Originally posted on February 19, 2010
Music =, the NYC-based experimental music group, debuted their ensemble on February 19th. The concert featured performances of pieces from the ’80s and ’90s by Peter Ablinger and Morton Feldman, as well as two new works by Music = co-founders Matthew Hough and Inhyun Kim.
Kim’s piece, Musicsquare, had the fullest sound of all the pieces, the continuous melodic motion from the ensemble giving the impression of tightly woven colorful patterns. The patterns moved upwards, interlocking and repeating. Three-quarters of the way through the motion slowed briefly, as the hitherto silent violin joined in and the pattern-motion dramatically returned to its original pace. The intensity grew to an abrupt ending.
Hough’s piece, Middle Mediaval, combined two elements that have shown up in his music quite a bit as of late: text (spoken), and “ghost” notes (the performers play music, but little to no sound comes out). These were combined with surging, quaking gestures from the instruments, playing outside their comfort zone to get the extremes of pitch and volume. Curious to know more about this intriguing piece, kleineKultur contacted Hough with some questions:
What was the inspiration for Middle Mediaval?
“I wrote the piece specifically for this concert, the first by the Music = Ensemble. It shares elements with some of my recent work–fragmented spoken text, unusual methods of playing the instruments, and harmonic material derived from pre-existing sources.”
Why did you decide to use spoken text in this piece?
“The text consists of poems by Ian Gallagher, who is a friend and longtime collaborator. These poems hold a great deal of meaning for me, and address some of the same things I am interested in as a composer.”
Tell us about the “ghost” notes.
“This material forms a sort of background in the piece, a ‘noise’ from which and against which the other sounds come and go. The instruments play in unusual ways to create this nebulous texture.”
Check out the next Music = performance Friday, May 21st, followed by a CD-release party dj’d by BORU, both at Cafe Orwell.