Rensselaer Contemporary Music Ensemble

Rensselaer Contemporary Music Ensemble

EMPAC Concert Hall

May 5, 2010 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM



John Cage: Music for Marcel Duchamp (1947)
          Garrett Smelcer, Prepared Piano

Anna Lindemann: Where do you come from little seedling? (2010)
          David Gibson, Cello, with electronics

Pauline Oliveros: Tree/Peace (1984)
          Jonathan Chen, violin, Sam Clapp, cello, Michael Century, piano

Frederic Rzewski: Les Moutons de Panurge (1969)

Arnold Schoenberg: Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene (1930)
          Blair Neal, visuals
          Transcribed for Disklavier by Michael Century

Kurt Weill: Alabama Song (1927), Arranged by Morton Feldman
          Lauren Lomanto, vocal


About the music...

Cage composed his prepared piano solo, Music for Duchamp, to accompany a sequence of Duchamp's "rotoreliefs" provided for Hans Richter's Surrealist film, Dreams Money Can Buy.

Anna Lindemann's new piece for cello and electronics grows out of her interest in ways of composing music using biological development as a model.  Cellist David Gibson, an avid gardener, began planting at the time the piece was being conceived.  It seems only fitting that a seedling should emerge from the collaboration—an ovule is fertilized and from a cluster of notes springs forth a cotyledon.   

Pauline Oliveros's piano trio, Tree/Peace, consists of seven sections:  The Mystery of Propagation, The Growth of the Seedling, The Full Formation and Maturity of the Tree, The Action of the Seasons, The Magical Nature of the Tree, The Death of the Tree, Contemplation.

Rzewski's Moutons de Panurge is a minimalist score notated in a single melody, asking performers to first add a note with each repetition, then to subtract one.  A fiendishly difficult puzzle piece for the ensemble, Rzewski counsels the players  to enjoy a certain anarchic independence from one another – "if you get lost, stay lost" – which allows for great variety and surprise with each performance. 

Arnold Schoenberg never carried out a scoring project for film, despite his close interest in film music, but did compose this 1930 piece for an "imaginary" film sequence in part to challenge film music to use more modern compositional techniques.  The score for orchestra, transcribed here for playback on player piano, is a masterly early demonstration of Schoenberg's twelve-tone style.  The live visuals provided by Blair Neal are drawn from various documentary and features films from the time and processed live by Neal's digital video software.

Kurt Weill's Alabama Song (Oh show me the way to the next whiskey bar) is one of his all-time hits, infamously covered by Jim Morrison (the Doors), and presented here today in a beautiful arrangement written by avant-gardist Morton Feldman toward the end of life.   For all the popularity of the song, this arrangement appears never to have been recorded.

About the Performers

Garret Smelcer: Junior, Biochemistry and Biophysics

Anna Lindemann:  MFA, Electronic Arts

David Gibson, Clinical Assoc. Professor of Music

Jonathan Chen, PhD student, Electronic Arts

Sam Clapp, PhD student, Architectural Acoustics

Michael Century, Professor, Arts Department

Linda Gao, Sophomore, Biology

Max Katz, Senior, Physics

Chris Steutzel, Graduate Student, Computer Science

Duane Baker, Senior, Aeronautical Engineering

Blair Neal, MFA , Electronic Arts

Lauren Lomanto, Junior, Computer and Systems Engineering

Michael Fishburn, Senior Aeronatical Engineering

Kevin Itwaru, Senior, Biomedical Engineering

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