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The Gulf

Month of Moderns I: SATURDAY!

Oil Slick

Saturday, June 15, 2013 @ 8pm
Month of Moderns I

The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral
With special guests
Toshimaru Nakamura &
Ko Ishikawa

Gene Coleman: Water of the Last Moment
Santa RatnieceChu Dal  (Silent Water)
Tamar Diesendruck: Other Floods

Pierre Joris Poetry reading: 6:30 - 7:15

Read the Complete Program Notes

FREE PARKING has been provided for concert-goers. Available directly across from the Cathedral; enter the open lot on 39th Street between Market and Chestnut.

Buy your tickets now.

Water of the Last Moment
An incredibly powerful amalgamation of voices, the ethereal Sho, and both live and pre-recorded electronics.

The composer writes:
In my work Water of the Last Moment I took the text Dis/aster by Pierre Joris as the basis for an exploration of two recent environmental catastrophes: The 2011 nuclear explosion at the Fukushima Power Station in Japan and the 2010 explosion of the BP Deep Water Rig in the Gulf of Mexico. In both cases I think we see how an overconfidence in human technology and an indifference to the natural world lead to tragedies that could have been avoided. In this work I combine the 24 voices of The Crossing with the Sho (a Japanese mouth organ dating from over 1,000 years ago), recorded and electronically manipulated sounds and live electronics. By putting these elements together, part of my aim is to create a new musical space where we consider the relationships between past, present and future. The live electronic part is performed by Toshimaru Nakamura, who creates sound through a mixer that is plugged into itself. There are only limited ways to control this sound, which becomes a metaphor: in this composition “nature” is the electricity, the force that we wish to control but can’t.

Other Floods
Begins with pointillistic rain drops and swells to a glorious finale.

The composer writes:
I first read Mattina and Una Colomba by Giuseppe Ungaretti twenty years ago and am still riveted by them. Linked by their immediacy, their sonic music, and what has been called “impressionismo atomico” (atomic impressionism, a term originally meant to disparage the work), they avoid storytelling, landscape, or historical reference. Miraculously, the extreme brevity and density of these poems evoke a sense of space, time, vibration, a central animating presence bristling with alertness, potentialities from within and without. Other Floods begins with isolated vowels and syllables extracted from the poems, floating in space, uttered by solo voices. As the full chorus becomes involved, the fragments form larger linguistic combinations (a mixture of invented and real Italian words), which ultimately become the poems.

Chu dal
Stunningly atmospheric; a completely fresh way to envision the limits of "a choir."

The composer writes:
Chu Dal was conceived of and written as an echo to the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea. [We will hear the work referenced here, Saline, on Month of Moderns III, June 30.] Namtso is the closest lake to heaven, and is also called Heavenly Lake. The crystal-clear water silently reflects the sky, so this piece is called Silent Water. In the middle of Namtso Lake is an island that monks go to in the winter, when the water is frozen, and meditate there until the following winter. Then they can return to shore by crossing the ice once again. The form of the piece sketches this freezing in its marginal phases, with the melting, sunny, springtime island at its center. The long road upward to Namtso is begun at Uvs Nuur Lake in Mongolia, near the Tuvan border (759m, above sea level). This is a very wide, shallow, and salty lake. The path is difficult.

How does nature feel in these transitional places, where the northernmost desert meets the southernmost tundra? How does the cold desert combine with the hot tundra, where the desert sand shines alongside snowy mountain peaks? The fragile transition is sung in words with corresponding meaning, and the hotly cold places are slowly walked through, step by step. The final destination – the island in Namtso Lake – isn’t far off; all that’s left is the final transition, ice. This is the most fragile juncture, crossing the frozen lake and arriving at the quiet island. After the long journey, as the flight ends, the snow and ice joyfully melt, in melodies that are characteristic of this place. There is so much water that it breaks into hundreds of rivers and streams, and the lakes finally overflow. But when the snow melts, do the footprints disappear, too? In order to get back, one must once again wait for the freeze. The sounds try to freeze words with various meanings into single ice…Sense…Mountain with snow…Soft breeze…Wing.

Remaining events:

The 5th Annual Month of Moderns
The Gulf (between you and me)

Buy Tickets Now

Saturday, June 15, 2013 @ 8pm
Month of Moderns I

At The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral
With special guests Toshimaru Nakamura
& Ko Ishikawa
Gene Coleman: Water of the Last Moment (world premiere)
Santa RatnieceChu Dal  (Silent Water, 2008)
Tamar Diesendruck: Other Floods (2010)

Sunday, June 23, 2013 @ 4pm
Month of Moderns II

The IceBox at Crane Arts Center in Northern Liberties
Chris Jonas: The Gulf (world premiere)
Santa RatnieceHoro Horo Hata Hata  (2008)
Justé Janulyté: aquarelle  (Watercolor, 2007)

Sunday, June 30, 2013 @ 4pm
Month of Moderns III

At the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill
Gabriel Jackson: Rigwreck (world premiere)
Santa Ratniece: Saline (Salt Lakes, 2006)
John Cage: Four 2 (1992)

The Crossing Presents:

Saturday June 15 @ 6:30pm
Pierre Joris Reading His Poetry

Wednesday June 19 @ 8pm
Chris Jonas’ quartet
Sun Spits Cherries

Wednesday June 26 @ 6:30pm

“Inside the Composer’s Studio:
Gabriel Jackson”

Monday June 24 - Sunday June 30
Artist Dan Cole's work as inspired by
The Gulf (between you and me)


Major Support for MoM 2013 Has Been Provided By:

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage


The Crossing - 8855 Germantown Ave. - Philadelphia, PA 19118