Friday, May 31, 2019

Dal Niente: Redefining the listening experience



In anticipation of Ensemble Dal Niente's third visit to June in Buffalo in the last four years, this post will offer a brief introduction to their work. The group was founded in Chicago in 2005, and is one of several ensembles responsible for the great importance that the Windy City's New Music scene has attained in the last decade.

(Ensemble Dal Niente)

Beyond their virtuosity and musicality, their dedication and the intense concentration of their performances, there are two traits that characterize Dal Niente and distinguish the ensemble from many of their peers: one is the extremely careful curation behind their events, as demonstrated by the section of their website detailing their programs, and the other is their adventurous commissioning, that includes work from unique, individual voices like Erin Gee and UB alumnus Evan Johnson, among others.

(Spahlinger's Verlorener Weg performed by Dal Niente, 2015)

During Dal Niente's evening concert, the audience will have a chance to hear music by five of the six senior composers in this year's faculty: Anna Clyne, David Felder, Brian Ferneyhough, Stephen Hartke and Lei Liang. Felder's partial [dist]res[s]toration from 2002, will open the program. Hartke's Meanwhile, for flute, clarinet, percussion, viola and cello, will be the next piece, followed by Clyne's Steelworks, for flute, bass clarinet, percussion and tape. This work was composed in 2006, and it has common traits with other works by the English composer, among which are the use of spoken word in the tape part, and the fact that the music was part of a collaboration including film and dance. Next will be two pieces by Brian Ferneyhough: Four Miniatures for flute and piano, and Mort Subite for flute, clarinet, vibraphone and piano. The concert will end with Lei Liang's My Windows, performed by UB piano professor Eric Huebner.


The Karlsson-Holmertz Duo will perform Wallin at June in Buffalo



The first evening concert in June in Buffalo 2019, to take place on Monday 3rd, will feature the Karlsson-Holmertz Duo, formed by Cikada ensemble's pianist Kenneth Karlsson and soprano Elisabeth Holmertz. The two worked together for the first time in 2005, in the opera Ophelias: death by water singing by Henrik Hellstenius, where Holmertz sang the main part. After this, Cikada—where Karlsson is also the artistic director—invited Holmertz to sing on several projects. One of these became the critically acclaimed CD Nordheim, that was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy award. The duo was formed at Karlsson's 2010 birthday party when, late in the night, he and Holmertz started playing Swedish romantic pop songs.

(The Karlsson-Holmertz Duo)

Although a big part of their repertoire consists of contemporary classical music, and they enjoy working closely with composers such as Helmut Lachenmann, Klaus Lang, Rolf Wallin and Carola Bauckholt, the duo also has a burning passion for lieder, Swedish Romantics, and the performance of well-known popular music—like Bob Dylan, Josephine Baker and others—in new and different ways, often using Karlsson's Indian harmonium. They have also formed the group Vollen United, an experimental ensemble that freely mixes genres like baroque, contemporary, pop, and improvisation. Vollen United has different incarnations, and members have included Fredrik Bock playing the theorbo, Per Bure on baroque violin, and Karin Hellqvist on violin.

During their Monday 3rd concert, the Karlsson-Holmertz duo will offer a Rolf Wallin portrait concert, in colaboration with the composer himself. The program will begin with Three poems by Rainer Maria Rilke for voice and piano, followed by a work for a decidedly less common instrumentation: Scratch, for balloon, played by Wallin. Karlsson will then play Seven Imperatives, a solo piano work divided into seven movements, as announced by the title: Seek, Push, Sink, Spin, Stab, Lean and Quit. After that, Wallin will again take the stage to perform Seven Imperatives Remix, where he reprocesses and modifies recorded material from his piano work on the computer. The concert will end with another voice and piano duo, the 1987 piece ...though what made it has gone...

(Wallin - ...though what made it has gone...)

The text of ...though what made it has gone... was taken from the poem Whoever finds a Horseshoe, by the polish-born Russian poet Osip Mandelsam, who died in 1938 in one of Stalin's prisoner camps. In his piece, Wallin set fragments of the original Russian and also an English translation, to provide occasional glimpses of the meaning of the poem for people who don't know the original language.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

David Felder: Vision and persistence


The last in our series of June in Buffalo Senior Composer profiles features David Felder, the festival's director for thirty-four years, and the person responsible for its current form, where each participant composer has a piece performed by a professional ensemble. It may be hard to believe now, when so many summer programs for emerging composers have adopted a similar model, but in 1985, when Felder began his tenure as director of the festival, this was almost unheard of.

A SUNY Distinguished Professor and the Birge-Cary chair in Music Composition at the University at Buffalo, Felder is indefatigably active as composer, arts administrator and pedagogue.

(David Felder)

Recent compositional projects include Les Quatre Temps Cardinaux, for voices, chamber orchestra, and electronics, the string quartet Netivot, the violin concerto Jeu de Tarot and an orchestral piece, Die Dämmerungen, a preview of which will be presented at June in Buffalo this year. There is also a work in progress for violin and ensemble that has allowed Felder and longtime collaborator Irvine Arditti to continue working together.

Felder is also active as a composition teacher and arts administrator: he is the artistic director of the Slee Sinfonietta, UB’s resident faculty chamber ensemble, focused is the performance of 20th century classics and new works. He is also the director of the Center for 21st Century Music, and, together with Bruce Jackson, he founded and co-directs UB's Creative Arts Initiative, a university-wide platform dedicated to the creation and production of new work upholding the highest artistic standards of excellence, which includes a very successful program of artistic residencies.

The 2019 edition of June in Buffalo will feature four works by Felder. In their Wednesday 5th concert, the Mivos Quartet will play his second string quartet, Stuck-Stücke, written in 2007. They offered memorable performances of his first quartet Third Face in 2015 and 2018, so it is reasonable to expect that their version of Stuck-Stücke will be equally impressive. The next day, Irvine Arditti will play the violin solo Another Face in his recital. The piece is connected to Felder's first string quartet, Third Face, and has been recently recorded by Arditti for an upcoming portrait CD.

Next, on June 7th, Dal Niente will present partial [dist]res[s]toration, for flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, cello and electronics. As the composer explains, "[n]umerous materials are brought together in this composition: both newly composed fragments and those rescued from older sketch
pads-all are subjected to both 'restoration' (making the older appear refreshed), and 'distressing' (newer materials are treated to 'age' them). And the word 'partial' refers both to incomplete presentation, and to the harmonic series, which serves overtly to harmonize different things." The work is in seven movements, but these fragments sometimes run together and sometimes remain discrete. Their titles are: 1. a puro sol escribo... (I write in the pure sun.), Pablo Neruda; 2. I remember, I remember, Memory the great pretender, Robert Creeley; 3.a. I sing...; 3.b. because I sing...; 3.c. and because I sing..., Pablo Neruda; 4. Ris de ton nom... (laugh at the sound of your name), Rene Daumal; and 5. Die Felder sind grau... (The fields are grey). Interestingly, this will be the first time that the electronics in the piece—which happens to be Felder's most performed composition—are done live. J.T. Rinker will be in charge of that aspect of the work.

(Felder's partial [dis]res[s]toration performed by Ensemble Linea)

As we mentioned above, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor JoAnn Falletta will include a preview of Felder's new orchestral work Die Dämmerungen (The Twilights) in their Sunday 9th matinee concert, which has become a June in Buffalo tradition. The premiere of the complete version will take place in October 5 and 6th, as part of the BPO's concert season.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Rolf Wallin: Unheard places



The group of senior composers in the 2019 edition of June in Buffalo has a decidedly international character. In addition to the already profiled Lei Liang, Anna Clyne and Brian Ferneyhough, Rolf Wallin will be the fourth composer born outside the US out of a total of six.

One of today's leading Nordic composers, Wallin was born in Oslo in 1957. With a musical background spanning from jazz, avant-rock and early music, he is as comfortable working with generative systems for producing musical material as he is using using more intuitive methods, and the textures in his works have been compared to those of Ligeti and Xenakis.

(Rolf Wallin)

The lack of dogmatism in his work is also manifest in its generic diversity: Wallin’s works list includes both instrumental and electro-acoustic works, absolute music and stage music; his continuous crossing of borders between genres and styles has resulted in a number of fruitful cross-fertilizations.

Wallin was the first ever composer in residence with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra during their 2006-07 season, which included the release of a portrait CD on the Ondine label and performances of his work accross Europe. In addition to his many orchestral and chamber works, Wallin has composed a large number of mixed media works (e.g. the popular performance works Scratch for balloon and Yo for computer and controller suit), installations (such as Feelings, where participants get to hear the sound of their own brainwaves), and created electroacoustic music for several of Norway’s foremost contemporary dance groups, choreographers and visual artists. His dance work Urban Bestiary (2008) was the first work performed in the new Opera House in Oslo when it opened in April 2008.

June in Buffalo will provide many opportunities to hear Wallin's music. On Monday 3rd, the duo formed by soprano Elisabeth Holmertz and pianist Kenneth Karlsson will perform two of his works. The first will be ...though what made it has gone, an important piece for the composer, since by receiving the Norwegian Society of Composers' 1987 "Composition of the year" award, it signaled Wallin's arrival on the Nordic New Music scene. Holmertz and Karlsson will also play Three Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, from 1994.

The next day, the Slee Sinfonietta will play Under City Skin, with Irvine Arditti as soloist on the violin. And in his June 5th solo recital, Arditti will feature Wallin's music yet again, this time offering the world premiere of the recently completed Whirld Alone. Finally, on Saturday June 8th, Signal will perform The Age of Wire and String, one of Wallin's most successful compositions, written in 2005 for the French ensemble Court-circuit, and performed since then by many other groups. The piece is titled after a book by American author Ben Marcus, and consists of eight movements, also taking their titles from Marcus' strange, fascinating, unclassifiable work: Snoring, Accidental Speech; Dog, Mode of Heat Transfer in Barking; Half-life of Walter in the American Areas; Food Storms of the Original Brother; The Golden Monica; Leg of Brother Who Died Early; Food Costumes of Montana; and Swimming, Strictly an Inscription. Wallin saw a strong connection between Marcus' "consistent, yet ungraspable" laws and logic and the often deliberately enigmatic nature of modern art music.

(Wallin's The Age of Wire and String performed by Crash Ensemble)


Friday, May 24, 2019

Brian Ferneyhough: Forces and energies


Continuing our series of profiles of the June in Buffalo 2019 Senior Composers, we'll write about Brian Ferneyhough, a longtime friend of the festival, and one of today's most important composers, whose return to Buffalo after his last visit in 2015 is eagerly awaited.

Born in Coventry in 1943, Ferneyhough enrolled at the Birmingham School of Music, and then at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where he studied with Lennox Berkeley. In 1968 he moved to Amsterdam to study with Ton de Leeuw after receiving a Mendelssohn Scholarship, and the following year a further scholarship allowed him to pursue his studies with Klaus Huber at the Basel Conservatoire. During this early period, his work began to attract attention, being awarded prizes in three successive years at the Gaudeamus Composers' Competition (1968-70). Two years later Firecycle Beta was given an honourable mention (second place) by the Italian section of the ISCM, which also awarded Ferneyhough a special prize in 1974 for Time and Motion Study III as the best work submitted in all categories. In the same year, the performance of several of his works at the Royan Festival established Ferneyhough as one of the most brilliant and controversial figures of a new generation of composers.

(Brian Ferneyhough)

By then, Ferneyhough had discovered a parallel vocation as a teacher of composition. Thanks to Klaus Huber's support, he was appointed onto the teaching staff of the Freiburger Musikhochschule in 1973, remaining there until 1986. Following his move to the United States in 1987 he has taught at the University of California at San Diego (1987-1999) and most recently Stanford University, where he served as William H. Bonsall Professor in Music until last year. Alongside these permanent appointments, he has been associated with the most prestigious teaching institutions and international summer schools for contemporary music. From 1984 to 1996 he was Composition Course Co-ordinator at the biennial Darmstädter Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik, and from 1990 to 2014 the principal teacher at the annual Composition Course of the Fondation Royaumont. He has held Guest Professorships at the Royal Conservatoire, Stockholm, the California Institute of the Arts and the University of Chicago, and a Guest Professorship at Harvard University in 2007-8. In addition, he has given guest lectures and master-classes at the Civica Scuola di Milano, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham, and at several North American universities and colleges. The fruits of the more formal lectures have appeared, alongside interviews and texts that have their origins in more personally motivated analyses and stock-takings, in his Collected Writings (Harwood Academic Press, 1995). Goldsmiths College, University of London awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2012.

Five Ferneyhough compositions for different chamber forces—and belonging to different periods in his career, covering 52 years of creative activity—will be performed during the festival. On June 3rd, Michael Matsuno will open the first concert with Superscriptio for solo piccolo, the initial work in Ferneyhough's monumental Carceri d'Invenzione cycle. The following day, Tyler J. Borden will play In Nomine (from Umbrations) for solo cello, from 2017. The work is part of a more recent but equally expansive cycle based on music by English Rennaissance composer Christopher Tye.

Mivos will play Ferneyhough's String Quartet No.2 on Wednesday 5th. The work is, in words of the composer, about silence: "not so much about literal silence (although this, too, is an obvious feature of the opening section) but, rather, that deliberate absence at the center of musical experience which exists in order that the listening subject may encounter himself there." Buffalo audiences have already been able to experience the ferocious intensity of Mivos' version of this piece two years ago, and it is to be expected that the intervening years have produced further improvement.

(Ferneyhough's String Quartet No.2)

On Friday 7th Dal Niente will offer their renditions of the 1965 Four Miniatures for flute and piano—the earliest of Ferneyhough's works to be performed this year—and another miniature of a different kind: Mort Subite for piccolo, clarinet, piano and vibraphone. While the first work is notated in a somewhat less exacting way than Ferneyhough would eventually become known for, and the coordination between flute and piano is not specified at all times, in the latter work, from 1990, the ensemble is divided into two duos (piccolo and piano and clarinet and vibraphone), each with its own metric structure, and the coordination is assured by the use of two concurrent click-tracks for the performers.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Stephen Hartke: Imaginary traditions


We continue our series of profiles of the Senior Composers at this year's June in Buffalo with a short introduction to the work of Stephen Hartke. Born in Orange, New Jersey, in 1952, Hartke began his musical career as a boy chorister, performing with, among others, the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra. He studied at Yale, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California at Santa Barbara. He taught at the University of Southern California—from where he retired as Distinguished Professor Emeritus after a 26 year tenure—and as Fulbright Professor at the Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil. He has been Professor and Chair of Composition at Oberlin Conservatory since 2015.

(Stephen Hartke)

Hartke's output is extremely varied, from the medieval-inspired piano quartet The King of the Sun, and Wulfstan at the Millennium, an abstract liturgy for ten instruments, the blues-inflected violin duo Oh Them Rats Is Mean in My Kitchen, and the surreal trio The Horse with the Lavender Eye, to the Biblical satire Sons of Noah, for soprano, four flutes, four guitars and four bassoons, and his recent Symphony No. 4 for Organ, Orchestra, and Soprano, commissioned for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has composed concerti for renowned clarinetist, Richard Stoltzman, and violinist, Michele Makarski, and his collaboration with the internationally-celebrated Hilliard Ensemble has resulted in three substantial works, including his Symphony No. 3, commissioned by Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic. Other major commissions have come from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Harvard Musical Association, the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, the Kansas City Symphony, the Library of Congress, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Barlow Endowment, Chamber Music America, the Fromm Foundation, the Institute for American Music at the Eastman School of Music, Meet The Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, among others.

Stephen Hartke has also won the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, two Koussevitzky Music Foundation Commission Grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Stoeger Award from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Charles Ives Living from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Deutsche Bank Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin.  In 2008, Hartke's opera, The Greater Good, commissioned and premiered by Glimmerglass Opera, received the first Charles Ives Opera Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2009, he was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  Most of Hartke's music is available on commercial CDs released by Albany, BMOP, Bridge, Cedille, Chandos, CRI, Delos, ECM New Series, EMI Classics, Genuin, Naxos American Classics, New World Records, and Soundbrush Records.

A Senior Composer in the 2014 edition of the festival, Hartke is no stranger to June in Buffalo. This year, in addition to lecturing and conducting master classes, he will attend performances of three of his works. On Tuesday 4th, the Slee Sinfonietta will play Ship of State, from 2017, a chamber concerto for piano and 20 players inspired by The Building of a Ship, a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Three days later, Dal Niente will perform Meanwhile, a work from 2007 for flute, clarinet, viola, cello, percussion and piano. The composer gave the piece an evocative subtitle: "Incidental Music to Imaginary Puppet Plays", and states that the composition grew from his fascination for Asian court and theater music. Although played as a single movement, the work has six sections: Procession, Fanfares, Narrative, Spikefiddlers, Cradle-songs, and Celebration. This work earned Hartke the Grammy award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 2013.

The last of Hartke's work that Buffalo audiences will have the chance to hear at the Festival is Pacific Rim, from 1988, which will be performed on the June 9th Sunday matinee concert by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.  The piece, described by the composer as a processional and a fugue, provides another opportunity to observe how certain aspects of extra-European musics have affected Hartke's work.


(Hartke's Pacific Rim)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Anna Clyne: Collaboration and dialogue


The second in our series of June in Buffalo Senior Composer profiles is dedicated to another first-time faculty at the festival: Anna Clyne. Born in London, Clyne is a Grammy-nominated composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music who has been described as a "composer of uncommon gifts and unusual methods" in a New York Times profile and as "dazzlingly inventive" by Time Out New York,
Her work often includes collaborations with cutting-edge choreographers, visual artists, filmmakers, and musicians worldwide.

(Anna Clyne)

Clyne has served as composer in residence for several important American and European orchestras, such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (2010-2015), the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (2015-16), the National Orchestra of Île-de-France (2014-2016) and the Berkeley Symphony (2017-2019). The Scottish Chamber Orchestra recently announced Clyne as its Associate Composer for the next three years, through the 2020-2021 season. She has been commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, BBC Radio 3, BBC Scottish Symphony, Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Houston Ballet, London Sinfonietta, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, and the Southbank Centre, and her work has been championed by such world-renowned conductors as Marin Alsop, Pablo Heras-Casado, Riccardo Muti, Leonard Slatkin, and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Clyne, a member of the compositon faculty at Mannes / The New School, was nominated for the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for her double violin concerto, Prince of Clouds. She is also the recipient of several prestigious awards including the 2016 Hindemith Prize; a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; awards from Meet the Composer, the American Music Center, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and the Jerome Foundation; and prizes from ASCAP and SEAMUS. Recent premieres include Restless Oceans with the Taki Concordia Orchestra and Marin Alsop at the World Economic Forum; Beltane with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard; Three Sisters, her mandolin concerto for Avi Avital and the Kremerata Baltica; Pocket Book VIII for Roomful of Teeth; Threads & Traces for 100 cellos, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and performed at Disney Hall; and her violin concerto, The Seamstress, performed by Jennifer Koh with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Orchestra Hall, and with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Center, London.

This year's edition of June in Buffalo will feature four of Clyne's works. On their June 5th concert, the Mivos Quartet will play Roulette, a work from 2007 for string quartet and tape, whereas on June 7th, Ensemble Dal Niente will perform Steelworks, for flute, bass clarinet, percussion and tape, and the next day, it will be Signal's turn with Just as they are, for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano (all amplified), and tape. The works have something in common connected to the use of fixed media: all three tapes include vocal sounds (breath sounds and melodies sung by vocalists Caleb Burhans and Martha Cluver in Roulette, interviews with employees of a Brooklyn factory in Steelworks, and a recording of John Cage in Just as they are).

(Clyne's Roulette)

Last but not least, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will play Clyne's Within Her Arms, for string ensemble, during their matinee concert on June 9th. The work, which has been described by Alex Ross as "a fragile elegy", was premiered in 2009 by the LA Philharmonic conducted by Esa-Peka Salonen, and is dedicated to the composer's mother.

(Clyne's Within Her Arms)

Monday, May 20, 2019

Lei Liang: Using music to free the imagination


This week we begin our series of Senior Composer profiles for the 2019 edition of June in Buffalo by presenting the work of Lei Liang, whom we are happy to welcome in his first visit as Festival faculty. Born in China in 1972, Liang has authored works that have been described as “hauntingly beautiful and sonically colorful” by The New York Times, and as “far, far out of the ordinary, brilliantly original and inarguably gorgeous” by The Washington Post.

Winner of the 2011 Rome Prize, Lei Liang has received other important distinctions, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Aaron Copland Award, a Koussevitzky Music Foundation Commission and a Creative Capital Award. His concerto Xiaoxiang (for saxophone and orchestra) was named a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music. He has been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, the Taipei Chinese Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, the Heidelberger Philharmonisches Orchester, the Thailand Philharmonic, pipa virtuoso Wu Man, the Fromm Music Foundation, Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, the National Endowment for the Arts, MAP Fund, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the Manhattan Sinfonietta, Arditti Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, the Scharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, New York New Music Ensemble and Boston Musica Viva.

(Lei Liang)

Lei Liang studied composition with Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Robert Cogan, Chaya Czernowin, and Mario Davidovsky, and received a Bachelor's and Master degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music and a PhD from Harvard University. He taught in China as a distinguished visiting professor at Shaanxi Normal University College of Arts in Xi'an; served as honorary professor of Composition and Sound Design at Wuhan Conservatory of Music and as visiting assistant professor of music at Middlebury College. He is professor of music at the University of California, San Diego, where he served as chair of the composition area and Acting Chair of the Music Department. Starting from 2018, Lei Liang serves as the Artistic Director of the Chou Wen-Chung Music Research Center in China.

Seven portrait discs with his music have been released on several specialized labels, along with more than a dozen compilation discs. Between 2013 and 2016, Liang served as Composer-in-Residence at the Qualcomm Institute, where his multimedia works preserve and reimagine culture through combining advanced technology and scientific research. In 2018, Liang returned to the Institute as its inaugural Research Artist-in-Residence.

Also active as a scholar, Liang has published articles in many specialized magazines, including Contemporary Music Review (on the music of Chinese composer Xiaoyong Chen), Sonus, and the Journal of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. He has particular interest in the research and preservation of traditional Asian music, but his texts also examine issues at the intersection of national identity and music, as he did in "About being Chinese", which provides an interesting discussion of the place of Western Classical music in contemporary Chinese society. Liang himself, however, conceives music as "a way to free one's imagination from the artificial confines of cultural identities".

During June in Buffalo, local audiences will have several opportunities to hear Liang’s music. On June 5th, the Mivos Quartet will play Serashi Fragments, from 2006. The title is a reference to a Mongolian musician from the last century whose work Liang helped preserve by co-producing a release containing his historical recordings. Although not an imitation of the Mongolian traditional music that inspired it, the center section of the Liang's quartet does contain a brief allusion to this repertoire. The work has enjoyed an active performance history: after its premiere by the Arditti Quartet is has been taken up by JACK and the Left Coast Ensemble, among other groups.

Liang's piano solo My Windows will be performed at Dal Niente’s evening concert on June 7th by Winston Choi. The work is in four movements, titled Tian, Seven Rays of the Sun, Magma, and Pausing, Awaiting the Wind to Rise… Finally, on June 8th, Signal Ensemble will perform Aural Hypothesis, from 2010, a composition for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and vibraphone. The composer has described the piece, which was inspired by a comment made by Chou Wen Chung and is dedicated to him, as “a quasi-fantastical study on how lines may find expression in sound.”

(Liang's Seven Rays of the Sun, from My Windows)

Friday, May 3, 2019

June in Buffalo 2019 Participant Composers Announced


The June in Buffalo Festival is pleased to announce that 25 talented emerging composers have been selected from a distinguished pool of applicants to participate in this year's festival. Their names are listed below, with additional information about their pieces featured at the festival. 

Charles Colwell (CUNY): (re)voicings, for fl, cl

William David Cooper (Walnut High School for the Arts): Dyptich, for fl, cl, perc, vn, vc

Georgi Dimitrov (University of Southern California): Growing Bell Peppers, for fl, ob, cl, bsn, hn, tpt, tbn, tba, perc (2), pno, vn (2), vla, vc, cb

Jessie Downs (University at Buffalo): Excerpt from The Second Sight Act I, Scene 2, The Rain Scene, for sop (2), ch (SSAABB), fl, cl, eh, hn, perc, hp, pno, vn, vc, db

Miles Friday (Cornell): A Corpus Resounding, for pno, vn, vla, vc, cb

Eren Gümrükçüoglu (Duke): Bazkir, for string quartet

Brien Henderson (University at Buffalo): Missa Brevis, for ch (SATB), ob, cl, perc, vn, vla, vc, cb

Manuel Hernandez (CUNY): Field of Change, for fl, cl, perc, pf, vn, vc

Scott Kehoe (Peabody Institute): In a restaurant, for sop, pno

Jihyun Kim (Rice University): A Gentle Whisper, for afl, bcl, pf, vn, vc

Tonia Ko (University of Chicago): Hum Phenomenon, for cl, pno, vn, vc

Vasiliki Krimitza (NYU): Gra-V, for fl, cl, perc, pno, vn, vc

Dongryul Lee (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign): Unending Rose, for string quartet

Joungmin Lee (Ohio State University): Abandoned, for fl, cl, pno, vn, vc

Christopher Mitchell (Arizona State University): Spaces Between, for fl, cl, vn, vla, vc, cb

Bryndan Moondy (University of California Santa Cruz): Entwined to Fray, for string quartet

Reagan Mullin-Martin (Peabody Institute): Nimbus, for bcl, pf, cb

Zvonimir Nagy (Duquesne University): Anima Animae, for string quartet

Qi Shen (University of North Texas): The Voice of Mountains, for string quartet

Jinwei Sun (University of California Santa Cruz): Quintet, for perc, vn (2), vla, vc

Ka Shu Tam (University at Buffalo): Reaction II, for vn

Joseph Vasinda (University of California Davis): Mikro Atmos, for vn

Mengmeng Wang (University of Wisconsin Madison): Dream, for fl, cl, pno, vn, vc

Kyle Wernke (Missouri University of Science and Technology): Trio, for pno, vn, vc  

Hua Xin (New England Conservatory): Moon is a Distant Bear, for fl, cl, pf, vn, vc


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Ensemble Signal presents 21st-century gems for Pierrot ensemble @ June in Buffalo 2019

The extraordinary success the June in Buffalo Festival has enjoyed for more than 30 years derives in great part from the many alliances it has forged with key actors in the new music scene. Such is the case of the partnership June in Buffalo has developed with cellist Lauren Radnofsky and conductor Brad Lubman, who co-direct NY-based Ensemble Signal. Signal, described as “one of the most vital groups of its kind” by the New York Times, has become a constant in June in Buffalo’s roster of visiting ensembles over the past several years, providing composers—both seasoned and emerging—with world-class performances of their works.

(Ensemble Signal performing Reich's Music for 18 Musicians)

Signal’s first concert at June in Buffalo 2019 will take place on June 5th at 4pm in the University at Buffalo’s Baird Recital Hall, where they will bring to life pieces by half a dozen of the festival’s participant student composers. The ensemble will then dedicate the next two days to add the finishing touches to a selection of 21st century chamber music gems by June in Buffalo’s senior composers, which they will perform on Saturday June 8th at 7:30pm in Slee Hall.

Anna Clyne

Signal’s Saturday concert will open with Anna Clyne’s Just As They Are (2015), scored for what has become a standard formation in modern chamber music: the Pierrot ensemble, comprised of flute, clarinet, piano, violin and cello, and named after Schoenberg’s iconic Pierrot lunaire (1912). The title and conceptual inspiration for the work come from an interview John Cage gave shortly before passing, in which he said, “I love sounds just as they are. I love the activity of sound. I don’t want a sound to pretend that it’s a bucket or that it’s president or that it’s in love with another sound. I just want it to be a sound.” In its compact five minutes, Just As They Are superimposes audio fragments from this interview by Cage with a modern-day passacaglia—an originally Baroque musical form based on a repeated bass line and recurring chord progression.

The next two pieces on the program rely on the same Pierrot instrumentation as well and, coincidentally, they also utilize quotes by other artists as their starting points. Lei Liang’s Aural Hypothesis (2010) builds on Chou Wen-chung’s evocative analogy that “calligraphy is music in ink, and music is calligraphy in sound” to propose how basic lines, i.e. a simple curve or a straight line, might be translated into music. Listeners aware of Liang’s inspiration will soon find the audiovisual correlations the composer intended, such as, for instance, long sustained notes to represent straight lines or upward scales to depict ascending ones.


Then, Signal will play Norwegian composer Rolf Wallin’s The Age of Wire and String (2004). This work borrows its title, and the titles of each of its eight miniature-like movements, from the eponymous collection of short stories by Ben Marcus. Marcus’ inventive stories paint bizarre, almost-familiar worlds in which the laws of nature are different from ours, which the composer found to be a fitting analogy to “the abstract world of music, especially modern art music, with its ability to transport our mind to places never visited before.”

Wallin's The Age of Wire and String (2004), performed by the Bodø Sinfonietta

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Slee Sinfonietta showcases powerful solos at June in Buffalo 2019


David Felder, the Center for 21st Century Music’s Artistic Director, founded the Slee Sinfonietta in 1997 for the purpose of producing accessible world-class performances and iconic recordings of important repertoire from both established as well as emerging composers, particularly in the context of the annual June in Buffalo festival. Comprised of a core group of faculty members from the University at Buffalo and other visiting artists, the Slee Sinfonietta will kick off this year’s June in Buffalo—as it has done for over two decades—with two concerts. An admission-free, 4pm matinee on June 4th in Baird Recital Hall will be June in Buffalo’s first public event, showcasing pieces by student participant composers. Then, the Sinfonietta will present an evening concert at 7:30pm on June 5th in Lippes Concert Hall with a program of major works by some of the festival’s senior composers; a solo cello performance of Brian Ferneyhough’s In Nomine by TJ Borden will be followed by three works for chamber orchestra (including two concertos): Rolf Wallin’s Under City Skin, Matthew Chamberlain’s Science Fiction Music , and Stephen Hartke’s Ship of State. Chamberlain will also be the guest conductor in both concerts, a capacity he has filled with the Sinfonietta since 2016.

(A performance of In Nomine by Lucas Fels (Arditti Quartet) in the premiere of Umbrations)

TJ Borden, the Mivos Quartet’s recently appointed cellist, will open the June 5th show with In Nomine, the fourth of eleven works comprising Ferneyhough’s large Umbrations cycle, premiered less than two years ago. Umbrations stands out in Ferneyhough’s output for directly referencing music written in the past by a Western composer—in this case, a set of works by English Renaissance composer Christopher Tye (1505-1572)—a popular trend in much of contemporary music which Ferneyhough has generally steered clear of. Interestingly, these pieces by Tye also appropriated earlier medieval melodies, adapting them into the framework of the viol consort that was so much in vogue during the Elizabethan era.

The medieval theme continues in Norwegian composer Rolf Wallin’s Under City Skin (2009) for solo viola, string orchestra and surround sound. Inspired by alchemical or otherwise absurd powers attributed to animals in bestiaries from the Middle Ages, Wallin chose to pursue the idea that “maybe we still hold an unconsciously mythological relation to the world around us, in spite of our modernization and urbanization.” Consciously fashioned after Hector Berlioz’s viola concerto Harold en Italie, Under City Skin presents its solo violist as an explorer of sound-producing objects and events one finds in a modern city, e.g. “The Mercedes” or “The Cash Register,” in a quest to reveal these sounds’ “hidden meanings [and] histories of power, fear, yearning, and bliss.” Wallin has adapted Under City Skin for solo violin, and legendary British violinist Irvine Arditti (of the Arditti Quartet) will solo with the Slee Sinfonietta on the June 5th concert.

(The Oberlin Sinfonietta under Tim Weiss performing Chamberlain's Science Fiction Music)

After a brief intermission, the concert will resume with Chamberlain’s Science Fiction Music, commissioned last year by Tim Weiss for the Oberlin Sinfonietta. Chamberlain describes Science Fiction as an imagination of a future “in which this piece is widely loved, its sensibility appreciated, its craft revered.” The composer’s tongue-in-cheek assessment of his work might prove more prophecy than science fiction, however; in 2018, Science Fiction Music earned Chamberlain the very rare merit of a “PhD with distinction,” unanimously bestowed upon him by his PhD committee at the University at Buffalo.

Finally, the Slee Sinfonietta will close its concert with Ship of State, a chamber concerto for piano and 20 players by Oberlin Conservatory’s Chair of Composition, Stephen Hartke. Ship of State takes its inspiration from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Building of the Ship, a long poem that draws on an allegorical comparison between the responsibilities of a sea captain and those of a statesman. The dedicatee and original soloist, Xak Bjerken, who has collaborated with a host of noteworthy living composers and has built an internationally-renowned career as a new music champion , will make the drive up from Cornell University in Central NY to June in Buffalo and solo with the Sinfonietta.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Irvine Arditti celebrates 30-plus years of partnership with David Felder at June in Buffalo 2019


There are interesting parallels between the lives of noted British violinist Irvine Arditti and the Center for 21st Century Music’s Artistic Director, American composer David Felder. Both men were born in the same year, 1953, and came of age in the mid-1970s, displaying a precocious musical maturity and aptitude for contemporary music. Felder’s "opus 1"—Nexus, a daring solo work for bass trombone—was written at the same time that Arditti founded the ensemble that would earn him countless accolades in the four and a half decades since, the Arditti Quartet. Toward the end of the 1970s, Arditti chose to leave his post as the London Symphony Orchestra’s Co-Concertmaster to devote more time to the Arditti Quartet, and Felder quit his teaching job at the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music to pursue a PhD at the University of California, San Diego. As difficult as these decisions might have seemed at the time, both proved wise in the long run. The Arditti Quartet would go on to become worldwide leaders in the promotion of contemporary music, and Felder would likewise build an award-winning career that would distinguish him as a leader of his generation of composers. So, at that juncture in the 1980s, it was only a matter of time before the paths of these two luminaries of contemporary music crossed.

Brad Lubman, Signal Ensemble's director, Felder, and Arditti discuss Jeu de Tarot (2018)

An important part of Felder’s trajectory included the revival of the University at Buffalo’s June in Buffalo Festival in the mid-1980s, which had been dormant since Morton Feldman founded and led it between 1975-80. Soon thereafter, June in Buffalo’s gravitational pull brought Arditti and his Quartet to Buffalo in 1988 to premiere Felder’s first string quartet, Third Face, commissioned by the Quartet and the North American New Music Festival.

Music of David Felder (1995) included a recording of  Third Face by the Arditti Quartet; this CD is available for purchase via this link

Their collaboration had undeniable chemistry, and the partnership between Arditti and Felder grew stronger and stronger as the years went by, leading to several additional residencies at June in Buffalo and two more commissions for the quartet: Stuck-Stücke, premiered in 2007, and Netivot, an ambitious multimedia work for string quartet, electronics and an optional video component from 2016. Most recently, Felder collaborated extensively with Arditti to produce a half-hour-long violin concerto, Jeu de Tarot. As it has been discussed at some length in an earlier post, Jeu de Tarot consists of seven movements in which the soloist and the ensemble explore a scene suggested by the rich symbology of images found on Tarot cards. Arditti and Signal Ensemble premiered the work a couple of years ago at the University at Buffalo's Lippes Concert Hall.

Arditti soloing with Signal Ensemble in Felder's Jeu de Tarot

In early May 2019, as detailed in a recent post, the Arditti Quartet arrives in Buffalo to present a program comprised by Jeu de Tarot and the three monumental quartets Felder has written for the group over the past 30 years. About a month later, Arditti returns sans the other three members of his ensemble to present a solo recital at June in Buffalo 2019. Arditti's recital takes place on Thursday, June 6th, at 7:30 pm in Baird Recital Hall, and will include Felder’s Another Face for violin and electronics, along with other works by Brian Ferneyhough, Rolf Wallin, and the festival’s participant student composers.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Mivos returns to June in Buffalo 2019 to present a mind-bending program


Recently recognized by the prestigious Dwight and Ursula Mamlok Prize—awarded to “an ensemble making a significant contribution to the performance of contemporary music”—the Mivos Quartet has enjoyed a fruitful partnership with the University at Buffalo for many years. Our shared history has shaped the ensemble’s trajectory in very real ways; in 2018, for instance, recent UB alumnus Tyler J. Borden was chosen to become the quartet’s new cellist, and current PhD candidate Alex Huddleston won the incredibly competitive 8th Mivos/Kanter String Quartet Competition Prize. As Mivos enters its second decade, poised to become an even more influential actor in the American new music scene, UB and the Center for 21st Century Music are proud to welcome them back to this year’s June in Buffalo for their 3rd residency in a row since 2017.
Mivos will perform two concerts at June in Buffalo 2019. On June 5th, they will present a program of works by some of the festival’s senior composers, and two evenings later, they will perform string quartets submitted by the festival’s student participant composers.

A performance by the Arditti Quartet of Ferneyhough's Second Quartet

Brian Ferneyhough’s Second String Quartet (1980) will kick off Mivos’ June 5th program. Ferneyhough is “a controversial figure of world renown, bent on making the most out of music” by a constant reliance on relentless complexity (Ross Allan Feller), but his Second Quartet is one of his “most approachable and outgoing pieces,” (Lois Fitch) clocking in at just under 10 minutes—an ideal show opener.

Next, Mivos will tackle a piece by June in Buffalo’s own Artistic Director, David Felder. Commissioned by the Siemens Foundation for the Arditti Quartet in 2007, Stuck-Stücke has evocative markings throughout—like “effervescent!” or “perky,” to name a few—which seem to “be trying to put something into music that cannot be put into music,” such as “murmuring, or dancing, or breathing” (Buffalo News). Stuck-Stücke and 3 other works are featured in BoxMan, a CD released by Albany Records several years ago and available for purchase on their websiteLei Liang’s Serashi Fragments (2005), a tribute to the Mongolian chaorer (an ancient two-string fiddle) player Serashi, is third in the program. Following a centuries-long tradition in Western music, Liang employes the notes Sol, La and Si—G, A and B—in various forms as musical inscriptions of the artist’s name. 


Clyne's Roulette is featured on her CD Blue Moth (Tzadik)

Finally, Mivos will close the concert with Anna Clyne’s unique Roulette (2007)Roulette features an electronic track, composed of processed recordings of choral singing, sharp breaths, and other noises, which, according to the composer, are “sounds that (…) both complement, interact with, and oppose” the gestures of the live string quartet. Tzadik Records released Roulette and six other stunning electroacoustic chamber works by Clyne in a CD entitled Blue Moth in 2012.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Felder Portrait Concert


The Center for 21st Century Music is pleased to announce a portrait concert featuring UB Distinguished Professor and Center Director David Felder’s works for string quartet and his more recent violin concerto to take place on May 9th, performed by two world-class new music groups: the Arditti Quartet and Ensemble Signal.

(Arditti Quartet)

The first part of the program will feature the acclaimed Arditti Quartet playing Felder’s three works for the medium: Third Face, from 1998, Stuck-Stücke, from 2007, and Netivot, from 2016. All three pieces were written for and premiered by the Ardittis, as part of a collaborative process dating back more than twenty years.

In Third Face, Felder was inspired by the 1964 novel The Face of Another, by Japanese author Kōbō Abe, although the music doesn't illustrate the action but rather takes the rough scenario as point of departure. With respect to the musical structure, the program notes tell us that "the work sets up a linear series of coded fragments based upon interval. These fragments are then layered through four contrapuntal passes through the materials, each pass separated by increasingly lengthy passages solely in harmonics. As the work unfolds the ‘coded fragments’ begin to coalesce eventually becoming melodic line."

Stuck-stücke, the second work in the program, is concerned with short form. It consists of a set of thirteen miniatures in three discontinuous, but related, streams of musical material. However, Felder preserves continuity by means of temporal proximity, since the pieces are to be played in close juxtaposition to one another, with minimal transition. The insistent iteration of small gestures in many of the pieces is what gives them the "stuck" character addressed in the title.

In Netivot—the more recent quartet, more inwardly oriented than the previous two—the material is "abstracted from an array of some biblical text", in the words of the composer. It also resulted from a larger collaboration, because its live performance requires the projection of a video consisting of images of Nature recorded in the American West by visual artist Eliot Caplan.

(Caplan: still image from Netivot Video)

The second part of the concert will consist of the performance of Felder’s Jeu de Tarot, a concerto for solo violin and sinfonietta from 2017 which draws its inspiration from the card deck long used as a divination method. Irvine Arditti, for whom the work was written, will play the solo violin part, accompanied by Ensemble Signal conducted by Brad Lubman.

The composition is in seven short movements, titled after seven selected cards from the twenty-two major arcana of the Tarot deck. They are: The Juggler, The Fool, The High Priestess, The Hermit, The Empress (Whorld), The Hierophant and Moonlight. In each movement, soloist and ensemble explore a scene suggested by the interpretation of the cards made by Russian polymath P.D. Ouspensky in his 1919 publication A new model of the Universe.



Due to the technical and logistical requirements of the pieces, the concert will take place in two different venues at UB’s Department of Music. The first part will be in Baird 250, the recital hall at Baird Hall, while the second part will be in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall. The concert will begin at 7:30PM.

As part of their visit, the Arditti Quartet will also conduct a workshop with UB graduate composers, lending their expertise and virtuosity to works written for them by Kenneth Tam, Tomek Arnold, Matías Homar, Igor Coelho A.S. Marques and Edgard Girtain.

Purchase tickets here: https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1748415/tfly



Wednesday, April 3, 2019

More on the pieces for ELISION's workshop


In our previous post we presented the work of ELISION ensemble in the context of their visit to the University at Buffalo. We wanted to know more about the second event of their residency, so we asked the four students who composed pieces for them to write short texts about their works.

John Aulich’s work is titled The angles which wound me, and it is written for Uillean pipes, lap steel guitar and contrabass.
“I began preparations for this piece in the middle of last semester with my head full of detritus relating to ritual, futility, pointlessness and transcendence, so in a very broad way that’s what the piece is ‘about.’ The normal meaning of the word ritual needs no further elaboration, but I would also hazard invoking it in a more ostensibly banal sense. That is, in terms of those things we do with as much regularity as is necessary to draw boundaries; to keep ourselves from spilling over and to define ourselves against everything else.
So, there are definitely embedded in the piece - hopefully in more than one way - notions of drawing, navigating and perhaps transgressing or transcending boundaries through ritual acts.  On the other hand, significant aspects of the piece were in large part inspired by an advert for a children’s toy called Transformers, which I’m led to believe is a franchise in itself with movies and everything. In entirely unrelated news, a large number of scientists are currently searching for new means to quantify ‘mouthfeel’ (supposedly) in the service of the food-industrial complex; sensation comes before sermon, so I’ll leave it you to imagine what other complexes we might soon be forced to contend with.
I would like to thank members of Elision for their time and work so far in helping me put this piece together. Their advice and encouragement has been invaluable to the compositional process, and I very much look forward to working with them when they arrive here.”

Roberto Azaretto:
Registral extremes are the areas of pitch space where the material nature of sound, the fact that we are dealing with vibration, with molecules moving in space, bodies affecting bodies, becomes most clear. Sound is a haptic phenomenon: we sense low register sounds as much in our stomachs as in our ears. The vocabulary we use to describe pitch space manifests this to a different degree depending on the language we speak. Whereas in English, sounds are placed in a vertical line, a continuum between low and high, in Spanish, my native tongue, sounds themselves are conceived as bodies: high sounds are agudos (which means sharp or piercing) and low sounds are graves (heavy, big).
Historically, most music has taken place in the central region of this space, probably because this is the optimal area for the identification of pitch patterns, but there is also a growing body of works where the primary concern is the investigation of registral extremes. I have been interested in exploring the structuring capabilities of register for several years, so when I learned that ELISION was coming to UB I decided to take the opportunity to concentrate on dense sonorities in the lowest part of the register, writing for a quartet of contrabass clarinet, baritone saxophone, trombone and double bass. The result was a piece where the highest notated pitch after transposition is a major third below middle c.
The title of the piece, eigengrau, alludes to another semantic field common in discussions of sound: that of color. The term means "intrinsic grey" in German, and denotes the uniform dark background that many people report seeing in the absence of light.

Igor Coelho A.S Marques:
Noturno is a sort of autobiographical piece for actor/poetry reciter, an 8-piece mixed chamber ensemble, and a stereo fixed media track, in which I deal with some of my nightly anxieties via three poems by Brazilian poet Ferreira Gullar. The first, Teu corpo, explores the inconsistency in seeking to define one's identity in the notion of an unfathomable soul, rather than in the concrete realities of their body. Then, Exercício de Relax emulates an insomniac's self-soothing bedtime routine, and Dentro sem fora closes with some paradoxical ontological aphorisms.
While the focus, sonically and theatrically, remains on the actor reciting the poems, the instrumental ensemble and the electronics play a crucial role in inflecting the text and spinning a narrative from the juxtaposition of these three different poems. A counterpoint of breathy and airy noises with metallic and distorted ones populates the first third of Noturno, while the drummer's gestures rise in entropy, painting a picture of increasing tension that counterposes the relaxing affirmations of Exercício de Relax. Relaxation eventually comes in the form of tonal and metrical stability, but this stability--or the illusion thereof--is short-lived, and quickly erodes away as the actor closes the work by reciting Dentro sem fora three times, each more disconsolate than the previous.

Alex Huddleston:
"My piece is titled Books II III VI VII XI XVII XXIV XXIX XLI. I would like to tell you some details of its construction. It is scored for Tenor Trombone, Bass, Soprano and Tenor Saxophone, Contrabass and Soprano Clarinet, seven guitar Pedals and Amplifier, fixed electronics, with limited amplification. Of the five musicians, all excepting the guitar pedals will be arrayed in a partial arc on the stage. The Clarinetist will sit closest to the audience on the right-most end of the arc, facing to the left; beside him will be the bass, beside her will be the Trombone, beside him will be the Saxophone. The manipulator of the pedals is seated behind them. The two speakers, stereo, will be rotated from their traditional position at the far left and right of the stage, such that the L channel will sound in the rear left corner, while the R channel will sound in the front left corner.
Both the trombone and the guitar pedals will have their sounds taken into a microphone, and displaced to the rear left corner. The piece is 25 minutes long. There are 6 autonomous musical strands occurring simultaneously - Each of which is an exploration of continuity as foundation - none of which are coordinated in any musical, or technical way. Each autonomous musical strand equally divides the total duration into some number of equal segments - the electronics are in 7 parts, the guitar pedals in 11, the Trombone in 17, the Bass in 24, the Saxophone in 29, and the Clarinet in 41. When conveyed through notation, each segment is indexed to the page - thus every page within a single stream is exactly the same length of time. Rhythms, Meters, & Tempi are not employed for the structure of time. A page may contain more or less material, having a clear sonic impact - more material within the same page = less time = faster. less material = more time = slower. In this way, the material of the music is imbricated in a notational network of nested imprecisions, ambiguities, aleatorea.
I have focused my descriptions to the structural elements of this work, rather than those of emotion or phenomenon. They have been written into the music, and cannot be rewritten in prose here. Therefore I invite you to hear the work for yourself with or without the information above in mind as you listen."

Alex also wrote a blog post about this text, and more generally about the possibilities and problems of connecting verbal language with music.

We look forward to listening to these works during ELISION's workshop, which will take place on April 24th at 2 PM in Lippes Concert Hall at Slee Hall.