Sunday, November 18, 2002 at 4:30 PM
PATRICK GRANT GROUP
Patrick Grant, Kathleen Supové & Marija Ilic
music for multiple keyboards
--- program ---
1. tHE wEIGHTS oF nUMBERS
2. Everything Distinct: Everything the Same
4. Fields Amaze
Patrick Grant's music combines synthesizers and world music instruments with those in the classical Western tradition. Its post-minimal style often uses for its genus the visual forms and structures found in chaos theory and the natural sciences but can also contain hard edged elements of rock and other popular music of the zeitgeist.
"Grant's music (has) a driving and rather harsh energy redolent of rock, as well as a cleanly (Western) sense of melodicism ... the music's momentum and intricate cross-rhythms rarely let up, making the occasional infectious tunes that emerge all the more beautiful for surprise" --- Village Voice
"His mastery of alternative tunings allows a listener to experience the richness and sonic possibilities of music when liberated from western tempered tuning. If all you know is 12 pitches, the experience of listening to Grant's music is like going from seeing in black and white to seeing colors" --- Brooklyn Academy of Music
In January 1997 Grant gave the first all evening concert of his music at Context Studios which lead to the founding of the Patrick Grant Group, a protean ensemble made up of roughly 3 synthesizers, flute, clarinet, viola, cello, guitar, bass, and 2 percussion including instruments from the Indonesian gamelan. He also formed his production company sTRANGEmUSIC iNC., an organization dedicated to the making of recordings, videos, and the presenting of concerts of new music.
His group has performed at the Bang On A Can Annual Marathon, the American Festival of Microtonal Music, The Knitting Factory, Annina Nosei Gallery, Performance Space 122 and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
In 2001, he has been performing with Patrick Grant Group and within Exploding Music. He traveled to the Palau Islands to collaborate with Gamelan Sekehe Dharma Purwa Jati on a new work and to continue this work at their foundation, the Yayasan Polosseni, in Bali. In the Fall, he opened up his recording facility, sTUDIO 41, to the public.
Marija Illic, a native of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, is an active performer of the new music. Her solo performances include the recital at the Weill Recital Hall in New York, and an appearance at the ''Solo Flights'' series produced by Composers Collaborative. As a scholarship student, she took part in the Norfolk Contemporary Music Festival and the Aldeburgh Festival in England, Bolzano and Santander music festivals, and performed at the Bang on a Can Marathon and Trinity Church concert series.
Marija has collaborated with many composers, including George Crumb, Martin Bresnick, Ge Gan-Ru, Oliver Knussen, Max Lifshitz and Joan Tower. She has performed as a member of the South-North Consonance, Music Under Construction, Helix, and currently, Patrick Grant Group and Exploding Music. Marija has worked with choreographers on the dance productions, recently with Bryan Hayes and Christopher Caines. She has played with the Patrick Grant Group since 1997.
Kathleen Supové is one of the most acclaimed contemporary music pianists of our time, occupying a unique position through her continuous search for what is new and provocative. Kathy has spent the last decade producing a series of solo concerts entitled The Exploding Piano, in which she has performed and premiered countless works by emerging and established composers. The series has received rave reviews and thrilled audiences everywhere. In the last two seasons, Kathy developed The Exploding Piano into a multimedia experience by using theatrical elements, vocal rants, performance art, staging, electronics, and collaboration with artists from other disciplines and director/writer Valeria Vasilevski.
Besides being a soloist, Kathy is half of the duo twisted tutu with composer/performer Eve Beglarian; the keyboard player and vocal ranteuse for Nick Didkovsky's band, Dr. Nerve and the resident ensemble of The Kitchen, Kitchen House Blend. She is also a member and founder of the consortium, Exploding Music. She has appeared with The Lincoln Center Festival, The Philip Glass Ensemble, Music at the Anthology, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Patrick Grant Group, Essential Music, and The Crosstown Ensemble.
tHE wEIGHTS oF nUMBERS (2000) This is a pentatonic piece, using five pitches, that explores contracting and expanding rhythmic cells. The metrical "count" is very simple: the cells start out in 9/4, and are played nine times, then in 8/4 for eight times, and so on down to 1/4, in which it is followed by a single pulse of rest which represents zero. The count then continues 8 to zero, 7 to zero, etc. until we hit the center of the piece at which point the process is reversed. I've tried to heighten the piece's interest by having parallel processes going on. One being that the material of all the keyboard instruments gets shifted every cycle so that every player gets to play the material of the others, subjecting the lines to different timbres. Another process is that of shifting between tutti and trio groupings of the keyboards so that they go through many possible textural possibilities in order to add that element.
Everything Distinct: Everything the Same (1997) An example of my composition pre-computer, manually handling the operations that went into the many layered processes of this piece. It was my hope that, by layering as many musical processes as possible that, they would begin to hide each other from the listener and, by not being obvious, create a kind of organic quality to the piece that, while not being immediately apparent, distilled in the listener a feeling that there was indeed a pattern behind the music which would reveal itself if given the time.
Structurally, the piece began with a visual model from chaos theory, the Koch Snowflake. Musically, this can best be represented in time as ABA forms within ABA forms. I found that with 16 bars of material called A through P, I could, by putting it into fractaline form, generating 81 bars of tight structure. Perhaps it is best represented by this diagram (reading left to right):
ABA CDC ABA EFE GHG EFE ABA CDC ABA
IJI KLK IJI MNM OPO MNM IJI KLK IJI
ABA CDC ABA EFE GHG EFE ABA CDC ABA
These 81 bars are the frame work for each of the three large sections of the piece. These sections are marked by three different modes, each chosen to highlight a different aspect of the piece's just intonation tuning. The first of the three large sections uses all seven tones of the scale, the second one using four, and the third using just five (technically, the third section should have gone back to the seven tone mode of the first to maintain ABA form but, these inexplicable breaking of the processes keep things livelier and less symmetrical).
INFLUX (1998/2001) This piece is dominated by patterns based on 5 (my favorite number) and, unremarkably, is also the same number of digits on a human hand. I guess that if we had six fingers that this piece would be a lot different since so much of it is meant to fall under the hand easily and be fun to play because of that. So I went with it. Serial permutation comes into play. Patterns of 12345, when skipping every other number, become 13524, every third 14253, every fourth 15432, and every sixth 12345 again. I also liked using various patterns that relate to guitar technique as that 12-string guitar samples sound pretty convincing when played on a keyboard.
On a tonal level, it is rather static but, I was able to achieve some subtle changes of center and used the occasional accidental for effect. One of my friends, a theater director, described the piece as "music to build pyramids by". I took that as being a compliment.
Fields Amaze (1997) This piece began as an experiment in using the gamelan's pelog tuning (plus one slendro note) and seeing, by finding as many more or less 'consonant' triads and tonal centers as I could, how one could convincingly modulate between them. While not remarkable from a Western point of view, gamelan music (as a tradition) is not known to modulate as such and this seemed to me to be an interesting way to use as a point of entry in writing a new piece.
It's also the first time I really took advantage of the tuning functions of my keyboard and was able to tune it to the gamelan. Rhythmically, much is owed to the Afro-Cubano tradition and structurally it could be said to be modeled on many a first movement from the clavier concerti of the Baroque and Classical eras.
This is all easy for me to see now, being a program note after-the-fact. At the time of its writing, I was pleased how the sections seemed to fall into place and any kind of cross-cultural implications were not overtly intended though, I admit, they're there.
"Any great work of mUSIC revives and readapts time and space, and the measure of its success is the extent to which it makes you an inhabitant of that world-the extent to which it invites you in and lets you breathe its sTRANGE, special air."
--- Leonard Bernstein
Simpson's Contemporary Quotations, compiled by James B. Simpson. 1988.