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Performance Tidbit Archive

July 2022

No new content in July.

June 2022

David Heuser - Taxi of Midnight

Check out this clip from David Heuser's "Taxi of Midnight." A few cool things to note: towards the beginning the cello plays a passage relatively high on the G string (marked sul G) giving the sound more weight. Then there are several really long glisses in the violin and cello followed by some rhythmic unison playing in the upper instruments. Check out the whole performance here.

Ash Stemke - Emergent

Check out the opening of Ash Stemke's "Emergence" performed here by the Semiosis Quartet. It begins with lovely artificial harmonics which sound two octaves above the main (bottom) note. These are then followed by a cello solo starting quite high (on a G5) and then making it all the way to a low E2. See the whole performance here.

Angela Elizabeth Slater - Flickering Airs

Check out this section from Angela Elizabeth Slater's "Flickering Airs." The flute and clarinet exchange fast passages while the string quartet do both regular and Bartok pizzicato alternating with harmonic tremolos. Performed by Semiosis Quartet with Deirdre Viau, flute and Yhasmin Valenzuela-Blanchard, clarinet. Yuga Cohler, conductor. See the whole performance here.

Nickitas Demos - Akathist

In the opening of "Akathist" by Nickitas Demos, listen to how the winds and piano play together versus the strings, and then at the end of the excerpt all come together. Watch the whole performance here.

May 2022

Ryan Chase - Stargazer

Check out the beginning of movement 4 from Ryan Chase's "Stargazer." This tidbit includes short glissandi in the strings, flutter tonguing in the flute, and towards the end, a rhythmically complex unison melody in flute and clarinet. Check out the whole performance here.

Cheng Jin Koh - Kuda Kepang

Check out the ending of the first movement from Cheng Jin Koh's work "Kuda Kepang." This piece won BNMI's 4th Annual Young Composers' Competition. This ending uses lots of neat sounds including harmonic gliss' in the strings, quarter tones in the clarinet, the very low register of the piano, bowing strings with the wood of the bow (col legno), and triangle beaters on the rim of the bass drum. See the whole performance here.

April 2022

Clifton Ingram - Alas, departynge ysground of woo

This clip is from early in Clifton Ingram's piece "Alas, departynge ysground of woo." The piece uses bongos, melodica, and a foot tambourine. Interspersed with these sounds are spoken fragments and syllables of the text from the original medieval song. Watch the complete performance by Daniel Lewis here. 

Martin Kenealy - Yellow

In this excerpt of Martin Kenealy's piece "Yellow" the two cellos start together in the very bottom register of the cello, and the first cello slowly moves up in pitch away from the second cello before returning to the bottom at the end of the excerpt. See the whole performance here.

Angela Elizabeth Slater - Night Airs

This clip from Angela Elizabeth Slater's "Night Airs" shows many great sounds including Bartok pizzicato and cello harmonics. At the end the flute and cello play the melody in unison. Watch the whole performance here.

Eren Gümrükçüoğlu - Bozkir

This is the beginning of Eren Gümrükçüoğlu's "Bozkir" performed here by Semiosis Quartet. There are microtones (notes between the keys on the keyboard), ricochet bowing (a controlled bouncing of the bow on the strings), and a lot of other cool sounds! Check out the whole performance here.

March 2022

Lonnie Hevia - Invocation

This section of Lonnie Hevia's "Invocation" really shows off the virtuosic playing of Ryan Shannon. It also includes some neat violin techniques. Check out the whole performance here.

Tianyi Wang - Song of Normality

Enjoy this opening from Tianyi Wang's "Song of Normality." The beginning using speaking sounds, and then air sounds once the flute gets involved. There is also slap tonguing and tongue rams. Watch Deirdre Viau, flutist, play the whole piece here.

Jeremie Jones - Talking to Myselves

Check out this excerpt from "Talking to Myselves" by Jeremie Jones. This piece was written for performer Dennis Shafer using pre-recorded clips of him playing. See the whole performance here.

Eric Mandat - Ritual

Enjoy this clip of of Eric Mandat's "Ritual" for two clarinets, performed here by David Angelo and Stephanie Clark. Eric Mandat is a well-known composer and clarinetist. See the whole performance here.

Aaron Alter - Solar Rays

Check out this section of Aaron Alter's "Solar Rays" performed by Ryan Shannon, Christopher Homick and Amy Lee. This jazzy piece is both challenging for the players and fun to listen to. See the whole performance here.

February 2022

Martin Bresnick - Three Intermezzi (I)

Check out the beginning of Martin Bresnick's Three Intermezzi, performed here by Anna Seda. This opening shows three different bowing positions on the cello. See the whole performance here.

Chia-Yu Hsu - Zhi (II)

Check out the beginning of the second movement of Chia-Yu Hsu's Zhi. The beautiful melody is accompanied by a sparkling figure, and presented in several ways. Performed by Amy Lee and Ryan Shannon. See the whole performance here.

Lonnie Hevia - Kiss

Check out the beginning of Lonnie Hevia's "Kiss" inspired by Melanie Long's artwork of the same name (shown in the video). Watch the whole performance here

Celka Ojakangas - Gersh (win or lose)

Check out the beginning of Celka Ojakangas' "Gersh(win or lose)" which is a fun and silly piece focusing on the interactions between the bassoon and alto saxophone. There are a lot of fun techniques just in the first page! See the whole performance here.

January 2022

Beth Ratay - Paysage Triste

Enjoy this excerpt from Artistic Director, Beth Ratay's work "Paysage Triste" (Sad Landscape). This work was inspired by a painting by Jessica McGarry Bartlet which is very dark, just like the imagery in the Verlaine poems. Ratay uses three very bright instruments (countertenor, violin and crotales) in opposition to the darkness. See the whole performance here.

Jeremy Rappaport-Stein - two short sculptures after Joe Bun Keo

Enjoy this excerpt from Jeremy Rappaport-Stein's work "Two Sculptures" inspired by artworks by Joe Bun Keo. This is the second of two movements, and the original artwork is shown at the end. Rappaport-Stein uses slightly varied repeating sections which are played unsynchronized by all players to create a constantly changing tapestry of sound. See the whole performance here.

Timothy A. Davis - A Private Conversation

Check out this selection from Timothy A. Davis' "A Private Conversation" for solo violin and fixed electronics. Performed by Ryan Shannon, this work puts the violin both in conversation with itself and the fixed track. Check out the whole performance here.

Joshua Jandreau - And I'll Call You By Mine

Joshua Jandreau's piece "And I'll Call You By Mine" uses a free cell notation which creates endless variations between each performance. Check out the whole performance here.

December 2021

Melika M. Fitzhugh - Whispered Love Across Skin

“Whispered Love Across Skin” is a minimalist work by Melika M. Fitzhugh, where each instrument presents a repeated figure. The percussion uses a riq (a Middle-Eastern tambourine). There are lots of sliding pitches in flute, violin and cello parts. Check out the complete performance here.

Alissa Voth - To Be Most Itself

Julian Loida performs To Be Most Itself by Alissa Voth. This cool piece for solo percussion uses only kitchen items. Follow along with the score and the opening, then check out the whole performance here.

Evan Williams - The Water Wrecked the Sky

Enjoy this segment, "like a quiet storm" from Evan Williams' "The Water Wrecked the Sky." Based on a poem by Emily Dickenson. This work was presented as part of a visual arts collaboration and was presented along with the quilt shown by Christle Rawlins-Jackson which depicts Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, a former slave fort. Yhasmin Valenzuela-Blanchard is the clarinetist. Check out the whole performance here.

Alex Berko - Living in Color

Check out this excerpt from "Living in Color" by Alex Berko, the winner of BNMI's 6th Annual Commissioning Competition. This video points out a few extended techniques as well as how the orchestration (choice of instruments) throughout. Loved it? Watch the whole piece here.

Mats O. Hansson - Shadow Dance

Enjoy this segment of Mats O Hansson’s Shadow Dance. The work is scored for bass clarinet, flute, violin, viola, cello, and piano. The work was part of a visual arts collaboration and the piece was presented alongside a new artwork inspired by this music created by Jessica Bartlet. Check out the complete performance here.

Bernie Walasavage - Shots

Enjoy this short excerpt from “Shots” by Bernie Walasavage which explores the excesses of drink. Stephanie Clark and Adam Gurczak performing. Check out the whole performance here.

Dani Howard - Ostara

Check out this segment from Dani Howard's "Ostara." Pay special attention to the articulation patterns (where notes are emphasized) and the various sounds produced on the cello, from open strings to harmonics. Check out the whole performance here.

Ronald Hannah - "Game" from The Dinner Party

Enjoy this section from Ronald Hannah’s “Game” from “The Dinner Party.” The poetry by Amy Lowell is humorous and unfiltered. This movement is in what is called an asymmetrical meter which means each beat is not the same length. Follow along with the piano notes at the beginning to get a feel then later on the longer and shorter beats are shown. Then check out all three movements we performed (Fish, Coffee, and Game) here.

Blaire Whittington - Late Night Gumbo

Here’s the beginning of Blair Whittington’s “Late Night Gumbo.” This opening pairs different instruments with different melodies, giving you an opportunity to hear how different instruments sound! Check out the whole performance here.

Vera Ivanova - Electrostatic Whale

Enjoy this short excerpt from “Shots” by Bernie Walasavage which explores the excesses of drink. Stephanie Clark and Adam Gurczak performing. Check out the whole performance here.

November 2021

Avner Finberg - Kinah

Check out Lamentation 4 from Avner Finberg's Kinah. See the whole performance here.

Chris Neiner - Infinite Spinning

Check out this section of Chris Neiner's "Infinite Spinning." It uses a lot of cool sounds and techniques. Then check out the whole performance here.

Guillaume Connesson - Techno-Parade

In the opening of Techno-Parade by Guillaume Connesson, Ariel Mo, BNMI pianist, places two fingers on the strings in the piano to create that dead, non-resonant sound you hear. Also, Deirdre Viau, BNMI flutist is just churning away and that fast pattern, and Yhasmin Valenzuela-Blanchard, BNMI clarinetist, is really wailing! Enjoy the whole whirlwind of a piece here.

Einike Leppik - There is Only the Air Between

"There is Only the Air Between" by Einike Leppik uses electronically produced music combined with the live bass clarinet to create really cool sounds. There is also a video that accompanies the work. Some definitions for you: Vibrato is the subtle alteration of pitch on a single note. Spectral multiphonics are multiple notes sounded by using the natural overtone series of the instrument. Check out the whole piece here.

Alex Wakim - Resounding Drips

Check out the ending of Alex Wakim's "Resounding Drips" which uses the extremes of the piano as a high point before carefully returning to the middle for a quiet end. See the whole performance by the wonderful Amy Lee here.

Benjamin Beckman - light pours through...

This string quartet is by Benjamin Beckman who was the winner of our 6th annual young composer’s competition. Check out the various techniques used throughout this section and then check out the whole piece here.

October 2021

Angélica Negrón - Quimbombo

Enjoy this excerpt from Angélica Negrón’s Quimbombo! The piece features shouts and singing from the players and is heavily influenced by Afro-Caribbean traditions in Puerto Rico. Enjoy our whole performance here.

Paul Nauert - Spirit

This beautiful alto flute solo is from the beginning of Paul Nauert’s “Spirit.” The whole piece is an alto flute/marimba duet. Follow along as Deirdre Viau plays, then check out the whole performance here.

Christian Quinoñes - What My Mother Wrote

Here is a clip from Christian Quinoñes' "What My Mother Wrote." This beautiful opening has a lot of really beautiful, bright sounds. Love these sounds? Check out the whole piece here.

Jess Hendricks - A Short Ride Through the Berkshires

Check out the faster ending section of Jess Hendricks’ “A Short Ride Through the Berkshires.” This section is in a compound meter, but plays with that a little. Take a listen, then check out the whole thing here.

September 2021

Nicholas Bentz - Compressor

Enjoy this clip from Nicholas Bentz’s “Compressor” which BNMI performed in June! There are lots of cool sounds in this clip including string slides and plucking, and wind flutters and air! Follow the score to see how it looks. Then experience the whole thing here.

Julia Werntz - Home

This particular excerpt has really evocative poetry. Werntz is well-known as a microtonal composer, which means she writes music with pitches that fall between the keys on a keyboard. Listen for notes that sound a bit “off”: that’s microtonality! For those of you who are already microtonal fans, this work uses only sixthtonal pitches. Check out the whole work here.

Roger Zare - (Re)Inventions

Here’s a little clip from Roger Zare’s (Re) Inventions. Follow along with the score here. Zare uses a randomly repeating set of notes in the clarinet to accompany the flute soliloquy. Listen to the whole thing here.

Jennifer Higdon - Zaka

Jennifer Higdon’s “Zaka” includes a lot of cool sounds. This clip has the pianist strumming across the strings inside the piano and the violin and cello playing using a crotchet hook. Check out our complete performance here.

Clifton Callender - Chain Reactions

This short segment from Clifton Callender’s Chain Reactions uses two quiet sounds. First, the flute uses pizzicato tonguing which is quieter and very airy. Second, the vibraphone uses dead strokes leaving the mallet on the bar to dampen any resonance. Listen to the complete work here.

Paul Novak - Prisms and Mirrors

Enjoy this opening from Paul Novak’s piece “Prisms and Mirrors” written for BNMI! This piece relies heavily on timbre, the quality of a sound. There’s so much going on, but try to pick out the individual sounds highlighted in the video. Then check out the whole piece here.

David Biedenbender - Shell

The opening of David Biedenbender’s work “Shell” from “Shell and Wing” is a beautiful example of how to use timbre in music. (Timbre is the quality of the sound of an instrument or voice and is usually described with words such as bright, dark, cutting, warm, etc.) This opening uses high pitches and instruments to create the bright, shining sounds. The flute plays with a flutter tongue, the violin plays a high harmonic (which has a brighter than typical sound), the cello bounces their bow on a very high not on the highest string, and the piano plays repeated high notes. The glockenspiel and vibraphone (two instruments with metal bars, which also produce very bright sounds) complete the array of sounds heard in this opening. Stephanie’s bright, clear soprano voice creeps into this array and then suddenly emerges. If you enjoyed this clip, check out the whole movement from BNMI’s June performance here.

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