Andrew Lee – “Inner Monologues (Venn Diagram of Six Pitches)”

Pianist R. Andrew Lee has released a new EP on Irritable Hedgehog. It is a recording of composer/improviser Ryan Oldham’s Inner Monologues (Venn Diagram of Six Pitches). The hexachord in question is presented in slow-paced fashion, appearing throughout the keyboard in configurations of varying densities. There certainly are links between Oldham and the Wandelweiser Collective and Morton Feldman in terms of the slow unfolding and deft touch with which material is deployed. One also might infer nods to both Linda Catlin Smith and Tom Johnson, the first in terms of a willingness to allow the proceedings simultaneously to drift and grid to an underlying pulse; the second via the process-based treatment of pitch and spacing. Inner Monologues is both an impressive and beguiling work.

As is so often the case, Lee is a dedicated advocate and compelling performer, cannily exploiting the resonance of the instrument, never pushing the proceedings but instead trusting the piano’s decay to be a guidepost, and exhorting the listener to live in the space of that decay far longer than is customary. When I recently heard Lee’s performance of a piece by Jürg Frey at New Music Gathering 2017 in Bowling Green, Ohio, he demonstrated a similar patient intensity that is perfectly suited to experimental and post-minimal repertoire. See and hear him in person when you can. But in the meantime, let his Irritable Hedgehog releases be a valuable stand-in for the live experience.

Ross Gay Songs Premiere Tomorrow at New Music Gathering

Soprano Sara Noble

Tomorrow (May 13) at 1:30PM in Kobacker Hall, my Ross Gay Songs will be premiered by soprano Sara Noble and pianist Nadia Shpachenko as part of  New Music Gathering 2017 , held this year at Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH).

Pianist Nadia Shpachenko

Program note

Three Ross Gay Songs were composed while I was recuperating in Tennessee from cancer surgeries. Looking for something uplifting to read, I went to Anne Patchett’s bookstore Parnassus and was instantly drawn to the vibrant colors on the cover of his book Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude. What I found on the pages within was poetic ‘music’ that nearly sang off the page, providing me with much joy and consolation: and ideas for several songs. ode to drinking water from my hands mirrors a childhood memory of my own, learning to use a water pump in my grandparents’ garden. wedding poem is an example of the vivacious and poignant connection to nature that Ross Gay, who maintains orchards and community gardens in Indiana, finds central to most of his work. ode to the flute is pithy yet filled with evocative imagery. These texts are used with the kind permission of the poet and the songs are dedicated to soprano Sara Noble.

  • Christian Carey (2017)