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Filament - Bryce Dessner (b.1976): Murder Ballades; Nico Muhly (b.1981): Doublespeak; Son Lux (b.1979): To Love; This is my Line; Philip Glass: Two Pages / Eighth Blackbird

Album Summary

>Dessner, Bryce : Murder Ballades, for chamber ensemble
>Muhly, Nico : Doublespeak, for chamber ensemble
>Lux, Son : To Love
>Glass, Philip : Two Pages
>Lux, Son : This is my Line
Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Celebrated new-music sextet eighth blackbird, whose last three Cedille Records albums garnered Grammy® awards, continues to soar with Filament, a selection of four world premiere recordings plus a concert performance of Philip Glass's influential Two Pages. Filament offers first recordings of Bryce Dessner's Murder Ballades, a fresh and surprisingly upbeat take on a macabre genre of folk music; Nico Muhly's Doublespeak, an homage to Glass and the insistent, propulsive repetitions of classic minimalism; and short pieces by Son Lux, To Love and This is my Line," creative remixes of sounds from other tracks on the CD. Dessner, on guitar, and Muhly, on organ, join eighth blackbird for Glass's Two Pages, recorded live-in-concert at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art. A sextet of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion, and piano, eighth blackbird combines the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band, and the audacity of a storefront theater company. The Chicago-based "super-musicians" (Los Angeles Times) are "a polished, personable, routinely dazzling sextet." (New York Times)

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL (05/01/2013-05/02/2013).

Filament is Eighth Blackbird's seventh album on Cedille, continuing the group's electrifying explorations of avant-garde and minimalist chamber music. As the title suggests, there are connections that run through the five works on the program, and listeners are teased into finding the strands that join these pieces and give them their energy. To this end, they should play the album in sequence, to give due credit to Bryce Dessner's surprisingly whimsical and lively Murder Ballades, Nico Muhly's hypnotically spinning Doublespeak, and Son Lux's To Love and This Is My Line, two remixes pulsing with nervous energy. These pieces have a familial resemblance, insofar as the composers are colleagues and friends who share many influences, perhaps most obviously through varieties of minimalism. Repetitive patterns bring these connections to Philip Glass, whose extremely rigorous Two Pages is the most challenging piece on the album. Composed as a stream of figures to be played in unison on any combination of instruments, Two Pages tests the musicians' skills and nerves, not only because it requires absolute precision but also because it was recorded live, without benefit of retakes. This album demands much of its performers and audience, but the vitality of the music and Eighth Blackbird's stunning virtuosity make it a compelling experience. ~ Blair Sanderson



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Works Details

>Dessner, Bryce : Murder Ballades, for chamber ensemble
  • Ensemble: eighth blackbird
  • Running Time: 17 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Muhly, Nico : Doublespeak, for chamber ensemble
  • Ensemble: eighth blackbird
  • Running Time: 9 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Lux, Son : To Love
  • Ensemble: eighth blackbird
  • Running Time: 2 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Glass, Philip : Two Pages
  • Ensemble: eighth blackbird
  • Running Time: 16 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1968

>Lux, Son : This is my Line
  • Ensemble: eighth blackbird
  • Running Time: 3 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary