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Other Minds Festival:
OM 6: Concert 2, March 17, 2000 (video)

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Item Type: Video Duration: 106 min
Event Type: Music Program Origin: Other Minds

The second concert of the 6th Other Minds Festival was held on March 17, 2000 at the Theatre Artaud, in San Francisco. Guest Artistic Director Carl Stone begins the proceedings with some introductory remarks. The concert then begins with:

String Quartet No. 3,"There must be some way out of here"

The subtitle "There must be some way out of here" is a quotation from "All Along the Watchtower" by Bob Dylan. A song that particularly embodies the philosophy of life as expressed by the rock generation from which ter Veldhuis emerges.

There must be some way out of here

said the joker to the thief.

There's too much confusion

I can't get no relief...

The text can be seen as optimistic or despairing, but also as encapsulating an idea to be explored. That is the spirit in which the Third Quartet was conceived. The music is all about sound, about the forces of attraction and repulsion revolving around the central note D. And for ter Veldhuis, sound also means harmony. In that sense, "There must be some way out of here" is a search for a harmonic resolution: in the words of the composer far from the faded avant-garde, from threadbare conceptualism and post-modernism. This search yields a huge spectrum of events: a maze of side roads, abrupt transitions, and apparent lacunae. The search for a new aesthetic for ter Veldhuis does not, however, mean falling back into a romantic idiom. On the contrary, the Third Quartet is in essence one large crescendo, with striking elements drawn from rock and blues. Originally the composer wanted to call it "Life and the Boy" because of its extraordinary energy, and as a deliberate inversion of Schubert's "Death and the Maiden".

Rain Study

Much of the material for “Rain Study” has its origin in "Sanyombul," a Korean folk song. The words to "Sanyombul" state:

The sun that sets will rise again tomorrow

A life that passes will never return

The piece is the second of a series of studies for solo piano that was initiated by Piano Study 1 (1997). These are studies for both the pianist and the composer; the focus of both works is on the multi-layering of melodies and the superimposition of the pianist's hands. The work was written for Thomas Schultz and was first performed by him at Old First Concerts, in San Francisco, in April 1999. - Hyo-shin Na

Bright Angel - Hermetic Bird

Was a commission from Aki Takahashi, in memory of her husband, Kuniharu Akiyama. As Kuniharu was also a friend of mine, I was grateful for the opportunity to say farewell, in music. The piece is in two movements, as indicated by the title of the work. "Bright Angel" refers to the viewpoint on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona " the up-and-down motive in the opening is a very literal reference to the depth of the Canyon. I went there in early October 1996, thinking about this piece. I arrived at the North Rim, and Bright Angel, just at sunset, when everything was transformed into a magical, golden red-brown color. I knew then that I had a title and an image for the piece for Kuniharu.

"Hermetic Bird" is the title of a poem by one of my favorite poets, San Francisco's own Philip Lamantia (b. 1927). It refers to Kuniharu's and my interest in surrealism, and the fact that Kuniharu venerated the owl as a kind of totemic emblem (and besides, he said, laughing, his face looked like an owl's). In his home, he had an entire table of little owl figurines that he had collected from all over the world. Of course, in Mexico the owl is closely associated with death; but when I think of Kuniharu Akiyama, I only think of joy, and life. - Peter Garland

Blue Yellow River

The title and much of the pitch material for”Blue Yellow River” come from Hwanghacheong (a piece of Korean Court music). Hwanghacheong evokes a time so peaceful that even the Yellow River will turn blue. The inspiration for “Blue Yellow River” came from my revisit, after 20 years, to Seok-gu-ram (in the old Silla capital of Kyungju), the site of the much-venerated 1,250-year-old statue of Buddha. This statue is known for its unusually tranquil appearance and is the subject of the following poem by the 20th century writer Chee-hwan Yu:

Great Buddha Statue of Seok-gu-ram

My throat tightens

Unbearable weeping

I sit as a piece of stone, eyes closed.

For one thousand years

Faint veins under cold skin

Look at my flowing breath.

Sensing gentle distant breeze

Leaf of east sea lotus

Screaming of crow and magpie

And light on my forehead of the dawn moon.

Who would believe!

To endure this unbearable weeping

I sit as a piece of stone

Solitary lotus position.

Two kayageums are used in the piece: 1)Sanjo kayageum (a smaller instrument most often used in fast music, folk music, and virtuoso instrumental pieces); and 2) Peopgeum (larger, playing mostly slow music and court music). In Blue Yellow River the composer has occasionally departed from the traditional manner of playing the kayageum. For example, instead of damping each note before playing the next note (as is usual in traditional kayageum music), here the player will, in certain passages, let the notes ring, allowing the sounds to overlap and accumulate. Also, the player is asked to produce non-traditional timbres by plucking the strings in a variety of places, by muting the strings with the hand and by placing a metal thimble against the strings. - Hyo-shin Na

This premiere of “Blue Yellow River” was made possible in part by Nora Norden and a grant from the Zellerbach Family Fund.

Melody

In “Melody”, the melody is drawn from the letters of the names of its dedicatees, Gisela Gronmeyer and Reinhardt Oelschlägel. The rhythms of the melody are often determined by the full possible duration of the performer's breath. - Christian Wolff

Burdocks

Is for one or more groupings of players. It's a collection (from which one can choose what to play) of different, distinctive compositional ideas in ten parts. The ten parts include specific notations on staves; notations indicating only durations, often depending on the other sounds a player hears; and various verbal directions both explicit and suggestive. Various numbers of performers (no upward limit) can play, using any means of making sounds. Any number of the ten parts can be played simultaneously or overlapped.

I had an image in my mind (before having heard them) of the Scratch Orchestra, a varied community of musicians (classical, folk, experimental, jazz, et cetera), professional and amateur musicians along with non-musicians, joined in a populist-anarchist spirit more or less guided by Cornelius Cardew with Howard Skempton and Michael Parsons. I had also been affected by hearing a recording of Ba-Benzele Pygmy music, quasi-improvised, polyphonically, by a whole community. - Christian Wolff

Musical Selections:  String Quartet No. 3 "There must be some way out of here" (1994) (20:45) / Jacob ter Veldhuis -- Rain Study, for piano (1999) (11:01) / Hyo-Shin Na -- Blue Yellow River, for kayageum, cello, and double bass (2000) (16:00) / Hyo-Shin Na [world premiere] -- Bright Angel - Hermetic Bird, for piano (1996) (13:10) / Peter Garland -- Melody, for melodica (1998) (4:47) / Christian Wolff -- Burdocks, for guitar, cello, koto, French horn, melodica, piano, percussion, and electronics (1970-71) (23:28) / Christian Wolff
Performers:  The Onyx Quartet: (String)
Anna Presler, violin (String)
Phyllis Kamrin, violin (String)
Kurt Rohde, viola (String)
Leighton Fong, cello (String)
Thomas Schultz, piano (Rain)
Ji Young Yi, kayageum (Blue)
Joan Jeanrenaud, cello (Blue ; Burdocks)
Richard Worn, double bass (Blue)
Aki Takahashi, piano (Bright)
Christian Wolff, melodica ; and piano (Melody ; Burdocks)
The Wolff Band: (Burdocks)
Fred Frith, guitar (Burdocks)
Miya Masaoka, koto (Burdocks)
Gordon Mumma, French horn (Burdocks)
Bob Ostertag, sampler (Burdocks)
William Winant, percussion (Burdocks)
Genres:  New Music; 20th Century Classical
Subject:  New music; 20th century classical; String quartets; Piano music; Music -- Korea; Kayagŭm music; Trios (Kayagŭm, cello, double bass); Melodica music; Instrumental ensembles; Electro-acoustic; Aleatory music
People:  Stone, Carl, 1953-; Jacob TV, 1951- ; Veldhuis, Jacob ter, 1951; Na, Hyo-sin; Na, Hyo-shin; Garland, Peter, 1952-; Wolff, Christian, 1934-; Presler, Anna; Kamrin, Phyllis; Rohde, Kurt; Fong, Leighton ; Schultz, Thomas (Pianist); Yi, Ji Young ; Jeanrenaud, Joan; Worn Richard ; Takahashi, Aki, 1944-; Frith, Fred; Masaoka, Miya; Mumma, Gordon, 1935-; Ostertag, Bob, 1957-; Winant, William
Recording Date:  3/17/2000
 
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