I just got back from a rehearsal for Still Life, 1985 at the Conservatory, and the players sound wonderful. The premiere is this coming Thursday, May 17 at Alpha Gallery in Boston. There’s another performance the following Thursday (i.e. May 24). I hope to see you there!
The concert, by the way, is part of the Equilibrium Concert Series. Check us out, if you haven’t already!
Here are the program notes, in case you need something to whet your appetite:
Still Life, 1985 is my musical reaction to one of Hyman Bloom’s numerous still-life paintings. The particular painting I chose—“Still life with vases, 1980s”—was born the same year I was, and as such I felt a sort of kinship with it.
Since the painting depicts a static environment, I took my motion cues from strata of visual activity. The first movement, “Bottom,” correlates with the lower-third of Bloom’s work. The bottom of the painting is stark, dark, and littered with the fragments of something spilled. The “bottom” of my music, likewise, is sparse, simple, and ambiguous. The middle (both of the painting and my piece) is the most directly figurative. Where Bloom painted ampules and vases and goblets, I’ve musically inserted a quotation from a traditional Latvian hymn (Latvia being Bloom’s birth-country). The uppermost portion of the painting holds a swirling, dark mass—it’s as mysterious as it is captivating. I’ve tried to replicate that sense of mystery by ending with microtonal elaborations on a unison pitch, sending the music spinning off into the threadbare void.