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Posts tagged 'New Amsterdam Records'

Christopher Cerrone's "The Pieces that Fall to Earth" Released on New Amsterdam Records

Christopher Cerrone's long-awaited album, The Pieces that Fall to Earth, has recently been released on New Amsterdam Records. This new album collects three vocal cycles, all performed by the Los Angeles-based collective Wild UpThe Pieces that Fall to Earth, with soprano Lindsay Kesselman; The Naomi Songs, sung by vocalist Theo Bleckmann; and The Branch Will Not Break, sung by a chorus of eight vocalists. 

The three vocal cycles collected on The Pieces that Fall to Earth each draw their text from different contemporary poets: Kay Ryan, Bill Knott, and James Wright. In each cycle, Cerrone activates the subtle and powerful affective worlds created through his setting of these poems to music, marrying the modernist and avant-garde sound-worlds of composers such as Luciano Berio and Morton Feldman with more traditional strophic settings of lush and memorable vocal melodies. 

Cerrone notes, “These authors profoundly inspired the music that I wrote. I feel that by setting their disparate languages, I have composed three works that are kindred spirits, but whose differences are as profound as their similarities.”

The blog I Care if You Listen recently premiered a music video for "Swept Up Whole," from the album's titular vocal cycle, featuring soprano Lindsay Kesselman. As Cerrone writes,

In “Swept Up Whole,” the narrator sings “You aren’t / swept up whole, / however it / feels. You’re / atomized. The wind / passes. You / recongeal. It’s a surprise.” This film, conceived of by Evan Chapman and Kevin Eikenberg of Four/Ten Media, takes this poem and reimagines its themes visually and chronologically.

The Pieces that Fall to Earth has already been celebrated with an album release concert in Los Angeles; on August 2nd, the album will see another release event at New York's Areté, featuring Theo Bleckmann singing The Naomi Songs in an arrangement for piano and voice, accompanied by Timo Andres, who also wrote liner notes to the album. Rachel Lee Priday will perform Cerrone’s Sonata for Violin and Piano with Andres, and percussionist Andy Meyerson of The Living Earth Show will play a solo version of Cerrone’s meditative A Natural History of Vacant Lots." Cerrone will also accompany soprano Alexandra Smither in his work "I will learn to love a person."

PSNY Recent Recordings: Part I

New Music in America has been booming in recent years, with a new generation of young composers, ensembles, presenting organizations, and record labels contributing to a vibrant community with an increasingly large audience. Though streaming services have become ascendant, recordings and recording projects have come to hold an increasingly important role in new music: they serve as enduring documents of the hard work of composers and performers, letting the music travel beyond the score and the concert hall. 

Over the next few weeks, PSNY will feature the many recent recordings of compositions by our many talented composers, honoring the hard work and ingenuity of the many ensembles and record labels that contribute to the growing communtiy of new music, and indeed carry the music to new audiences across the globe. 

Our list begins with eighth blackbird's 2016 release, Hand Eye, which emerged from a stunning concert program of the same name. For Hand Eye, the multiple-Grammy™-award-winning ensemble paired up with the composer collective Sleeping Giant, which comprises of Ted Hearne, Timo Andres, Christopher Cerrone, Jacob Cooper, Robert Honstein, and Andrew Norman. That concert program, and the resulting album, features Andres' Checkered Shade, Norman's Mine, Mime, Meme, Cerrone's South Catalina, and Hearne's By-By Huey, among compositions by Honstein and Cooper. 

Writing in the American Record Guide, George Adams calls Hand Eye "a gorgeous, delicately constructed sonic mural." Check out eighth blackbird performing the program at Chicago's MCA:

Next, we'd like to feature an album by Ryan Muncy, the stellar saxophonist (who also performed Marcos Balter'sWicker Park on another 2016 record with the International Contemporary Ensemble). Muncy's second solo album, ism, was released on TUNDRA, ICE's in-house recording label, distributed by New Focus Recordings. Alongiside works by James Tenney and Lee Hyla, Muncy teams up with percussionist Ross Karre to perform Erin Gee's Mouthpiece XXIV, commissioned and premeired by Muncy and Karre in 2015. 

Next we'd like to feature two recordings released on New Amsterdam, both of which feature the work of Christopher Cerrone. Vicky Chow's A O R T A features Cerrone's Hoyt-Schemerhorn for solo piano and electronics, bringing her own voice to a piece that has enjoyed many performances since its 2009 premiere. The Living Earth Show's Dance Music features Cerrone's Double Happiness, a work for electric guitar and percussion that they commissioned and premeired in 2013. 

Finally, we'd like to feature an album we previously wrote about in 2016: Adrian Knight's  Obsessions, performed and recorded by R. Andrew Lee and released on Irritable Hedgehog. This long-form work for solo piano emerges from Knight's idiosyncratic and deeply personal musical language. As Knight remarked, "it's probably my most personal piece, because, like life, its trajectory wasn't predetermined. All I knew is that it would have to end." Obsessions resists mediation, and is best listened to completely. Head over to the album's Bandcamp page to take a listen. 

New Albums featuring Annie Gosfield and Ted Hearne

Two albums out this month by Philadelphia-based ensembles showcase the music of Ted Hearne and Annie Gosfield. The Jasper String Quartet's album Unbound, released on March 17, includes a recording of Gosfield's string quartet The Blue Horse Walks on the Horizon, and the intrepid chamber choir The Crossing releases a recording of Hearne's Sound from the Bench on March 24.



Gosfield's The Blue Horse Walks on the Horizon, which was commissioned and premiered by the Jaspers in 2010, was inspired by the radio broadcasts, encryption methods and secret codes used by European resistance groups during World War II. The work's title references one of the statements broadcast from the British to the French Resistance in their "messages personnels" radio program ("Le cheval bleu se promène sur l'horizon"), and which Gosfield uses as a rhythmic basis for the work's opening figure. The new album, released on New Amsterdam Records, also includes an excerpt of Hearne's Law of Mosaics, as well as works by Caroline Shaw, Missy Mazzoli, Judd Greenstein, David Lang and Donnacha Dennehy. 

Following performances of Hearne's politically-charged cantata Sound from the Bench in Philadelphia, Boston and New York, The Crossing's new album (released by Cantaloupe Music) features the first recording of that work alongside new recordings of Hearne's Consent, Ripple and Privilege



Donald Nally, who leads The Crossing, notes that Hearne's works on the album are "fundamentally about asking questions—questions about the world we live in, about art, and about language and music." The album, containing some of Hearne's most adventurous works to date, demonstrates his socially conscious approach to composition and his goal to "bring the chaotic forces of life into the work itself." Listen to a sample of Hearne's Consent:

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