Photographs by Barry Fellman © 2014 Center for Visual Communication. All Rights Reserved.
Kudos to Lansing McLoskey for a great evening of works that intertwined music, painting and video in this collaboration between FETA and CVC.
The concert was part of the Acoustica 21 series. Blur presented images of Rita Blitt\’s paintings in the process of being created in response to Lansing\’s score which was played live. B(ee) Movie was performed by violin and Mariba justaposed with Ann Steuernagel\’s video narrative assembled from found film footage of the 1930\’s and 40\’s. Hardwood for woodwind quintet was inspired by the sounds and transformation of the New Hampshire woods. The commission was written at MacDowell Colony during the fall when the colors changed from deep lush greens to an explosion of reds and yellows to the dropping of the leaves. Hardwood was winner of the First International Joint Wind Quintet Project Commission Competition.
(clarinet, saxophone, and video)
blur is an exploration of the blurring of boundries. Blurring the boundries between solo and duet; between consonance and dissonance; between the two instruments; between contrasting musical ideas; and blurring the boundries of expectation.
International award-winning artist Rita Blitt painted a series of paintings based on the piece and created a video that is projected while the piece is performed live.
(violin, marimba, and video)
A collaboration between composer Lansing McLoskey and award-winning filmmaker/video artist Ann Steuernagel, B(ee) Movie is a brief exploration of relationships, expectations, and juxtaposition. The video images consist of “found footage” of a documentary nature from the 1930\’s and \’40\’s, recontextualized into a quasi-narrative. But what is the narrative?
The audience/listener immediately finds him/herself trying to process images which are strangely familiar but also unintelligible at first, and trying to make sense of juxtaposed and unrelated material. But the lyrical, melancholic music thread and formal structure hints at meaning beyond the non-sequiturs; even if the meaning is open to interpretation. Or perhaps “meaning” is irrelevant, and all one needs to do is watch, listen, and smile.
The music is informed by McLoskey\’s studies and work in electronic music, and emulates an “electronic” soundworld using solely cello and marimba.
(violin and marimba)
“…a sort of huge screaming puppet writhing in rivulets of blood, a puppet with four tentacles, like a sea monster, of raw, slimy and shapeless flesh mixed up with splinters of smashed bones.”
>From “Trewlicher Bericht eynes scrocklichen Kindermords beym Hexensabath,”
Hamburg, 12th June 1607, describing a person being executed on the wheel.
Legend has it that Catherine (aka “Katherine”) was born in Alexandria of a noble family during the reign of Maxentius (c. 278-28 – Oct. 312). Converted to Christianity through a vision, she denounced Maxentius for persecuting Christians. Fifty of her converts were then burned to death by Maxentius. Smitten by the Catherine\’s beauty, Maxentius offered Catherine a royal marriage if she would deny the faith. Her refusal landed her in prison. While in prison Catherine converted Maxentius\’ wife and two hundred of his soldiers. Furious, he had them all put to death.
Catherine was likewise condemned to death. She was ordered to be “broken on the wheel”, a shockingly vicious and gruesome method of execution that was second only to hanging as the most widely used method of torture and execution across Europe into the 17th century. However, when the execution was to begin the wheel broke, and flying pieces killed several of the executioners, soldiers, and bystanders. She was consequently beheaded, and instead of blood milk flowed from her neck. Her body was transported by angels to Mount Sinai, where a church and monastery were built in her honor.
St. Catherine has been a favorite subject of painters, poets, preachers, and musicians, well into the 20th century.
Catherine\’s Wheel quotes several pieces of music about St. Catherine, including snippets of sixteen Gregorian chant melodies, the 19th century hymn “Faith of Our Fathers” (aka “St. Catherine\’s Tune”), and Gaude Virgo Katherina by the 15th century English composer John Dunstable. It was commissioned for marimbist Eduardo Leandro and violinist Yeon-Su Kim.
The title of the piece is a multi-layered pun: First (and perhaps painfully obvious) is that it’s a demanding work for woodwinds.
But more significantly, the title refers to the fact that the piece was composed while at the MacDowell Colony, located in the woods of New Hampshire. I was surrounded by hardwood trees for five weeks in the autumn, during the entire change from deep, lush greens through the explosion of colors of “peak” and then the dropping of the leaves. How could one not be moved and inspired by this transformation and the magnificent yellows, oranges, red, purples, and beautiful browns and earth-tones?
It is important to clarify that the piece is in no way a literal tone-poem attempting to portray this in sound, but rather a personal, musical refraction of my weeks in the hardwoods.
At the center of the piece are three movements forming a set of variations. However, unlike a traditional “theme and variations” scheme where the variations are based on an original theme or movement, in this case the movements are distinct-but-related variations of each other. This is similar to how different trees are not variations of one “original tree,” but simply different trees; each sharing similar traits and forms, but also having distinct individual characteristics.
Hardwood was commissioned by ICA (International Clarinet Association), IDRS (International Double Reed Society), IHS (International Horn Society), and NFA (National Flute Association) as the Winner of the First International Joint Wind Quintet Project Commission Competition.
Special Thanks To the Musicians:
Margaret Donaghue, clarinet
Dale Underwood, alto saxophone
Elizabeth Galvan, marimba
Abby Young, violin
Dakota Corbliss, horn
Andrew Eshbach, oboe
Kristina Nelson, bassoon
Lee Seidner, clarinet
Daniel Velasco, flute