10/13: Tonight at Nublu – Sun of Goldfinger

Sun of Goldfinger

On Sun of Goldfinger, his latest recording for ECM Records, saxophonist Tim Berne partners with guitarist David Torn and percussionist Ches Smith. The outing incorporates the avant-jazz palette usually adopted by Berne and Smith along with amplified sonics and effects incorporated by Torn.

There are three long-form pieces on Sun of Goldfinger. “Eye Meddle” builds from a fragmentary welter of ostinatos, each at first seeming to go their own direction, into a tightly interwoven and densely populated texture with wailing upper register saxophone accompanied by an insistent guitar melody and double time rhythms from Smith. Torn’s guitar then soars to match Berne, overdubs allowing for him to add a feisty rhythm guitar part to the mix. A filigreed, polyrhythmic denouement follows.

“Spartan, Before it Hit” opens with sustained upper register guitar answered by a mournful saxophone melody. A unison melody is offset by altissimo saxophone harmonics in imitation of the earlier high-lying guitars; Smith takes on a motoric beat while Torn contributes thunderous rock riffs and Berne corresponding squalls. The climax involves a huge crescendo from Smith, Torn’s laser beam guitar lines, and angular soloing from Berne. A subdued interlude, quite gentle in context, follows. Alternating with more forceful passages, an extended reflective demeanor explores fascinating musical pathways. At the conclusion, altissimo register saxophone alongside loping guitar is reasserted to make for a neat moment identifying the piece’s larger form.

The album’s closer, “Soften the Blow,” begins with oscillating dyads and bits of scalar passages. Sonorous guitar chords interrupt these fragments, followed by sci-fi effects, overblowing, and reverberating sounds from Smith. The drums finally enter, punctuating the music’s surface with short, muscular gestures. Berne then takes a solo that combines the fragments of the opening into piquant, post-tonal lines. While Torn reaches deep into the spacey side of his effects kit, the saxophone solo kicks into high octane, as do the drums. Smith creates a fascinating panoply of cymbal sounds and Torn’s solo matches Berne’s intensity, even bringing out the whammy bar for bent note emphasis. Behind all this is a doom-rock ostinato that propels the proceedings. The structure devolves, yielding a more ruminative passage where each member of the trio goes their own way. Wailing guitar and emphatic drums provide the link to another long crescendo in which Berne bides his time, allowing the spotlight to rest on his colleagues’ interaction for a time before rejoining the proceedings to lead it into fervent free jazz territory. A brief coda brings the boil back to simmer, leaving the listener with much to ponder.

Photo: Robert Lewis/ECM Records

On October 13th in New York City at Nublu 151 (151 Avenue C in the East Village), the trio will appear in a show at 9 PM; doors open at 8 (Tickets here).

Performances of Magnificat Antiphons

The Wesley Choir of Wesley United Methodist Church in Vienna, Virginia, conducted by Dr. Gareth H. Bond, will be premiering my cycle of Magnificat Antiphons throughout the 2015 Advent Season. Here are the performance dates and a bulletin insert that discusses the pieces.

11/15 Offertory “O Sapientia” by Christian Carey

11/15 Anthem “O Adonai” by Christian Carey

11/22 Anthem “O Radix Jesse” by Christian Carey

11/29 Anthem “O Clavis David” by Christian Carey

12/6 Offertory “O Oriens” by Christian Carey

12/6 Anthem “O Rex Gentium” by Christian Carey

12/13 Anthem “O Emmanuel” by Christian Carey

 

Seven Magnificat Antiphons

Christian Carey, Composer

World Premier performed by the Wesley Choir November 15 – December 13, 2015 Wesley United Methodist Church Vienna, Virginia

Directed by Gareth H Bond, DMA

Translation by Brendan C Muse

Antiphons began in the Ancient Grecian Age as main actors/speakers would lead conversations and two vocal choruses on either side of the stage would engage each other sometimes repetitively, other times as question‐answer, yet others as differences of opinion.

As time progressed, this form found its way into the church as separate smaller choirs or choirs of voice qualities (e.g. men’s versus boy’s timbres), more along the ‘question‐answer’ arrangement.

In this very interesting composition, Mr. Carey invites yet other forms of antiphonal writing: 1) Intertwined choral and quintet (five voice) options and antiphons imbedded within the composition itself without the exclusivity of the individual voice and 2) By using the color (timbre) of the voice part development by “high‐low” arrangements rather than any one type divisi.

Eclectically influenced these works house styles of Chant, Renaissance, pre‐Baroque, Baroque forward.

Perhaps the SMAs best format of performance might be with a choir of 32 to 40 equally divided members and voicing. But the smaller size of the Wesley Choir and its quality of vocal talent retains its inclusion as a viable performance medium for this wonderful composition and collection of seven antiphons each based on one of the verses of a favorite Carol, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”.

About the composer:

Christian Carey is an Associate Professor of Music at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in

Princeton, New Jersey. He serves on the Board of Directors of the League of Composers/ISCM and as Managing Editor of the contemporary classical website Sequenza 21. His music has been performed by ACME, Atlantic Chamber Orchestra, Cassatt String Quartet, C4 Choral Ensemble, Chiasmus, Ionisation New Music Ensemble, League of Composers, loadbang, Locrian Chamber Players, Manhattan Choral Ensemble, New York New Music Ensemble, Righteous Girls, St. Dunstan’s Choir, and St. Gregory’s Choir and appears on New Focus Records and a Perspectives of New Music/Open Space CD. He has published articles and reviews in Perspectives of New Music, Tempo, Integral, Musical America, Musicworks, Playbill, and Time Out NY. He has a book chapter in Hommage a Elliott Carter, published by Editions Delatour.

1. O Sapientia

O wisdom, which comes forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end of the earth to the other,
firmly and gently ordering all things: come to teach us the path of prudence.

2. O Adonai

O Lord and leader of the house of Israel
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave the law to him on Sinai: Come to save us in your outstretched arms.

3. O Radix Jess

O offspring of Jesse, who stands under the banner of the peoples, before whom kings will close their mouths
Whom the peoples will pray for: Come to free us; do not be late now.

4. O Clavis David

O key of Daivd and scepter of the house of Israel,
who opens, and no one closes; who closes, and no one opens;
come, and lead the conquered out of the house of imprisonment sitting in the darkness and the shadow of death.

5. O Oriens

O rising sun, splendor of eternal light, and sun of justice:
Come and illuminate those sitting in darkness and the shadow of death.

6. O Rex Gentium

O king of the races, and their desire,
and the keystone that joins them together:
come and save mankind, whom you have shaped from mud.

7. O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our king and law‐bringer, awaited by the nations, and their savior: come to save us, lord our God.