Sound as Four, Sound as One

Anna Weesner has sent along her program note for Sound as Four, Sound as One, the work that the Daedalus Quartet will perform as part of the Wail of the Voice concert next Wednesday:

In clear connection with the title, this quartet opens with the sound of all four players in unison, a sound that is then quickly juxtaposed with the sound of one voice alone.  A basic notion concerning the many and the one, or the one and the many, informs much of this piece.  This expressive notion probably has a few different points of origin for me.  For one, I have long loved the sound of strings playing in unison in the register represented by the lowest octave of the violin.  There is something about the less-is-more timbral mix that occurs when violins, viola and cello play together in this range that has always sounded potentially gutsy and sort of heart-rending at the same time.  There is also a textural concern that I think has to do with wanting to explore questions about the role, or the “sounding meaning”, so to speak, of melody.  In addition to playing in actual unison, the quartet often plays in rhythmic unison, which may set off as meaningful other textural situations, such as when there is clear melody and accompaniment, or when there is one voice alone.  I also hope that there will be a sense of space in play, so that the louds and softs in the music might translate somehow as being equally concerned with feelings of near and far.  I imagine, for example, someone who is far away calling out loudly in contrast to a softly murmuring crowd nearby.  Or perhaps it’s a single person murmuring nearby and a crowd far away, roaring.

We’ve got the program order figured out for the concert, here’s the lineup:

Anna Weesner: Sound as Four, Sound as One
Daedalus Quartet

James Primosch: Piano Variations
Gregory deTurck, piano

– intermission –

Jay Reise: Yellowstone Rhythms
Samuel Lorber (scroll down), saxophone; Matthew Bengston, piano

George Crumb: Vox Balenae (Voice of the Whale)
Michele Kelly, flute; Tom Kraines, cello; Matthew Bengston, piano

The time and place again: 8:00 pm, Wednesday, March 28, in Rose Recital Hall in Fisher-Bennett Hall on the University of Pennsylvania campus. Fisher-Bennett is at 34th and Walnut. There will be a pre-concert chat with the composers, moderated by Penn grad student Delia Casadei, at 7:00 pm. An article by Delia about George Crumb here. More on the concert here and here and in future posts.

 

Wail of the Voice

Lots of new music at Penn in coming weeks. Music by Penn faculty past and present will be heard on Wednesday, March 28, at a program playfully called “Wail of the Voice”, with reference to the Crumb work that will end the program, Voice of the Whale. There will be music by current faculty Anna Weesner and Jay Reise, as well as myself. The Daedalus Quartet will play Anna’s piece, Greg DeTurck will offer my Piano Variations, and there will be a piece for saxophone and piano by Jay. In addition to Greg and the Daedalus, Matt Bengtson (piano), Sam Lorber (saxophone), and Michele Kelly (flute) will also be heard. A pre-concert discussion will be at 7:00, concert at 8:00, all this in Rose Recital Hall at Fisher-Bennett Hall on the Penn campus.

One week later, April 4, same place, same time, the New York New Music Ensemble will appear. The program includes:

Rand Steigerelliott’s instruments (2010)
Eric ChasalowOn That Swirl of Ending Dust (2012) Written for NYNME
Yiorgos VassilandonakisQuatuor pour la fin d’une ère (2012)  Written for NYNME
Zhou Long Cloud Earth (2012) Written for NYNME

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Hear whales wailing here.

Sunday Miscellany

Matthew Greenbaum’s Amphibian series presents a program called Cybersounds North, on Monday, Feb. 20th:

Adam Vidiksis: MITOCHONDRIAL DREAMS for percussion and electronics
Maurice Wright: TRANQUILITY: visual music
Ryan Olivier: DISTANCE – music video
Matthew Greenbaum : 23 SKIDDOO – music/video
Joo Won Park: TOCCATA for contact microphone, found objects and computer.
Annie Niekirk: BALLOON MAN for alto sax and computer-generated sound
Vinnie Manzo: NIL for solo classical guitar and interactive music system
Beth Wiemann: CROWS EVERYWHERE ARE EQUALLY BLACK for clarinet, viola and video

Aaron Stewart, saxophone
Beth Wiemann, clarinet
Anatole Wieck, viola

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Penn colleague Guthrie Ramsey on Whitney Houston here. Nice to see somebody focusing on the music-making, instead of the persona, personal life, number of records sold, etc.

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Harold Rosenbaum has announced an astonishing array of commissions for the New York Virtuoso Singers 25th anniversary season next year:

Mark Adamo, Bruce Adolphe, William Bolcom, John Corigliano, Richard Danielpour, Roger Davidson, David Del Tredici, David Felder, John Harbison, Stephen Hartke, Jennifer Higdon, Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, Fred Lerdahl, Thea Musgrave, Shulamit Ran, Joseph Schwantner, Steven Stucky, Augusta Read Thomas, Joan Tower, George Tsontakis, Richard Wernick, Chen Yi, Yehudi Wyner, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.

NYVS is focusing on women composers this season, with concerts on March 25 and May 13, including music by Penn colleague Anna Weesner on the latter date.

 

 

Wednesday Night Miscellany

– Orchestra 2001 concerts are coming up this weekend – info here.

– Opera Today has interesting interviews with composers I like, including some with Penn connections: my faculty colleague Anna Weesner, and alums Pierre Jalbert and Steve Jaffe.

– YouTube has an interview with Mario Davidovsky – there are four parts, begin here.