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NEW Music ENSEMBLE Cambridge University

SEASON 09/10

Concert 1


4th November 2009 - 7.30pm - Kettle’s Yard Programme Voices, crackles

Peter Yarde Martin

Ghosting (2007)

Charlie Piper

I know where everything is (2007)

Nico Muhly

Galleggiano

Sam Grainger

Lines

Lawrence Dunn

Teal

William Cheshire

Steal

Joe Snape

Telephone Book (1985, 1995)

Michael Torke

i. ii. iii.

Yellow Pages (1985) Blue Pages (1995) White Pages (1995)

Notes The electronics part for "Voices, crackles" takes its material from old wax cylinders and vinyls of folksongs, speeches and broadcasts. I was particularly interested in the pops and crackles, and also the way that the voices are modified by the recording technology. At various points either the voices themselves or the interference dominate the texture. The violin and cello variously provide commentaries on the electronics, mirroring melodic shape or padding out harmonies, or have pizzicato and col legno figures mimicking the sounds of record crackle. The material in Ghosting is derived solely from the Erbarme Dich aria of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, in particular the opening violin solo. No notes are added though some are removed. Ghosting moves in parallel with the Bach though initially at a much slower rate, latching onto a small handful of Bach’s pitches, cycling them repetitively. By the end the rate has increased to real-time, where fragments of Erbarme Dich start to appear. I know where everything is was commissioned by the Seattle Chamber Players in 2007. It is a cycle of chords in a pile. Each Chord has a series of possible voicings, and a series of possible quick ornamentations. The piece starts with the most moderate of these, works through the slower, more languid variations, and then concludes energetically and aggressively. I began Galleggiano about two years ago for a clarinet player that I know. It is the first movement of a still incomplete clarinet quintet and this movement represents normality and content at the beginning of a narrative.


Lines - this piece is simply a succession of chords, beginning low and ending high. The slow rhythm is indeterminate, and players pause between the chords when they need to. Many of the intervals are microtonally altered – that is, slightly out of tune – adding a special pungent colour. But surely the title ‘lines’ suggests a kind of horizontal (and not vertical) way of thinking about sound? Each chord is part of a general upward line; but perhaps each chord is also a vertical line in itself – existing in the resonant space, as if drawn in the air. Teal explores the semblance of a colour and the psychological associations it evokes. It makes use of a very limited amount of material, drawing out two very clear harmonic areas. Essentially it is a static day dream, dedicated to my late Grandmother. Steal is part of an ongoing project that asks young electronica composers to remix, remake or otherwise respond to, new modern-classical works. Playing on the bar-tobar rhythmic relations of the piano original, material is cut up, detuned, timestretched and pitch-shifted into new forms. Around the minute mark, Bach's Organ Toccata in C major makes a brief texturalappearance in the form of a battered 1932 gramophone record. Yellow Pages was composed while I was a student at Yale, in the spring of 1985. I had just finished my first large piece, Ecstatic Orange, and I chose more open, diatonic harmonies as a kind of relief from the denser chords I had just used. My decision to write for two winds, two strings and piano came from the belief that it would be a practical combination, and that I would be more likely to get performances in the future. Ten years later, in 1995, when Present Music offered a commission to expand these musical ideas into a three-movement composition, I jumped at the opportunity. Given that the Yellow Pages are generally accompanied by the White Pages (for residential listings) and the Blue Paes (for government listings), it seemed natural to use these two other sections as models for additional movements. Referring to the alphabetical listings found in these familiar directories, I devised a kind of musical equivalency: bars of music repeat, but I continually introduce new key signatures. The result (going through the complete cycle of fifths, but not transposing anything) is the feeling of much activity over gradual change, much like the way alphabetical order works. (It takes 133 pages of “A” entries to get to the “B’s” in my phone book, yet the ending letters of all the entries change constantly). Each movement explores a slightly different application of this treatment. In addition, the names of the movements also refer to my syesthetic response to the keys I chose. The Yellow Pages is in G major – a key which I’ve always associated with yellow. White is A minor; blue is D minor – and those are the respective keys used.

Biographies Peter Yarde Martin is currently a third year music student at Pembroke College. “I've been involved in music for as long as I can remember, from singing rounds with my sisters while doing washing up on a Sunday afternoon and experimenting on the piano to learning the trumpet from age 8. My music often draws on influences as diverse as electronica, Ligeti, rock, and the English choral tradition.” Charlie Piper completed his master's degree with distinction at the Royal College of Music, studying with David Sawer, Kenneth Hesketh and Michael Zev Gordon, as a scholar. He is currently doing doctoral research at the Royal Academy of Music under the supervision of Philip Cashian. He has been performed at the Cheltenham, Huddersfield, and Bang-On-A-Can (USA) Festivals, the Barbican Hall, the South


Bank Centre and King's Place, by performers including the London Symphony Orchestra and the English National Ballet. Charlie was the recipient of the 2006 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize. As a member of the Camberwell Composers Collective, Charlie is a Kettle's Yard New Music Associate 2008-2010. Nico Muhly graduated from Columbia University in 2003 with a degree in English Literature. In 2004 he received a Masters in Music from the Juilliard School, where he studied composition under Christopher Rouse and John Corigliano. Muhly’s orchestral works have been premiered by the American Symphony Orchestra, the Juilliard Orchestra, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Orchestra, the Boston Pops and the Chicago Symphony. He has worked extensively with Philip Glass as editor, keyboardist, and conductor for numerous film and stage projects. Sam Grainger was born in Bintulu, Malaysia. “ I have since lived in Wolverhampton. I am an electric guitarist, bassist, pianist, viola player and singer. As a result, my work varies from jazz and instrumental rock to orchestral and chamber ‘classical’ work.” Lawrence Dunn studied at Trinity College of Music Junior Department, with musicians such as Cecila McDowall and Joby Burgess. He has attended workshops given by Robert Saxton, and written music for clarinettist Antony Pay (his uncle). This year he won the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers’ Competition with his piece ‘Oy’, for six clarinets and almglocken, going on to help compose new music played at the Last Night of the Proms (in front of an audience of millions). He now studies music at Corpus Christi, Cambridge. William Cheshire is a second year music student currently studying composition with Richard Baker and Robin Holloway. He has had pieces performed in both Aldeburgh and Cambridge. Flöt is the name of Joe Snape’s new forgotten music. Broken cassette players gurgle dusty tones into decades of vinyl hiss while glitches pop and twitch over barely-there field recordings. Add wonky beats, microtonal tendencies and a dollop of kick drum, increase volume to taste. Michael Torke practically defined post-Minimalism with his two best known early pieces, Ecstatic Orange and Yellow Pages - a music which utilizes the repetitive structures of a previous generation to incorporate musical techniques from both the classical tradition and the contemporary pop world. In 1998 Torke was appointed Associate Composer of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He has written works for New York City Ballet, Walt Disney Company, Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic and National Ballet of Canada. His works have been recorded by Decca/Argo and Naxos and he has been nominated for an Emmy Award. Upcoming projects include a three-way opera commission from the Metropolitan Opera, Chatelet in Paris, and the English National Opera.

Performers Guy Button (violin), Rebecca Minnio-Paluello (violin), Oscar Perks (violin/viola), Grace Chatto (cello), Jonathan Dodd (cello), Kate Whitley (piano), Lilam Paterson (piano), Travis Winstanley (clarinet), Sebastian Armstrong (Flute), Jonathan Green (electronics and recording), Fergus Macleod (conductor) With thanks to Cambridge University Music Faculty and Kettle’s Yard

NMECU Concert Program 4th November 2009  

The Program from the 4th November Concert 2009 - the first concert in our 2009 - 2010 season. A concert of Muhly, Torke and Piper as well a...

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