Nono CD release!

I am really thrilled that my CD of Nono “la lontananza” will be released early next month. It has been a truly great thing to work on. To any of you in New York City on Nov 2 and 3, I hope you can join us for some really interesting and exciting performances and discussions to celebrate the release. Please see my blog posts from last year to read some thoughts on this very moving and multi-layered piece.

From the press release:

“la lontananza nostalgica utopica futura” distills Nono’s manifold lifelong preoccupations – philosophy, politics, history, theater, text, spatialization, improvisation, real-world sounds, electronics and amplification – into the relatively simple medium of solo violin and 8-track tape. The work requires a highly spatialized eight-channel speaker configuration for the electronics, and the violin soloist also wanders among the audience during the performance. Previous stereo recordings did not capture this crucial aspect of the work. The DTS-CD version of this new recording endeavors to present the work as the composer intended: a “surround-sound” experience. In addition, this recording also includes an element overlooked by previous recordings: vocalizations from the violin soloist that are pivotal to Nono’s intentions.  In the words of Miranda Cuckson, “Nono’s indications for the violinist to sing illuminate the fundamentally lyrical, almost operatic quality at the heart of the work: the piece is truly a ‘madrigal’ as Nono described it.”


Pre-release Event: November 2, CD release Event: November 3
Date and time: Friday, November 2, 2012, 8 PM
Place: Spectrum
121 Ludlow Street, Second Floor, New York, NY
Tickets: $15 general/$10 students and seniors

–Miranda Cuckson and Chris Burns perform Dai Fujikura’s “prism spectra” for viola and live surround electronics, which they are recording for an upcoming CD

–Chris Burns presents his own compositions: “Opalescence”, a glockenspiel solo performed by Trevor Saint, and “Alligator Char”, an electric guitar/percussion duo performed by Chris and Trevor

–Richard Warp demonstrates his new brain-computer spatialization interface

Date and time: Saturday, November 3, 2012, 8 PM
Place: Spectrum
121 Ludlow Street, Second Floor, New York, NY
Tickets: $15 general/$10 students and seniors

–Live performance by Miranda and Chris of Leggii 3 and 4 from “la lontananza nostalgica utopica futura”

–Demo of the recording featuring Richard Warp’s realizations of the electronics in 5.1 channel surround sound

–Miranda performs Chris’ composition “come ricordi come sogni come echi: six
studies on Nono’s ‘la lontananza nostalgica utopica futura’ for solo violin”

–Open forum with the artists

And from my liner notes:

There have been several recordings of “La lontananza”, including one by Kremer with Sofia Gubaidulina as sound artist, and another by violinist Melise Mellinger with Sciarrino. I recorded the piece in 2011 with composer/sound artist Christopher Burns, soon after our live performance that autumn in New York. In the performance, I was acutely aware of the physical environs (a high-ceilinged chapel); of the listeners sharing the performance space, thus eliminating the “fourth wall” between performer and audience; and of my sound mingling with the tape sounds emitted from various locations.  A few days later, I was immersed in the process of turning this intrinsically dramatic work into a recording. Any audio recording of music extracts the sound itself from its physical origins and its actual temporal context, thus creating a different experience. A recording of “La lontananza” particularly distills the piece, turning a theatrical, partly improvised musical work into a documented combination of sound elements. In this way, a recording of “La lontananza” is much like a sound recording of an opera, in that it removes the vivid visual distractions of the stage.  While this might be a partial experience of the whole, it can be a thrilling and illuminating means of focusing in on the music itself.

I am excited that, with this recording of “La lontananza”, we actually offer two  ways to listen to Nono’s piece: in stereo and in surround-sound. In stereo, you will hear simply the music itself from a concentrated sound source. In surround-sound, you will experience a recording that restores the sense of spatialization – and thus theater – to the piece. Through current technology, the “musique concrète” sounds come alive as if actually happening in the same room, the wandering of the violinist-figure is ghostly but palpable and the listener’s role in the work feels central and participatory as in a live performance. I am truly delighted that we are able to create such a tantalizingly immediate experience of this great work for the first time.

A couple years ago, I started looking into “La lontananza” and was drawn strongly to its magnetic synthesis of music, theater, text and socio-political awareness. I feel its evocation of the refugee’s condition is as urgent today as twenty years ago. I am delighted to work with Chris Burns and Richard Warp, who have done such brilliant, sensitive work on this piece and recording. I am grateful to New Spectrum Foundation, Urlicht Audiovisual, Glenn Cornett and Gene Gaudette for making this project possible.