Michael Century Solo Piano and Accordion

 

Michael Century Solo Piano and Accordion

EMPAC Studio 2

November 6, 2014 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Program

Bach, Overture (Partita) in the French Style               

Feldman,  Palais de Mari 

Riley, Keyboard Study 2 for accordion and digital delays

Cage, Dream (accordion)

Stockhausen, Interval, from For Times to Come

This concert presents a broad vista of the keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach in counterpoint to an unusual selection of compositions by four of the leading voices in creative music from the mid-20th century.  The program begins with the French Overture, in which Bach shows his up-to-date currency with the courtly music of the day.  It is Bach's longest suite of stylized dance movements, prefaced by a ceremonial overture in the style of the court of Louis XIV.  The three selections from Bach's 48 preludes and fugues in the Well Tempered Keyboard highlight the contrapuntal intricacy, virtuosity, and expressiveness of this set, which commonly is considered only for its didactic purpose.   Terry Riley, John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Morton Feldman are each represented on this program with relative rarities.  Riley's Keyboard Studies were some of the earliest experiments in modular improvisational composition, arranged here for accordion with 4 levels of digital delay.   Cage's Dream, composed and premiered at Black Mountain College, was one of his last piano pieces before the late 1940s turn to chance operations, and highlights resonance; tonight’s accordion version can be heard as a study in transcription.  Stockhausen's piece comes from a short period of the composer's involvement with "Intuitive Music", which produced works that were scored using text instructions, not standard notation, having varying degrees of poetic specifics provided in verbal form.  Interval is a relatively precise procedural piece for a pair of pianists at one piano, playing with their eyes closed, moving toward music theatre as it concludes.  Palais de Mari is Feldman's last composition for piano, and is performed here in a dimly-lit atmosphere of hushed quietude. Composed after a request that Feldman condense the materials and techniques of his multi-hour late pieces into a smaller work, the piece can be heard as an instance of Feldman's remark about his being a music of "mourning”.
Michael Century is Professor of Music and New Media at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (www.michaelcentury.com).
Ryan Ross Smith is a composer and PhD candidate in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer.

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