Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Augusta Read Thomas' Rush (2004) for solo violin was commissioned by Saint Paul Sunday and American Public Media Radio for violinist Rachel Barton Pine, who premiered the work on the Saint Paul  Sunday radio program on April 17th, 2005. Rush, according to composer Augusta Read Thomas, "is a kind of rich fanfare which shows off the virtuosity of the soloist. I was thinking of coffee rush and sugar rush images when I composed this work, as well as the dazzling and profoundly nuanced technical skill of Rachel. She and I have worked together on many projects and it was a pure joy to compose this piece for her." Watch Rachel Barton Pine perform Augusta Read Thomas' Rush . . . one of this week's FEATURED NEW MUSIC VIDEOS.

Tobias (of www.tokafi.com ) has many goods words about Gernot Wolfgang's Albany Records release Common Ground . . . "One of the best little anecdotes of the past few months, which I can’t seem to forget, is the moment when my friend Fred Wheeler, who also regularly contributes to tokafi.com, in his interview with Marcos Fernandes, asked whether Marcos had ever experienced shivers down his spine from listening to experimental music – and received a laughingly delivered 'No!'. It appears as though even the greatest purveryors of sounds away from the mainstream are turning to other styles and genres when looking for emotional stimulation. The same feeling is mirrored by Austrian-born composer Gernot Wolfgang, who now resides in Los Angeles when I talked to him about Common Ground: 'The thing that I’m still missing in many contemporary music concerts is getting goose bumps from the presence of exciting rhythms, like what happens to me at good jazz concerts.' But how can contemporary composition ever connect with more than just a handful of people, when it lacks this element, which to many is the reason they fell in love with music in the first place? Well, writing a review of Gernot Wolfgang's Common Ground also means writing about ways of attracting new audiences and about finding the key to their – yes! – hearts. To Gernot the key has a name and it spelled G-R-O-O-V-E-S." Find out more about Gernot Wolfgang, and his Albany Records release Common Ground, and hear audio excerpts from the album  . . . it's our FEATURED RECORDING for the week.
. . . and read Tobias' full review  here

Composer Douglas Knehans writes about his orchestral work ripple (2002): "Ripple - when referring to sound - is defined as ‘to go on or proceed with an effect, like that of water flowing in ripples.’ In this work I have interpreted this meaning very literally in that the opening grid of full orchestral stabs sets up a rhythmic framework from which a hocketed treatment arises of winds and strings supported by the brass and  percussion. A secondary ripple is set in place with more playful ideas in the woodwinds. This material ‘ripples’ through the work in various guises: set contrapuntally in a very slow form in the middle section of the work as well as providing expressive focus when set for strings only about three quarters of the way through the piece. Of course the fast sections are always punctuated by this material set in its original scherzando form and serving to contrast the bold muscularity of the full orchestral hits punctuating the piece." Listen to a performance of Douglas Knehans' ripple by the Kiev Philharmonic . . . it's one of our PYTHEAS EARFULS for the week.

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