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Posts tagged 'Talea Ensemble'

Anthony Cheung's "Dystemporal" Now Available from Wergo

Wergo, the iconic new music recording label, has released a new album of six premiere recordings of works by Anthony Cheung. Performed by the Talea Ensemble (which Cheung co-directs alongside percussionist Alex Lipowski) and Ensemble Intercontemporain, these works represent a formative period in Cheung's career, and this new recording presents a landmark document of Cheung's unique compositional voice. 

The earliest work on this album also is scored for the smallest ensemble; Windswept Cypresses, for flute, viola, harp, and percussion, was written in a period of ten days when Cheung was only 23 years old. Enjamb, Infuse, Implode, available on PSNY, is scored for six players and describes the actions taken by several dimensions of this work—melody, harmony, and phrasing. Centripedalocity, along with Running the (Full) Gamut), were both composed in 2008, and show Cheung's connection to post-Bop jazz, enjambing melodic lines remeniscent of Thelonious Monk with elegant writing for microtonal harp.  


(excerpt from "Enjamb, Infuse, Implode") 

The two larger ensemble works on this recording, SynchroniCities and Dystemporal, are more recent works, both performed by the ensembles who commissioned them. SynchroniCities, commissioned and performed by the Talea Ensemble under James Baker, sees Cheung's multivalent compositional style explore the concept of space—Cheung calls it a "personal sonic travelogue". And Dystemporal, commissioned and performed by Ensemble Intercontemporain, conducted by Susanna Mälkki, explores that other major dimension: time. Smooth and striated, time in this work becomes a spiral, a groove, a canon; the final movement stunningly imagines an orchestration of Henry Cowell's "Rhythmicon", which Cheung describes as "a machine designed by Léon Theremin to re-create Cowell’s theories about the unification of overtone and rhythmic ratios, a true rhythmic and harmonic 'consonance' resolving the overall arrhythmic dissonance that permeates the piece."

Ann Cleare at the MATA Festival

Now in its seventeenth year, New York's MATA festival, founded by Philip Glass, Lisa Bielawa, and Eleonor Sandresky, has reached a new milestone as one of the worlds leading festivals of new music, with nearly a thousand submissions for composers around the globe. In addition to the dozens of works that were chosen from these submissions, MATA has also decided to commission new works by some of the most interesting composers under 40. 

The highlight of this year's round of commissions is Ann Cleare's eöl, a collaborative work between Cleare, sculptor Brian Byrne, and percussionist Alex Lipowski. Lipowski, who along with Anthony Cheung is a co-director of the Talea Ensemble, will be the featured soloist at the premiere of eöl on April 18th at The Kitchen, playing a unique metal sculpture-instrument by Byrne, and accompanied by clarinet, saxophone, accordion, cello and double bass.

What is the eöl, you might ask? Byrne's new instrument consists of a set of several objects created from various metals, worn and played by the percussionist. eöl refers both to the concept of the "Aeolian," music produced by nature without human intervention, and to Eöl the elf, a character in J.R.R. Tolkien's writings, who weaves metals into magical armor. As Cleare writes, "The ensemble enacts a similar type of sonic weaving, leading to the sonic and visual formation of the percussionist's metallic hands." Here's an image of the eöl; be sure to check out the World Premiere of Cleare's new composition to see this sculpture in action.
 

Talea Ensemble in the PSNY Greenroom

The PSNY Greenroom is where cutting-edge music ensembles share their excitement about new compositions, highlighting their picks from our ever-expanding catalogue of chamber works and more. Our last installment featured Kevin Stalheim of Present Music, who shared his love of works by Andrew Norman, Christopher Cerrone, Kamran Ince, Timothy Andres, and Marcos Balter.

For our most recent installment, Alex Lipowski of New York's powerhouse Talea Ensemble explores his taste in chamber music, with composers from around the world. The Talea Ensemble is one of the most innovative ensembles on the scene today, and one of the largest, with twenty members filling out their ranks. Co-founded by Lipowski and our very own Anthony Cheung, the ensemble commissions composers both local and abroad and is committed to performing vital pieces from the expanding landscape of contemporary music, a cosmopolitanism that is reflected in Lipowski's picks from our catalogue. Check out recordings of his selections below and visit Talea's Greenroom to read more about Alex's Picks. 

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