Tuesday, March 8, 2011

WPU New Music Concert

Attended the William Paterson New Music Series concert last night to hear Peter Jarvis play the premiere of my piece, Charms and Chasms. The program was a tribute to the late genius composer and theorist Milton Babbitt who died last month. Works by David Saperstein, George Perle, Arthur Krieger, Tobias Picker and David Sanford were played, along with a couple of short pieces by Babbitt.

The music represented a wide range of approaches, representing not Babbitt's style but the scope of his interests and legacy. All of it was of an extremely high quality, from the brutish Krieger piece, Strike Zone, for drum set and computer, commissioned and performed by Peter, to the quiet lyricism of the piano solo by Picker, played by Carl Patrick Bolleia. Peter was also involved in the two Babbitt pieces, Homily for solo snare drum, which he commissioned and has performed many times, and the delightful 15-second celeste solo, Composition for One Instrument and Ben, which I hope to write more about at some point. I as understand it, Peter had learned of the existence of this score, which had existed only in manuscript, almost by accident and was instrumental in getting it copied, published and performed.

The biggest applause was for Peter's composition, Drumming for Milton, a work for drum kit augmented by temple blocks, premiered by longtime New Jersey Percussion Ensemble member Paul Carroll. A blend of Babbitt-esque rhythmic counterpoint and Keith Moon-style tom work, Drumming just smokes and Carroll did a great job with it.

I'm honored to have had my own piece in the mix. Peter also commissioned this work, performed it himself and did a terrific job, catching the air of ritual and the blend of percussiveness and lyricism I was looking for. I just loved seeing all that metal swinging around in the stage lights during the livelier sections. If a recording or video turns up, I will surely post it.

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