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Collaborations Compositions Percussion Performers Postclassical

Kalimba Canon premiere

On July 17, 2020, Second Note Duo (Gabriel Costache and Will Richards) gave the world premiere of Kalimba Canon (1999). It was the final composition presented in their socially distanced, video recital A Day in the Life. Second Note contacted me a little over a month prior to the release date, and things came together quickly including sourcing instruments to play the piece. I am thrilled with the result. Funds were donated to the Black Legal Action Centre.

Two alto kalimbas play identical melodic loops, with the second kalimba echoing several beats behind the first, to create a composite musical line. Minimalism in miniature. Will (kalimba 1) recorded his part at his home in Illinois, while Gabriel (kalimba 2) recorded at his home in Colorado. The mirrored outdoor setting for this sequence in the video—sunsets near water—is a perfect one for the piece.

Composed January 1999
Recorded and premiered July 2020

Photo: team KC reunion, July 2020

Music and composers’s notes copyright Bruce A. Russell 2020

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5 Questions Afro-Caribbean Classical Composers Dance Experimental I Care If You Listen Interview Journalism Media Music Journalism Percussion Performers Postclassical Vocal

5 Questions to Anaïs Maviel

My interview for I Care If You Listen.

Categories
Compositions Piano Postclassical

76

76, for piano (2019), is dedicated to Ashil Mistry. The opening melody comprises three pitches, and is designed so that these pitches rotate with each repetition of the rhythmic pattern. An ascending bassline and four-note chords harmonize the upper pitches, now moving in parallel thirds and fourths. The bassline is then inverted and thus descends, as the metric length and register of the melody are expanded.

Composed and recorded December 2019, unedited take on digital piano

Photo: Whitney Block, Toronto, January 2019

Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce A. Russell 2020

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Afro-Caribbean Electronic Funk Hip Hop Mixtapes R&B Vocal

Twenty Tens

As a farewell to the decade when music collections and manual selection became niche, here’s an old-fashioned segue mix.

Ìfé | Bangah (Pico y Palo)

Georgia Anne Muldrow | Overload

Ibeyi | River

D’Angelo and The Vanguard | Really Love

King | Red Eye

Thundercat | Them Changes

Erykah Badu | Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long

Childish Gambino | Boogieman

The Internet | Wanna Be

Esperanza Spalding | Touch in Mine

Snarky Puppy with Lalah Hathaway | Something

Solange | Junie

Shafiq Husayn feat. Jimetta Rose & Fatima | May I Assume

Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar | Never Catch Me

Brandon Coleman feat. Patrice Quinn & Techdizzle | Giant Feelings

Anderson .Paak | King James

Kamasi Washington | Show Us the Way

Kaytranada feat. Little Dragon | Bullets

Laura Mvula | Phenomenal Woman

Moses Sumney | Self-Help Tape

Ibrahim El Mahboob

December 2019

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Boogie Chamber Classical Collaborations Composers Electronic Experimental Hip Hop Jazz Lists Orchestral Performers Postclassical R&B Soundtrack Toronto

Best of 2019

Layale Chaker & Sarafand Inner Rhyme

Flying Lotus Flamagra

Shafiq Husayn The Loop

Kaytranada Bubba

Anne-Sophie Mutter / John Williams Across the Stars

Anderson .Paak Ventura

Caroline Shaw / Attacca Quartet Orange

Solange When I Get Home

James Tenney Changes: 64 Studies for 6 Harps

Dwight Trible Mothership

Honourable mention: Marvin Gaye You’re the Man

Categories
Compositions Family Photo Postclassical

Companion

Companion, for two pianos, was composed through late 2018 and early 2019, while the first notehead pencil sketches date to 2011. It is dedicated to my two youngest children. All of the material derives from seven-note rows: orderings of the pitches of the diatonic scale. The harmony resembles traditional tonality heard through a pandiatonic filter. There are four sections, divided by key signature: F major, A-flat major, B major and D major.

Each section is constructed from one or two unique, quasi-symmetrical rows that move generally by fourths and fifths. Each row is layered against itself in homorhythmic canons of up to six voices, often accompanied by high and low pedals tones which form an additional canon in augmentation. Almost every chord in Companion is the result of a basic serial process, one exception being the transition between the third and fourth sections, which features chords built from nested fifths. Ultimately, such chords result from the canons as well.

The final chord is arrived at through symmetrical voice leading from the penultimate chord, and is also the initial row spelled vertically from bottom to top. Form at the local and vertical levels is highly rationalized, while global and horizontal form—rhythmic structure and phrasing—is loosely associative.

Composed 2018-2019
Audio export from the notated score, April 2019

Photo: Centre Island Beach, August 2019

Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce A. Russell 2019

Categories
Archive Compositions Piano Postclassical

aix

aix (“waters”), for two pianos, is a short study in rising and falling patterns, with alternating chordal and canonic textures. The primary melodic shape, an ascending seventh followed by a descending second, is heard in several of my piano pieces of this period.

Composed and recorded 2004, Korg 01/WFD
Restored from playback on the original device, 2019

Photo: breakwater, Marilyn Bell Park, Toronto

Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce A. Russell 2019

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Anniversary Archive Compositions Percussion Postclassical

1999+20: Kalimba Canon

Two alto kalimbas play identical melodic loops, with the second kalimba echoing several beats behind the first, to create a composite musical line. Minimalism in miniature.

Composed January 1999
Recorded September 2004, in an empty bathtub

Photo: my kalimba, 2012

Music and composers’s notes copyright Bruce A. Russell 2019

Categories
5 Questions Classical Composers I Care If You Listen Interview Music Journalism Orchestral

5 Questions to Vivian Fung

My interview for I Care If You Listen.

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5 Questions Composers I Care If You Listen Interview Media Music Journalism Orchestral Performers Postclassical

5 Questions to Errollyn Wallen

My interview for I Care If You Listen.