Playlist 9/25-10/2 – Jacobs, Ergün, Wubbels, Papageorgiou

When I don’t have enough time to write thorough posts on music because of school work, I will post “playlist” entries like this. In this post I examine briefly four pieces by contemporary composers and have embedded the tracks to let you hear their music.

In sin fin bin din bin fin sin in – Bryan Jacobs


In sin fin bin din bin fin sin in for four computer controlled pianos and four speakers is a trip in the best possible way. Jacobs, who is based in New York, has succeeded in creating astonishingly unique textures from the instruments that all originate from a fragment built of five sonorities. As a listener it becomes an enjoyable game to try and find how it is manifesting itself in the different sections of the piece and Jacobs deftly built the piece to allow the listener to do just this. The textures in this piece range from the absolutely bare to wildly chaotic and everywhere in between. I could say more, but just listen, because wow.


Proximity – Cenk Ergün


Proximity is twenty-five minute long powerhouse of a percussion quartet. Sō Percussion masterfully performs New York-based Turkish composer Ergün’s incredibly tricky and subtle score for metal percussion instruments (bells, pipes, cymbals, tam-tams, gyils, crotales, glockenspiels, and vibraphones). The beginning of this piece is chock full of dense rhythmic material generated from overlapping patterns of many varieties. When this is combined with the minute differences in pitch between some of the less tuned metal percussion instruments, some very spectacular beating occurs in the air. I enjoyed how Ergün took over eight minutes to bring the tessitura down into the low register of the vibraphone–the remarkable patience to do this makes its arrival far more substantial. When this arrival is combined with the markedly slower rate of the music, it offers a wonderful breath of air to the listener. These are just a couple of the many stunning textures and moments to behold as the piece unfolds. Proximity is an extraordinary new piece for the percussion repertoire and a total pleasure to listen to.


katachi (Etudes I-II) – Eric Wubbels


The first two etudes of katachi for flute, tenor sax/bass clarinet, voice, percussion, piano, violin, and electronics by New York-based composer Eric Wubbels is built from contradictions to a captivating effect. It explores a wide range of highly complex but repetitious sound spaces that are at times lush and at other times austere. It is divided into a number of sections that are built from repetitions of gestural units. These units are often full of intricate patterns of material that become further adorned and elaborated upon with each subsequent repetition. Sometimes the transformations between the sections of the piece happen incredibly smoothly. It’s like standing at the edge of the ocean, where you don’t realize that the sand is shifting with each wave until you realize you are a few inches lower than where you began. At other times the transitions are more cut and dry. However, in contrast, there are sections where the repetitions are blurred or even entirely non-existent. In these sections, it is consistency of textures and tone color melodies in place of overt repetitions that create an easily heard coherence. From these contradictions, Wubbels has created an incredibly fascinating experience that Wet Ink exceptionally executed.


“…anD…” – Dimitri Papageorgiou


“…anD…” is flighty, highly virtuosic piece for solo viola (written for and performed by the virtuoso Dimitrios Polisoidis) with exceptional rhythmic sensibility and subtle gestural development. Papageorgiou, a Greek composer, allows for the music to unfold at an enjoyably leisurely pace. This pacing allows the nuanced development of gesture and pitch to register discernibly to the listener and, in doing so, allows for the non-repetitious nature of the music to not overwhelm the listener but instead keep them engaged and interested for what development is to come next. Listening to this piece reminds me a great deal of Donatoni, one of my absolute favorites, because of both the nature of the gestural mutations but also because of the great groove that most of the highly syncopated, thirty-second note lines exhibit.

Thoughts on the music? Feel free to comment below!


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