Multi-instrumentalist formerly from Petoskey, Michigan tries his hand at classical music.
Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.
SUFJAN STEVENS, BRYCE DESNER, NICO MUHLY
Featuring the New Trombone Collective and Navarra String Quartet
Amsterdam 2012 [no label, 2CD]
Live at the Muziektheater, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; April 8, 2012. Excellent audience recording.
Thanks to ianmacd who recorded the show and sharing the tracks on Dime.
Here are some notes from ianmacd:
On the bill tonight: Sufjan Stevens, the singer/songwriter who seems to reinvent himself with each new album; Bryce Dessner, guitarist of currently highly acclaimed band The National; and classical composer Nico Muhly, who has worked with a great number of artists, including Philip Glass, Björk and Jónsi, in addition to composing an opera and several film scores.
In a reordering of the scheduled programme, the evening opened with three quintets composed by Bryce Dessner. These were performed by the Navarra String Quartet, with the addition of Dessner himself on guitar.
‘Blind Willy’ is a contemplation of the pure and emotional quality of Blind Willy Johnson’s guitar. All of the material is derived from two basic chords.
‘Chorale’ was written as a requiem for a friend of Dessner who died in 2006.
The mediaeval compositional technique of the polyrhythm forms the basis for ‘Isorhythms’. Four different rhythms can be heard conflicting with one another.
Upon completion of the quintets, Dessner left the stage, leaving the Navarra String Quartet to continue with ‘Diacritical Marks’, a composition by Nico Muhly in eight short parts.
About his work, Muhly says (again translated from the Dutch), “I concentrated on the details: dotting the ‘i’s, a subtle movement of the bow.”
Following a short intermission came the highlight of the evening, with Sufjan Stevens, Dessner and Muhly joined on stage by the Navarra String Quartet and the New Trombone Collective for ‘Planetarium’, a song cycle comprising 11 songs and instrumental pieces about our solar system. [Editor: Compared to the “classical” strains of the earlier section, the second half of the show is decidedly “pop-ish”.]
Translating from the Dutch programme, “The text and substance of the work are derived from astronomy and astrology, as well as the Greek, Roman and heathen mythologies. ‘Planetarium’ explores, in sound and subject, the mutual dependence of harmony and discord in the universe.”
The piece was composed for trombones, string quartet, keyboards, drum machine and guitar. Dessner says that he chose those instruments, so that the work could simultaneously be practical, versatile and expressive.
Regarding the recording, ianmacd wrote:
The first two quintets received some minor amplification in post-processing to bring them in line with the rest of the show. Apart from that, the only intervention I have performed is the removal of a couple of prolonged periods of silence between some of the pieces.
Fades have also been added at the beginning and end of the two sets. I could have crossfaded the applause at the end of the first set into that following the intermission, but felt that the fades made for a truer representation of how the music was presented on the night.
Type: Audience master, recorded from 15 metres back from centre stage.
Source: 2 x matched DPA 4060 mics > DPA MMA6000 amplifier (100 Hz low-cut filter) > Edirol R-09HR recorder (44.1 kHz/16 bit WAV)
Lineage: Audacity 2.0.0 (tracks split, fades added) > FLAC - compression level 8 [libFLAC 1.2.1 20070917]
Pictures by PixelRisotto, posted on the net - thanks!
Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.
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Track 101. Introduction by Bryce Dessner (1.1MB)
Performers: Bryce Dessner featuring the Navarra String Quartet
Composer: Bryce Dessner
Track 102. Quintets - Blind Willy (7.9MB)
Track 103. Quintets - Chorale (10.2MB)
Track 104. Quintets - Isorhythms (9.6MB)
Performer: Navarra String Quartet
Composer: Nico Muhley
Track 105. Diacritical Marks - I (3.1MB)
Track 106. Diacritical Marks - II (6.2MB)
Track 107. Diacritical Marks - III (4.2MB)
Track 108. Diacritical Marks - IV (2.8MB)
Track 109. Diacritical Marks - V (3.5MB)
Track 110. Diacritical Marks - VI (2.9MB)
Track 111. Diacritical Marks - VII (5.3MB)
Track 112. Diacritical Marks - VIII (7.9MB)
Performers: Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner and Nico Muhly featuring the New Trombone Collective and Navarra String Quartet
Composers: Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner and Nico Muhly
Track 201. [Preamble] (928k)
Track 202. Planetarium - Neptune (4.8MB)
Track 203. [Introduction by Sufjan Stevens] (621k)
Track 204. Planetarium - Jupiter (12.2MB)
Track 205. Planetarium - Venus (8.4MB)
Track 206. Planetarium - Uranus (7.9MB)
Track 207. Planetarium - Mars (8.6MB)
Track 208. Planetarium - The Sun (7.0MB)
Track 209. Planetarium - Pluto (9.8MB)
Track 210. Planetarium - The Moon (8.8MB)
Track 211. Planetarium - Saturn (7.1MB)
Track 212. Planetarium - Earth (14.9MB)
Track 213. Planetarium - Mercury (11.2MB)
Running time: 104m 40s
Click here to order Sufjan Stevens releases.
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Click here to order Nico Muhly releases.
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