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Hannah Lash: Portrait Concert at Miller Theatre



The music of Hannah Lash is, as composer Martin Bresnick writes, infused with a "high seriousness"—a burning, disciplined seriousness, dedicated equally to the composition of new works and to the long musical tradition of the works' instruments, lineages, and intensities. An upcoming Portrait Concert at Columbia University's Miller Theatre features three works, two of which are world premieres. 

The program begins with the world premiere of Music for Eight Lungs, commissioned by the Miller Theatre and performed by loadbang. As the title would suggest, the performers in this ensemble—trumpet, trombone, bass clarinet, and baritone voice—are rendered as breathing bodies, each lung equal to the next regardless of instrument. (The voice, too, is an instrument here, woven in to the fabric of the piece.) The phonemic material of this composition is drawn from Purcell's aria, "When I am Laid in Earth" (known as "Dido's Lament," 1688).

Six Etudes and a Dream follows, written for and performed by pianist Lisa Moore. Each etude is dedicated to an aspect of Moore's piano playing, which Lash praises for its "musical laser focus." Check out a video of Lisa Moore, joined by cellist Ashley Bathgate, performing the first movement of Lash's Friction, Pressure, Impact:

The program will end with Lash, also an accomplished harpist, joining the JACK Quartet to perform Filigree in Textile, a work she composed for JACK and harpist Yolanda Kondonassis in 2011. This work shows Lash's capacity to work in several compositional paradigms, all of which have formed an integral part in the fabric of her compositional tradition—a metaphor implied by the piece's title and movement titles, each named after a material used in the weft of medieval tapestries. "Gold" features an organic, unfolding melodic "cell" which transforms throughout the movement; "Silver" is "a formal and somber dance in rhythmic unison"; "Silk" is through-composed, with the harp emerging as a figure against the ground of the ensemble. Check out an excerpt below.

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