AMN Reviews: John McCowen – Solo Contra (2017; International Anthem)

You would think that a title such as Solo Contra would be a fairly solid description of an album, but words fail to capture to subtleties and nuances of John McCowen’s recent release (though we will try to describe it anyway). Originally a vocalist in rock bands, McCowen studied under Roscoe Mitchell before releasing this album of contrabass clarinet compositions that sounds unlike anything resembling clarinet music.

Clocking in at only 27 minutes over three tracks, McCowen makes his statements concisely and directly. The opener, Fur Korv is comprised of a series of multiphonic drones. From there, he moves on to Chopper HD, featuring rapid vibrato and discordant walls of sound. Berths 1-3 is the longest piece, at 16 minutes. On it, McCowan begins with breathy, quiet drones that slowly build in intensity. About a third of the way through, he adds rude, wavering dissonances to the mix that continue for the rest of the track, adding a post-industrial flavor.

Solo instrumental albums are difficult to pull off successfully. There are notable exceptions, of course, and it is time to add Solo Contra to the list. McCowan’s sense of space and use of timbre alone make this release a must-hear.

AMN Reviews: Orlando Cela – Shadow Etchings [Ravello RR7982]

In the burst of musical creativity that characterized the postwar period, the flute was at the forefront. A new generation of instrumentalists helped redefine its voice and attracted the attention of avant-garde and experimental composers: in fact, the very first Sequenza Luciano Berio composed was for the flute virtuoso Severino Gazzeloni. Similarly, the second volume published in the celebrated mid-1970s New Instrumentation series of monographs was The Avant-Garde Flute. Shadow Etchings, a solo recording by Orlando Cela, is firmly within this tradition.

Cela, born in Venezuela but currently based in Boston, is a flutist conversant with the historical literature but specializing in contemporary performance practices. Thus it’s no surprise that the pieces on Shadow Etchings highlight the flute’s expansive range of sounds and techniques. Cela is a consummately musical player, though, and one who consistently turns technical challenges toward expressive ends.

The first piece, Jean-Patrick Besingrand’s Le soupir du Roseau dans les bras du vent, represents a witty bit of historical revisionism. Starting with the opening phrase of Debussy’s Syrinx for solo flute, the piece gradually dismantles Debussy’s melody through a set of variations based on timbral or technical effects. These include voiced notes, air notes, overblowing, flutter-tonguing and more. The formal structure of Debussy’s phrasing is somehow retained in a series of allusions, even as these allusions stray farther and farther from direct reference. Robert Gross’ Variations on a Schenker Graph of Gesualdo for flute and electronics, written for Cela, also recasts an earlier work, in this case a madrigal by Carlo Gesualdo as interpreted through Felix Salzer’s Schenker graph. Source material aside, the real substance of the work consists in the interaction of Cela’s performance with its electronic capture, manipulation, and playback. Greek-American composer Statis Minakakis’ Skagrafies II—the disc’s title track in the original Greek—was also written for Cela. This three-movement work for flute and piano resonance lays bare, often in an understated way, the complex interactions of dynamics, pitch and timbre as all three depend on, and take their particular shape from, the volume and force of breath. Lou Bunk’s Winter Variations, a duration-based, graphically-notated work for any pitched instrument, calls as well for an extended palette of sounds with a focus on microtones and multiphonics. Its realization here as a duet for flute and piccolo and piano (played by Sivan Etedgee) brings out the sometimes stark contrasts in color and temperament between wind and percussion.

Other works included in this fine collection are Dana Kaufman’s Hang Down Your Head, a set of variations on the folk song Tom Dooley, Edward Maxwell Dulaney’s A turning inwards, and Ziteng Ye’s program piece Self-Portrait.

Daniel Barbiero

All About Jazz Reviews

English: Barry Altschul, moers festival 2011

Source: All About Jazz.

Christoph Erb / Jim Baker / Frank Rosaly
…don’t buy him a parrot… (Hatology)

Jamie Saft
Solo a Genova (RareNoiseRecords)

The Bad Plus
Never Stop II (Legbreaker Records)

Sylvie Courvoisier
D’Agala (Intakt Records)

Atody Man (Libra Records)

Vinny Golia Wind Quartet
Live At The Century City Playhouse – Los Angeles, 1979 (Dark Tree Records)

Thomas Stronen
Lucus (ECM Records)

Abbey Rader
Ritual (ABRAY Productions)

Matteo Liberatore
Solos (Innova Recordings)

John Surman
Invisible Threads (ECM Records)

Multiple Artists
Latest From Eva-Maria Houben On Edition Wandelweiser
Reviewed by John Eyles

Flying Heart (Clean Feed Records)

Barry Altschul
The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow (Not Two Records)

Joshua Gerowitz
Solano Canyon (pfMentum)

This Week in New York

English: (Le) Poisson Rouge.

Source: I Care If You Listen.

The whisper opera, with words and music by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lang and direction and design by Jim Findlay, is performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) with the musicians, singer, and audience enclosed in an intimate onstage set, and is performed almost entirely in whispers. Lang explores the question: “what if a piece were so quiet and so personal to the performers that you needed to be right next them or you would hear almost nothing. The only way this piece can be received is if you are there, in person, listening very closely.”
Tuesday, January 30 to Wednesday, January 31 at 7:30 PM & Saturday, February 3 to Sunday, February 4 at 3:00 PM
Tickets $75
NYU Skirball, 566 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY

This evening will shed new light on Eastman’s deep and abiding work in dance with an screening of never-before-seen video and other archival material detailing Eastmans’s own work as a choreographer and his collaborations with artists including Andy de Groat. Molissa Fenley presents a reconstruction of her work Geologic Moments, created in collaboration with Eastman in 1986.
Tuesday, January 30 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $20-$25
The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, New York, NY

Le Poisson Rouge celebrate composer, pianist, and all around icon Philip Glass’s 81st birthday with a new album release of his piano etudes performed live by \ pianist Jenny Lin and broadcast nationally on the syndicated radio program Relevant Tones, hosted by Seth Boustead.
Wednesday, January 31 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $15-$20
Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, New York, NY

The musicians of Either/Or and Yarn/Wire team up for this Portrait of Cendo’s chamber works, which includes the piece Direct Action, written for Yarn/Wire.
Thursday, February 1 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $20-$30
Miller Theatre, 2960 Broadway, New York, NY

Hotel Elefant’s program juxtaposes music by Kaija Saariaho with the New York City premieres of new works by composers Hannis Brown, Patrick Castillo, Jascha Narveson, Leaha Maria Villarreal, and Kirsten Volness.
Saturday, February 3 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $25, $15 students/seniors
St. Bart’s, 325 Park Avenue, New York, NY

For the final concert, vocal ensemble Ekmeles performs Macle, TILT Brass presents the modern premiere of Eastman’s recovered work Trumpet, and American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) performs Julius Eastman’s powerful work for 10 cellos The Holy Presence of Joan D’Arc. This work is accompanied by its introspective companion vocal piece Prelude to The Holy Presence of Joan d’Arc performed by soloist Julian Terrell Otis.
Saturday, February 3 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $20-$25
The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, New York, NY

February at Cafe OTO

Gavin Bryars (cropped version)

Source: London’s Cafe OTO.

Friday 2 February 2018, 7.30pm
Gavin Bryars – A Man in a Room, Gambling – Day Three

Saturday 3 February 2018, 7.30pm
The Experimental Library: Octavia E. butler.
Sunday 4 February 2018, 7.30pm
Anthony Joseph Presents Frequency of Magic

Monday 5 February 2018, 7.30pm
Black Chama + Ilan Volkov / Lia Mazzari / Crystabel Riley (Trio)

Tuesday 6 February 2018, 7.30pm
Kammer Klang:
Jennifer Walshe + Distractfold Perform Takasugi &Amp; Hartman + Barblina Meierhans

Wednesday 7 February 2018, 7.30pm
Showcase New Music::new Ireland

Thursday 8 February 2018, 7.30pm
Zombie Nite for Dead Romero – Amm all-stars with Cris X / Slapper / Mint Douche

Friday 9 February 2018, 7.30pm
Resonance Fm Presents:
Peter Blegvad Trio Featuring Chris Cutler &Amp; John Greaves with Bob Drake

Saturday 10 February 2018, 7.30pm
Resonance Fm in Association with I-d.a Projects Presents:
This Is Not This Heat

Sunday 11 February 2018, 7.30pm
Resonance Fm Presents:
:Zoviet*france: + Ron Geesin + Langham Research Centre

Monday 12 February 2018, 7.30pm
Cyprien Busolini / Deborah Walker / Yannick Guedon: L’insistance Des Possibles

Tuesday 13 February 2018, 7.30pm
Black Top: Pat Thomas &Amp; Orphy Robinson with Special Guest Peter Evans

Wednesday 14 February 2018, 7.30pm
Damon &Amp; Naomi + Thalia Zedek + Red River Dialect

Friday 16 February 2018, 7.30pm
A Lowki Function:
Larry B + Klein + James Massiah

Sunday 18 February 2018, 7.30pm
Frode Gjerstad Trio + Steve Swell

19–20 February 2018
Apartment House Perform Julius Eastman – Two Day Residency

Wednesday 21 February 2018, 7.30pm
Fire! (Mats Gustafsson / Johan Berthling / Andreas Werliin)

22–23 February 2018
Antoine Beuger &Amp; Emmanuelle Waeckerlé – “Speak// If You Can”: Text, Scores, Performance

Thursday 22 February 2018, 7.30pm
Oto Project Space:
Solo:duo:trio #9 – Joe Wright / Francesca Ter-berg / Edward Lucas (Trio) + Adam Bohman / Benedict Taylor (Duo) + Louie Rice (Solo)

Saturday 24 February 2018, 7.30pm
Broken Flag Presents:
Ramleh + Jfk + Kleistwahr

Sunday 25 February 2018, 7.30pm
Daichi Yoshikawa / Jean-luc Guionnet (Duo) + Trudat Sound &Amp; Light

Tuesday 27 February 2018, 7.30pm
Chris Forsyth &Amp; the Solar Motel Band

Upcoming Ensemble Dal Niente Performances

Source: Ensemble Dal Niente.

Contempo-Jazz Double Bill with Dal Niente, Imani Winds, and guests
Friday, February 9, 2018
7:30 PM 8:30 PM
Reva & David Logan Center for the Arts (map)
Dal Niente joins Imani Winds for a performance of Augusta Read Thomas’ Bassoon Concertino. According to the composer, “This Concertino requires exceptional virtuosity of the soloist featuring playing of all kinds—rhythmic, athletic, punchy, lyrical, delicate, jazzy, whimsical, capricious, elegant—and celebrates the amazing artist and beautiful instrument in all its colors.” The program also includes works by Marta Ptaszyńska and Reena Esmail.

Dal Niente plays George Lewis @ Brandeis University
Saturday, February 17, 2018
7:30 PM 9:00 PM
Slosberg Concert Hall (map)
Dal Niente performs the music of George Lewis at Brandeis University’s Slosberg Concert Hall.

Dal Niente @ Brandeis University
Sunday, February 18, 2018
1:30 PM 3:00 PM
Slosberg Concert Hall (map)
Over the course of the 2017-2018 season, Dal Niente members engage musical leaders of tomorrow through performances, composer workshops, recordings, and instrumental and vocal masterclasses at universities across the country.

Dal Niente’s workshop at Brandeis University culminates in a Sunday matinee performance of works by undergraduate and graduate student composers in Slosberg concert hall.

Dal Niente @ Qubit Project Space
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
8:00 PM 10:00 PM
Qubit Project Space (map)
Doors and drinks at 7:30 | Concert starts promptly at 8:15

Dal Niente performs at the new Qubit Project Space in West Harlem, with a program centered around Boston-based Turkish composer Murat Çolak’s epic SWAN for septet, conductor, and electronics, which Çolak describes as a “a 30-minute-long ‘trance piece’ for eight live performers involving amplified instruments, synthesizers, and fixed electronics to be realized by the noted performers of hard music, creating a night of sonic ecstasy.”

Dal Niente will also perform Shadow for piano solo by Rebecca Saunders, whose subtle, zen-like works turn sound into sculpture; Alican Çamci’s Perde for bass flute and harp, where snippets of poetry by 15th century poet Ahmed-i Daî are transformed and reflected through a kaleidoscope of instrumental effects; and Chicago composer Jonathan Hannau’s Beyond the looking glass for harp + two players.

Dal Niente plays George Lewis @ Brown University
Friday, February 23, 2018
8:00 PM 9:30 PM
Martinos Auditorium (map)
Dal Niente’s workshop at Brown University culminates in a performance at Martinos Auditorium on Feb. 23, including works by George Lewis and others.

Dal Niente plays George Lewis @ The Metropolitan Museum
Sunday, February 25, 2018
2:00 PM 3:30 PM
Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Met 5th Ave. (map)
The George Lewis fanfare continues with a performance of Assemblage in its entirety at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. This performance will include NYC premieres of Assemblage and The Mangle of Practice. A talk with George Lewis and multimedia artist Camille Norment follows the performance.

RIO 2018 Program

English: Bob Drake with the Peter Blegvad Trio...

Source: Rock in Opposition Festival. Major emphasis of French artists this year.

Rock In Opposition France: 15, 16, 17 of september 2018.