Bang on a Can Live, Vol. 2
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR646     Release Date: 2007-01-01

Shelley Hirsch, voice; David Weinstein, electronics; A Cloud Nine Consort: (Gary Trosclair, trumpet; Mark Stewart, electric guitar; Alan Moverman, piano and synthesizer; Tigger Benford, percussion); Cees van Zeeland, piano; Gerard Bouwhuis, piano; Elizabeth Brown, shakuhachi; Mayuki Fukuhara, violin; Sarah Clarke, viola; Theodore Mook, cello; Steve Schick, percussion; Laura Gilbert, alto flute; Joshua Gordon, cello; Victoria Drake, harp; Phil Kline, harmonica and boomboxes


Bang on a Can began in 1987 as an out-of-way, good-natured, homey, haphazard gathering by three young composers, Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, and has turned into a major New York event with broad national and international representation. By now some of its composers who were marginal in 1987 have begun to be accepted by the more established musical community. But the festival has not lost touch with its roots. David Lang may, for instance, field commissions from major institutions, but his rhythmically exuberant The Anvil Chorus, heard here, is still the work of a sassy downtowner.

In fact, once one begins to penetrate the music here, it becomes very difficult to explain what is easy to the ear. The listener of this CD may well find that Jeffrey Mumford’s, delicate, impressionistic a pond within the drifting dusk both refreshes the ear after The Anvil Chorus and sets the tone for the hushed opening of Phil Kline’s luminous Bachman’s Warbler. Both the latter pieces are by composers with a highly developed sense of sonority and how to use it. But Mumford’s richly poetic music finds its source in compositional tradition and standard instruments played in the standard way, while Kline’s work is highly unconventional.

And what are the secrets of Lois Vierk’s Red Shift IV, of John Brooks’s Composition for two pianos, or Elizabeth Brown’s Migration? All three represent different ways that young composers build on the inherited tradition of minimalism. Here, cultures gladly intertwine. Red Shift IV grows ecstatic the way a raga does, and its bent notes show the influence of Vierk’s study of Japanese music. Migration weaves a Japanese shakuhachi into a classical chamber music esthetic. The piano duo, by Minnesota composer Brooks, links the rigor of Bach’s counterpoint with a distinctly 90’s sound.

Ultimately, it would require an exceedingly complex theory of postmodern hearing to explain the contents of this can. But the genius and the pleasure of attending the Bang on a Can Festival is that nobody seems to need one. The ear doesn’t care.


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. 2

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

Track Listing

Haiku Lingo (excerpt)
David Weinstein, Shelley Hirsch
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Red Shift IV
Lois V. Vierk
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Composition for Two Pianos
Jeffrey Brooks
Buy
Migration
Elizabeth Brown
Buy
Anvil Chorus
David Lang
Buy
pond within the drifting dusk
Jeffrey Mumford
Buy
Bachman's Warbler
Buy