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New Works on PSNY: Knight, Wainwright, Cerrone

One characteristic about the idea of "New Music" is that it is always, in some way, new. But this newness is spread out over a few key milestones: a "double bar-line", when the composer finishes the work; a first performance; a recording release; regional premieres across the world. A major milestone, often overlooked, is the availability of performance materials—a score and parts—so that the work can travel. We're featuring here newly published works by three composers—Adrian Knight, Rufus Wainwright and Christopher Cerrone

A few months ago, we wrote about Adrian Knight's Obsessions, a long-form commission by pianist R. Andrew Lee that was released on Irritable Hedgehog records before two East-coast performances in New York and Boston. Knight's work echoes Feldman, Dennis Johnson, and even hints of Bartok's Mikrokosmos in its simplicity and peripatetic repetition. And now, the full score of this mesmerizing work is available to the public. 



We have also recently published another work that is intimately connected to its composer and performer: Rufus Wainwright's Five Shakespeare Sonnets, in both a piano/vocal score and a score of the full orchestration made for the San Francisco Symphony in 2010. Wainwright first set Sonnet 29 in 2002, and in 2009 was asked to set several more for a collaboration with director Robert Wilson at the Berliner Ensemble. (Wainwright also recorded several of these sonnets on his 2010 album, All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu.) Most recently, Wainwright has released a full studio album of sonnet settings to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. Needless to say, the ability to read through Wainwright's genius songwriting and lush orchestration is a true gift, for singers and fans alike. Check out Wainwright performing Sonnet 20, part of the published set, below: 

We end this post by featuring two works by composer Christopher Cerrone: South Catalina and The Branch Will Not Break. Commissioned by eighth blackbird for their remarkable Hand Eye album, South Catalina finds Cerrone reflecting on the city of Los Angeles and the installation-art piece Swarm, by rAndom International. The Branch Will Not Break was commissioned by Present Music for their annual Thanksgiving Concert, and features seven movements for vocal ensemble and ten instrumentalists that pull from the poems of James Wright and from Cerrone's own experience with the midwest. 

Check out eighth blackbird's premiere recording of South Catalina below. 

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