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Anniversary Composers Compositions Piano Postclassical

23, for piano

23 (2016) was composed as an homage to Steve Reich and is dedicated to him on the occasion of his 80th birthday. All of the material in this piano miniature derives from melodic patterns and sonorities in his music. (This is true to a lesser degree about some of my earlier pieces as I have pointed out elsewhere.) The starting point for this process was measure 23 from Piano Phase (1967) and Reich’s favoured key signature of D major/B minor. There are several other works and Reichian tonal centres referenced, sometimes in quick or overlapping succession.


I avoided transforming melodic or harmonic entities beyond recognition, emphasizing spontaneous musical flow over structured collage. Fans of the elder composer may enjoy listening for references however subtle they may appear. Others may note that 23 sounds similar to my other piano pieces, which reflects the great influence Reich has had on my work. A tribute seems only fitting.

Happy 80th, Steve!

Composed September 2016
Recorded live with no edits October 2016, Roland digital piano direct

Photo: Carolyn Cole

Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce A. Russell 2016

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Chamber Collaborations Composers Electronic Hip Hop Jazz Lists Orchestral Percussion Performers Piano Pop Postclassical R&B Soundtrack

Best of 2015

Some great new discoveries and otherwise the usual company in abundance.

John Adams Absolute Jest · Grand Pianola Music San Francisco Symphony · Michael Tilson Thomas · John Adams (SFS Media)

Bang on a Can All Stars Field Recordings (Cantaloupe)

eighth blackbird Filament (Cedille)

Mahan Esfahani Time Present and Time Past (Archiv)

Morton Feldman · Erik Satie · John Cage Rothko Chapel [Gnossiennes, In a Landscape, etc.] Kim Kashkashian · Sarah Rothenberg · Steven Schick · Houston Chamber Choir · Robert Simpson (ECM)

Floating Points Elaenia (Luaka Bop/Pluto)

Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly (Top Dawg · Aftermath · Interscope)

Steve Martland Band Martland (NMC)

Steve Reich Music for 18 Musicians Ensemble Signal · Third Coast Percussion · Brad Lubman (Harmonia Mundi)

Max Richter Sleep (Deutsche Grammophon)

Linda Catlin Smith Thought and Desire Eve Egoyan (Earwitness Editions)

Stephen Sondheim Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano Anthony de Mare (ECM)

Ann Southam Glass Houses for Marimba Taktus (Centrediscs)

Tennyson Like What EP (self-released)

Kamasi Washington The Epic (Brainfeeder)

John Williams Star Wars: The Force Awakens Gustavo Dudamel · William Ross · John Williams (Walt Disney)

reissues · remasters

Bernard Herrmann Obsession Special Archival Edition (Music Box)

The Spinners Spinners (BBR)

John Williams A.I. Artificial Intelligence Expanded Archival Collection (La-La Land)

John Williams Jaws and Jaws 2 (Intrada)

John Williams, Herman Stein, Hans J. Salter, Joseph Mullendore, Alexander Courage, Cyril J. Mockridge, Gerald Fried, Leith Stevens, Robert Drasnin, Fred Steiner and others Lost in Space 50th Anniversary Soundtrack Collection (La-La Land)

Categories
Composers I Care If You Listen Media Music Journalism Percussion Performers Postclassical Toronto

Glass Houses for Marimba

My reviews of the launch and CD for I Care If You Listen.

Categories
Composers Electronic I Care If You Listen Media Music Journalism Performers Postclassical Toronto

An Evening with Barrière and Saariaho

My review for I Care If You Listen.

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Chamber Choral Composers Electronic Jazz Orchestral Performers Piano Pop Postclassical R&B

Best of 2014

John Adams, The Gospel According to the Other Mary – Los Angeles Philharmonic, LA Master Chorale, Gustavo Dudamel

John Luther Adams, Become Ocean – Seattle Symphony, Ludovic Morlot

D’Angelo and The Vanguard, Black Messiah

Morton Feldman, String Quartet No. 1 – FLUX Quartet

Flying Lotus, You’re Dead!

Philip Glass, The Complete Piano Etudes – Maki Namekawa

Meredith Monk, Piano Songs – Ursula Oppens, Bruce Brubaker

Laura Mvula, With Metropole Orkest Conducted by Jules Buckley at Abbey Road Studios

Steve Reich, Radio Rewrite – Jonny Greenwood, Vicky Chow, Alarm Will Sound, Alan Pierson

Ann Southam, Glass Houses Vol. 2 – Christina Petrowska Quilico

tuku, moonday sessions:the black

reissues

Herbie Hancock, The Complete Columbia Album Collection 1972-1988 (rel. late 2013)

Odyssey, Happy Together (Expanded Edition)

Sly Stone & various artists, I’m Just Like You: Sly’s Stone Flower 1969-1970

Categories
Composers I Care If You Listen Media Music Journalism Percussion Performers Piano Postclassical

Radio Rewrite Is ‘Everything’ and Then Some

An excerpt of my review of the Nonesuch album for I Care If You Listen; full version available with a subscription.

Categories
Composers I Care If You Listen Media Music Journalism Performers Postclassical

I Care If You Listen – FLUX Quartet Records Feldman’s String Quartet No. 1

Here’s my review of FLUX Quartet’s recording of Morton Feldman’s String Quartet No. 1, Structures and Three Pieces, over at I Care If You Listen.

Categories
Composers I Care If You Listen Media Music Journalism Performers Piano Postclassical

I Care If You Listen – Hamelin performs Feldman

I’m delighted to share my debut piece for the excellent contemporary classical magazine I Care If You Listen.

It’s a review of Marc-André Hamelin’s performance of Morton Feldman’s For Bunita Marcus at the 21C Music Festival in May. Have a look and let me know what you think!

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Anniversary Composers Electronic Funk Lists Performers Pop Postclassical R&B Soundtrack

Best of 2013

Eve Egoyan – 5

Philip Glass – Visitors

Kuniko Kato – Cantus

R. Andrew Lee – November

Laura Mvula – Sing to the Moon

Omar – The Man

Quadron – Avalanche

Thundercat – Apocalypse

Hans Zimmer – Man of Steel

Best archive/reissue:

Sly and the Family Stone – Higher!

Categories
Composers Postclassical

Not the Gospel According to John Adams

I’m not sure what art does. I know that it’s possible to imagine life without it. Anyone’s life would be horribly impoverished without art. Yet, it seems to me that if you really want to help people and improve their lives, the most efficient thing to do is to go right to the real issues, which are economic. And I think for artists to believe that their musical compositions, or their plays, or their poems or novels can have a really potent political effect is probably a bit overly optimistic.

– John Adams, interview for the Classical KUSC streaming broadcast of The Gospel According to the Other Mary performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, June 2013