Library Of Congress And Portland Ovations Co-Present The International Contemporary Ensemble World Premieres

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Library Of Congress And Portland Ovations Co-Present The International Contemporary Ensemble World Premieres

Library of Congress and Portland Ovations co-present "America's foremost new-music group" (Alex Ross), the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), in an interactive digital concert-Aural Explorations: Farrin, Fure, and Messiaen-on Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. EDT featuring the world premieres of Suzanne Farrin's Nacht (co-commissioned by the Carolyn Royall Just Fund in the Library of Congress and ICE) and Ashley Fure's interior listening protocol 1, paired with Olivier Messiaen's Louange à l'Eternité de Jésus for ondes Martenot.

The stream will also include a "lobby" experience, before and after the performance, where audiences can tune in to live discussions between Farrin, Fure, and members of ICE. Glimpses into the creation of Suzanne Farrin's Nacht will be shared in a screening of a short documentary. Viewers around the world can tune in to view and participate in the digital event via YouTube Live and are invited to continue conversations with artists after the performance via Zoom.

The program takes the audience through a virtual-immersive experience, focusing on notions of perception and listening. Suzanne Farrin's Nacht, created in collaboration with ICE through remote collaborative systems, unfolds in a dreamy atmosphere featuring the ondes Martenot (an early electronic cousin of the theremin), harp, percussion, bass, and voice. Set to texts by Rumi and Hafiz in translation by Cyrus Atabay, the work explores language, translation, and identity. In writing the piece, Suzanne thought about the question, "What do we experience differently by seeing writers like Rumi and Hafiz through the filter of the German language?"

"This is a listening score. To perform it, please find two mason jars or two large glasses," is how Ashley Fure's interior listening protocol 1 begins. Created specifically for and in this time of social distancing, the piece is a full-body listening experience, only made possible by audience members participating from their homes. As Fure leads a slowly evolving physical choreography, the jars produce a magically immersive soundscape in the privacy of each listeners' own ears.

Also on the program is Suzanne Farrin's Polvere et ombra (2008). The title and the form of the work are derived from Petrarch with Sonnet No. 23, "an impassioned declamation to a night sky," providing the syllabic rhythmical grid for the piece. "Polvere et ombra magnifies the physical relationship of the player to the instrument," explains Suzanne. "The arms must move to their fullest range of motion, the fingers grab into the strings and the polite beauty of the harp is replaced by raw action."

The human voice is evoked through the tones of the ondes Martenot, especially in the work of Olivier Messiaen. In 1941 while Messiaen was prisoner of war during World War II, he composed one of his greatest pieces, Quatour pour la fin du temps (The Quartet for the End of Time). The opening of the work as well as the source for the fifth movement, "Louange à l'Eternité de Jésus", is from Messiaen's 1937 Fêtes des Belles Eaux (Festival of the Beautiful Waters), written for six ondes Martenot to accompany the majestic fountains along the Seine for the International Exposition for Art and Technology in Paris. One of the few pieces Messiaen took from his life outside of captivity was this moment for ondes Martenot. In this program, we will hear a re-translation: the version for cello and piano performed on ondes Martenot and piano.

As Nokia Bell Labs' E.A.T Ensemble-in-Residence, ICE is uniquely positioned to assemble contemporary music's most creative and resourceful minds to establish field-leading best practices for remote collaboration through a new initiative, Re.Co Lab. By creating a system of custom-calibrated hardware and software toolkits, composers can discover new sounds with instrumentalists/vocalists from around the world. 23 new works will be created with this system. A major component of this initiative is to continue compensating artists during this time when they cannot meet in close physical proximity. By sharing toolkits for remote collaboration, artistic agency is optimized and keeps the music community connected. Dozens of composers, performers, and technologists are joining forces to develop this new system during COVID-19.

Program Information
Aural Explorations: Farrin, Fure, and Messiaen
Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
More Information:
RSVP Link:

Suzanne Farrin, ondes Martenot
Alice Teyssier, voice
Ross Karre, percussion
Randall Zigler, bass
Nuiko Wadden, harp
Jacob Greenberg, piano
Ryan Streber, sound engineer

Suzanne Farrin: Polvere et Ombra (2008)
Suzanne Farrin: Nacht [World Premiere, co-commissioned by the Carolyn Royall Just Fund in the Library of Congress and ICE]
Ashley Fure: interior listening protocol 1 [World Premiere]
Olivier Messiaen: "Louange à l'Eternité de Jésus" from Quatuor pour la fin du temps (1941)

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