Tom Williams: A Shadow That Falls

A Shadow That Falls (2019) for percussion and fixed media
by Tom Williams
performed by Patti Cudd

‘I’m going to Flicker for a moment
And tell you the tale of a shadow
That falls at dusk…’   (Alice Oswald)

A Shadow that Falls was composed for the French percussionist Thierry Miroglio and is for unpitched percussion and electroacoustic fixed media. The fixed media is composed from sample recordings of Miroglio playing. There is no conventional written score for the performer, instead there is a ‘listening score’.  The percussionist improvises to the fixed media, stereo track that accompanies the player and to the listening score that only they hear on a third, private track.  To shape and inspire their performance the percussionist hears lines and words taken from the poem Shadow (2015) by the English contemporary poet Alice Oswald. There is a sense of revealing and unfolding, of emptiness, of mindfulness in the performance.  The work requires no music stand and, where possible, asks for special low lighting to generate silhouettes (shadows) around the performer.

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Frederic Rzewski: A Decade

Frederic Rzewski: A Decade

American ex-patriot Frederic Rzewksi has written several works for Zeitgeist; this CD features all of them. Rzewski’s music draws its inspiration from literature and is imbued with Rzewski’s political leanings. He writes for acoustic forces, employs exotic additive melodies, and takes advantage of Zeitgeist’s prowess as an improvising ensemble. Contains Frederic Rzewski’s Wails (1985), Spots (1987), The Lost Melody (1989), and Crusoe (1993).

Performers: Heather Barringer, Jay Johnson, Tom Linker, Bob Samarotto, Joe Holmquist.

Paul Elwood: a forty-four smokeless

a forty-four smokeless

a forty-four smokeless was commissioned by Zeitgeist with funds from the American Composers Forum Jerome Commissioning Program in 2007. The ensemble requested a composition with five-string banjo; composer Paul Elwood wrote the banjo part for himself, and the piece is based on the Appalachian folk tune Little Sadie. Little is known about the factual events in the song about a man named Lee Brown who dispassionately murders a woman named Little Sadie. It is thought the events occurred in North Carolina because that is the only place where a town named Thomasville is only 60 miles from a town named Jericho, where Brown, in the song, says he ran after the murder. It is a curious tune in which the murderer expresses no remorse – and no reason for the killing is given. One verse of the song, not used in this composition, says “ Forty one days, forty one nights, forty one years to wear the ball and the stripes; I’ll be here for the rest of my life, and all I done was kill my wife.” In spite of the dark nature of the text, as is the case with many folk songs, the tune has entered the common repertoire of many bluegrass and old-time bands. Some melodic and harmonic material in the composition is derived from Little Sadie, but the piece also wanders freely amongst other musical material exploring the coloristic and harmonic combinations of the diverse instruments in the ensemble. The composition is dedicated to Zeitgeist.

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Julie Johnson: Crocus Hill Ghost Story

Crocus Hill Ghost Story
Music by Julie Johnson • Story by Cheri Johnson
Sound Design by Eric M.C. Gonzalez 

A macabre tale of a house possessed that is accompanied by a wildly evocative and colorful score, Crocus Hill Ghost Story explores the complex relationship between two longtime friends and the evolution of their relationship as they experience a haunting. Suitable for teenagers through adults.

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Morton Feldman: Bass Clarinet and Percussion

Performed by Zeitgeist in 2016 during Early Music Festival: The Music of Morton Feldman. Heather Barringer & Patti Cudd, percussion; Pat O’Keefe, woodwinds.

Zeitgeist’s 2016 Early Music Festival explored the powerful contributions of our musical pioneers with a celebration of composer Morton Feldman. One of the 20th century’s great visionaries, Feldman’s innovations in music notation and his free-flowing indeterminate music embraced new artistic possibilities and made a lasting impact that continues to shape new music today.  Continue reading “Morton Feldman: Bass Clarinet and Percussion”

Victor Zupanc & Kevin Kling: For the Birds

Co-written in 2010 by Victor Zupanc and Kevin Kling, For the Birds is a concert length work that, on the surface, seems to be about birds. It features a series of musical pieces extolling the nature of each particular bird (sparrows, roosters, woodpeckers, Canadian geese, hawks), drawing parallels with our own human nature. Interspersed between, is insightful storytelling created by Kling reflecting on childhood memories, immigration, illness, accidents, and healing. However, just below the surface (but discernible to those that look), For the Birds is a work about that part of our human nature that compels us to reach beyond ourselves for more —more opportunity for our family, more money, more fun, more speed, more knowledge, more love. When all goes well, we call that need aspiration. When it doesn’t, and we plunge to the earth with melting wings, we call it hubris. Through utterly delightful music and a worldview only Kevin Kling can provide, For the Birds gives us the space to contemplate our nature, laugh at ourselves, and heal.  Continue reading “Victor Zupanc & Kevin Kling: For the Birds”

Homer Lambrecht: Signature One: Mendelssohn Fantasy

SIGNATURE ONE: A MENDELSSOHN FANTASY (1980) by Homer Lambrecht was commissioned by the Jerome Foundation for Zeitgeist and received its premiere at Carnegie Recital Hall October 18, 1980 in New York.

“Music spans time in history; the movement of time also articulates the form and substance of music. Patterns of movement form streams of rhythm, flow of harmonic motion, and currents of timbre. These patterns also reveal the spiritual substance of the composer and his cultural heritage. To find patterns that connect my time with the past is the origin of SIGNATURE ONE. Techniques common to today’s music are used to transform ‘Adieu,’ one of Mendelssohn’s ‘Songs Without Words.’” Continue reading “Homer Lambrecht: Signature One: Mendelssohn Fantasy”