April 20 Program notes

SIGNS & SIGNALS

A MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTORS

We finish off the Festival with a tour-de-force of new works for large and small ensembles featuring SIGNAL, called “one of the most vital groups of its kind” by the New York Times, and led by the phenomenally astonishing conductor Brad Lubman. MATA presents the final commission of 2012: a large-scale work by Francesco Filidei, a Paris-based Italian composer who is taking Europe by storm. Also featured: the vicious, heart-stopping Viola Quartet by Eric Wubbels, David Coll’s Position,Influence for soprano and electronics based on the speeches of Charles de Gaulle, Alex Freeman’s gorgeous work for solo Kantele (the Finnish folk instrument, played by Eva Alkula, who swoops in from Finland especially for this performance);and the Spanish-based Mexican composer Ivan Orozco’s glittering, salsa-influenced work for player piano and live pianist (the inimitable Kathleen Supové).

This evening hosted by Q2 Music’s Nadia Sirota 

+ = world premiere   ** = US premiere  * = NY premiere ^ = MATA commission

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Jacob Cooper, Tryptich III: Alla stagion dei fior (2012), video+

Each of the videos in Triptych uses pre-existing footage as source material. Commencer une autre mort “revises” the closing death scene in Bizet’s Carmen, while Alla stagion dei fior does the same for Puccini’s La Bohème. The source material for Black or White is not an opera, but rather a performance by Michael Jackson, a celebrity whose outsized life—and tragic death—trace a near-operatic arc.  Triptych undoubtedly relies on the artistry of the footage it adapts, and I am indebted to all who were involved in the original videorecordings.

III. Alla stagion dei fior

At the end of the penultimate act in La Bohème, as Mimì’s death looms, she and Rodolfo resolve to end their relationship; but, frightened by the thought of being without each other, they decide to remain together through the winter, parting only “alla stagion dei fior”—when the season of flowers arrives.

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David Coll, Position, Influence (2010), for soprano and electronics. Mellissa Hughes, voice.*

dedicated to Donatienne Michel-Dansac and Mikhail Malt

 

feeling and desires and breath

the cause of the words coming into existence

ahead of them, the nose bringing them out ahead of its-

self, and a principle, their own meaning, enough

animus so it all has

will

 

-Charles Olson, 1965

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Eric Wubbels, Viola Quartet (2007)

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INTERMISSION

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Ivan Ferrer-Orozco, Traces IV: Anamnesis (2009) for piano and tape. Kathleen Supove, piano.**

On Meno, and later on Phaedo, Plato presents the theory of Anamnesis. In a sense, Anamnesis is the recollection of previous knowledge that the spirit knew when he was part of the world of Ideas. Recollection in this special sense, is possible because “the objects of knowledge stand in intimate and necessary connection with each other; to recover one link is to gain the means to recover all” (R. E. Allen). To learn so means to recollect, because the truth of all things always existed in the soul, thus one just need to be awakened to knowledge by putting the right questions on us.

The musical act is a Truth as any other act is, in this sense, this knowledge of the Truth is possible thru the experience: I know I’m really doing something when I’m, in fact, doing it. But there is another knowledge, that one that we can call inherent to the Being whereby I’m able to recognize -because I recollected the previous knowledge I have of it- that what we call Music, Beauty or even the Being. How could we recognize the musical experience, not in the naive sense of organized sounds, but in its deep and full meaning, if I’m not in some way previously able to do this? Therefore, Music is a question about ourselves and the way we obtain knowledge, about our mind, our spirit; is a paradox as well, because it is, at the same time, question and act (knowledge), but it is not less true because of that. This always wonders me.

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Alex Freeman, Magnolia (2002) for kantele. Eva Alkula, kantele.*

Magnolia was written for Eva Alkula in 2002. Originally a five-stringed instrument, the modern Finnish kantele has 39 and is something akin to a zither in its appearance. Its mechanism is similar to that of a harp; the strings are tuned to five diatonic octaves that are adjustable by seven movable tuning pegs on the instrument’s soundboard. The glissandi and harmonics possible on this instrument give it a unique sound palette. Its hauntingly beautiful sound, along with the fact that it is the only acoustic instrument on which a five-octave glissando is possible, inspired my work with this instrument, as did the phenomenal artistry of its dedicatee. It is a one-movement continuous work of about 12 minutes. The title can be thought to represent the overall ‘blooming’ effect of the musical material. Though purely acoustic, Magnolia also accentuates some electronic-sounding effects on the instrument (do not adjust your set).

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Francesco Filidei, Ballata n.2 (2012) World Premiere SIGNAL Ensemble+^

The relationship between a title and a work’s content is usually the result of a non-linear process: sometimes it starts with having a perfect title in the pocket and after a while finding yourself with material that rejects that title. Sometimes it’s hard to find a title even after the score has been completed. The ideal combination of work and title emerges when the latter appears powerfully in the middle of the compositional process.

For this piece, however, the choice of title was (it doesn’t seem so now) difficult. I have changed it many times, finally arriving at the driest solution, the initial one. The problem, obvious to those who listen to this music, was leaving—for a work that offers many programmatic ideas—the  ambiguity needed for a necessary abstraction.
This problem is hardly new, and is accentuated by the choice of a title that belongs to our romantic memory, but the structure of the work is far from being rhapsodic as perhaps one might imagine. The form is in fact (as in my first ballata) built on a descending
chromatic scale on which is fixed each individual episode,  descending downward grade by grade until the return, an octave below, to the note of departure. The work, commissioned by the MATA festival, and underwritten by Myriam Ghazi, is dedicated to Toshio Hosokawa.

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MATA gratefully acknowledges the support of the

following individuals and organizations:

Sponsors (10,000 +)
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs

Meet the Composer’s Cary New Music Performance Fund

Cheswatyr Foundation
Patrons (4,000—9,999)                 
Aaron Copland Fund for Music

Amphion Foundation

BMI Foundation

Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation

Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation

New York State Council on the Arts

Founders (1,000—3,999)

ASCAP

Mary Cronson

Alice M. Ditson Fund

The Randy Hostetler Living Room Fund

Foundation for Contemporary Arts

Myriam Ghazi

Nicholas and Ellen Hughes

Fund of the Foundation for Enhancing Communities on behalf of Ellen Brody Hughes

Ralph Jackson

Linda and Stuart Nelson

James R. & Frederica Rosenfield Foundation

 

Supporters (100—999)

 

Lisa Bielawa

Jason Andrew Brown

Claire Chase

Nicholas Croft

Alex Freeman

Patrick Grant

Ara Guzelimian

Marilyn Heller

Linda Higgins

Grethe Holby

Kenchiro Hoshino

Jerry Howett

Ellen Hughes

Robert Hurwitz

Barbara Kaslow

Frances Kazan

Aaron Jay Kernis

Kristina Kinet

Jeffrey Lynch

Andrew Marchesin

Missy Mazzoli

Christopher McIntyre

Zizi Mueller

Susan Narucki

Roy Niederhoffer

Frederick Peters

Jesse Rosen

Eleonor Sandresky

Steven Schick

George Schwartz

Melanie Shorin

Patricia and David Specter

Katy Tucker

Solomon and Barbara Wank

Susan West

Bonnie Wright

 

Friends

Gordon Beeferman

Ryan Brown

Karen Chester

Andrew Cyr

Color Field Ensemble

Composers and Schools in Concert

Liz Farid

Katie Geissinger

Greta Gertler

Martin Goldray

Robert Hammond

Jeff Herriott

Hotel Elefant

Luke Jaaniste

Scott Jeffrey

John Kennedy

Richard Kessler

Mary Kouyoumdjian

Tania Leon

Kristin Marks

Zibuokle Martinaityte

Priscilla Morgan

Mark Movic

Timothy Munro

Dustin Luke Nelson

Nouveau Classical Project

Mike Plotkowski

Paola Prestini

Kendel Ratley

Bajinder Sekhon

Yuval Sharon

Aaron Siegel

Rand Steiger

Miranda T.

Philippa Thompson

Elizabeth Van Cleve

Leaha Maria Villarreal

 

Special Sponsorship

Composer Receptions have been underwritten by Ralph Jackson

Equipment Rental has been underwritten by Lisa Bielawa, Ellen Hughes and Joan La Barbara

Francesco Filidei’s commission has been underwritten by Myriam Ghazi

Guest housing has been provided by Eleonor Sandresky and Ted Wiprud

JACK Quartet’s Performance has been underwritten by Jim Rosenfield

Performer housing has been underwritten by Ted Wiprud

Piano Tuning has been underwritten by Jason Masimore

Refreshments for opening night party have been underwritten by Pamela Stein and Kristina Kinet

Refreshments for performers have been underwritten by Missy Mazzoli and Christopher McIntyre

Rehearsal Space donated by the Family Opera Initiative and the New Spectrum Foundation

Ensemble Signal’s performance has been underwritten by Amanda Ambrose

Ensemble Signal’s travel has been underwritten by Eleonor Sandresky

Yotam Haber’s work commissioned by the Adele and John Gray Endowment Fund

Oscar Bianchi’s travel has been supported by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.


Kickstarter Alumni Composers

 

Timo Andres

Ryan Carter

Corey Dargel

Richard Einhorn

Annie Gosfield

Patrick Grant

Yotam Haber

Ted Hearne

Gabriel Kahane

Lukas Ligeti

David T. Little

Zibuokle Martinaityte

Missy Mazzoli

Ned McGowan

Nico Muhly

Andrew Norman

Angélica Negrón

 

Special Thanks

Maya Beiser

Oscar Bettison

Nathan Davis

Erin Gee

David Lang

Andrew McKenna Lee

Eileen Mack

Roulette

Anna Schuleit

The New Music Bake Sale

 

Leadership support for New Music USA’s MetLife Creative Connections program is generously provided by MetLife Foundation. Additional support is provided by ASCAP, BMI Foundation, Inc., Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Jerome Foundation, mediaThe foundation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Rodgers & Hammerstein Foundation and the Virgil Thomson Foundation, Ltd.

 

Made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the city council.

 

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