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Posts tagged 'New Amsterdam Records'

PSNY Recent Recordings: Part I

New Music in America has been booming in recent years, with a new generation of young composers, ensembles, presenting organizations, and record labels contributing to a vibrant community with an increasingly large audience. Though streaming services have become ascendant, recordings and recording projects have come to hold an increasingly important role in new music: they serve as enduring documents of the hard work of composers and performers, letting the music travel beyond the score and the concert hall. 

Over the next few weeks, PSNY will feature the many recent recordings of compositions by our many talented composers, honoring the hard work and ingenuity of the many ensembles and record labels that contribute to the growing communtiy of new music, and indeed carry the music to new audiences across the globe. 

Our list begins with eighth blackbird's 2016 release, Hand Eye, which emerged from a stunning concert program of the same name. For Hand Eye, the multiple-Grammy™-award-winning ensemble paired up with the composer collective Sleeping Giant, which comprises of Ted Hearne, Timo Andres, Christopher Cerrone, Jacob Cooper, Robert Honstein, and Andrew Norman. That concert program, and the resulting album, features Andres' Checkered Shade, Norman's Mine, Mime, Meme, Cerrone's South Catalina, and Hearne's By-By Huey, among compositions by Honstein and Cooper. 

Writing in the American Record Guide, George Adams calls Hand Eye "a gorgeous, delicately constructed sonic mural." Check out eighth blackbird performing the program at Chicago's MCA:

Next, we'd like to feature an album by Ryan Muncy, the stellar saxophonist (who also performed Marcos Balter'sWicker Park on another 2016 record with the International Contemporary Ensemble). Muncy's second solo album, ism, was released on TUNDRA, ICE's in-house recording label, distributed by New Focus Recordings. Alongiside works by James Tenney and Lee Hyla, Muncy teams up with percussionist Ross Karre to perform Erin Gee's Mouthpiece XXIV, commissioned and premeired by Muncy and Karre in 2015. 

Next we'd like to feature two recordings released on New Amsterdam, both of which feature the work of Christopher Cerrone. Vicky Chow's A O R T A features Cerrone's Hoyt-Schemerhorn for solo piano and electronics, bringing her own voice to a piece that has enjoyed many performances since its 2009 premiere. The Living Earth Show's Dance Music features Cerrone's Double Happiness, a work for electric guitar and percussion that they commissioned and premeired in 2013. 

Finally, we'd like to feature an album we previously wrote about in 2016: Adrian Knight's  Obsessions, performed and recorded by R. Andrew Lee and released on Irritable Hedgehog. This long-form work for solo piano emerges from Knight's idiosyncratic and deeply personal musical language. As Knight remarked, "it's probably my most personal piece, because, like life, its trajectory wasn't predetermined. All I knew is that it would have to end." Obsessions resists mediation, and is best listened to completely. Head over to the album's Bandcamp page to take a listen. 

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:

Ted Hearne's "Law of Mosaics" in Chicago; "The Source" CD Release

Ted Hearne is not a composer to shy away from the real world. From his now-canonical Katrina Ballads, which sets texts related to the 2006 Hurricane of the same name, to his modern-day oratorio project The Source, which sets texts surrounding Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks, Hearne's music draws from the complexities of politics and recreates similar tensions and complexities within his music.

Hearne's 30-minute work for string orchestra, Law of Mosaics, is no exception to this rule. Hearne borrows the title from a passage in David Shields' Reality Hunger: "The law of mosaics: how to deal with parts in the absence of wholes." Commissioned in 2013 by A Far Cry, and released on CD alongside Andrew Norman's The Companion Guide to Rome in 2014, Law of Mosaics can be read as an essay in five parts. Picking up on Shield's metaphor of weaving a fabric between digital and analog media and culture, Hearne crafts a loosely-knit pattern of musical references and inspirations; if these form the weft of his weaving, then his own compositional voice constitutes its warp. In the end, the "patterns" woven together by Hearne resemble less a tightly-knit pastiche than performative absence of seamlessness, a reminder of the gaps and voids that constitute our everyday lives. 

Law of Mosaics will be performed as a part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's MusicNOW series, co-curated by Elizabeth Ogonek and Samuel Adams, on November 23rd at Chicago's Harris Theater. 

Hearne's critically-acclaimed project The Source, which premiered at the 2014 Next Wave Festival at BAM, is also newly available as an audio recording on New Amsterdam Records. Writing in Pitchfork, Seth Colter Walls calls it "some of the most expressive socially engaged music in recent memory—from any genre." Check out a video excerpt of its premiere at BAM below. 

 

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