Bang on a Can Live, Vol. 1
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR628     Release Date: 2007-01-01
William Doerrfeld, Emulator sampler; Kathleen Nester, flute; Andrew Sterman, bass clarinet; Kate Light, violin; Karl Parens, cello; Jim Baker, marimba; Chris Vassiliades, piano; Scott Lindroth, conductor; Michael Gordon Philharmonic: [Ted Kuhn, violin; John Lad, viola; Michael Pugliese, percussion; Evan Ziporyn, bass clarinet; Bob Loughlin, electric guitar; Michael Gordon, keyboard]; Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne: [Guy Pelletier, flute; Normand Forget, oboe; Gilles Plante, clarinet; Michel Bettez, bassoon; Francis Ouelet, horn; Lise Bouchard, trumpet; Alain Trudel, trombone; Jacques Drouin, piano; Julien Gregoire and Vincent Dhavernas, percussion; Claude Hamel and Alain Giguere, violins; Bian Bacon, viola; Claude Lamothe, cello; Rene Gosselin, bass; with Elizabeth Panzer, harp; Lorraine Vaillancourt, conductor]; Evan Ziporyn, bass clarinet; Boo Elmer, trombone; David Mott, baritone sax; John Van Buskirk, piano; Jean Moncrieff, kempli; Danny Tunick, John Ferrari, Karen Phenpimon, Rob McEwan, percussion; Laura Goldberg, violin; Muneko Otani, violin; Michiko Oshima, viola; Anna Cholakian, cello; Robert Black, bass; Dan Kennedy, conductor


Musically, New York was in a slump in 1987, and the first Bang on a Can festival caught the city sleeping. No one realized that the decade had been pregnant with a new musical ear, and no one expected a new style to emerge full-blown at an audacious, oddly- named little festival never heard of before. (At least one audience member actually brought his own can). No one expected these things, that is, except Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, and David Lang, the composers who started Bang on a Can.

Post-minimalism, the New Tonality, the New Dissonance, the New Formalism: all these murky labels together circumscribe the concerns of the Bang on a Can composers, but no one term does their diversity justice. By 1987, minimalist repetition had become unfashionable, but Bang on a Can music began with minimalism’s reduction of materials and grew outward. Dissonance was once again OK, but twelve-tone music’s scattershot diffuseness wasn’t; even the thorniest Bang on a Can music tended to pick a few meaty chords and stick with them. Most Bang on a Can music sounded arguably tonal, but the tonalities were built up by emphasis on a few unchanging pitches rather than by harmonic syntax. Rhythm, not harmony, was the structural basis.

Best of all, Bang on a Can brought form back into music as a central concern, and in a way that nonmusician audiences could respond to (and have, every year, enthusiastically). In so doing, the festival rebuilt a bridge between classical audiences and the downtown Manhattan scene. In best Downtown tradition, some of the Bang on a Can composers (such as Michael Gordon) had also played rock clubs, while others (like Evan Ziporyn) were working jazz musicians. Despite diverse backgrounds, though, nearly all presented a music that classical listeners could relate to. The pieces on this disc exhibit the variety, but also the trends, in postminimal or new-tonal form. Those by Doerrfeld, Gordon, and Cameron set up repeating patterns to work against; those by Lindroth and Wolfe are more rhapsodic, repeating nothing literally, but they still create form from a few carefully-chosen materials. Diverse in personality, the pieces intuitively belong together.


This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available for order from New World Records as an on-demand CD (CD-R). It can also be downloaded in MP3/320, FLAC and/or WAV format(s).

Various Artists

Bang on a Can Live, Vol. 1

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
WAV $9.99
CD $15.99

Track Listing

Failing: A Very Difficult Piece for String Bass
Tom Johnson
Buy
Evening Chant
Buy
Relations to Rigor
Scott Lindroth
Buy
Strange Quiet: Part I; Part II
Michael Gordon
Buy
Vermeer Room
Julia Wolfe
Buy
LUV Time: Between The Jaws; Ramrods (for Steve Lacy)*; Instep
Evan Ziporyn
Buy
Two Bits
Allison Cameron
Buy