Thursday, December 17, 2009

Composer Judith Lang Zaimont has recently been joining up with her husband, the painter Gary Zaimont, to present videos which highlight both her vibrant and original music and his stunning visuals. The latest of their collaborations is entitled Borealis which features the composer's Sky Curtains: Borealis Australis (1984) scored for the unusual combination of flute, clarinet, bassoon, viola and cello. Check it out at Pytheas . . . one of this week's FEATURED NEW MUSIC VIDEOS.

John Psathas is one of New Zealand’s most frequently performed composers. With works in the repertoire of such high profile musicians as Evelyn Glennie, Michael Brecker, Pedro Carneiro, the Halle Orchestra and others, he has achieved what was until recently held to be a near impossibility for a composer of contemporary New Zealand music – he is establishing a solid international profile, and receiving regular commission offers from outside New Zealand. Fragments, this week's FEATURED RECORDING, has been described as "an injection of adrenalin direct to the heart of New Zealand classical music". Read more about the recording, John Psathas' music and hear some excerpts from Fragments . . . our FEATURED RECORDING at Pytheas.

This week we bring you an unusual short film by Jamie Ward which feature's both the music of Astor Piazzolla and Richard Grunn's human puppet "Cliff". December (or "Winter") (2009) takes us on a journey through New York City as film maker Ward brings us a visual interpretation of Piazzolla's La muerte del Ángel (1962) and La resurrección del Ángel (1965). Check it all out at this week's PYTHEAS SIGHTING.

Glenn Klotche writes, "Steve Reich's Clapping Music (1972) is an outgrowth of those works . . . [which] require nothing but the human body - in this case, two performers who hand-clap. Reich states that the piece is 'to have one performer remain fixed, repeating the same basic pattern throughout, while the second moves abruptly, after a number of repeats, from unison to one beat ahead, and so on, until he is back in unison with the first performer.' The piece is intended for performance in an auditorium where the echoes and reverberations of the clapping create, as Reich states, "a surrounding sensation of a series of variations of two different patterns with their downbeats coinciding.' As the piece unfolds, the patterns interact to create a garden of rhythms unlike anything I had previously heard. I was blown away that something so conceptually simple could sound so complicated." Watch a performance recorded in Milna, Croatia . . . this week's FROM THE PYTHEAS ARCHIVES.

Explore, Listen and Enjoy!
Vinny Fuerst
Pytheas Center for Contemporary Music

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