On December 16, I announced my plan to listen and briefly record my responses to the music of the composers who follow me on Twitter. This post is the fourteenth installment of what I call, “Mapping My Musical Twitterverse”, and features composers Lou Bunk, Ezra Donner, Andrea Reinkemeyer, Ben Stevenson, and Everette Minchew.
Lou Bunk is a composer based in Massachusetts. From Lou’s website, I listened to Cut (Feat. K. Kirchoff), for fixed media, and Twenty Cross Sections of Three Themes, for piano and violin.
Though these pieces bear contrasting instrumentations, they share a nuanced, fragmentary form and a focus on exploring the sonic potential of a tightly controlled and limited sample of musical material. Twenty Cross Sections pursues this aim with a methodical progression of instrumental sounds and delicate gestures. Similarly, Cut creates an ominous atmosphere by wildly and jarringly manipulating what appears to be the recording of a toy piano.
Ezra Donner is a composer based in Bloomington, Indiana. Ezra and I met at a concert in Ann Arbor. From Ezra’s SoundCloud page, I listened to Mountain Suite, for string orchestra, and excerpts of Symphonic Idyll and Cosmos, both for full orchestra.
Ezra’s music, it seems from these pieces, seeks to engage with the grandeur and expression of the early twentieth century canon. To this end, Ezra’s skill as an orchestrator and lyricist is on full display in these works, particularly in Mountain Suite. I imagine these evident strengths reappear in Ezra’s other music, regardless of instrumentation.
Andrea is a composer based in Bangkok, Thailand. From Andrea’s website, I listened to Wild Silk, for baritone saxophone, piano and percussion, the first movement of Dos Danzas, for concert band, and Lured By The Horizon, for orchestra.
These works share passages of vibrant rhythms, which, in the case of “Tangential Tango” from Dos Danzas, constitutes the piece’s whole. Lured By the Horizon and Wild Silk counterbalance their steadily rhythmic sections with consequent and antecedent, respectively, passages of freer, slower lyricism. Thus, these pieces use a shared framework of ideas to produce a three unique, compelling and persuasive musical forms.
Ben Stevenson is a composer and guitarist based in Knoxville. From Ben’s SoundCloud page, I listened to Chaconne: Les chemins du desir, for solo piano, How Far The Morning Leaps, for piano and live electronics, and Ghost Metropolis Transition 28, a collaborative live electroacoustic piece with composer Zack Pentecost and saxophonist/composer Marquis’ McGee.
The variety among these pieces captivated me, particularly because I have never encountered a composer whose output includes a classically-oriented solo piano work and improvised electroacoustic music. To Ben’s credit, he not only has these broad interests, but executes them at a very high level, too.
Everette is a composer based in Saucier, Mississippi. From Everette’s SoundCloud page, I listened to Constructions for Julie Mehretu and Quartet for El Anatsui, both for saxophone quartet, as well as Open Piece No. 1, performed by a large chamber ensemble.
To me, these pieces suggest Everette’s impressive ability to clearly, yet unexpectedly, address the role of harmony in music, as well as employ electrifying instrumental colors. I am not surprised Everette appears so inspired by visual art because these works do not simply play out, they enjoy a dynamic existence in a distinctly beautiful world of space and sound.