The CNM Ensemble
featuring the works of
Stephen David Beck, guest composer
(Louisiana State University)
Bert Van Herck, guest conductor
|| download program ||
|Meditations on Hiroshima (1993)
for soprano, flute, guitar, percussion
II. Ota Dokan
|Stephen David BECK
|Janet Ziegler, soprano
Cheri Knight, flute
Brian Penkrot, guitar
Aaron Ziegler and Andrew Thierauf, percussion
|Eine kleine yiddisher Spaß (1998)
for trumpet and piano
|Laura Saylor, trumpet
Alex Ponomarchuk, piano
|Stephen Beck with UI faculty and students
Lawrence Fritts, Jason Palamara, William Huff
Daniel Frantz, Brian Penkrot and Nima Hamidi
|— Intermission —
|Functions of Consciousness (2006)
for clarinet, violin, cello and piano
|Marjorie Shearer, clarinet
Andrew Uhe, violin
Eunkyung Son, violoncello
Alex Ponomarchuk, piano
|Rebecca Ashe, flute
Andrew Thierauf, Aaron Ziegler and Tyler Swick, percussion
|Suite No. 1 for small orchestra (1925)
for large chamber ensemble
|Suite No. 2 for small orchestra (1921)
Cheri Knight and Amanda Lyon, flutes
Elliot Czaplewski, oboe
Marjorie Shearer and Thiago Ancelmo de Souza, clarinets
Stephan Patterson and Fabio Benites, bassoons
Drew Phillips, horn
Laura Saylor and Deborah Bierschenk, trumpets
Jessica D. Butler, trombone
Jayna Andersen, tuba
Andrew Thierauf and Aaron Ziegler, percussion
Alex Ponomarchuk, piano
Andrew Uhe and Lucy Lewis, violins
Manuel Taboras, viola
Eunkyung Son, violoncello
Derek Barnes, double bass
Bert Van Herck, conductor
Meditations on Hiroshima
Meditations on Hiroshima (1993) was commissioned by the Bienville House Center for Peace & Justice for their 1993 Hiroshima memorial service, held at the Unitarian Church in Baton Rouge. The piece is divided into 5 movements, representing the 5 sections of the memorial service. The outer movements, Prelude and Postlude, are musical interludes which serve to frame three death poems of Japanese samurai. The poems, written in both haiku and tanka forms follow specific rules on the number of syllables per line (haiku 5-7-5, tanka 5-7-5-7-7), inspiring terse but profound reflections on one's imminent passing. The instrumentation is meant to be a Western version of a Japanese court ensemble.
The composer's connection to this work is also quite personal, as he was born on the 14th anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, at the end of World War II.
|Ota Dokan (1432-86)
|Had I not known
that I was dead
I would have mourned
My loss of life
Sa koso inochi no
Kanete nakimi to
|What matter if I live on-
A tortoise lives
A hundred times as long
|A mama yo
Ikite mo kame no
|Leaves never fall
In vain-from all around
|Uso ni chiru
Ha mo nashi yomo no
Kane no koe
Eine kleine yiddisher Spaß
Keith Benjamin requested a new work from me for a CD he was recording of new music for trumpet and organ. After wrestling with the piece for many months and not liking anything I was writing, I decided to start again from scratch. Having known Keith for some time, I wanted to write something that would appeal to his unique sense of whimsy. So I thought, what would be the least likely thing one would hear on a CD of music for trumpet and organ? Well, music for trumpet and organ is usually performed in churches. So the least likely thing one might hear in such a setting would probably be…klezmer music. And so was born, Eine kleine yiddishe Spaß. It draws on traditional klezmer gestures and licks, and borrows a bit from classic klezmer tunes like Ay Rumania and Hava Nagila. Griffin Campbell asked me to transcribe the piece for saxophone.
is an homage and recomposition of the minimalist masterpiece "In C" by Terry Riley, written specifically for laptop orchestras. As with In C, each performer has a series of musical snippets to play, in sequence with some discretion as to when, octave, loudness, and for how long. Against this backdrop is a constant percussive pulse that fades into the musical fabric created by the mini-sequences.
While this is clearly an homage to the Riley work, it also is designed to be a metaphor for grid-based distributed computing, where a single computational problem is split between many computers scattered across a network - a "computational grid" in scientific terms. Each player receives messages from a master computer telling them to run a computer process or script. They run the script based on the environment that they are in (both musically and physically) and add additional processes as needed. The master computer continues to send messages throughout the piece, guiding the individual computers through the sequence of steps that defines the total composition. Each musical fragment is in fact a computer process, with a start and an end, and configurable parameters that determine the length the process runs and the pitch register of musical output. This piece is meant to articulate the concept and process of grid computing through the laptop orchestra as a reflection of its conceptual and aesthetic beauty.
Stephen David Beck is the Director of the LSU School of Music and Associate Dean of the College of Music & Dramatic Arts, where he is the Haymon Professor of Composition and Computer Music. He holds a joint appointment at the Center for Computation & Technology, where, prior to his appointment as director, he served as the Area Head for the Cultural Computing focus area and Director of the AVATAR Initiative in Digital Media.
He received his Ph.D. in music composition and theory from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1988, and held a Fulbright Fellowship in 1985-86 where he was a researcher at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in Paris, France. His current research includes sound diffusion systems, high-performance computing applications in music, and virtual music instruments, a system of interactive computer programs that extend and expand on the performance capabilities of acoustic instruments.
Functions of Consciousness
The title comes from C.G. Jung's book Dreams. In his book, Jung discusses how the conscious functions of intellect and sensation cooperate with the un-conscious functions of intuition and feeling.
John Aylward has been awarded a Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship from Harvard University, a Fulbright Grant to Germany and First Prize from the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM). He has also been awarded fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Tanglewood, the Aspen Music School, the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Aylward's work has been praised for its rhythmic vitality and rigorous formal qualities. Aylward's music has been performed within the U.S and abroad by numerous leading ensembles and soloists.
Aylward's writings on contemporary music can be read in Perspectives of New Music and the Mitteilungen Der Paul Sacher Stiftung. As a pianist, Aylward regularly performs contemporary music worldwide. Recent concert dates include Harvard's Paine Hall, The Collis Center at Dartmouth, The American Composers Forum in Washington, DC, the University of Campinas in Sao Paulo, and Distler Hall at Tufts University.
In 2005, John began a group for contemporary music: the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble. In 2009, the group became a not-for-profit 501(c)3 dedicated to presenting the most adventuresome new music worldwide. One of Aylward's first initiatives for the group was to establish an international music festival. The Etchings Festival, now in its 3rd season, has attracted professional and student musicians from across the US and abroad and has already premiered numerous new works of contemporary music. The festival is a partnership with the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and is held at their artist space in Auvillar, France. The festival has attracted acclaim for its masterclasses and lessons, taught by luminary composers David Rakowski, Fabien Levy and Louis Karchin, Stefano Gervasoni and Lee Hyla.
Aylward is currently Assistant Professor of Music Composition and Theory at Clark University in Massachusetts. Aylward has also taught at Tufts University and at Brandeis University. John lives in Boston, Massachusetts and is originally from Tucson, Arizona.
composed in 2009, was commissioned by the National Library of of the Argentine Republic and premiered the following year in Buenos Aires by Patricia Da Dalt and Paralelo 33 Ensamble de Percusión.
José-Luis Hurtado's music has been performed worldwide by ensembles and soloists such as Boston Modern Orchestra Project, International Contemporary Ensemble, Jack Quartet, Talea Ensemble, Quatuor Molinari, Pierrot Lunaire Ensemble Wien, Tony Arnold, Garth Knox, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and the Arditti Quartet among others.
He has been the recipient of the Kompositionspreis der Stadt Wolkersdorf (Austria), the Harvard University Green Prize for Excellence in Composition (USA), the Rodolfo Halffter Ibero-American Composition Prize (Mexico), the Julián Carrillo Composition Prize (Mexico), Regional Winner of the National SCI/ASCAP Composition Competition (USA) and 2nd prize in the Troisieme Concours International de Composition du Quatuor Molinari (Canada).
Hurtado holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University where he studied under Mario Davidovsky, Chaya Czernowin, Magnus Lindberg, Brian Ferneyhough and Helmut Lachenmann. He is currently Assistant Professor of Theory and Composition at the University of New Mexico.
Suite for small orchestra No. 1 & 2
The suites find the storied enfant terrible whetting his hefty orchestral approach into taut, caustic, and cheeky generic exercises characteristic of his Neo-Classical Style. Although his post-WWI style differed sharply from the massive ballets on which Stravinsky's reputation continues to rest (chiefly Firebird, 1910; Petroushka, 1911; and Le Sacre du Printemps, 1913), the composer's formal and textural calling cards remain—insistent string ostinati and declarative outbursts of winds and brass juxtaposed asynchronously in time and harmony.
During the war, while Stravinsky lived with his family in the relative calm of Switzerland, the composer purchased military wind instruments and experimented with new ways of playing and writing for them that combined European vernacular styles and modernistic experimentation. His output was centered on chamber music that playfully burlesqued dance styles as diverse as polka and ragtime. These dances found their way into two piano duets that formed the basis of these suites: Three Easy Pieces (1914-1915) and Five Easy Pieces (1916-1917), each for piano four hands (two players, one piano). Composed as teaching pieces for his children, one player (primo) plays an ornate, quick melody full of surprises while the other (secondo) sticks to a simple, mostly unchanging accompaniment. Since most of the pieces are regional dances cast in simple binary or ternary form, the complexity comes in the juxtaposition between the parts as the irregular primo juts up against the indefatigable secondo. When arranging the easy pieces for orchestra, Stravinsky typically scores the neutral secondo for low woodwinds or strings while solo winds and brass play the primo. The orchestration thus enhances the separation between the two parts, and, in switching abruptly between solo instruments, introduces even more irregularity into the melodic dance melodies.
The first suite begins with deceptive calm, as a gentle woodwind ostinato underscores a smooth, folk-like unison string melody, while the astringent compound-meter dance Napolitana grows from a taut murmur into an astringent tarantella cast in bright brass colors. Espanola humorously juxtaposes dissonant, syncopated low-register strings with insistent woodwind and brass interludes. The concluding Balalaika features the upper woodwinds, while brass fanfares comically punctuate each section.
Reminiscent of the military music from Stravinksy's Soldier's Tale (1918), the second suite begins with a dissonant march composed of brief, asymmetrical figures for the solo piano The slight, lilting Waltz, for woodwinds alone, recalls to the ballerina's music from Petrouchka. The Polka is structured as a bravura conversation between trumpet and clarinet with interjections by trombone and flute, where sudden flourishes leap out. The Gallop is by far the most conventionally "orchestral," as instrumental groups play together in a forceful tutti undergirded by insistent, syncopated cymbals. The abrasive, breathless closing dance is a send-up of Jacques Offenbach's Can-Can in a wink and a nod to the bourgeois Parisian tastes Stravinsky's music had scandalized over a decade before.
Composer and conductor Bert Van Herck is Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa. He holds a PhD from Harvard University where he studied with Magnus Lindberg, Julian Anderson, Chaya Czernowin, Brian Ferneyhough, and Helmut Lachenmann. With Hans Tutschku, he studied electroacoustic music. In the fall of 2006 he was an exchange scholar at Columbia University, working with Tristan Murail. His compositional interests include large ensemble and orchestra, electro-acoustic, and microtonal tunings. Recent performances include Sept Chansons and Spectra at the ISCM World New Music Days, Formes Fluides at the Huygens-Fokker Foundation for microtonal organ, and Inner Friction for flute and electronics at the EMM Festival by flutist Rebecca Ashe. As a conductor he worked with the Dudley Orchestra at Harvard University from August 2008 until May 2011.