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Posts tagged 'Third Coast Percussion'

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. 

PSNY Around America

It's an exciting week for new music in America. Though plenty of concerts will be happening on both coasts, this week boasts three events in Nebraska, Chicago, and Miami that showcase the works of PSNY Composers outside of their normal haunts. Premieres of new works, master classes, and presentations will be given by five PSNY composers over the next several days in both the urban centers of Chicago and Miami, as well as the regional center of Kearney, Nebraska. Who says new music only happens in New York? 

Kicking off this weekend of new music in America's heartland is a performance on November 6th by pianist Karl Larson at the University of Nebraska, Kearney. Larson, who has premiered several works by PSNY composers, will perform Scott Wollschleger's Secret Machines No. 6 and Adrian Knight's Death of Paneloux, alongside Morton Feldman's Palais de Mari. Larson recently premiered Wollschleger's Meditation on Dust with the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, and has played all of Wollschleger's works for piano. The University of Nebraska Kearny recently wrote a preview of the concert, which calls Larson's playing "adventurous," and includes a short interview with Dr. Anthony Donofrio, UNK assistant professor in music theory and composition. Get a taste of Larson's program with a sample of Adrian Knight's Death of Paneloux

The following evening, Adrian Knight's hour-long piece Obsessions will be performed by pianist R. Andrew Lee at the FETA Foundation in Miami, Florida. Obsessions, commissioned by Lee, will be heard again at the University of Central Florida on November 10th. The piece is described as "a fifty-minute work which explores stubborn habits, routines, patterns, and, well, obsessions."

During the same weekend, Northwestern University's second annual New Music Conference and Festival will take place at the Bienen School of Music. This hybrid conference and festival brings together scholars, composers, performers, and students for a free weekend of workshops, performances, master classes, and presentations. Participating ensmebles include Ensemble Dal Niente and Third Coast Percussion, and participating composers include PSNY composers Ann Cleare, Kate Soper, and Ted Hearne, among others. 

On Saturday, November 7th, Northwestern's Contemporary Music Ensemble (co-directed by Alan Pierson) will perform excerpts from Ted Hearne's Katrina Ballads, as well as Ann Cleare's on magnetic fields, which will be published soon on PSNY. The following afternoon, Hearne, Cleare, and fellow PSNY composer Kate Soper will present on their work as a part of the conference. A complete schedule of events is available here.

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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