Last week I polluted the West Coast airwaves with textbook on KALW-FM. This week, it’s Princeton’s radio station WPRB-FM, where Marvin Rosen hosts Classical Discoveries, and will be programming a 24-hour new music marathon starting tonight at 7 PM EST. Marvin is going to program the radio premiere of bs piece as performed on 8/6 by Bill Solomon and Mike Lunoe at the Hartt School of Music. The broadcast should be sometime between 11 am and noon tomorrow (Weds, 9/9) and there’s a live audio stream at http://www.wprb.com. Enjoy!
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Last week was a really good week for my music. Given that I usually have to wait a long time for my music to be premiered, if at all, I was delighted that Mike Lunoe and Bill Solomon gave the first performance of bs piece (double canon for bill solomon) last Thursday (8/6) at the Hartt School of Music, essentially 11 months to the day after I started writing it in a Palo Alto hotel. Mike and Bill did an awesome job, performing with two live marimbas and four prerecorded marimbas (the piece is scored for six marimbas). It’s a bear to play, since it’s just too easy to get lost in the repetitions, plus the entire thing is 12-tone except for the last seven measures (the last chord contains all 12 tones, however). I’m still getting over the fact that no one seems to have shouted anything nasty or derogatory during the performance. Guess all the crazies were disrupting Democratic town hall meetings on health care reform instead. The performance is downloadable from the link above and has replaced my Finale-generated performance on the music page. The concert program is here.
But that’s not all…
The master composer/MIDI artist Steve Layton took it upon himself to release his excellent realization of my 80’s piano work textbook: music of solitary landscapes in hyperspace (piece for IPS) on a downloadable album via Amazon (I believe iTunes is coming soon as well). Steve broke up the 2 hour+ piece into its seven sections rather than keep it going continuously, so it’s even easier to listen to the entire thing in increments. Or just play the whole thing on an iPod /iPhone with gapless playback and experience the entire two hours in one sitting. It’s all about choice.
Finally, I locked myself in a hotel room in Palo Alto this week trying to get further into a new piece for two voices, flute, bass clarinet, violin, cello, marimba and piano I’m tentatively titling torture memos. It’s based on some improvisations I did a few months ago, mostly in May, but I’ve been really busy lately so putting it all together and scoring the music has been much slower than I would have thought. Only a little over six minutes have been dumped into Finale 2010 so far, but I’ll be back on the west coast in a little more than a week, so I hope to be more productive next time around. If anyone doesn’t mind hearing the beginning of a work in progress, click here.
So I really want to thank Mike, Bill and Steve for making last week a great week in terms of new music performance. Writing music is really really hard. Performing it with the musicianship and courage of these folks is even harder. And they make it sound easy.
Lots of good stuff going on, but I’ve been swamped so have not had time to blog.
- Next Thursday, August 6th at 7:30 PM, Bill Solomon and Mike Lunoe will be premiering my work for six marimbas titled bs piece (double canon for bill solomon) at the Berkman Recital Hall, Hartt School of Music in W. Hartford, CT. I’m listening to their latest rehearsal tape right now and it’s absolutely incredible. How they manage to play this without getting lost while syncing with a tape of the other four marimba parts and counting accurately how many times to repeat each measure (17x is not uncommon in this piece) boggles my mind. Kudos to them both for not just taking on my music but for realizing it so perfectly. The score is here. I’ll be posting a MP3 of the performance and possibly even a video once I get it from Mike and Bill.
- Just got an e-mail inviting me to be on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology, the official journal of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists. Obviously they’re extremely desperate.
- Composer/performer/MIDI artist Steve Layton is going to be releasing his realization of textbook: music of solitary landscapes in hyperspace (piece for IPS) via iTunes in the coming weeks. Steve’s realization is excellent and took him at least two weeks to accomplish. The piece is over two hours and is continuous, although it will be broken into individual sections for downloading.
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I wrote bs piece (double canon for bill solomon) last September in a hotel room in Palo Alto, CA. It’s scored for six marimbas, and is entirely 12-tone, postminimalist and, well, canonical. As I wrote in this blog at the time, it was a piece I wasn’t sure would really work out and wasn’t sure I’d like the result, since I hadn’t written anything 12-tone since the early 80’s (by choice) and generally don’t use processes to dictate what notes I should write. I ended up really liking the piece, and its dedicatee, the percussionist extraordinaire Bill Solomon, liked it as well. Bill is at the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, and plays a ton of new music, much of which is very difficult. We discussed how the piece could be realized in performance, and Bill opted for 1-2 live marimbas against prerecorded tape of the remaining instruments. Not easy to do, for sure, but not impossible either.
Thanks to Bill, the work will be premiered this August 6th at the Hartt School of Music with Bill and Michael Lunoe on live and prerecorded marimbas. The significance of doing this on the anniversary of the mass killing from the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima hasn’t escaped my notice.
Bill was one of the performers of my work objects in 2006 in NYC, and he’s now the first person who will have premiered two of my compositions. I’m also happy that less than a year has transpired between the composition and premiere; in contrast, objects wasn’t heard until seven years after I had written it.
More details will be forthcoming, but here’s the information as of now:
Thursday, 8/6/09 7:30 PM
Berkman Recital Hall, Hartt School, U of Hartford, West Hartford, CT
performers Bill Solomon & Michael Lunoe, marimbas