Other Minds Festival:
OM 14: Concert 3

Item Type: Video Duration: 128 mins
Event Type: Music Program Origin: Other Minds

Additional Media Files (click to view)

The third and final concert of OM 14 was held on March 7, 2009. After brief introductions and announcements, the concert begins with:

Spiral Xi: Mother and Child

Each of Chinary Ung's “Spiral” pieces focuses on a single idea that is re-imagined and re-contextualized over the course of the work. This work investigates the notion of musicality as something beyond instrumental practice. Rather, the use of vocal sounds (singing, humming, chanting, and whistling) is equally as important as are the variety of string techniques that form the rich vocabulary of Ung’s string writing. The balance between voice and viola shifts throughout the work, and the combination of these two dimensions produces a world that is more than the sum of its parts. - Adam Greene

Listening to Lu Tzu-Hsün Play the Ch’in on a Moonlit Night

It turns out that Harry Partch’s Adapted Guitar II (a modified ten-string Hawaiian style slide guitar) sounds surprisingly similar to the ancient Chinese ch’in, the venerated table zither strung with 7 silk strings said to be the favorite of holy men and philosophers, perhaps even Confucius himself. It is famed for sliding notes, harmonics and subtleties of expression, inspiring several millennia of evocative repertoire. - John Schneider

Tombeau for Lou Harrison

A four movement musical ‘tombstone’ which marks the passing of the divine Mr. Harrison in a manner reminiscent of the lute or harpsichord tombeaux of the French Baroque. It was written specifically for the refretted National Steel Guitar. The final “Jahla” varies a theme from Harrison’s lovely "Music Primer" and is resplendent with the energetic inertia of Harrison’s final decades, only to be cut short, mid-leap, as was the composer’s life. - John Schneider

Two Studies on Ancient Greek Scales

Partch’s "Two Studies" were written for his newly constructed Harmonic Canon (a 44-string bridged table zither) in Madison, Wisconsin to demonstrate basic scale types to a reluctant Music Department. Though the first version has been lost (Partch later added a Bass Marimba part), the two-handed Canon part performed alone, beautifully illustrates both the melodic and harmonic charms of these ancient modes, leading me to believe that it may well be the original. - John Schneider


This is the original 1941 version for voice & Adapted Guitar I which Partch never recorded. Hitchhiker graffiti is put to music, telling the tale of eight wanderers, some funny, some sad, but always engaging when seen through the lens of Partch’s re-telling. Though he used 29 notes per octave, the writing is surprisingly diatonic, using chordal harmonies not unlike the folk songs of the era. - John Schneider

Selected Songs

Do lado da voz (beside the voice) is a concept that appeared on the changeable territory between experimental and popular music, between improvisation and composition, between music and theater. It focuses the form “song” on its periphery: through process and materials such as strangeness, reiteration, silence, displacement, time dilation, noise, reduced theatrical actions, displacement of the song discourse’s center, revisited so that its characteristic emotionality changes into a vehicle to other forms of perception. The project, began in the 1990s with my de-composition from old Brazilian songs of various eras. - Chico Mello

Tone Clouds

Based on my extended piano work "Revelation: Music in Pure Intonation", "Tone Clouds" challenges the string quartet to relearn their instruments to play in a new tuning and harmonic system. Virtually every place the players put their fingers on the fingerboard is different from what they have been learned over a lifetime. In composing "Tone Clouds", I wanted to explore the piano and quartet’s extensive capacity for resonance, as well as open the listener’s hearing to an infinite matrix of tones available in just intonation and the pulsating, shimmering sounds of the “commas” (two slightly different versions of the same note derived from different harmonic or mathematical means). My aim is to expand the harmonic, textural and acoustical palette of the piano quintet as well as enlarge the scope of performance techniques. - Michael Harrison

Musical Selections:  Spiral XI: Mother and Child, for viola and voice (2007) (16:22) / Chinary Ung -- Listening to Lu Tzu-Hsün Play the Ch’in on a Moonlit Night, for Adapted Guitar II and voice [text by Li Po, trans. by David Hinton] (2002) (3:51) / John Schneider -- Tombeau for Lou Harrison: Jahla, for refretted National Steel Guitar (2006) (3:17) / John Schneider -- Study on Olympos’ Pentatonic, for Harmonic Canon (1946-50) (1:15) / Harry Partch -- Study on Archytas’ Enharmonic, for Harmonic Canon (1946-50) (2:16) / Harry Partch -- Barstow, for Adapted Guitar I and voice (1941) (9:40) / Harry Partch -- John Cage at the Beach, No. 0 (6:10) / Chico Mello -- Sambo Do Budista (5:01) / Chico Mello & Carlos Careqa -- Eu Sonhei Que Tu Estavas Tão Linda (5:56) / Lamartine Babo & Francisco Matoso -- Rayuela: 17 Bossas (6:42) / Chico Mello -- Chorando EM 2001 (5:50) Chico Mello & Carlos Careqa -- Mentir (1:41) / Noel Rosa -- Tone Clouds: Movements I - V, for just intonation piano and string quartet [based on “Revelation”] (2008) (35:03) / Michael Harrison [world premiere]
Performers:  Susan Ung, viola and voice (Spiral)
John Schneider, guitars, voice, Harmonic Canon (Listening ; Tombeau ; Studies ; Barstow)
Chico Mello, guitar and voice (selected songs)
Michael Harrison, just intonation piano (Tone)
Del Sol String Quartet: (Tone)
Kate Stenberg, violin (Tone)
Rick Shinozaki, violin (Tone)
Charlton Lee, viola (Tone)
Hannah Addario-Berry, cello (Tone)
Genres:  New Music; 21st Century Classical
Subject:  New music; 21st century classical; Avant-garde (Music); Songs with viola; Microtonal music; Just intonation; Unconventional instruments; Monologues with music (Guitar); Guitar music; Harmonic canon music ; Folk music -- Brazil; Songs with guitar; Piano music; Piano quintets
People:  Ung, Chinary, 1942- ; Ung, Susan ; Schneider, John; Li, Po, 701-762 ; Li, Bai, 701-762 ; Hinton, David, 1954-; Partch, Harry, 1901-1974; Mello, Chico; Careqa, Carlos; Babo, Lamartine, 1904-1963 ; Matoso, Francisco; Rosa, Noël, 1910-1937; Harrison, Michael (Michael Allen); Stenberg, Kate (Violinist); Shinozaki, Rick ; Lee, Charlton; Addario-Berry, Hannah
Recording Date:  3/7/2009


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