Composer Steve Reich drew concepts for his piece Radio Rewrite from Composer Perotin’s Proverb, composed in 1995. He also allowed Radiohead songs Jigsaw Falling into Place and Everything in Its Right Place influence the piece as well. This is the third track on his 2014 album titled after the piece itself, Radio Rewrite. The piece is in five movements, alternating in Reich’s typical fashion: Fast, Slow, Fast, Slow and Fast. Longtime friends of Reich ensemble Alarm Will Sound recorded this work under direction of Alan Pierson. The work calls for flute, clarinet, two vibraphones, two pianos, electric bass, and string quartet.
Electric Counterpoint and Piano Counterpoint are also featured on this album. Electric Counterpoint was composed in 1987 and originally performed and recorded by Pat Metheny. On this album it is recorded by Radiohead’s guitarist Jonny Greenwood. Reich heard Greenwood perform his work live and enjoyed the performance and then became interested in Radiohead’s music.
Piano Counterpoint is an arrangement of Reich’s Six Pianos by Vincent Corver in 2011. It is recorded by Pianist Vicky Chow. In this arrangement, four of the six piano voices are played as a recording while the performer plays the two remaining piano voices live.
Paul York, professor of cello and Dror Biran, professor of piano at University of Louisville joined Daniel Gilliam in the studio to talk about their upcoming concert on Sunday February 22nd at 3:00pm. The concert will take place in Comstock Concert Hall on UofL’s campus as part of The Music eX Series. They will perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor BWV 1008 and Felix Mendelssohn’s Sonata for Cello & Piano in D Major, Op. 58, No. 2.
Percussionist Kuniko Kato’s album Cantus brings two of my passions together: Percussion and minimalism. This album follows her album Kuniko Plays Reich which was released in 2011. After receiving much praise for that album, she “wanted to make minimalist music more accessible.” She achieves this spectacularly in Cantus which was released in 2013.
The album opens with Für Alina by Estonian Composer Arvo Pärt. This piece is normally about 11 minutes in length, but Kato opts out of repeating phrases and shortens it to 4 minutes. She recorded the piece in a small ancient church, which is a perfect environment for the resonate tones of the vibraphone and crotales to sing at this slow and contemplative tempo.
New York Counterpoint by Steve Reich is one of his most popular compositions. It is a piece originally scored for amplified clarinet and tape. She utilizes the entire range of the five octave marimba and various types of mallets and methods of striking in order to mimic the clarinet perfectly.
Pärt’s Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten It is a threnody written to mourn the death of Composer Benjamin Britten, who Pärt admired dearly. It is originally scored for string orchestra and bell. This work translates to marimba very clearly. Kato rolls the notes on the marimba throughout the whole piece, creating a giant resonate sound.
Purl Ground by Hywel Davies is the only piece on the album that is originally scored for marimba. The piece stays very quiet and has a humming quality, never surpassing the half-way point of the marimba. Kato calls this piece “deeply evocative.”
Fratres and Spiegel im Spiegel are two more compositions from Pärt featured on the album. Fratres was written in 1977 and many versions exist today, from piano and cello to string orchestra and percussion. Her arrangement for marimba uses soft mallets on the low end of the marimba, harder mallets on the mid and high range, and bowing of the marimba keys throughout. The bowing is quiet, you have to listen closely. Spigel im Spigel was originally scored for piano and violin. It is repetitive and played at a slow walking pace. Kato rolls the melody notes on the marimba while the repetitive tonic triads are played on the high end of the marimba. Bells chime in brightly throughout the piece.
SOLI Chamber Ensemble from San Antonio Texas recently released a new album titled “Portraits.” This album features four newly commissioned works from composers Erich Stem, Peter Farmer, Elliott Miles McKinley, and Diego Vega. Composer Erich Stem is also Associate Professor of Music at Indiana University Southeast and produced the album at New Dynamic Records. It was recorded in Louisville, Kentucky at TNT Productions. Daniel Gilliam interviewed Erich Stem and spoke with him about the concept for the album and the story behind each composer’s piece. You can listen to the interview below and you can purchase SOLI’s “Portraits” on iTunes and CD Baby.
Sebastian was commissioned by Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra for a new symphony. Mr. Chang was in town for the performance and talked with Daniel Gilliam about the creative process surrounding his first major work.