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 nineteenth installment of what I call, “Mapping My Musical Twitterverse”, and features composers John Teske, Scott Worthington, Ben Fuhrman, Clare Shore, and Owen Davis.
John Teske is a composer and bassist located in Seattle. From John’ website, I listened to and ffinniiss, as well as an excerpt of Mer, both for chamber orchestra. From John’s SoundCloud page, I listened to Facets, for solo cello.
These works are formed by different scales of gestures. Mer, a structured improvisation, basically features one action: a sonic representation of a shifting see. Facets and ffinniiss contain a series of actions, most clearly in the latter, which contains a handful of slow, free-sounding swells meant to evoke the extemporaneous frenzies often found at the end of rock songs.
Scott Worthington is a composer and bassist located in Los Angeles. From Scott’s website, I listened to A Few Kites, for trumpet, violin, and electronics, Infinitive, for the LoadBang ensemble, and Prism, for three double basses.
A Few Kites and Infinitive appear to be deliberately constrained and tense works, a particularly effective character for Infinitive given its text, which is drawn from Hamlet. Prism, like the other pieces, bides its time with taught nuance and subtlety but, at a significant point in the work, explodes with an intensity enabled, along with the work’s color palette, by its redundant instrumentation.
Ben Fuhrman is a composer and mandolinist based in Lansing, Michigan. From Ben’s website, I listened to Cellular Hallucinations, for percussion, and Gestalt Variations, for electric guitar and computer.
Cellular Hallucinations is a very skillfully written solo percussion work that unfolds through thoughtful manipulations of color and rhythmic intensity, as one would expect from a piece with this scoring. It was impossible for me to hold preconceptions about Gestalt Variations because I’ve never heard a piece quite like it. The guitar is disembodied, floating in a vivid world of brilliantly processed computerized noises whose flexibility of expression stunned me.
Clare Shore is a composer based in Lake Worth, Florida. From Clare’s SoundCloud page, I listened to excerpts of Cool Spring Meditations, for solo guitar, July Remembrances, for soprano and orchestra, and Nightwatch, for brass quintet.
These works share an indirectly and hauntingly beautiful language, which is brought to life through the airtight persuasiveness of Clare’s instrumental writing. The movements of July Remembrances I heard were particularly stunning in their treatment of the orchestra-soprano dynamic. Cool Spring Meditations, too, seems expertly written for the guitar, not to mention the work’s the expressive forcefulness of the work’s musical material.
Owen Davis is a composer and percussionist based in Chicago. From Owen’s SoundCloud page, I listened to TELEPHONE, for piano, poet, cell phones and electronics, Colour Gommable, for alto saxophone, percussion and trombone, as well as Circadian, for alto saxophone and vibraphone.
Colour Gommable and Circadian share an atmospheric tendency, though Circadian’s final movement breaks this character with the introduction of a satisfying and lyrical saxophone melody. TELEPHONE is outstandingly high-concept in my selection of Owen’s music. To me, TELEPHONE obliquely evokes John Cage’s Credo in US with the cumulative profundity of its composed, chance, and multimedia elements.