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Posts tagged 'Jasper Quartet'

New Albums featuring Annie Gosfield and Ted Hearne

Two albums out this month by Philadelphia-based ensembles showcase the music of Ted Hearne and Annie Gosfield. The Jasper String Quartet's album Unbound, released on March 17, includes a recording of Gosfield's string quartet The Blue Horse Walks on the Horizon, and the intrepid chamber choir The Crossing releases a recording of Hearne's Sound from the Bench on March 24.

Gosfield's The Blue Horse Walks on the Horizon, which was commissioned and premiered by the Jaspers in 2010, was inspired by the radio broadcasts, encryption methods and secret codes used by European resistance groups during World War II. The work's title references one of the statements broadcast from the British to the French Resistance in their "messages personnels" radio program ("Le cheval bleu se promène sur l'horizon"), and which Gosfield uses as a rhythmic basis for the work's opening figure. The new album, released on New Amsterdam Records, also includes an excerpt of Hearne's Law of Mosaics, as well as works by Caroline Shaw, Missy Mazzoli, Judd Greenstein, David Lang and Donnacha Dennehy. 

Following performances of Hearne's politically-charged cantata Sound from the Bench in Philadelphia, Boston and New York, The Crossing's new album (released by Cantaloupe Music) features the first recording of that work alongside new recordings of Hearne's Consent, Ripple and Privilege

Donald Nally, who leads The Crossing, notes that Hearne's works on the album are "fundamentally about asking questions—questions about the world we live in, about art, and about language and music." The album, containing some of Hearne's most adventurous works to date, demonstrates his socially conscious approach to composition and his goal to "bring the chaotic forces of life into the work itself." Listen to a sample of Hearne's Consent:

Cooking Up New Music with Timo Andres

Cooking and composing are more similar than you might think; in fact, a major treatise on Indian music, the Natyasastra, describes the quality of music as rasa, or taste—which is also the same word for gravy. 

Timo Andres is no stranger to cooking. As a composer of celebrated works for solo performers, chamber ensembles, and even orchestras, Andres is comfortable working with the instrumentalists—or ingredients—at hand. Andres was recently featured on xoxo cooks, a YouTube channel hosted by Adrienne Stortz, cooking up a delicious-looking steak salad, which is a great metaphor for his music: healthy and fresh, but also complex and satisfying. 

With that in mind, we'd like to feature four of Andres' works that have all been recently published on PSNY, all of which call for different ingredients. Mooring, for violin, viola, cello, and piano, is a short amuse-bouche, written as a musical offering for a wedding. Fast Flows the River, for cello and Hammond Organ, is a flowing, lyrical setting of the folk song, "Call John the Boatman," a healthy appetizer for what's to come. 

And now for the entrées: Austerity Measures, a percussion quartet, was commissioned and premiered by Third Coast Percussion; call it Andres' experimentation with molecular gastronomy. Freed from his "faithful anchor" of harmony, Andres experiments wildly with the possibilities of timbre, texture, and large-scale form, while still exploring echoes of J.S. Bach and other Western composers in the process. Andres' Piano Quintet, premiered by Jonathan Biss and the Elias String Quartet, is really the main course: a 22-minute reimagining of the Romantic piano quartet, here posed as a five-part, continuous development of characteristic ideas, reminiscent of Schubert's Piano Quintet. A meal-within-a-meal, this piece exemplifies Andres' impeccable taste in exploring the possibilities of classical instrumental ensembles within the context of contemporary music. 

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