Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Festival of New American Music

I am currently watching the 43rd Annual Festival of New American Music at Sac State.  Normally I would drive over the bridge and go inside, but this year it is a virtual festival.  Probably the artists aren't even in town.


It began with a Gala Concert featuring Hub New Music, Lara Downes and Loadbang.  I think the way this festival works is a member of the faculty is assigned to organize it, and then the artists reflect that person's taste.  They are trying to feature female composers.


Monday an entire concert featured Hub New Music, an ensemble of Michael Avitabile, flute; Nicholas Brown, clarinet; Alyssa Wang, violin; and Jesse Christeson, cello. The flute doubles on piccolo, and the clarinet doubles on bass clarinet.   I liked this combination of instruments.

Kati Agócs (b. 1975):  Rogue Emoji (2019) 

Takuma Ito (b. 1984):  Wavelengths (2019) 

Hannah Lash (b. 1981):  The Nature of Breaking (2020) 

  1. Refractions 
  2. In remembrance of 
  3. Time/place4.Hold nearly




Next loadbang reappeared.  This is a wind ensemble featureing Andy Kozar, trumpet; William Lang, trombone; Adrián Sandí, bass clarinet; and Jeffrey Gavett, baritone voice.  For me this ensemble is a little strange.  Maybe I'm just out of touch.  The baritone behaves like just another wind instrument and basically just makes sounds. 

Angélica Negrón (1981):  Dóabin (2016)

Heather Stebbins (1987):  Quiver (2014)

Chaya Czernowin (1957):  IRRATIONAL (2019)

Eve Beglarian (1958):  Island of the Sirens (2011)

Li Qi (1990):  Like a Dream (2018)

Paula Matthusen (1974):  old fires catch old buildings (2016)

You can see from the dates of the pieces listed that this music is indeed very new.  Perhaps it is too new for my old ears.  Loadbang appeared again on Wednesday afternoon to present a program of pieces by students at Sac State


Tony Arnold, soprano will perform this evening.  Her repertoire is not quite as exotic as the other performers.  There are men, and I've actually heard of these people.  I will report additional information after I've heard this.  No accompanist is listed, so we will see.  And what we see is her singing alone.

Carlos Sánchez-Gutiérrez (b. 1964):  ChanceForest Interludes(2015)  Short vocal pieces, each dramatized.  It's in English.  Each small piece has a literary quote to introduce it.

Chaya Czernowin(b. 1957):  Adiantum Capillus-Veneris I (2015)  Sounds.  No words.  Breathing sounds.

Luciano Berio (1925–2003):  Sequenza III(1966)  This has words though they are not understandable.  She calls herself Screamer, but when she screams her face turns red.

Kaija Saariaho(b. 1952):  Lonh(1996)  This is very much accompanied, both instrumentally and vocally.  The text is in English and is about love from a distance.  I'm going to guess that it is in anticipation of L'Amour de Loin, her opera which came 4 years later.  I'm enjoying this the most.  Saariaho is a wonderful composer.

This was all astoundingly amusing.

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