HOLD YOUR BREATH: NEW WORKS FOR CONTRABASS CLARINET
Split Rudder (II) explores the sounds of the contrabass clarinet from the inside. A microphone inserted in the bell captures a rich timbral world and highlights a range of contrasting actions, from a spectrum of intimate air timbres to harsh growls in the lowest bass register. The development of the musical material and the course of events have been influenced by the focused and dramatic storytelling of the ballad “Briggen Blue Bird of Hull” by Swedish composer and troubadour Evert Taube.
Malin Bång’s music is an exploration of movement and energy. She defines her musical material according to their amount of friction to create a spectrum of unpredictable and contrasting actions, ranging from the intimate and barely audible to the harsh and obstinate. In her work she often incorporates sound objects to explore a rich sound world and to suggest that a musical content can be shaped by anything valuable to the artistic purpose.
Malin Bång is residing in Stockholm, Sweden and is the composer in residence and a founding member of the Curious Chamber Players. Lately she has specifically explored the mixed, amplified instrumental ensemble extended with sound objects in collaboration with the members of CCP.
Her works are performed worldwide and some recent and upcoming collaborations and commissions include the portrait concert “how long is now” at the Ultraschall festival in Berlin with CCP, as well as commissions for Klangforum Wien and the Impuls festival, Ensemble Recherche andthe Wittener Tage für Neue Musik, Ensemble Nikel at the Donaueschinger Musiktage and Nadar Ensemble for the Darmstadt Ferienkurse and the Strasbourg Musica Festival.During 2010 she was awarded the Kranichsteiner Stipendienpreis for her ensemble work Turbid Motion at the Darmstadt Festival. In 2012 she started a one year residency in Berlin,invited as a guest by the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm.
During 2015 she is composing music commissioned by the Radio Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR for the celebratory concert of Lachenmann’s 80th birthday as well as a piece for the Swedish Chamber Orchestra Musica Vitae.
Ground is a tracing of the 1933 Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler standard “Stormy Weather,” a meditation on the physical act of singing its melody, in the form of a single, awkward instrument’s attempt to capture the remarkable divagations of that melody, with the contrabass clarinet skimming fitfully over the surface as the tune proliferates into an overlapping, folded, canonic space that serves as a slippery ground.
This is an admittedly idiosyncratic approach to the request from Gareth Davis to write a work based on a tune from the Great American Songbook, insofar as it involves virtually no audible snippets of the melody in question. The most direct trace is in the form of the piece, its large-scale looping repetitions, which faithfully retraces the sectional pattern of the original. Otherwise, Ground operates in indirect homage to what is most interesting to me about the song: its pressure on the breath and on the lowest register, its repetitions, its aimless chromatic wanderings followed by plunging descents. It is an incredibly demanding melody, physically speaking, in a way that the suavity of a standard performance can barely contain. Ground is a record of what lies beneath.
This work was commissioned by the City of Witten for the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik in 2010, and premiered by Gareth Davis.
Evan Johnson (b. 1980) is an American composer whose music, often incorporating medieval and baroque materials and techniques, focuses also on the physical underpinnings of instrumental performance, extreme notational situations, and the structural potential of conflicting repetitive and canonic structures. His music has been commissioned and performed throughout North America, Europe and beyond by many prominent ensembles and soloists, and programmed at numerous American and international festivals of contemporary music, including Darmstadt, Witten, Huddersfield, TRANSIT (Leuven), Klangwerkstatt Berlin, Acht Brücken (Cologne), Bludenz, Monday Evening Concerts (Los Angeles), Dark Music Days (Reykjavik), soundON (San Diego), and others. Recordings are available or forthcoming on HCR, Metier, Label MusikFabrik, Wergo, Another Timbre, GOD Records, and New Focus.
The recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, he is also active as a writer on music and has taught at SUNY Buffalo, Northeastern University, and Harvard.
More information is available at http://www.evanjohnson.info.
Resistance for contrabass clarinet and electronics (2012/15)
The result...is a ‘vibration’ whose power is transmitted to the human community – that is, to a community of human beings whose activity is itself defined in terms of seizing and rending: suffering, resistance, cries.
– Jacques Rancière, tr. Gregory Elliott. The Emancipated Spectator.
Resistance emerges from the sonic landscape that surrounded me as a New Yorker in 2011-12. When re-synthesized with solo contrabass clarinet, impeded by preparation with foreign materials, can these found sounds retain the resonance of the social conditions that created them? Emanating from a speaker in the bell of the clarinet, as if occupying the instrument itself, beyond the control of the performer, they eventually expand to envelop the audience. Without addressing a single political agenda, the voice of the clarinetist is joined by thousands of human voices that are rarely heard in a concert hall. Originally written for bass clarinetist Heather Roche at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2012, the new version for contrabass clarinet is developed in collaboration with, and dedicated to, Alejandro Acierto.
Aaron Einbond’s work explores the intersection of instrumental music, sound installation, field recording, and technology, bringing the spontaneity of live performance together with computer interactivity to impact and challenge the listener. His recent work has
focused on audio transcription as the center of a creative process bridging composition, improvisation, and interpretation, questioning the thresholds of perception between instrument, stage, room, and loudspeaker. Recently Chicago-based Ensemble Dal Niente released his portrait album Without Words on Carrier Records, and SWR ExperimentalStudio produced his Giga-Hertz prizewinning Cartographies for piano with two performers and electronics for the 43-loudspeaker Klangdom at ZKM in Karlsruhe.
Upcoming projects include a string trio commissioned by neuverBand for performances in Basel, Zurich, and Geneva; a new work for ’cello and electronics for Séverine Ballon; and a collaboration with OperaLab Berlin. He is a member of Qubit New Music Initiative with whom he curates and produces experimental media in New York.
Einbond was born in New York in 1978 and has studied at Harvard, the University of Cambridge, the University of California Berkeley, and IRCAM in Paris, with teachers including Mario Davidovsky, Julian Anderson, Edmund Campion, and Philippe Leroux. He has taught at Columbia University as Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, the Centre for Research in New Music at the University of Huddersfield, and Harvard University as Visiting Lecturer on Music. He is currently a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and Artistic Research Resident at IRCAM in Paris.
More information at http://aaroneinbond.wordpress.com/
I FOLLOWED THE LINES OF GOD
today i. i am a ghost impersonating the living. i am an impersonal ghost living the today. i am a phantom. i live impersonal. it impersonates the you. the living. it’s you. if i want fast shrouds i want you. no good. loves so wild now. dealing. i can tell lonely is the i. is success. there is no you. they have raised me from the dead. darling im laughing like you are i. diamond divine. vast in i. it is. was personal. i am ghost feathers. impersonal. living i.
i down. on.
Morgan Krauss (b. 1985) is a composer currently living in Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Music in Composition at Columbia College Chicago in the winter of 2012. She is now continuing her studies in Music Composition as a Doctoral student at Northwestern University.
Krauss’ ambitions in her works are to produce tactile explorations based on ones physical awareness and elements of allurement. Her music is focused on the latent instability of seemingly fixed gestures where the interaction between performer and the score creates yet a third entity, often guided by improvisation and the clashing of emotional opposites.