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Posts tagged 'Fred Lerdahl'

The Daedalus Quartet Premieres Fred Lerdahl's "Chaconne"

Fred Lerdahl's writing for string quartet has, since 1978, played with musical form and syntax to achieve strikingly dramatic and engaging works. Lerdahl's three string quartets can be heard on a pristine recording performed by the Daedalus Quartet, for whom Lerdahl's Third Quartet was commissioned in 2008, completing the trilogy.

Now Lerdahl, with support from New Music USA, has written another work for Daedalus—entitled Chaconne—which diverges from Lerdahl's asymmetrical "spiral form" and instead explores the symmetrical periodicities inherent in the form of the chaconne. Eight bars of paired symmetrical phrases spell out the name of the Daedalus Quartet in the names of pitch-classes, using the German spelling of Eb (D-A-E-D-A-Es); Lerdahl uses this motive throughout the work to make a piece that is, in his words, "outward and transparent, one that projects delight in playful patterns."

Listen to Lerdahl's first three quartets performed by Daedalus below. 

Lerdahl and Carrick Performed by Sound Icon in Boston

Fred Lerdahl, composer, music theorist, and long-time professor at Columbia University, will be the composer-in-residence at the Boston University Center for New Music twice in the upcoming season: first in September, and later in January 2017. To kick off the residency, Boston's new music sinfonietta Sound Icon will perform Ledahl's Time after Time in their season opening concert on September 30 at Boston University's CFA Concert Hall.

Bridge Records, which has released numerous recordings of Lerdahl's work, including Time after Time, calls Lerdahl "one of the least known among "major" American composers." Of his singular style, Bridge writes that "a Lerdahl composition might at any moment be tonal or atonal, it might luxuriate in Lerdahl's rich melodic and harmonic gifts, or it might make reference to various musics of our past." 

            
(pages from Time after Time)

Time after Time, scored for Pierrot ensemble (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion), was commissioned and premiered by the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society in 2000 and a finalist for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in Music. The work employs Lerdahl signature "spiral form", in which simple ideas become deeply elaborated and more complex with each cycle. Listen to an excerpt:

Sound Icon's program also includes a performance of PSNY composer Richard Carrick's dark flow, a double quartet for saxophone, trombone, acoustic guitar, percussion, violin, piano, cello and cibalom. Carrick takes inspiration for this work from the "hypothetical and unexplained flow of galaxy clusters toward a particular point in deep space," a phenomenon described as "dark flow." Carrick elaborates: 

In astrophysics, dark flow refers to the hypothetical and unexplained flow of galaxy clusters toward a particular point in deep space.  Interestingly, some speculate this influence on galaxies comes from a part of the universe that no longer exists, but somehow still carries an influence on matter.  This "invisible pull" is something that exist deep in music as well, something strongly felt but not easily defined.


Check out a performance of dark flow with the Either/Or Ensemble: 



The program, presented by the Boston University Center for New Music on September 30, also includes performances of works by Rick Burkhardt and features soprano Jennifer Ashe.

Lerdahl at Lincoln Center

Fred Lerdahl's three string quartets, written over a span of nearly thirty years, showcase the composer's remarkable talent for exploring the subtleties of the structure of music, forming a trilogy of works that function both as a unified whole and as individual units. The third quartet, commissioned by the Deadalus Quartet and premeired in 2008, is described by the composer as "[inhabiting] a world of abrupt mood changes, passionate urgings, quiet reveries, fantastical gestures, and sudden reminiscences." 

The Deadalus Quartet, which has recorded all three of Lerdahl's quartets on Bridge Records, will perform the work on March 24th at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, alongside works by Wolfgang Rihm, Helmut Lachenmann, and John Harbison. The evening will feature a conversation with Lerdahl himself, and will be live-streamed here. Check out the Deadalus Quartet performing the work below. 

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