On this recording of new repertoire for harp, Ben Melsky of Chicago’s Ensemble Dal Niente (along with colleagues flutist Emma Hospelhorn, guitarist Jesse Langen, clarinetist Katie Schoepflin Jimoh, percussionist Kyle Flens, and soprano Amanda DeBoer Bartlett) present several new works written by composers in their closely knit community that establish the instrument as an ideal vehicle for contemporary aesthetic exploration. Through extended techniques on the instrument, as well as vocalizations, alternate tunings, and experiments with open form notation, these works engage with the leading edge of compositional experimentation through the lens of one of music’s oldest, and most ubiquitous, instruments.
George Lewis (b. 1952) combines an astonishing level of creativity with trenchant critiques of many traditional conceptions about experimental music. The four compositions on this album reference a wide range of ideas, from rhetoric in Ancient Rome to actor network theory, and the album's eponymous composition finds its grounding in the concept of the "assemblage," (or agencement in French) a pragmatic, material, non-teleological approach to composition.
Composer Mikel Kuehn, a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, writes music that is deftly structured, exquisitely orchestrated, and imbued with an ideal balance between deep pathos and intellectual rigor. Heard here in performances by Chicago based Ensemble Dal Niente, Flexible Music, percussionist Gregory Beyer, guitarist Daniel Lippel, cellist Craig Hultgren, and BGSU Saxophone Ensemble, and with in depth liner notes by flutist/composer/new music icon Harvey Sollberger, Kuehn's music takes the high modernist tradition as a starting point, creating works of rich depth that reward repeat listenings.
Balter / Saunier features works by composer Marcos Balter and Greg Saunier, drummer for the band Deerhoof. Deerhoof and Dal Niente first crossed paths in 2012 when they shared a bill at Chicago’s Millennium Park. The two groups bonded instantly over their shared sensibilities and began work towards Balter / Saunier, an intricate intermingling of styles that captures each group at its most adventurous.
Katherine Young, Austin Wulliman - Diligence is to Magic as Progress is to Flight
Diligence is to Magic as Progress is to Flight is a collaboration between Katherine Young and Austin Wulliman. Dal Niente performs on Movement IV which is scored for scordatura violin solo and chamber orchestra.
Chris Wild, Dal Niente cellist and Lead Artistic Coordinator, collaborates with fellow ensemble members Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, Gregory Beyer, Mabel Kwan, and Austin Wulliman on works by Marcos Balter, Eliza Brown, Daniel Dehaan, Andrew Greenwald, Chinary Ung, and Claude Vivier.