Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Eclipse Quartet: Music for String Quartet and Percussion - Frederic Rzewski, Whimwhams - James Tenney, Cognate Canons - Zeena Parkins, s:c:a:t:t:e:r:i:n:g - Eclipse Quartet and William Winant, Percussion - New World 2013

Here comes another disc that I just unwrapped literally 5 minutes ago. I am quite familiar with Rzewski and to a lesser extant Tenney; the music of Zeena Parkins I'm pretty sure I have never heard.
There is quite a bit of fine music out there for String Quartet and Percussion, and hopefully this will be a good disc to add to that particular library!

From New World Records:

The evolution of the string quartet repertory has accelerated during the last half of the twentieth-century and beyond as composers from both the mainstream and the avant-garde have mined its seemingly inexhaustible creative resources. This CD features the virtually unprecedented combination of string quartet and percussion. It contains three works by prominent American experimentalist composers from several generations exploring the ensemble’s unique sonic resources in diverse stylistic settings, each with its own original approach to musical form.

A “whim-wham” is a “fanciful or fantastic notion or object.” In Frederic Rzewski’s Whimwhams (1993) the “fanciful” occurs within a pre-conceived formal design. The formal structure in Whimwhams provides time units, “empty containers” for the free play of the composer’s imagination, which yield striking successions of musical moments, each with its own distinctive identity. An attentive listener will encounter musical ideas, which return in altered form, giving the work a certain sense of coherence, a magical quality absent from more rational, thought-out composed music.

In James Tenney’s Cognate Canons (1993) the canons occur between the percussion and the string quartet. The durations of the two canonic “voices” are related by a series of proportions, creating the effect of simultaneous tempi, which Nancarrow used in his player piano music. Each of the work’s thirteen canons uses its own proportion. The repetitions both within and between the two parts (which include statements of individual musical gestures within each voice in retrograde) create a static, timeless atmosphere.

Zeena Parkins describes s:c:a:t:t:e:r:i:n:g (2012) thusly: “Flickering sound and shifting colors subvert the linear. s:c:a:t:t:e:r:i:n:g is composed of ten movements, evolving things, and objets sonores that acquire a modulated presence through accumulation. Resonance piles up and is dispersed by the “scatterers” as they journey within conditions of motion and stasis. The title refers to these acts of collection, disruption, and dispersal that occur over and over again throughout the work creating a landscape of diversion.” 

I have included the pdf booklet too, so for the full notes you are all covered there.

Let us enjoy..


Scraps said...

If you like this, I have lots of Zeena Parkins. :-)

In fact, I go way back with Parkins. (Musically, I mean. A fan, I mean. English!) I remember nearly thirty years ago, a concert in Seattle featuring Fred Frith, Tom Cora, and Zeena Parkins. It was, oh, like, awesome.

Out of the lion's mouth... said...

Zeena Parkins is a name I know. Some avant-garde afiliations. She's a solo harpist, and I've seen her perform with Bjork.

Tzadik said...

Hey there ol' Scrappy me boy :)

Well, I like Parkins so far, I cannot say that I have heard anything else! I am quite surprised that I don't know much about her, clearly she has collaborated with artists I know rather well...I dunnoo how I missed her til now. That concert you mention, it does sound good-have a recording of it by chance?? ....That would be like, soo totes kewl!


Tzadik said...

Bjork, wow I was a huge fan of hers when she was in The Sugarcubes and well mostly ever since. She embraced electronic music more and more in the early 90's and I have most of that stuff on vinyl. She was a bit "late to the game" when it comes to electro or 'dance' musics but she has put out a lot of quality releases. While with Bjork she performed on harp then I presume?


Tzadik said...

Out of the lion's mouth I was referring to Parkings of course, I left out her name!