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).

Blue Streak Ensemble Visits New York

brouwer
Composer Margaret Brouwer’s Blue Streak Ensemble visits New York on Sunday and Monday with a free concert in Brooklyn and a modestly priced one in Manhattan.
Good new music ensembles have a programming ethos. Brouwer’s curation is decidedly eclectic encompassing, on one end of the spectrum, some of the more intricate lieder by Johannes Brahms and, on the other, contemporary works for electronics by Mario Davidovsky and Andrew Rindfleisch. Somewhere in the middle of this stylistic orbit are pieces by Chen Yi and John Harbison. 
So, refreshingly, stylistic features or agendas aren’t an issue when it comes to programming. One might say that Brouwer celebrates the old saying, “variety is the spice of life.” This allows us to enjoy a diverse program unified by the talents of persuasive performers Sarah Beaty, Erika Dohi, Kimia Ghaderi and Haruka Fujii.
blue streak
Sunday, July 12, 20153:00 PM
St. John’s Episcopal Church
139 St. John’s Place
Brooklyn, NY
(Near the 2, 3, B, Q, and R lines)
Free admission, no tickets required.
Monday, July 13, 20157:30 PM
Marc A. Scorca Recital Hall, 7th floor
330 7th Avenue (at West 29th St.)
New York, NY
(Steps away from the 1, 2, 3, A, C, E, N, Q, and R lines)
Tickets are $15 in advance through Eventbrite, and $20 at the door. Student tickets are half price. Price includes a wine reception following the performance.
PROGRAM
Margaret Brouwer: Declaration, for mezzo soprano, violin and piano (East Coast premiere)
Clint Needham: On the Road for violin and piano
Andrew Rindfleisch: Listen, for electronic playback
John Harbison: Two Arias from The Great Gatsby 
Huang Ruo: Sound of Hand for percussion (July 13 only)
Chen Yi: From Old Peking Folklore, for violin and piano
Johannes Brahms: Von ewiger Liebe, Mädchenlied and Ständchen, for mezzo and piano (July 12 only)
Mario Davidovsky: Synchronisms No. 9 for solo violin and electronic sounds
PERFORMERS
Haruka Fujii, percussion (July 13 only)
Sarah Beaty, mezzo soprano
Kimia Ghaderi, violin
Erika Dohi, piano

Thursday: Sarah Plum at Spectrum

Sarah Plum

On Thursday, June 25th at 7:00 PM, violinist Sarah Plum plays a concert at  Spectrum (121 Ludlow Street, NYC). Tickets are $15 ($10 for students and seniors) and are available at the door.

Plum, a new music specialist, has two CDs coming out on July 14th, both on the Blue Griffin imprint. On the first, joined by Timothy Lovelace, she presents the first volume in a projected series of music for violin and piano by Béla Bartók. The second is a CD of new music, concertos by Sidney Corbett and Christopher Adler.

On her gig at Spectrum, Plum plays works by both of the aforementioned living composers, as well as pieces by Charles Nichols and Mark Engebretson. Her program features both pieces for violin and electronics and violin and piano. She is abetted by pianist Francine Kay. Below, you can check out a video of a work on the program, Nichols’s Il Preto Rosso for violin and interactive electronics. Plum repeats the Nichols at New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival on June 26 at 4:00pm ( info at nycemf.org).

5/29 – Locrian Chamber Players Concert

Locrian Chamber Players concert will give a concert next Thursday (May 29) at 8PM in Riverside Church, 10th floor performance space.  The concert is free.
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The program:
George Crumb–“Sun and Shadow,” for mezzo-soprano and amplified piano
Harrison Birtwistle–“Lied,” for cello and piano
Nils Vigeland–“Capriccio,” for flute, glockenspiel, cello and harpsichord (world premiere)
Justin Merritt–“A Gauze of Misted Silver,” for harp and string quartet
Ashley Wang–“Antares Falling,” for piccolo and piano (New York premiere)
Edmund Jolliffe–“Turn On, Tune In and Drop Out,” for flute, harp and string quartet (world premiere)
The players:
Calvin Wiersma and Curtis Macomber, violin; Daniel Panner, viola; Greg Hesselink, cello; Diva Goodfriend-Koven, flute and piccolo; Anna Reinersman, harp; Jonathan Faiman, piano; Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, mezzo-soprano; Elaine Comparone, harpsichord.
A reception will follow the concert.

Saturday: loadbang in NYC

League/ISCM presents: loadbang “Alphabetical Ashbery”

Saturday, May 10, 2014, 7:30 PM
DiMenna Center for Classical Music – Mary Flagler Cary Hall
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Charles Wuorinen – Alphabetical Ashbery (NYC Premiere)

Rob Deemer – New Work (World Premiere)

Ryan Francis – New Work (World Premiere)

Alexandre Lunsqui – Guttural I, II, and III (2010)

Christian Carey – Prayer (2011)

Evan Johnson – my pouert and goyng ouer  (World Premiere) – * Winner of 2013 Loadbang Call for Scores

Monday: NYNME Features Foss

Foss NYNME


Monday at the DiMenna Center, New York New Music Ensemble presents a program of works by Lukas Foss (1922-2009). Lukas (with whom I studied in the 90s when I was at BU) was a man of many musical talents with a near-omnivorous interest in a host of musical styles. Rather than try to present a comprehensive portrait of them all (a tall order in a single evening!), NYNME will focus on pieces from the mid-sixties through the mid-eighties, the period during which he was in his most experimental phase. In Echoi (1963), Foss made use of vast swaths of serial-inspired charts – there are pictures of them taking up whole walls of his studio. However, his performance directions add a measure of postmodern theatricality and there’s more than a bit of aleatory at work too. These seemingly disparate elements come together in a piece that is a masterful melange. Paradigm (1968), is more ebulliently chaotic still. Incorporating clangorous percussion and vociferous shouts alongside quasi-rock riffs from electric guitar, it channels more than a bit of the cultural and political revolutions afoot in the year of its composition.

Rendezvous - Tashi


Solo Observed (1982), began its life as a virtuosic solo piano piece, Solo, which found Foss experimenting with minimalism and maximalism at the same time. Solo Observed (1982, in versions for both orchestra and chamber ensemble), adds additional instruments, who observe, comment on, and sometimes even obstruct the pianist’s solo. The last work on the program, Tashi (1986), written for the star-studded chamber ensemble of the same name, is one of my favorite of Foss’s chamber works. Abundantly virtuosic and sumptuously harmonically varied, it is one of the best syntheses of the various styles and varied materials that fascinated Foss. Hunt down Rendezvous, the group’s 1989 recording on which it appears. Better yet, catch it live tonight.


NYNME

10/19: Dar Williams at Symphony Space

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On Saturday, October 19th at 8 PM, Singer-songwriter Dar Williams will perform at New York City’s Symphony SpaceThe concert is part of a tour in support of Williams’s latest studio album, In The Time Of Gods (2012, Razor & Tie). The album presents ten tales from Greek mythology which are repurposed by Williams to address contemporary issues. Like much of her previous work, the recording sits astride folk and pop idioms, creating an  ear-pleasing yet thoughtful and substantial impression.

 



Those who enjoyed the second disc of Many Great Companions, the songwriter’s 2010 greatest hits compilation, with its stripped down renditions of songs from her catalogue, are likely to be pleased with the acoustic setting in which the Symphony Space performance takes place. Instead of a full band, Williams will perform as part of a duo, singing and playing guitar, accompanied by pianist Bryn Roberts. 


Opening act The Rebecca West operates in a similar “chamber folk” idiom. Alex Dezen (the Damnwells), Cameron Dezen, and Matt Hamon. Their first EP, Lost and Found, displays a capacity for generously melodic hooks and winsome three-part harmony vocals.