Friday, June 24, 2011

Music11: Day 4

(clockwise from left: Michael Maccaferri, Dave McDonnell, Emily McPherson, Charlie Magnone, and Yen Lin Goh in rehearsal.)

Thursday was another full day here at Music11. The composers had our third music sharing session, this time hearing from Dave McDonnell, Lindsey Jacob, Ben Wallace, and me. One common theme in several pieces was a connection with travel and nature. Many of us draw on visual and environmental aspects as a starting point for our music. It is always interesting to hear feedback from other composers to see how the visual inspiration comes across in the piece. Composers have also taken different approaches to the presentations themselves. Some have played excerpts of several pieces in order to give an overview of their artistic evolution. Others (myself included) played less music and used more of the time for discussion. Both approaches have yielded intriguing conversations. Since we come from a variety of backgrounds and schools, we hear a variety of opinions from one another, which can be very helpful.

In the evening we had our first performance of this year's festival, featuring the music of Matthias Pintscher. The concert included two pieces: Study No. II for Treatise on the Veil for violin, viola, and cello, and Figura V/Assonanza for solo cello. The performers were Sarah Saviet, violin; Matt Albert, viola; and Branson Yeast, cello. Matthias gave some opening remarks about the trio, having them play some musical examples to give a sense of the work's material. The performers also played the trio twice, since we just had two pieces on the program and had plenty of time. Both pieces are exquisitely crafted, full of whispering, sparse textures. Since the instruments are prepared with paper clips, they create totally unique timbres that sound almost electronic. It was great to hear the trio twice, since it presents the ears with so much to take in. Since Pintscher passed around scores of the piece, some of us just listened the first time, then followed the score the second time. Since Bartok Hall (our performance space) is quite a small room, I think we were able to revel in the beautiful details of this piece much more so than if we had been in a larger hall - we experienced it in a true chamber music setting.

(left to right: Matthias Pintscher, Branson Yeast, Sarah Saviet, and Matt Albert)

Apparently this white cat also likes Pintscher's music, and our festival in general. She was meowing outside the window during the second run of the trio, and has been hanging out with us all the time - sometimes well into our late-night parties!

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