AMN Reviews: Andrew Staniland – Talking down the Tiger [Naxos: 8.573428]

8.573428Once a risky venture, both artistically and in terms of public acceptance, the integration of electronics with acoustic orchestral instruments is now an almost routine compositional gambit. This observation serves as background to Talking down the Tiger, a set of five recent works for electronics-supported solo instruments by Canadian composer Andrew Staniland (b. 1977), who also performs on electronics.

Staniland’s compositions integrate their acoustic and electric sides as a matter of course, it being understood that any conflicts or contradictions between them would be the product of deliberate design. On all five of these pieces, which were composed between 2007 and 2013, the electronic element plays a largely supplementary role. The emphasis is on the soloist and the writing for him or her; Staniland favors a clear line and virtuoso performance. Percussionist Ryan Scott on Talking down the Tiger (2010); guitarist Rob MacDonald on Dreaded Sea Voyage (2013); flutist Camille Watts on Flute vs Tape (2012); cellist Frances Marie Uitti on Still Turning (2011); and soprano saxophonist Wallace Halladay on True North (2007) all actualize their pieces with skill and an expressive range indicative of interpretive sincerity. The latter is important since Staniland’s compositions suggest a spectrum of emotions as revealed in frequent changes in dynamics, tempo and register. This is epitomized in, for example, Flute vs Tape, which creates the sonic image of an impulsive, mutable character containing emotional multitudes. Staniland explores a different emotional register in Dreaded Sea Voyage, a three-part work inspired by Mahler’s fear of sailing for America. Here, MacDonald’s fluttering chords, shifting accents and rapid single line runs on nylon string guitar convincingly convey an atmosphere of nervous anticipation.

The highlight of the collection, though, is Still Turning, which features a remarkable performance by Uitti. This gravely beautiful piece, which takes best advantage of the cello’s range and vocal properties, is marked by a slow, measured lower register line played with expressive dynamics which eventually moves up in register and culminates in virtuosic, technically expansive playing. As with most of the other works, the electronic component is most noticeable as the performance moves towards its conclusion. In fact, with its balance of emotion and technique, Still Turning seems to epitomize Staniland’s aesthetic.

Daniel Barbiero



AMN Reviews: Ryuichi Sakamoto, Illuha & Taylor Duepree – Perpetual (12k)

R-6562506-1422054535-1052.jpegThe Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media celebrated ten years of being and doing in 2013. Among the celebrants were Ryuichi Sakamoto, Illuha (the duo of Tomoyoshi Date and Corey Fuller) and that most eminent small sound handler, Taylor Deupree (12k is his label). An ostensibly informal entertainment improvised on piano, guitar, pump organ, and synthesizers made enough of a “third mind” impression, that the four of them decided to preserve it for grateful listeners across the world.

A lesson in listening. Despite the fact that comparisons to Eno and Budd lie close at hand – Sakamoto is of course such a pianist – it is Eno´s Neroli that Perpetual calls most often to mind (that is, when it isn´t calling Thursday Afternoon to mind) on “Movement, 1”. As if it were used as a template…

Exquisite ambience threatens to float you blissfully away, but microscopic, almost transparent, amniotic things are happening and they crave your attention. Children are at play in “Movement, 1,” and someone, not the children I suspect, is playing with blocks. Not ordinary blocks. Detail is of the essence to this quartet. A guitar is picked up by a signal receiver and scrambles its message. Static turns into a rain of hobnails.

“Movement, 2” begins with movement inside the piano, notes being nipped in their respective buds, before further mechanical adjustments are made to the internal braces of its engine. Butterfingers drop a tool, a coin falls out of his breast pocket. A nectarous, wavering tone hovers, biding its time. Shards of frozen tears, fabric rustles impatiently. The wavering tone resolves itself back into Enoness.

Final, third movement, slides down Sakamoto´s sweet axis, at its root excavations are being conducted. It gets sweaty. Birds are more than a little annoyed, field workers scribble notes assiduously. The odd sour note says, Put a ring around its tiny leg and release it back into the wild.

Stephen Fruitman

This Week in New York 


loadbang continues their ongoing commissioning project that has resulted in over 200 works for the ensemble, performing premieres by Jordan Kuspa and Nils Vigeland, alongside works by their 2012 Call for Scores winner David Brynjar Franzson, Martin Iddon, Alex Mincek, and the ensemble’s trombonist William Lang.
Monday, December 7 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $15, $10 students
The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, 450 West 37th Street, New York, NY

The Mannes American Composers Ensemble will perform works by Nina C. Young, Kate Moore, Andrew Tholl, and Zach Gulaboff Davis.
Monday, December 7 at 7:30 PM
Arnold Hall, Ernst C. Stiefel Concert Hall, 55 West 13th Street, New York, NY

TILT Brass ensemble takes the stage for the final Pop-Up of the fall. TILT presents new works by contemporary composers Anthony Coleman, TILT co-founder Chris McIntyre, and Catherine Lamb.
Tuesday, December 8 at 6:00 PM
Miller Theatre, 2960 Broadway, New York, NY

Tenth Intervention presents We Are Legion, a new immersive chamber work with dance written by Dorian Wallace and based on the hacktivist collective Anonymous.
Tuesday, December 8 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $15 advance, $20 at door
the cell theatre, 338 West 23rd Street, New York, NY

Video artist Ursula Scherrer together with Shelley Hirsch (voice) and MV Carbon (cello and synthesizer) will stretch, pull, distort and expand the boundaries of image, sound and space to reach to that which is beyond.
Tuesday, December 8 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $20, $15 students/seniors
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Experiments in Opera co-founder Matthew Welch launches his first residency at the East Village avant-garde haven The Stone from December 8-13, 2015—a jam-packed premiere-filled series of 13 concerts over 6 days.
Tuesday, December 8 to 13 at 8:00 PM & 10:00 PM
Tickets $15
The Stone, Corner of Avenue C and 2nd Street, New York, NY

Pacifica Quartet performs music by Elliott Carter, Janacek, and Beethoven.
Wednesday, December 9 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $35
92Y, Kaufmann Concert Hall, Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street, New York, NY

NYU Extended String Sextet performs works by Jacob Cooper, Dai Fujikura, Garth Knox, Andrew Norman, Kaija Saariaho, and Pulitzer-prize winning composer Caroline Shaw.
Thursday, December 10 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $10, $5 students
Scholes Street Studio, 375 Lorimer Street, New York, NY

Where is the border between language and music? How does sound harden into signification, and how does language break down into song? What is the difference between our perceptions of meaning in these two media? Composer Anna Clyne presents violinist Keir GoGwilt and composer Matthew Aucoin as they explore the fluid boundary between words and music with works that feel like music and poetry at once. The program will include new work by Aucoin as well as Kurtag, Celan, Webern and Berg.
Thursday, December 10 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $25
National Sawdust, 80 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY

Ensemble Dal Niente continues its 10th Anniversary season with a three-city Neue Musik tour of contemporary German music. New York City’s Permutations concert series will be the final stop on Ensemble Dal Niente’s Neue Musik Tour of Chicago, Boston, and New York. Each composer featured on the Neue Musik program lives and works in Germany today, exhibiting at once an engagement with and struggle against the country’s rich cultural and musical tradition.
Thursday, December 10 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $15, $10 students
The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, 450 West 37th Street, New York, NY

International Contemporary Ensemble performs music by David Adamcyk and Zosha Di Castri, Natacha Diels, and Maria Stankova. The concert will be followed by a discussion with the composers and performers.
Friday, December 11 at 7:00 PM
Teatro of the Italian Academy at Columbia University, 118th Street at Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY

French electroacoustic composer Bérangère Maximin presents Siklon Sound Objects, Microphonics, Digital Chimeras at Roulette.
Friday, December 11 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $20, $15 students/seniors
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night returns for a 24th edition in cities across the United States and abroad. This year’s flagship New York City event takes place on Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 7:00pm, when composer Phil Kline will lead a massive chorus of boomboxes from the West Village to the East Village. Hundreds of participants will gather at the arch in Washington Square Park, and less than an hour and mile later, end up in Tompkins Square Park.
Saturday, December 12 at 7:00 PM
Washington Square Park Arch, New York, NY

The program pairs excerpts of John Adams’s John’s Book of Alleged Dances with the New York premiere of Kettle Corn Co-Artistic Director Chris Rogerson’s String Quartet No. 2. The quartet will also play short works by Michael Ippolito and Timo Andres, who will join the quartet as a pianist to close the program with Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet.
Saturday, December 12 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $20
The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, 450 West 37th Street, New York, NY

Carolyn Enger’s 3@3@3 Series at Spectrum features three sets of three composers’ work with a focus on the art of lyricism. Showcasing a wide range of repertoire, Carolyn will expand the idea of what it means to be lyrical, from Beethoven and Schubert to Rorem, Pärt, and Shaw, and shed light on each composer’s emotional expression.
Sunday, December 13 at 3:00 PM
Tickets $15, $10 students/seniors
Spectrum, 121 Ludlow Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY

Quotations and Homages will feature newly-written works inspired by a variety of earlier composers and pieces, from Mozart to Brahms to Messiaen to Carter to Gubaidulina to The Velvet Underground. In a program both serious and lighthearted, older works will be brought to new light through piano, electronics and multimedia by contemporary composers Missy Mazzoli, Daniel Felsenfeld, Michael Vincent Waller, Tom Flaherty, Vera Ivanova, Peter Yates, Matthew Elgart, Adam Borecki, and Nick Norton.
Sunday, December 13 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $15, $10 students/seniors
Spectrum, 121 Ludlow Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY

Mills Faculty and Rova Perform the Music of Lindsay Cooper 

Source: Strangeblood Blog.

Lindsay Cooper, a modern composer and bassoonist for the 70s Rock in Opposition band Henry Cow left a legacy of amazing music before leaving this planet in 2013 after a long fight with MS. Two of her former band members joined a group of local musicians to perform a concert of some of her work at Mills College’s Littlefield Concert Hall. Fred Frith and Cooper were both members of the band Henry Cow, a band who invented new ways to combine rock and experimental music in the 70’s heyday of progressive rock.

All About EMS Synthesisers

Source: 120 Years of Electronic Music.

EMS (Electronic Music Studios) was founded in 1965 by Peter Zinovieff, the son of an aristocrat Russian émigré with a passion for electronic music who set up the studio in the back garden of his home in Putney, London. The EMS studio was the hub of activity for electronic music in the UK during the late sixties and seventies with composers such as Harrison Birtwistle, Tristram Cary, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Hans Werner Henze as well as the commercial electronic production group ‘Unit Delta Plus (Zinovieff, Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson).