(co-commissioned by the LA Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall)
Amid the Noise
with guest artist Princeton University students
About Julia Wolfe’s Forbidden Love:
Every idea in classical music was once new. The string quartet, with its dazzling exchanges among the four parts, grew out of roots in the Baroque era to become an engine of experimentation in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. In the 20th and 21st, the percussion quartet harnessed these energies, providing composers with a new range of options and sonic possibilities. Now Julia Wolfe and Sō Percussion blend the two worlds together with her new String Quartet, written for percussion quartet. As Wolfe describes it: “this is the piece where I do everything that real string players won’t let me do.” The four members of Sō have long been adept at teasing new sounds out of objects from cacti to the inside of a piano, to simple planks of wood. With this new piece they approach the string instruments with fresh eyes and ears: what new sounds and textures might still be locked within these ancient instruments? Can players with no traditional skill playing string instruments find new musical purposes for them? By amplifying the traditional four instruments (two violins, viola, and cello) with contact mics, Sō and Julia give the String Quartet a respectful but unorthodox treatment. Using implements such as chopsticks, coins, and pencils, and finding all kinds of unusual ways to hold them while tapping, bowing, plucking, and striking, the exciting universe of rhythm and texture inhabited by the percussion quartet finds its voice in the most iconic of classical ensembles.
About Jason Treuting’s Amid the Noise:
Jason Treuting’s Amid the Noise began as a soundtrack, which morphed into an album and then into a flexible set of live music. Now it is a communal music-making project that can occur with a flexible number of musicians in almost any combination. Its musical ideas are abstract: drones, melodies, rhythms, textures, patterns. Like Terry Riley’s In C, this work maintains its identity and integrity even through wildly different realizations which allows the work to incorporate instruments beyond percussion.