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Eclipse Quartet plays Zenna Parkins, Frederic Rzewski & James Tenney / William Winant, percussion

Audio Samples

>Rzewski, Frederic : Whimwhams, for marimba & string quartet
>Tenney, James : Cognate Canons, for string quartet & percussion
>Parkins, Zeena : s
>     c

Album Summary

>Rzewski, Frederic : Whimwhams, for marimba & string quartet
>Tenney, James : Cognate Canons, for string quartet & percussion
>Parkins, Zeena : s
Performers Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

This CD features the virtually unprecedented combination of string quartet and percussion. It contains three works by prominent American experimentalist composers from several generations exploring the ensemble's unique sonic resources in diverse stylistic settings, each with its own original approach to musical form. Frederic Rzewski's Whimwhams (1993) develops "Stravinsky's idea of composition as improvisation without a pen." A "whim-wham" is a "fanciful or fantastic notion or object. In Whimwhams the "fanciful" occurs within a pre-conceived formal design. The formal structure in Whimwhams provides time units, "empty containers" for the free play of the composer's imagination, which yield striking successions of musical moments, each with its own distinctive identity. An attentive listener will encounter musical ideas, which return in altered form, giving the work a certain sense of coherence, a magical quality absent from more rational, thought-out composed music. In James Tenney's Cognate Canons (1993) the canons occur between the percussion and the string quartet. The durations of the two canonic "voices" are related by a series of proportions, creating the effect of simultaneous tempi, which Nancarrow used in his player piano music. Each of the work's thirteen canons uses its own proportion. The repetitions both within and between the two parts (which include statements of individual musical gestures within each voice in retrograde) create a static, timeless atmosphere. Zeena Parkins describes s:c:a:t:t:e:r:i:n:g (2012) thusly: "Flickering sound and shifting colors subvert the linear. s:c:a:t:t:e:r:i:n:g is composed of ten movements, evolving things, and objects sonores that acquire a modulated presence through accumulation. Resonance piles up and is dispersed by the "scatterers" as they journey within conditions of motion and stasis. The title refers to these acts of collection, disruption, and dispersal that occur over and over again throughout the work creating a landscape of diversion."

American Record Guide, January/February 2014
This program of avant-garde chamber music explores a rarified genre: pieces for string quartet and percussion. The combination sounds novel and bracing; the performers, who specialize in new music, seem to be having a wonderful time. The result is whimsical, subtle, and jazzy. S:ca:t:t:te:r:i:i:n:g an imaginative sample of Zeena Parkins's downtown sensibility, is more sectional and full of variety. The combination of elements and Parkins's sheer creativity make it all sound fresh. A long, beautiful shimmering effect ends the piece. The recording is first-class, the notes thorough and scholarly, as always with New World.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Jeannik Méquet Littlefield Concert Hall, Mills College, (2012-07-06_2012-07-07&2012-).



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Works Details

>Rzewski, Frederic : Whimwhams, for marimba & string quartet
  • Performer: William Winant (Percussion)
  • Ensemble: Eclipse Quartet
  • Notes: Jeannik Méquet Littlefield Concert Hall, Mills College, Oakland, California (2012-07-06_2012-07-07&2012-)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1993

>Tenney, James : Cognate Canons, for string quartet & percussion
  • Performer: William Winant (Percussion)
  • Notes: Jeannik Méquet Littlefield Concert Hall, Mills College, Oakland, California (2012-07-06_2012-07-07&2012-)
  • Running Time: 23 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1993

>Parkins, Zeena : s :: c
  • Performers: Elizabeth Ward (Voice); Heather Kravas (Voice); D. Dorvillier (Voice); Amanda Pina (Voice); William Winant (Percussion)
  • Notes: Jeannik Méquet Littlefield Concert Hall, Mills College, Oakland, California (2012-07-06_2012-07-07&2012-)
  • Running Time: 25 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2012