Celebrate May Day with Cold Blue Music

A concert featuring the Eclipse Quartet, percussionist David Johnson, and clarinetist Phil O’Connor performing music by composers on the Cold Blue Music record label.

Program

John Luther Adams: untouched (LA premiere) — Eclipse Quartet
Stephen Whittington: Windmill (LA premiere) — Eclipse Quartet
Jim Fox: Between the Wheels — Phil O’Connor, bass clarinet, and Eclipse Quartet
Peter Garland: Moon Viewing Music (Inscrutable Stillness Studies #1) (LA premiere) — David Johnson, gongs and tam-tam

Notes

Pulitzer- and Grammy-winning composer John Luther Adams’s chamber and orchestral music and sound installations are deeply rooted in the natural world. His music has appeared on seven Cold Blue Music releases.

"One of the most original musical thinkers of the new century." —Alex Ross, The New Yorker

untouched, like Adams’s The Wind in High Places, is an exploration of the Aeolian sound world. “Over the years my large ensemble works have sometimes included string quartet. However, I didn’t write my first piece for string quartet alone until I was fifty-nine. Now, in my second string quartet [untouched], the fingers of the players still have yet to touch the fingerboard. This music contains no normal stopped tones. All the sounds are produced either as natural harmonics or on open strings.” (JLA)

• • •

Australian composer and pianist Stephen Whittington is noted for giving the first Australian performances (in the 1970s) of music by Christian Wolff, Terry Riley, Cornelius Cardew, Howard Skempton, James Tenney, Alvin Curran, Terry Jennings, Morton Feldman, and many others. Cold Blue has released two CDs of his music.

“If Australia has produced a classic piece of musical minimalism, [Windmill] is it.” —Graham Strahle, The Australian

The composer writes about Windmill: “The distinctive steel windmills that dot the Australian outback pump up life-giving water in the often desolate landscape. Many are now rusting away, replaced by solar technology. If you get close enough to one you can hear its distinctive creaking sound, stopping occasionally, resuming as the breeze picks up.”

• • •

Los Angeles composer Jim Fox’s usually quiet, slow, lyrical, and unassuming music has been performed throughout the US and described by critics as “austere” and “ethereal” (The Wire), as well as “sensuous” and “suffused with a beautiful sadness” (Fanfare). He is the founder/director of Cold Blue Music.

“Jim Fox is a singular composer. His music is deep, sparkling, ecstatic, and breathaking.” —John Luther Adams

“Mixing measured and unmeasured time, the hushed Between the Wheels suspends cycling bass clarinet lines and whispering violin harmonics over a tapestry of fluttering string harmonies.” (JF)

• • •

Peter Garland is a composer, musicologist, and writer whose music is informed by his well-traveled ear and intense personal vision. His works have been performed around the world by such performers as pianists Aki Takahashi and Herbert Henck, percussionist William Winant, accordionist Guy Klucevsek, and the Kronos Quartet. His music has appeared on seven Cold Blue releases.

“[Garland] is an avatar of an experimental American tradition…a composer of mesmerizing music…the musical conscience of my generation.”—Kyle Gann, Chamber Music magazine

Moon Viewing Music is a quiet, introspective work for gongs and tam-tam. The composer writes, “For me moon viewing is a year-round activity…. This cycle was composed in the winter. There is a unique light and intensity in a winter moon, as it rises in the darkest days (nights) of the year, and shines on a landscape of trees stripped of their leaves and of white snow that amplifies and reflects the moonlight…. There is also a special silence because of the extreme cold, and the absence of animal, bird, and insect sounds. If autumn is the moonlight of nostalgia, winter is the moonlight of loneliness, an inscrutable stillness.”

About the Artists

The Eclipse Quartet is an ensemble dedicated to the music of twentieth-century and present-day composers. Eclipse’s repertoire spans from works by John Cage and Morton Subotnick to collaborations with the singers Beck and Caetano Veloso and includes music by Roger Reynolds, Julia Wolfe, Ben Johnston, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Annie Gosfield, John Zorn, Fred Frith, Philip Glass, John King, Lois V. Vierk, Zeena Parkins, Peter Garland, Carla Kihlstedt, Justin Haynes, Gernot Wolfgang, Stephen Cohn, David Jaffe, and many others.

David Johnson is a composer and percussionist known for his blending of improvisation, jazz, and new classical sensibilities. He was a member of the historic Blackearth Percussion Group and has worked with such diverse ensembles and artists as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Vinny Golia Large Ensemble, PARTCH, John Zorn, Pierre Boulez, Wadada Leo Smith, Yusef Lateef, Stuart Copeland, Green Day, Dave Brubeck, and the California Ear Unit among others.

Phil O’Connor is an eclectic clarinetist and saxophonist who has performed more than 500 premieres of classical and jazz works. He has performed often with such Southern California ensembles as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, LA Opera, Long Beach Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Pasadena Symphony, and the John Daversa Progressive Big Band. He teaches at CalArts.

Artists: / /