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Posts tagged 'Wergo'

PSNY Recent Recordings: Part II

We're continuing our celebration of recent recordings by PSNY composers this week, and that celebration begins with a landmark album for Anthony CheungDystemporal, a portrait CD released on Wergo in 2016. Containing six premiere recordings of works Cheung, Dystemporal is 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 his unique compositional voice. They include: SynchroniCities (2012) for 8 musicians with electronics; Windswept Cypresses (2005) for flute, viola, harp, percussion; Running the (Full) Gamut (2008) for piano; Centripedalocity (2008) for 7 musicians; Enjamb, Infuse, Implode (2006) for 6 musicians; and Dystemporal (2012) for 23 musicians.

Another PSNY composer also saw a major portrait CD released in 2016: Lei Liang, whose Luminous, released on New World Records, documents five recent compositions that explore his long-standing research into traditional Asian arts and music, and their incorporation into a contemporary music aesthetic. These works, performed by musicians and ensembles including Steven Schick, Daniel Schlosberg, Aleck Karis, Third Coast Percussion, the Formosa Quartet, and the Palimpsest Ensemble, include: Verge Quartet (2013) for string quartet; Trans (2013) for solo percussion; The moon is following us (2015) for solo piano; Inkscape (2014) for percussion ensemble and piano; and Luminous (2014) contrabass solo and ensemble. Check out a performance of Luminous below.

With the Mivos Quartet, Kate Soper recorded her work 2015 work Nadja, a three-song cycle sets texts by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Ovid, and André Breton that incorporates the composer's own voice into the quartet. Released on New Focus Recordings, Nadja is accompanied by works by Taylor Brook and Andrew Greenwald to complete Mivos's album, titled The Garden of Diverging Paths. Check out Soper and Mivos performing the work in 2015 below. 

Narrowing from large ensemble pieces to solo works, we're thrilled to feature percussionist Ian David Rosenbaum's solo album, Memory Palace, released on VisionIntoArt Records, the in-house label of Brooklyn venue National Sawdust. Memory Palace contains recordings of the eponymous 2012 work by Christopher Cerrone, as well as Timo Andres'Crashing Through Fences, which Rosenbaum originally commissioned and premiered in 2010. Check out a performance of Memory Palace at EMPAC below: 

Anthony Cheung's "Dystemporal" CD Release at National Sawdust

Dystemporal is the title of a new album from WERGO 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. 

On November 11th, the Talea Ensemble celebrates this album with a CD release concert at National Sawdust in Brooklyn. The program features Centripedalocity (for ensemble), one of the highlights of the album, conducted by James Baker, as well as Character Studies, Refrain from Riffing (alto sax and harp), and Roundabouts (solo piano), performed by Cheung himself. Check out Ryan Muncy's recording of Refrain from Riffing below: 

New Releases of Morton Subotnick's Works for "Ghost Electronics"

(photo: Anja Koehler)

Morton Subotnick is undoubtedly a pioneer in the field of contemporary composition, most well known for his work with electronics. His Silver Apples of the Moon was the first composition commissioned and released by a recording company specifically for the medium of the long-playing record, and his influence as a composer, performer, and teacher can be observed in musicians as disparate as Wendy Carlos—his student at NYU—to DIY psych-rockers Silver Apples, to DJs around the world

But Subotnick should be recognized for much more than this landmark album, as important as it was. During the course of the 1970s and 80s, he developed a compositional process which combined the media and information theory of Marshall McLuhan with the expertise of instrument builder Donald Buchla to create works that were at once acoustic and electronic, performed live and "doubled"—in Subotnick's term, "ghosted". 

(Subotnick's "Ghost Box" and "Gesture Sketch" on a PROM chip from the 1980s at Library of Congress; photos: Ted Gordon) 

"Sculpting with sound in time and space": this is how Subotnick describes his compositional process for these "ghost pieces," using bodily gestures of touch and voice to create soundless "gesture sketches" of control information. This information is then used to control musical parameters—either on an electronic instrument such as the Buchla system, or Subotnick's custom-made "ghost electronics", which can control amplitude, pitch, and spatialization in real-time. Whether recorded on magnetic tape, digital read-only-memory, or in a contemporary Max/MSP patch, these "gesture sketches" provide a "ghost" for the real-time performer, blurring the lines between score, recording, performance, and improvisation.

(page 1 from "Parallel Lines" (1979); Morton Subotnick) 

Subotnick composed a dozen works using ghost electronics; five years ago, only five of these were available to the public. But through our work at PSNY, we're thrilled to announce that as of today, ten of these twelve works are now available. Our latest addition, Parallel Lines (1979), was presumed to be lost. But through the tireless efforts of our production team, we have reconstructed the full score and parts of this landmark work for solo piccolo, ghost electronics, and an ensemble of nine players.

In addition to this newly-available piece for rental, WERGO releases a CD of landmark recordings on July 8, collecting four "ghost electronics" pieces from the 1980s from Subotnick's staged tone-poem, "The Double Life of Amphibians". Extending metaphors of doubleness and medium-specificity to organic life, Subotnick tracks life in water, emerging onto land, and finally escaping into air. Three of the four works that comprise this large-scale piece—Axolotl, Ascent into Air, The Last Dream of the Beast, and A Fluttering of Wings—in addition to Passages of the Beast, an adaptation from The Last Dream of the Beast for solo clarinet and ghost electronics. 

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