Open your ears and your mind at the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP). It's a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in hearing where new music has been going, and to understand where it might be going next.
Legendary artists are in residence for this week of intensive musical study and performance, alongside seminar participants who are here for the sheer thrill of the avant garde. NEC's Stephen Drury is artistic director for this institute, and guest artists this year include composer Rand Steiger and pianist Winston Choi.
Callithumpian Consort is back tonight for a program of works by Ulrich Kreppein, Adam Roberts, Alan Sentman, Mathias Spahlinger, and Iannis Xenakis.
In addition to Callithumpian Consort, tonight's performers include percussionist Stuart Gerber.
Led by Stephen Drury, Callithumpian Consort is a loose aggregation of NEC students, alumni, and new music enthusiasts that performs locally, on the East Coast, and in Europe. Throughout the year, the group returns to its birthplace—the NEC campus—with performances of contemporary avant-garde music.
Kreppein Abendlich auf schattenbegleiteten Wegen
Benjamin Schwartz, cello
Stuart Gerber, marimba
Patchwork was written for marimba solo in 1989, and was revised (and expanded) in 1997 for Stuart Gerber. The piece is loosely based on simple intervallic relationships, stark dynamic contrasts, and the disintegration of musical material.
Following a very short exposition, and linear first movement, the material expands into complex rhythmic variations in phrased groupings and subsequent permutations of [2 - 1 - 3]. Though somewhat developmental, the second movement exhibits signs of disintegrating musical material through the use of tremolos and rapid grace-note clusters.
The highly interpretative and improvisational elements of the third section starkly contrast detailed notation of pulsating chords of varying rates of speed and length. As the frenetic improvisational elements unfold, the pulsating chords act as anchors of echoing fragments to the musical material from the prior sections.
Spahlinger Musica Impura
Jennifer Ashe, soprano
Maarten Stragier, guitar
Nick Tolle, percussion
Xenakis Rebonds, Okho
Iannis Xenakis’s Rebonds was written for and dedicated to Sylvio Gualdo. It is in two parts, a and b, which may be performed in either order. b is scored for five drums (two bongos, tumba, tomtom, and bass drum) and five wood blocks. This movement juxtaposes an ostinato figure in the highest bongo with more “melodic” writing for the other drums. a is an even more homogenous collection of instruments; tom-toms and bass drum. In it, Xenakis slowly adds multiple layers of rhythms to create a contrapuntal and polyrhythmic texture. Although Rebonds is a highly intellectual and technical late twentieth-century piece, Xenakis maintains the basic, visceral force associated with so many drumming traditions from all over the world within this dense fabric.
Written for the bicentenary of the French Revolution and premiered by Trio Le Cercle in 1989, Okho is Xenakis’s smallest work for percussion ensemble. Okho uses a combination of contemporary and traditional djembe techniques and rhythms. Seven sounds found in traditional djembe technique are used alongside non-traditional stick techniques and sound effects such as knuckle rolls. The juxtaposition of traditional and non-traditional can also be found in the rhythmic ideas of the piece, where constant semiquavers and syncopated patterns are followed by complex polyrhythmic motifs. The title Okho was created by Xenakis to reflect some of the sounds performers can produce on the djembe with their hands.
In addition to SICPP's evening concerts, SICPP participants perform solo repertoire at 11:30am on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 280 The Fenway. Museum admission fee is waived if you tell them at the door that you are attending the SICPP concert in Calderwood Hall.