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Program 653: Freeform New Music

KALW Broadcast Date: May 28, 2021 | Host: Mark Abramson

This program is a freeform presentation of some new and/or experimental music tracks I’ve been wanting to play for a while, but haven’t found the right theme to group them with. These are mostly pieces of new classical music for small ensembles, with a couple of electronic works that fit the mood added in as well. We’ll start with a couple works for solo or multiple overdubbed flute from Claire Chase. A Brooklyn-based musician originally from California, Chase  works at Harvard as a professor of music, in addition to performing live and on recordings. We’ll hear two pieces from an ongoing project called “Density,” which proposes to create a new body of repertoire for the flute, and which is named in honor of Edgard Varèse’s solo flute work from 1936, “Density 21.5.” Her recording of Density 21.5 opens tonight’s program. We’ll also hear her play a piece for 6 overdubbed bass flutes by Brazilian composer Marcos Balter. Next we’ll listen to “Su for Sheng and Orchestra,” by Korean composer Unsuk Chin. A sheng is an ancient Chinese reed instrument with 17 pipes and metal or bamboo reeds, with a sound similar to but not exactly like an accordion. Images of the instrument exist that have been dated to 200 BCE. Ruth Anderson is a pioneering composer of electronic work, and we’ll hear a short work by her called “Points,” made with sine waves on tape. We’ll hear “The Gift,” part of Terry Riley’s larger work “Salome Dances for Peace,” played by the Kronos Quartet. “Meadow” is a new half-hour long work for violin, viola and cello by Linda Catlin Smith, a Toronto-based composer. This work was mentioned by Alex Ross of the New Yorker in his short list of notable new works in 2020. Next, a work called “Mutations,” created with tape and electronics in 1969 by French composer Jean-Claude Risset. Then another work for string quartet by John Luther Adams, part 2 of his three-part piece “Lines Made By Walking.” And we’ll finish up with a short improvised work by trumpeter Darren Johnston and guitarist Fred Frith, something from their 2016 album “Everybody’s Somebody’s Nobody.”

Program Audio

30-Second Spot

Track Info & Links

Title: Density 21.5 (1936), Pessoa (2013)
Composers: Edgard Varèse, Marcos Balter
Performers: Claire Chase, flute; Levy Lorenzo, electronics
Recording Title: Density 2036: Parts 1 & 2 (2020)
Record Label: Corbett vs. Dempsey
Catalog Number: CvsD CD076


Titles: Šu for Sheng and Orchestra (2009)
Composer: Unsuk Chin
Performers: Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Myung-Whun Chung conductor; Wei Wu, sheng
Recording Title: Three Concertos (2014)
Record Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Catalog Number: 481 0971


Title: Points (1974)
Composer: Ruth Anderson
Performer: Ruth Anderson, tape
Recording Title: Here (2020)
Record Label: Arc Light Editions
Catalog Number: ALE011


Titles: The Gift, from Salome Dances For Peace (1985-86)
Composer: Terry Riley
Performers: Kronos Quartet
Recording Title: One Earth, One People, One Love (2015)
Record Label: Nonesuch
Catalog Number: 548925-2


Title: Meadow (2020)
Composer: Linda Catlin Smith
Performers: Mia Cooper, violin; Joachim Roewer, viola; William Butt, cello
Recording Title: Meadow (2020)
Record Label: Louth Contemporary Music
Catalog Number: LCMS20201


Title: Mutations (1969)
Composer: Jean-Claude Risset
Performer: Jean-Claude Risset, tape
Recording Title: An Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music, Vol 4 (2006)
Record Label: Sub Rosa
Catalog Number: SR 250


Title: Lines Made By Walking II–Along The Ridges (2020)
Composer: John Luther Adams
Performers: JACK Quartet
Recording Title: Lines Made By Walking (2020)
Record Label: Cold Blue
Catalog Number: CB0058


Title: Barn Dance
Composers: Fred Frith & Darren Johnston
Performers: Fred Frith, guitar; Darren Johnston, trumpet
Recording Title: Everybody/s Somebody/s Nobody (2016)
Record Label: Clean Feed
Catalog Number: CF357CD

Groups of fast musical notes with a large legato arch over them on a music sheet, as part of a classical piece
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