Hommage to Ligeti, Hauer, and Reich
Saturday, February 23, 2013, 5:00pm ($10 general, $5 student; Tickets available on Feburary 1, 2013 at http://www.dalniente.com)
PianoForte Salon in the Fine Arts Building
410 South Michigan Avenue
In the intimate setting of the PianoForte Salon, pianist Mabel Kwan presents a rare performance of Haas’ Trois Hommages, a feat in itself considering one pianist is required to play two pianos simultaneously. While one piano is tuned conventionally, the other is detuned by one quarter-tone in its entire range, creating a palette of 176 pitches played by one musician. Each movement pays tribute to an influential composer who profoundly shaped the course of 20th century music.
As a member of Ensemble Dal Niente, Mabel Kwan is active in performances and education outreach throughout the concert season. She performed with Dal Niente at the 45th International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany where they received a Kranichstein Stipend Prize, the first ever awarded to an ensemble. She and percussionist Andrew Bliss are founding members of the duo Nothing in Common. The duo has performed at the Intermedia Festival at IUPUI and the SEAMUS conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as well as universities and concert venues throughout the Midwest. Mabel has given solo recitals at the Sonic Fusion Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland and the Experimental Piano Series produced by the Chicago Composers Forum and Pianoforte Chicago. She champions the works of artists from her generation and has enjoyed collaborations with Liminal Performance Group and the Poetry Foundation. Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Mabel received performance degrees from Rice University and Northern Illinois University. She currently lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Thursday, February 28, 2013, 7:30pm ($20 general, $10 student)
Ruth Page Center for the Arts
1016 North Dearborn Street
Christopher Trapani (b. 1980): Anyplace Else (2012) for large ensemble*
Georg Friedrich Haas (b. 1953): in vain (2000) for 24 players and lighting design
Haas’s in vain has already earned recognition as one of the most influential and important pieces of music written since 2000. It is the composer’s vehement, long-form response to the far right’s political victories in his native Austria. With a style reminiscent of Ligeti, with its rich, spectrally-derived harmonies and complex interweaving rhythmic matrices, Haas has a dramatic and powerful musical voice. His music is made even more distinct by the lighting effects that his scores call for; certain passages of in vain will be performed in complete darkness, disturbing and transforming the listener’s expectations on this journey through territory in which intense, violent energy and absolute stasis are juxtaposed. There are few ensembles that can pull off a work of this magnitude (it even includes an accordion part!), and Dal Niente is pleased to offer the first Chicago performance of this incredible masterwork.
Also on the program is Chris Trapani’s Anyplace Else, in which melting imaginary landscapes are conjured by the sounds of prepared piano and effects-drenched electric guitar. Dal Niente gave this work its world premiere to high praise at the 2012 Darmstadt Courses, and Chicago audiences will thrill to its savvy mingling of harmonically-rich and formally structured worlds of Grisey or Murail with the deconstructed pop/rock experimentation of contemporary sound artists such as Dirty Beaches. RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Tortoise, Les espaces acoustiques, The Sea & Cake.
The latest AMM release finds the enigmatic collective stripped down to just two of the long-term collaborators: John Tilbury on piano (occasionally attacking it from the inside), and Eddie Prévost on (mostly bowed) percussion. While guitarist Keith Rowe is missed, the new disc, Two London Concerts, more than makes up for his absence in both its lyricism and astoundingly intense percussive interplay.
As the title drily indicates, the disc is comprised of two performances, each running just over 30 minutes. The first performance opens with several jarringly loud and unsettling chords from Tilbury, eventually followed by Prévost’s equally discomforting metal on metal bowing. The chords are abrupt calls; the bowing is a sustained response that eventually moves into the forefront while Tilbury relaxes a bit and explores the keyboard with less tension. (Although the antithesis of Morton Feldman in terms of sheer volume, one can hear, even more than usual, a stylistic similarity to the music of the late composer in the long spaces between chords that Tilbury employs, perhaps a nod to the interpretations of Feldman’s piano compositions that Tilbury recorded for the London Hall label in 2000.)
The thrilling nightmare of percussive piano and time-stretched percussion continues for fully 10 minutes in the first performance before the two performers change direction. The music is quieter with more attention paid to percussion as a time-keeper than a time-stretcher, and Tilbury’s playing becomes much more lyrical, and less chord-heavy. Relative quiet, not without tension, continues, with all sorts of sonic input from Prévost embellishing Tilbury’s more subdued playing.
The second performance, altogether calmer, and longer, shows Prévost expanding his palette, though there’s still plenty of bowing, and Tilbury, while mostly playing subtly and relatively quietly throughout, nonetheless takes the opportunity to dive into the innards of the piano towards the end of the performance, adding another layer of percussiveness to one of two performances that confound the ear’s perception of what is and isn’t percussive – the instruments that usually mark time end up stretching it. This is one of the most exciting and vital recordings to be released under the AMM name in quite some time.
On 15th-16th February the British Library will be holding a two day symposium that seeks to open up and explore the practice, art and craft of field recording through a series of panel presentations, listening sessions and screenings.
Taylor Ho Bynum writes about the recently-departed Butch Morris.
22, Friday, 8 & 9:30 pm A MUST-SEE CONCERT EVENT!! ETHNIC HERITAGE ENSEMBLE
Returns to our stage for their 9th annual Black History Month performance!
Kahil El’Zabar, drums, voice, kalimba
Ernest Khabeer Dawkins, reeds
Corey Wilkes, trumpet
In the words of Bird, “Now is definitely the time!” Tell family and friends that the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble must be seen, heard and experienced like never before. It is your moment and your destiny to say it loud and make the music proud! The EHE has dedicated 35 plus years to the ancient to the future sense of hope. It is their time and you owe it to yourself to experience their groove. It is authentic music of an honest and tenured insight. These three musicians are like no other. They give it to you real; they give it to you serious, while having lots of fun!
Jill Burton brings her voice and physical form as the two main tools of her trade. Her bio includes training in ballet and classical music at an early age, while having quickly developed an affinity for improvising in performance. Ms. Burton was a witness and participant in the profound cultural and interdisciplinary possibilities of the 1980′s arts renaissance that blossomed out of the then near-apocalyptic urban collapse and wholly non-commercial NYC/Lower East Side scene. While many musicians here for CM5 concerts come from that same NYC/LES arts scene, few could add something as inverted a seminal experience as Burton’s six years as musical accompanist for Pacific Northwestern Tlingit tribe storytellers in Sitka, Alaska. She has spent more than fifteen years studying and practicing non-invasive medical modalities including Reiki, Ortho-Bionomy and Sound Healing. Burton’s improvised works manifest most often in wordless vocals, seemingly constructing invisible sonic architecture, both bordering the interior of a venue and transforming those same borders into transducers carrying vibrations. Jill has performed vocal and dance improvisations with a number of earlier CM5 concert artists including Tatsuya Nakatani, Doug Mathews, Kris Gruda, Emily Hay and Philip Gelb.
Wade Matthews, like Jill Burton, makes his Timucua white house début after several visits to Urban ReThink’s Sunday Afternoon Improv series. Matthews is a French-born American living in Madrid, Spain, practicing in the art of digital synthesis and manipulated field recordings. His doctoral dissertation on improvisation guided by electronic sounds at Columbia University and the historic Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center certainly defines his current career. His previous appearances in Orlando saw Matthews recording the performance space ambiance and early arriving patrons as field recording subjects to potentially be used in the ensuing music created. While originally known for his bass clarinet and alto flute work, a two computer setup has become the primary locus for both solo and group improvisations. It’s swiftly notable that he has created technical and working disciplines to close the potentially awkward intervals in the reaction time between computers and conventional music instruments during group improvisations. An overview of collaborations will turn up dancers, poets, visual artists in addition to vocalists and live, conventional or electronic instrumentalists. His live performances include the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Center for the Arts in Mexico City, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires and the Reina Sofía Museum of Contemporary Art in Madrid.