AMN Reviews: FIMAV 2017 – Sunday Performances

By Irwin Block

VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – It started with a French musician exploring the sonic potential of a church organ and ended with the madcap avant rock of a Quebec guitarist: a day in the life of this town’s festival of new and improvised music festival which ended its four-day run Sunday.

And in between these concerts, the Festival International de Musique Actuelle here on Sunday also presented what were clear highlights among the 21 concerts – outstanding collaborative work by guitarist Nels Cline’s quartet and a pristine solo show by saxophonist Anthony Braxton.

In the early afternoon, avant saxophonist Jean-Luc Guionnet at the console of the mid-sized organ at the beautifully renovated Saint Christophe Roman Catholic Church and used it as a sound lab. From hypnotic long tones, he grew the aural palate, building density and intensity and then showcased a variety of sonic artifices. He dabbled with chords, but ended with spare and lean sounds, contrasting with the church’s lush frescos and gilded columns, and respecting its sacred mission.

The mid-afternoon show featured two contemporary classical compositions by Montreal-based electric guitarist Tim Brady. He first played as soloist in Désir, a concerto for electric guitar and 13-member ensemble, an evocative work on the various emotional states in passionate love. Brady then took over to direct 8 Songs about Symphony #7, a reflection, with script and song, featuring on the historic performance of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony on August 9, 1942. It was an act of defiance, some said of madness, as thousands were starving to death in the midst of the 900-day siege by the German army. Brady has recreated this period and the essence of Shostakovich’s music in this eight-segment quasi-operatic treatment, with the baritone Vincent Ranallo and soprano Sara Albu reciting or singing about this horrific moment in history. The music was dramatic and compelling, the orchestra and soloists succeeding in shining an artistic light on a period of great darkness, with stunning impact. This work deserves repeat performances!

In the early evening, electric guitarist Nels Cline thrilled a packed and enthusiastic hall with his latest quartet, featuring his brilliant guitar buddy Julian Lage – they have been performing for several years in a duo – with journeymen drummer Tom Rainy and master bassist Scott Colley. They offered a mix – pieces by Carla Bley, Paul Motion, and several originals – of tunes that they then developed with often dazzling improv. There was not a single cliché that I could detect, but plenty of sustained effort to carry the music forward, without any ego tripping solos. Everything played was crafted to fit into the big picture.

For creative music pioneer Anthony Braxton, playing a solo concert on alto sax at age 71 must have presented a challenge, but he accepted the invitation. It was his 10th gig at this festival over a 35-year span and he was wearing his trademark blue cardigan, unbuttoned. He played nine pieces in about an hour, referencing in most the standard repertoire, but developing the music with the techniques he has honed over a busy creative life. Though parts were familiar, each piece had the thrust and contours of an original. It was a satisfying exposé, a reminder to a rapt audience of his role as a performer and teacher in advancing the creative music scene.

The final show showcased a new quintet led by Quebec electric guitarist René Lussier, with two drummers, a tuba player, and accordion player. The music had a wild, off-the- wall feel, raw and rough-hewn, and featuring unexpected musical twists and turns. We hope to hear more from this group as it develops.

The festival musical director reported that this year’s edition had met attendance targets. Without being specific, he said ticket sales had recovered from the 10-15 percent dip experienced last year.

AMN Reviews: Thomas DeLio – Selected Compositions II 1972-2015 [Neuma 450-116]

Selected Compositions II is the second installment in Neuma’s Composers Series of works by composer Thomas DeLio (1951). As with the first installment, Selected Compositions II contains compositions for solo instruments and small ensembles, some for electronics, and one relatively large-scale work for soprano and orchestra. DeLio, who has a background in mathematics and visual art as well as in music, frequently works with disjunctive forms and an expanded palette of sound; the pieces presented here are representative of the composer’s aesthetic on both counts. He also creates what he calls “deconstructions”—electronically manipulated recordings of previous performances of his work, one of which is included in the set.

DeLio’s rhetoric of discontinuity and rupture is particularly on display in two versions of inents (2015), an electronically-processed setting of P. Inman’s poem aengus for six voices. Inman’s fragmentary text lends itself well to DeLio’s treatment, which proceeds over a broken surface of silences, electronic sounds, and spoken words. The brief – en/l’espace de…(2007) for soprano and orchestra draws a minimum of sound from a maximal surrounding of silence; the pleasure of the piece consists in its paradoxical leveraging of the greatest instrumental resources to produce a microeconomy of sound.

The deconstruction included here is thoughtfully juxtaposed with the performance it takes as its source. The source, 1990’s anti-paysage for flute, piano, percussion and electronics, anchors isolated sound events in an ocean of silence; its deconstruction, anti-paysage II (2013), reduces the original recording’s already reduced surfaces to a glittering, second-order abstraction.

Daniel Barbiero

This Week in New York


In conjunction with The Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends, Bang on a Can presents a pair of two concerts exploring artistic exchanges and their legacy for contemporary music. Part I explores Rauschenberg’s idea of the “Combine” and will feature Christian Wolff in conversation with David Lang and a performance by the Bang on a Can All-Stars.
Tuesday, May 23 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $15
Titus Theater 1 at The Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY

The New York Philharmonic premieres Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Aeriality on a concert that also includes the New York premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Wing on Wing featuring sopranos Anu Komsi and Piia Komsi and Brahms’s Violin Concerto performed by Leonidas Kavakos.
Tuesday, May 23 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $19-$104
David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, New York, NY

Radicals in Miniature is a series of textual-sonic odes to personal icons of 20th century “alternative” culture that lost their toehold on immortality and (in the pre-Internet era) their place in public memory. Radicals is performed by 3-time Obie Award winner Ain Gordon and So Percussion’s Josh Quillen.
Tuesday, May 23 and Wednesday, May 24 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $20
Baryshnikov Arts Center, Howard Gilman Performance Space, 450 West 37th Street, Suite 501, New York, NY

American Composers Orchestra returns to the Sharp Theatre with special guests Rossen Milanov (conductor), Sharon Isbin (guitar), Meaghan Burke (vocals & cello), David Tinervia (baritone), and R. Luke DuBois (video), for evening of works by current composers known for stretching the limits of new classical music. Featuring world premieres from Alex Temple, Nina C. Young, and Carlos Simon alongside a classic by John Corigliano.
Tuesday, May 23 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $26 to $40
Symphon Space, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, 2537 Broadway, New York, NY

In conjunction with The Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends, Bang on a Can presents a pair of two concerts exploring artistic exchanges and their legacy for contemporary music. Part II celebrates Rauschenberg’s collaborations with John Cage and David Tudor through immersive works by both composers, reimagined for today by David Lang, audio engineer and sound artist Jody Elff, and violinist Todd Reynolds.
Wednesday, May 24 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $15
Titus Theater 1 at The Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY

Currents is an electro-acoustic concert that juxtaposes contrasting compositional styles in an eclectic program, celebrating the marriage of tradition and technology. Nouveau Classical Project will premiere new electro-acoustic works by composers who thrive in both the classical and pop worlds, including Olga Bell, Gabrielle Herbst, David Bird, and Isaac Schankler. VJ Mamiko Kushida will create ambient video projections for the performance, and musicians’ costumes will be styled by members of the NYC indie fashion collective Flying Solo.
Thursday, May 25 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $25
National Sawdust, 80 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY

In their U.S. debut as a duo, American trombonist and countertenor David Whitwell and Irish pianist Cliodna Shanahan bring a program of premieres to NYC, featuring music by Hannah Kendall, Richard Causton, Gerald Barry, Girolamo Deraco, Gene Pritsker, Dan Cooper, Mark Kostabi, and the duo members.
Thursday, May 25 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $15
Kostabi World Uptown, 357 East 62nd Street, New York, NY

The Orchestra of the League of Composers performs a world premiere by Sheree Clement, a New York premiere by Fred Lerdahl, and works by Lisa Bielawa and Arvo Pärt.
Thursday, May 25 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $25, $15 students/seniors
Miller Theatre, 2960 Broadway, New York, NY

Two-piano, two-percussion quartet Yarn/Wire has their Americas Society debut in a program focusing on living composers from Colombia, including Ricardo Gallo, Carolina Noguera, and Damián Ponce de León. The performance also features a recent work by Canadian composer Zosha Di Castri.
Friday, May 26 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $20
Americas Society, 680 Park Avenue, New York, NY

Pianists Sylvie Courvoisier, Taka Kigawa, Tristan McKay, and Shira Shaked join Blueprints Piano Series directors Daniel Anastasio and Erika Dohi for an evening of cosmic music, spanning from the French Baroque to today.
Sunday, May 28 at 5:00 PM
Tickets $15
Greenwich House Music School, 46 Barrow St, New York, NY

All About Jazz Reviews

Louis Sclavis

Source: All About Jazz.

Louis Sclavis / Dominique Pifarély / Vincent Courtois
Asian Fields Variations (ECM Records)

Tina Raymond
Left Right Left (Orenda Records)

Bill Frisell / Thomas Morgan
Small Town (ECM Records)

Hanging Hearts
Into A Myth (Shifting Paradigm Records)

Thinking Plague
Hoping Against Hope (Cuneiform Records)

The Great Harry Hillman
Tilt (Cuneiform Records)

Charlie Haden / Liberation Music Orchestra
Time/Life:Songs For The Whales And Other Beings (Impulse!)

Mat Maneri/Evan Parker/Lucian Ban
Sounding Tears (Clean Feed Records)

Ensemble Dal Niente’s Party 2017 in Chicago

Source: Ensemble Dal Niente.

June 3, 2017 @ 7:30pm
Ruth Page Center for the Arts
1016 N Dearborn Street
$30/$15 Ticket Link

Come to Dal Niente’s annual PARTY! This year’s PARTY includes an immersive new work by Joshua Fineberg, with assistance by members of Mocrep, where audience members are invited (but not required) to do more than just listen.

As always, patrons of this event will experience a non-traditional performance space, a flexible floor plan, music paired with food and beverages, a relaxed environment where audiences can mingle and move around, and multiple sets of musical performances throughout the night that run the gamut from the hilarious to the sublime. Dal Niente is saving some of its most breathtaking performances for PARTY 2017, offering compositions of varying extremes and stylistic influence that ensure all audience members will find a personal, unforgettable experience.

This year’s PARTY includes beloved works by recent collaborators Hans Abrahamsen and Chaya Czernowin, the Chicago premiere of a new work for Dal Niente by LJ White, and the wild “Swing” by new-to-the-ensemble composer Franck Bedrossian. In the second half of the evening, audiences will be invited to step into an immersive new composition by Joshua Fineberg, where they choose to be passive observers or active participants during the performance. If you choose to participate, you will be guided by members of the Chicago-based ensemble Mocrep, directed towards and within a combination of instruments, theatrical lighting, and electro-acoustic music culminating in collective transcendence.


Joshua Fineberg – take my hand (2017) for two sopranos, flute, clarinet, horn, harp, percussion, piano, electric guitar, violin, viola, cello, electronics, assistants

Franck Bedrossian – Swing (2009) for flute, clarinet, saxophone, percussion, piano, guitar, two violins, viola, cello, bass

LJ White – Chicago Premiere (2017) for two sopranos, saxophone, horn, harp piano, violin, cello, bass

Hans Abrahamsen – Winternacht (1987 version) for flute, clarinet, piano, percussion, guitar, violin, cello

Chaya Czernowin – Sahaf (2008) for saxophone, electric guitar, piano, percussion

Additional works TBA

Gapplegate Music Reviews

English: Jazz saxophonist, guitarist, masterin...

Source: Gapplegate Music Review.

Rob Mazurek, Chants and Corners

Allen Lowe, In the Diaspora of the Diaspora: Hell with an Ocean View: Down and Out DownEast

Jason Anick & Jason Yeager, United

Frantz Loriot, Reflections on an Introspective Path

Benedikt Jahnel Trio, The Invariant

Beyond Trio Live at Spectrum, Cheryl Pyle, Roberta Piket, Newman Taylor Baker

Frantz Loriot, Manuel Perovic, Notebook Large Ensemble, Urban Furrow