How to Get Reviewed on Avant Music News and Other Trivia

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Happy February. January 2016 was our most successful month yet, if you measure success in terms of web site traffic, social media coverage, and general interest. One of the side-effects of such “success” is that we have many, many more submissions for review coming in.

So, if you have or are thinking of submitting a recording for review, please hop on over to our new page, How to Get Reviewed for the scoop on our present situation, and a few pointers on how you can increase your chances of having one of us write about your music.


AMN Reviews: Douglas Anderson – Chamber Symphonies 2, 3 & 4 [Ravello RR7923]

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rr7923 - chamber symphonies 2 3 4“Symphony” tends to carry the connotation of a large-scale, multi-movement work for a full orchestra. With his series of Chamber Symphonies–works for ensembles as small as three pieces—Douglas Anderson reimagines the symphony as an intimate work based on interrelated knots of pitches and harmonies.

Anderson, a composer and conductor based in New York, studied composition with Mario Davidovksy, Vladimir Ussachevsky, Chou Wen-chung and Charles Wuorinen, among others. His body of work encompasses electronic music, acoustic chamber music, orchestral works and vocal compositions as well as occasional pieces for radio, film and stage. With these three chamber symphonies, he explores polyphonic work for small acoustic ensembles.

As with more conventional symphonies, the three chamber works presented here are made up of multiple parts, often—in the cases of the Second and Third–divided by a cadenza for a soloist. The focus of all three pieces is on melody, as structured by Anderson’s elastic adaptation of serial technique. Anderson constructs pitch sets to use as basic melodic material, but modifies them as needed in order to maximize their melodic effect. At many points during these works, for example, he seems to take subsets of a basic twelve-tone set and arrange them to create a quasi-tonal sound. Consequently, all three works display an essential melodic coherence, the salient features of the rows remaining recognizable throughout the repetitions and variations Anderson has them undergo. One side effect of this transparency is a remarkable clarity of line, which is also facilitated by the small sizes of the ensembles—two trios and a quartet.

Rightly or wrongly, serial composition has long had an unenviable reputation for being opaque and resistant to the untrained listener’s comprehension. But as these three works show, the creative application of serial method can produce music that, no less than tonal music, reveals its structures on its surfaces. Beyond their intrinsic value, Anderson’s chamber symphonies demonstrate the continued relevance of serial and serial-based composition for the creation of profoundly melodic, polyphonic works.

Daniel Barbiero

This Week in New York

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Third Coast Percussion performs the New York City premiere of Donnacha Dennehy’s Surface Tension.
Wednesday, February 10 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $30
Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

Piano trio Longleash joins pianist/composer Rachel Grimes for a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the group’s album Music for Egon Schiele. Grimes will join the trio for arrangements of pieces from her 2015 album The Clearing and the world premiere of her two-piano work And Today Was Her Birthday.
Wednesday, February 10 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $25, $15 students
Merkin Concert Hall, 129 West 67th Street, New York, NY

Dawn of Midi performs at The Kitchen.
Wednesday, February 10 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $15
The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street New York, NY

Contemporaneous presents Laws of Nature, featuring a world premiere by Icelandic-Canadian composer Fjóla Evans, a multimedia work by Australian composer Kate Moore, a piece by Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and a new arrangement of music from harpist and songwriter Joanna Newsom’s second album, Ys.
Thursday, February 11 at 7:30 PM
$10 suggested donation
Pioneer Works, 159 Pioneer Street, Brooklyn, NY

Inspired by J.S. Bach’s solo suites, Look Back / Move Forward assembles new suites for today. The centerpiece is a suite pulsing with energy and life commissioned by Sybarite5 from six composers: Kenji Bunch, Eric Byers, Mohammed Fairouz, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Michi Wiancko, and Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin, each asked to contribute one movement.
Thursday, February 11 at 9:30 PM
Tickets $25
National Sawdust, 80 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY

SONYC (String Orchestra of New York City), New York’s conductorless string orchestra, comes to National Sawdust with works by four East–Coast composers.
Friday, February 12 at 4:00 PM & 8:00 PM
Tickets $25
National Sawdust, 80 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY

Parnes and Troyano will work environmentally, presenting two works – The Silence of Marcel Duchamp with John Zorn’s BeuysBlock as a soundtrack and a live film version of Bubble People, featuring filmmaker Jack Smith along with Parnes and Polly Bradfield.
Friday, February 12 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $10
The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street, New York, NY

Sō Percussion at New Music Gathering 2016 (photo: Tina Tallon)Sō Percussion at New Music Gathering 2016 (photo: Tina Tallon)
So Percussion teams up with Glenn Kotche and Shara Worden for performances of music by Kotche, Worden, and Steven Mackey.
Friday, February 12 at 9:00 PM
Tickets $38-$45
Carnegie Hall, Zankel Hall, 57th Street and 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Ikue Mori (improviser, composer) performs a new live visual and sound piece based on the Nathaniel Hawthorne tale “Pomegranate Seeds.”
Saturday, February 13 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $10
The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street, New York, NY

Composers Concordance presents its next Wingjammer, a feast of contemporary music featuring improvisation plus an ample reception of buffalo wings. Compositions by Paul Carlon, Dan Cooper, Eleanor Cory, Emily Doolittle, Scott Hoefling, Ryo Noda, Payton MacDonald, Gene Pritsker, Raul Quines, David Sanford, Daniel Schnyder, and Dorian Wallace will be performed.
Saturday, February 13 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $15
West Park Presbyterian Church, 165 West 86th Street, New York, NY

Gapplegate Music Reviews

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Source: Gapplegate Music Review.

Naked Truth, Avian Thug
Art “Turk” Burton and Congo Square, Spirits: Then and Now, Featuring Ari Brown
Urs Bollhalder Trio, Eventide

All About Jazz Reviews

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A shot from a 2006 performance by Peter Brötzm...

Source: All About Jazz.

Konstrukt & Peter Brötzmann
The Message: Live At Kargart (Holidays Records)

Naked Truth
Avian Thug (RareNoiseRecords)

Michael Formanek’s Ensemble Kolossus
The Distance (ECM Records)

Spring Hill Jack
Three Treader releases conclude label’s first decade in fine style

Various Artists
The Boston Creative Jazz Scene 1970-1983 (Cultures Of Soul Records)

Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord
Make Magic Happen (Hot Cup Records)

Le Rex
Wild Man (Cuneiform Records)

Ensemble Dal Niente’s Hard Music, Hard Liquor in Chicago

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Source: Ensemble Dal Niente:

Frequency Festival: Hard Music, Hard Liquor
Sunday, February 28, 2016
7:30pm 9:30pm
3111 North Western Avenue Chicago, IL, 60618 United States

Ensemble Dal Niente revives its much-loved “Hard Music, Hard Liquor” series for the Frequency Festival. The program pits intensely virtuosic solo works against larger ensemble pieces. In addition to fearless technical displays, listeners will be treated to the unexpected formal twists and turns of George Lewis’s music. Uncompromising and adventurous, this program truly lives up to its name.


George Lewis: Hexis (2013) for six players
George Lewis: Mnemosis (2012) for seven players
Beat Furrer: Solo (1999) for solo cello
Richard Barrett: Interference (2000) for solo contrabass clarinet
Sivan Cohen Elias: Hack (2016) for solo electric guitar

AMN Reviews: Shulamit – For You the Sun Will Shine: Songs of Women in the Shoa (Rockpaperscissors)

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shulamit22Soon there will be no more survivors. Soon there will be no witnesses left, either. As artist Edmund de Waal wrote, millions were “erased from the texture of life” by the Holocaust. Soon all that will remain is the historical record and our determination to preserve and protect it.

There is already a rather vast library of work composed during the Holocaust, but For You the Sun Will Shine is something quite new, different and essential. Charlette Shulamit Ottolenghi was born and raised in Milan and now lives in Jerusalem. She has been performing these songs written by female prisoners for some ten years now, originally brought to light by the research of Francesco Lo Toro, founder and director of the Musica Judaica Institute in Barletta. It has been suggested that both before and during incarceration, women coped differently than their male counterparts, steeling themselves by sharing imaginary meal preparation and recipes and doing household chores. “(The) men don’t go out… She stands on the long line (for bread)… When there is need to go to the Gestapo, the daughter or wife goes… The women are everywhere… (Women) who never thought of working are now performing the most difficult physical work.” Evidently there were also many who had enough energy to pursue their artistic interests, as well.

chaIlse Weber´s songs were hidden under the dirt of Theresienstadt, dug up by her husband at the end of the war. Ludmilla Pešcařová memorized hers. Another is even gone from the paper record, anonymous forever. Czechs, Germans, Poles, Jews, Gentiles. Nothing can vitiate the obscenity of the Holocaust, but each and every piece of art discovered fulfils the so-called 614th commandment, the moral obligation to negate Hitler´s determination to obliterate Jewish life and creativity. “True respect to these women artists is to treat them as artists,” insists Shulamit, and to sing their songs, not only on Holocaust Memorial Day.

For this recording, Shulamit assembled a tiny ensemble, with the indefatigable Frank London, pianist Shai Bachar and percussionist Yuval Lion. The smallness of it defies the enormity of the subject, while allowing the band to be silly-puttied in arrangement. She sings lullabyes, kaddishes, Brecht-Weillian cabaret, parodies, anthems with a Socialist sway, prayers and death march waltzes, bitter, longing, enraged, despairing. Healing broken music, arrangers London and Bachar are by turns taciturn and elegant, stirring and experimental, trumpeter London especially the vigorous tummler, Bachar constant and nourishing as the rain.

One Holocaust historian cites the words of an anti-Nazi cleric, who quoted Luke 19:40 as his testament – “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” As the number of Holocaust deniers and relativists outnumber its historical victims, witnesses and perpetrators, our existential duty is to listen – otherwise the texture of our life becomes ever more threadbare.

Stephen Fruitman