Other Minds Presents:
A Secret Rose by Rhys Chatham

Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 84 min
Event Type: Music Program Origin: Other Minds

Other Minds presents a live recording of Rhys Chatham’s “A Secret Rose,” performed at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, CA. on November 17, 2013. This performance features a large ensemble of electric guitarists, mostly from Northern California but also including some from around the United States as well as the United Kingdom, Italy, Argentina and the Netherlands.

In 1977, composer Rhys Chatham, first artistic director of famed New York multi-disciplinary art space The Kitchen, was working with a group of visiting graduate students from Mills College. Among them was Peter Gordon who was shocked to learn that at 25 years old and in the thick of a musical revolution Chatham had never been to a rock concert. Chatham considered himself a hardcore minimalist composer, a protégé of first-wave New York minimalists such as La Monte Young, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich. This was radical in of itself considering his upbringing was steeped in the mores of early Baroque and Renaissance music. Per Gordon’s insistence, Chatham attended a Ramones concert at the famous New York nightclub CBGBs. Learning about the commonality between his own work and that of the punk band The Ramones’ relentless three-chord assault shattered Chatham’s musical perception, and subsequently set the young composer to splicing the DNA of rock ‘n’ roll and classical music.

Beginning with his seminal work “Guitar Trio,” Chatham broadened his exploration of the overtone series with a new weapon, the electric guitar. Combining the extended-technique approach of his forebears with the wall-of-sound aggression of bands like The Ramones’, Chatham and his cohorts unremittingly clanged out their one-chord fascination while the air above them filled with singing overtones. Despite the relative harmonic stasis of each individual player, their accumulated effect was a rich and shifting spectrum of notes ringing out in sympathy and playing tricks on the ears. After working in this capacity for a time Rhys could not help but wonder what the effect of a large ensemble of guitarists playing simultaneously would sound like. In 1983, Chatham began work on his guitar orchestra concept with “An Angel Moves to Fast to See,” which would eventually blossom into A Secret Rose and cement his legacy in the annals of modern music.

“A Secret Rose” was composed in 2006 and has been performed only twice before, once in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and again in Rome. The work is split into five movements and the players into three sections. The piece ranges from thunderous fortissimo passages to soft, eerie chiming. Chatham will conduct three assistant directors who are assigned to the three different sections. The three sections are further subdivided into sections a. and b. Each of these three sections plays in a special tuning, allowing for a total tonal exploration.

[Notes from Program Guide]

Musical Selections:  A Secret Rose, for large ensemble of electric guitars, electric bass, and drums (2006) (74:15) / Rhys Chatham -- The Out of Tune Guitar No. 3 for multiple electric guitars, electric bass, and drums (2012) (4:40) / Rhys Chatham
Performers:  Ensemble of electric guitarists:
Grant Acker; Ted Allen; Michael Amason; Alejandro Archuleta; Edward Arndt; John Banister; Winston Berger; John Binkov; Kurt Brown; Andrew Burnes; Christopher Case; Mitch Cheney; Rob Christiansen; Simon Connor; Mark Cooper; Evan Cordes; Edward Diaz; Daniel Echevarria; Nils Erickson; Neel Foon; Leigh Forbes; Kevin Gan Yuen; Doug Gillard; Michael Goldman; Daniel Good; Brian Good; Naomi Greene; Wavley Groves III; Samuel Gutterman; Cody Hennesy; Adam Holofcener; Yutaka Houlette; Kim Howie; Anthony Iamurri; JaMile Jackson; Ryan Jobes; Val Jordan; Forest Juziuk; Carolyn Keddy; Christian Kiefer; Paul Ladeira; Henry Larsen; Ethan Lee; Ben Lempert; David Leonard; Charles Lloyd; Phil Loarie; Jim Marlowe; Christo Mccracken; James McGlinnen; John Melillo; Brent Miles; Erik Miller; Michael Miller; Michael Millett; Robert Milton; Zane Morris; Mark Morse; Melne Murphy; Jon Myers; Al N; Adria Otte; Ryan Page; Paul Pappas; Stephen Parris; Jacob Peck; Ricardo Pignol; Bill Polits; Conor Prischmann; Arthur Purvis; Andrew Rahman; Mike Randall; Edward Ricart; Eric Ryszkiewicz; Victor Salazar; David Satkowski; Roland Sayn; Michael Schillaci; John Scott; Scrote; Rachel Smith; Sean Smith; Moe Staiano; Camaron Stephens; Konstantinos Stratigos; Matthew Taylor; Brian Tester; Andrew Thomas; Ronald Thompson; Steve Touchton; Aaron Wacks; Becky White; Jonathan Willett; Sam Withrow; Damon Wood
Jordan Glenn, drums
Lisa Mezzacappa, electric bass
David Daniell, section leader
Seth Olinsky, section leader
Tobin Summerfield, section leader
Rhys Chatham, conductor
Genres:  Avant-Garde; Popular Music
Subject:  Guitar ensembles ; Instrumental ensembles; Avant-garde (Music); Rock music -- 2001-2010; Minimal music
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles ; Glenn, Jordan; Mezzacappa, Lisa ; Chatham, Rhys; Daniell, David (Musician); Olinsky, Seth; Summerfield, Tobin
Recording Date:  11/17/2013


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