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Between Sea and Sky by David Loeb

Srdjan Berdovic, Carlo Valte, Mariano Aguirre, guitars There is a wisp of a tune--four notes rising stepwise. The opening gets the tune under our skin but also starts to turn it upside down. The heart of the piece is descending music, and almost unbearably sad. I've said elsewhere that …

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Between Sea and Sky by David Loeb


Srdjan Berdovic, Carlo Valte, Mariano Aguirre, guitars

There is a wisp of a tune--four notes rising stepwise.

The opening gets the tune under our skin but also starts to turn it upside down. The heart of the piece is descending music, and almost unbearably sad.

I've said elsewhere that fauxbourdon is important in David Loeb's music. Here, something like that happens when the music is in descending mode. Descending fauxbourdon is very sad.

The composer is finding musical gold in those descending, expiring lines.

When the modest rising of the opening rising tune returns and we are delivered.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtBRO_TsECI

new work by Ricardo Zohn Muldoon image

new work by Ricardo Zohn Muldoon

Ricardo Zohn Muldoon is now working on a new work for Cygnus, a commission awarded by the Koussevitzky Foundation, adminstered by the Library of Congress Now Scheduled for performance on May 15, 2020 at Queens Collge More details coming soon Biography Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon was born in …

Read More about new work by Ricardo Zohn Muldoon

new work by Ricardo Zohn Muldoon

Ricardo Zohn Muldoon is now working on a new work for Cygnus, a commission awarded by the Koussevitzky Foundation, adminstered by the Library of Congress

Now Scheduled for performance on May 15, 2020 at Queens Collge
More details coming soon

Biography

Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon was born in Guadalajara, México, in 1962. Literature inspires many of his compositions, such as the extended song cycle Songtree, on poetry by Raúl Aceves and William Shakespeare, the miniature opera NiñoPolilla, on a libretto by Juan Trigos senior, and the scenic cantata Comala, based on the novel Pedro Páramo, by the great Mexican author Juan Rulfo. Comala was selected as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2011.

Ricardo’s compositional voice is also shaped by a steady collaboration with the particular group of musicians for whom he writes, including Tony Arnold, Molly Barth, Stuart Gerber, Dieter Hennings, Hanna Hurwitz, Daniel Pesca, Paul Vaillancourt, Colin Stokes, and Tim Weiss, among others. This artistic affinity brought many of these musicians together to co-found with Ricardo the ensemble Zohn Collective in 2017. Ricardo has also collaborated across artistic disciplines, with cartoonist José Ignacio Solórzano (Jis), writer / performer Deidre Huckabay. songwriter Alfredo Sánchez, PUSH Physical Theater, Garth Fagan Dance, and puppet company La Coperacha.

His works have been performed internationally, and supported by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Koussevitzky Foundation, Fromm Foundation, Barlow Endowment, Guggenheim Foundation, and México’s Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte, among other institutions in the U.S. and abroad. Recordings of his music have been released on the Bridge, Oberlin Music, Verso, CRI, Quindecim, Innova, Ravello, New Focus, and Tempus labels. He studied at the University of California, San Diego (BA, 1986), and at the University of Pennsylvania (PhD, 1993), where his principal teacher was George Crumb. He is currently Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music, having previously taught at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, and the Escuela de Música, Universidad de Guanajuato.

David Del Tredici Monsters image

David Del Tredici Monsters

Two new works by David Del Tredici Wenesday, March 27, 2019 7PM @ Casa Italiana, Columbia University, New York Pianists Eric Moe and Robert Frankenberry 1. Matrimony 2. Scylla and Charybdis The first was a quodlibet of the two wedding marches by Felix and Richard. It was played with precision …

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David Del Tredici Monsters

Two new works by David Del Tredici
Wenesday, March 27, 2019
7PM @ Casa Italiana, Columbia University, New York

Pianists Eric Moe and Robert Frankenberry

1. Matrimony
2. Scylla and Charybdis

The first was a quodlibet of the two wedding marches by Felix and Richard. It was played with precision and conviction by Eric Moe.

David Del Tredici’s second string quartet is a mind blowing phenomenon. It is the best I've heard of his recent chamber music. It is not a whimsical piece.

His quodlibet pieces are light. They include the piece he wrote for Cygnus in which, at a climactic movement, the Last Rose of Summer is presented with The Star-Spangled Banner. That piece is over the top hilarious, entertaining, and outrageous, (that’s what Tiggers do) with David’s nephew Felix moaning on the trombone. Eric Moe’s piece Matrimony was delivered with a delicacy and subtlety and his peddling was very discreet, almost chaste. I liked that. It steered us away from taking the piece as a mere novelty. It is not that.

There’s more to be said about Del Tredici’s best works. Matrimony is way up there, I think. He never merely screws around with the 8-note scale. . He is a master of creating long stretches of music that are characterized by a very distinct, fetching, and not at all simple sound—a harmony that is a collision of voices in counterpoint. That is a huge achievement.

And moreover, if one feels that integration is what we should be doing now, as I do, the final step is the most difficult--integrating functional harmony with post-tonal things that we can't give up (and why should we?). That is the shark tank that Del Tredici has plunged into. I don't think it's unfair to say that he is subjecting his music to the criticism that Shoenberg had of Reger and Busoni and other fiercly chromatic tonal music. I am a Schoenberg fan and a Del Tredici fan in a time when Schoenberg is out of favor. Embracing Del Tredici is part of the process of qualifying our celebration of Schoenberg. His answer to Reger brought its own problems that are still playing out.

The second piece on the program was written for Rod Frankenberry who played piano and sang and narrated a story about Scylla & Charibdis. Del Tredici wrote the text. Scylla is described in a manner that immediately brings to mind the vagina dentata of lore. I commented on that afterwards and David Del Tredici said he’d never heard of that.

This reminds me of when we were talking about what he would do for Cygnus I asked if he was familiar with Beckford's Vatek. I said he'd never heard of that. I tried to sell it to him as something interesting and bizzarre--exotic, and with a bit of homoeroticism. I suggested that because I wanted to the steer him away from the famous but controversial Rumi poem about gourding. He wanted to make a setting of that poem for Cygnus. I needed Cygnus and Courtney Budd to be comfortable with the concept. It was voted down. David said Vatuk wasn’t over-the-top enough for him and after many more months of thinking he would never get around to his Cygnus piece, he called me, very fired up about The Last Rose of Summer. Matrimony puts The Last Rose into a familial relationship. The two works build upon one another, become bigger than either one individually.

The performance by Rod Frankenberry was wetter that Moe's, not at all chaste. That was right for Del Tredici's story. And Frankenberry's narration matched his boisterous playing. It was arch, like the story. The performance was a tour de force. Del Tredici's scary and voluptuous Scylla is strongly reminiscent of the Aubrey Beardsley story, which he richly illustrated, The Hill. There is described a pastoral landscape that is like a woman’s torso—two ridges forming a Y with a ravine and a waterfall in between, a prose version of Courbet's L'Origine du monde, but in geographical form. [ The most memorable part, however, is when Venus pleasures the unicorn. ]

A Last Frontier (Displacing notes that aren't there) image

A Last Frontier (Displacing notes that aren't there)

This is the first of two examples. The contention of this pitch Quixote is that symmetrical structures extend themselves in our brains without being presented in actuality. In this example, the contention is that the whole tone scale completes itself in our brain. We hear the G# that …

Read More about A Last Frontier (Displacing notes that aren't there)

A Last Frontier (Displacing notes that aren't there)

Image

This is the first of two examples.

The contention of this pitch Quixote is that symmetrical structures extend themselves in our brains without being presented in actuality. In this example, the contention is that the whole tone scale completes itself in our brain. We hear the G# that completes the whole tone scale. And then the low G natural in the guitar displaces a note that we hear only in our heads.

What to make of this? Whatever you like. My take--this is a last frontier. I'm bored with only hearing things that are THERE. I'm happy in this realm where we're counting angels on the head of a pin.And it makes for interesting tunes, regardless of who wins the argument.

Another example in the same piece: look for measure 6. The contention here is that our ears are soooo diatonic that major thirds always imply the intervening note, symmetrically in between. So here, between the F# and the Bb our brain supplies the G#.

In both examples it is G# that's not there. In fact, there are no G#s in this piece.

There's more to the last example. The complement to the prevailing D, E, F#, G, A, B is heard in measure 6, although it's mixed up with D's and other suspensions from the other hexachord.. The complement is Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F (the tritone transposition of the D diatonic hexachord).

So in measure 6 we have all but the Ab, which, according to this contention about major thirds, we supply without it actually being there. Fact is, I felt this measure first as the complement. After playing the piece dozens of times the sense that I was hearing the complement became very clear.

Then I looked at the score and realized that complements don't have to be complete. Is it not the case that augmented 6 chords imply the rest of the complement? In Beethoven this seems clear enough. Even in Fernando Sor. Who needs all the rest of the tritone-transposition???

Oren & I record Genius Loci on July 18! It's an innocent little doodle, with these devilish deals going on under the table.

Another example---->

In this example there's an 8-note scale, with only 7 of the 8 notes. The line stops abruptly before the 8th note, which should be B natural. Instead, we get a Bb, displacing downwards the note that we imagine we heard, but didn't.

The passage has 0235s continually displacing implied 0245s. Before the first notes of the melody in the example below, a full Bb scale is instated, with the leading tone, A natural. The G is displaced down to Gb and the A down to Ab. Through these precedents the downward tendancy comes to be expected. This habitual downward semitone displacement helps to reinforce the sense that Bb displaces the unheard B natural. The fact that this passage comes preceded by a full Bb scale in the instruments makes this harder to argue. It (the passage) argues that a symmetry (the octotonic scale) can have more strength than an instated diatonic region. The passage also argues that the voice part had no Bbs and that each party in the conversation tallies independently. That's quite a contention, and yet there is much to it. I don't dismiss it. I'm on the fence. Nevertheless, I admire this chutzpah, and that's what it is because in this "aggregate", there is no B natural. In fact the actual appearance of that note is delayed for a long, long time. Notice also that the last downward displacement is the completion (Fb), assuming that we really did imagine the B natural. Completions are not heard in a vacuum. They are heard in the context of moves. Here he teaches us to hear 0245 being displaced by 1235s, repeatedly. The last time, the 4 is F and the 3 is Fb. We learn moves that fill holes. Hole filling for the sake of hole filling is not really the point.

Here's the whole passage--->