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Alvin Lucier: Orchestral Works: Diamonds for 1, 2 or 3 Orchestras; Slices / Charles Curtis, cello

Album Summary

>Lucier, Alvin : Diamonds, for 1, 2, or 3 orchestras
>Lucier, Alvin : Slices, for cello & orchestra
>Lucier, Alvin : Exploration of the House, for orchestra
Performers Conductors Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

For nearly 50 years the work of Alvin Lucier (b. 1931) has marked off a space unlike any other in American music. By now a hero to three generations of experimentalists, Lucier continues to make work at a brisk pace, finding new, surprising and radical approaches to the same artistic concerns. His subject is the human as listener, and his music can be understood as a detailed, exhaustive investigation into the complexities of the act of listening. The results are often uncanny, but the approach is through the familiar and the ordinary; and the production is invariably of rare composedly discipline and exactness of execution. The three works presented on this album set forth three perspectives on the orchestra, monument of the European concert tradition. In each work we hear unmistakable echoes of the familiar iconography of the orchestra, associations with the past that are the bearers of complex meanings. Yet in a kind of tandem reality, sound itself pushes forward, bringing us back to the present, to our immediate presence as listeners, and to meanings independent of association. The world construed as what is known, as a set of received notions, is gently put in question; another world, the one we live in moment to moment, is briefly illuminated.

American Record Guide, March/April 2014
In Diamonds the string instruments begin on a sustained unison, gradually depart upward and downward from that tone to a high and low point, and then gradually return; the individual moments along the trajectory are doubled by the winds, brass, and percussion. The effect is ravishing. Slices (2007) is the newest work on the program. Scored for cello and orchestra, the work begins with a 53-note cluster in the orchestra (a cluster corresponding to the cello's range); the soloist slowly sounds one of the sustained notes and its doubling orchestral instrument stops playing it as soon as he is finished, in effect erasing notes of the cluster one at a time until nothing remains. Exploration of the House (2005) applies the familiar technique of Lucier's I Am Sitting in a Room (1970) to fragments of Beethoven's Consecration of the House: each fragment is performed by the orchestra and recorded. The performances are expert and the engineering superb. Charles Curtis's notes are excellent.



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Works Details

>Lucier, Alvin : Diamonds, for 1, 2, or 3 orchestras
  • Conductor: Zsolt Nagy
  • Ensemble: Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 23 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Lucier, Alvin : Slices, for cello & orchestra
  • Performers: Kyle Covington (Trombone); John Wilds (Trumpet); Anthony Burr (Clarinet); Jonathan Piper (Tuba); Jeff Thayer (Violin); Benjamin Jaber (Horn); Demarre McGill (Flute); Andrea Overturf (Oboe); Valentin Martchev (Bassoon); Charles Curtis (Cello); Yao Zhao (Cello); JiSun Yang (Violin); Chen Che (Viola)
  • Conductor: Petr Kotik
  • Ensemble: Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Conrad Prebys Concert Hall at the University of California, San Diego (05/27/2011-05/29/2011)
  • Running Time: 28 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2007

>Lucier, Alvin : Exploration of the House, for orchestra
  • Conductor: Petr Kotik
  • Ensemble: Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 24 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2005
  • Studio/Live: Live