On Thursday, December 5th, 2019, 8pm, the Interpretations Series continues it 31st season with composers Elizabeth Brown and Frances White with the Momenta Quartet (momentaquartet.com). Held at Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY, tickets are $20 for adults / $15 for students & seniors, and available on Roulette.org and Interpretations.info.
The Momenta Quartet joins forces with composers Elizabeth Brown and Frances White in a multimedia evening fusing Western contemporary music with Japanese aesthetics, literary references, and a video/sculpture installation by artist Lothar Osterburg.
This dynamic program features Momenta alongside baritone/narrator Thomas Buckner and Elizabeth Brown in her equal capacity as a master of the shakuhachi: a traditional Japanese flute. The concert includes two new works written specifically for this concert, with commission funds provided by The Sparkplug Foundation and a New Music USA Project Grant.
The NY premiere of Brown’s Dialect for solo shakuhachi, which uses repeating, morphing phrases to trace the evolution of a unique language. Then the world premiere of Babel continues the linguistic theme in a positive spin of the myth, celebrating NYC as a living organism, using multilingual pages and recordings of Emma Lazarus’ verse from the Statue of Liberty. Unlike the traditional story, nothing here is destroyed; instead, it is cumulative, with its architectural history visible, its constant influx of immigrants the source of its life and beauty. And White’s The book of evening for quartet and shakuhachi (also a world premiere) is drawn from the Mark Strand poem Moon, with the musical arrangement evoking “the moon between the clouds.” Strand’s moon creates a path to “those places where what you had wished for happens.” The music reflects that, evoking a longing for that place, vanishing as the book of evening closes.
Dedicated to the Momenta Quartet, Brown’s Just Visible in the Distance draws its title, inspiration, and form from W.G. Sebald’s book The Rings of Saturn. The piece, inspired by Sebald’s continuous narrative arc, consists of intuitively-assembled small movements, each flowing into the next. Then White’s And so the heavens turned, for quartet and narrator, contemplates the mystery of storytelling itself. A collaboration with writer James Pritchett and inspired by the 11th-century Persian epic Shahnameh, the text is read before the music and during its closing, evoking at times the anguish and passion of the epic’s mythic lovers, at others a questioning stillness.
Interpretations continues its tradition of playing host to composers, interpreters, and improvisers — artists of both local and international scale, with myriads of approaches to music.
On the heels of last year’s acclaimed 30th anniversary, the Interpretations Series is dedicated to nurturing the relationship of innovative composers with the growing community of new music virtuoso performers. “When we started, this was a real need, especially for the more experimental new music,” says Founder and Artistic Director Thomas Buckner. “Now we are experiencing a blossoming of new music groups and solo performers, which makes the series necessary in a new way. There are so many exceptional composers and performers who need a great place to perform.”
※ THURSDAY APRIL 9, 2020: THOMAS BUCKNER
Baritone Thomas Buckner presents his 31st annual concert of newly commissioned pieces with works by Earl Howard, JD Parran, Buckner himself — including Gold/Crack, a Mutable Music commissioned work by Pauline Kim-Harris, and performed with String Noise (Kim-Harris and Conrad Harris). The evening also includes performers Soo Yeon Lyuh (haegeum, a two-stringed Korean bowed instrument); Andrew Drury (percussion); Earl Howard (synthesizer and saxophone); JD Parran (reeds).
※ THURSDAY MAY 7, 2020: MÉLANIE GENIN | ENSEMBLE L’ART POUR L’ART
Mélanie Genin performs new music for harp by Christian Dachez, Michael Greba, Saad Haddad, Pauline Kim Harris, Mantovani, and Ricardo Romaneiro. / Ensemble L’Art Pour L’Art perform works by Matthias Kawl, Stephan Streich, Killian Schwoon and others. With Matthias Kawl (percussion); Astrid Smelik (flute). Michael Shorder (guitar); plus special guest Thomas Buckner (baritone voice).