NY Quadrille

Two World Premieres for Hannah Lash

The summer festival circuit in America can trace one of its largest roots back to the Chautauqua movement in the late 19th century: centered around education in natural settings, these "chautauqua" meetings were held not only at the Chautauqua Institution in New York, but across the country. The Chautauqua Institution recently hosted a performance of Hannah Lash's Eating Flowers on July 11th, performed by the Chautauqua Music School Festival Orchestra, and conducted by Timothy Muffitt.

Following the Festivals, Lash will also see another performance at the Colorado Music Festival's Chautauqua Theater in Boulder, CO. Lash will perform alongside the CMF Orchestra in the world premiere of her Concerto No. 2 for Harp and Orchestra, which was commissiond by the CMF through audience contributions as a part of their Click! Commission Program. After the concert, Lash and conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni will offer a post-concert conversation. To get a sense of her writing for harp and orchestra, check out her earlier Concerto No. 1 for Harp and Chamber Orchestra (in an arrangement for harp and ensemble) below. 

Back on the east coast, Lash also receives the world premiere of her string quartet Pulse-space, performed by the Cassatt Quartet at the Seal Bay Festival on July 20th and 21st

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