Rensselaer Contemporary Music Ensemble Concert
The Rensselaer Contemporary Music Ensemble (RCME) will present a concert titled “NatureSongs,” featuring compositions by musicians who have taken their inspiration from nature, on Tuesday, April 10, at 4 p.m. at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC).
Featured pieces will include John Luther Adams’ “The Farthest Place,” R. Murray Schafer’s “Sun Father Earth Mother,” Igor Stravinsky’s “The Adoration of the Earth” (Part One of “The Rite of Spring”), and James Tenney’s “Koan: Having Never Written a Note for Percussion” and “Swell Piece #2 (for Pauline Oliveros).”
Alaska-based John Luther Adams, who takes his inspiration from the Arctic, is one of America’s most original living composers. According to critic Alex Ross, Adams’ music creates “musical counterparts to the geography, ecology, and native culture of his home state.”
“The Farthest Place” is a piece of chamber music for violin, double bass, marimba, vibraphone, and piano.
Canadian R. Murray Schafer is equally known for his concert works and his environmental operas. Noted for coining the phrase “soundscape” in his writings on acoustic ecology, Schafer composed the soprano aria “Sun Father Earth Mother” for one of his operas staged in the open air. The performance on April 10 will introduce coloratura soprano Kimberley Dolanski to the Rensselaer community.
James Tenney was one of America’s leading 20th century experimentalists, and is represented on this program by two of his short “postcard” pieces: one for solo gong, and the other a “tuning meditation” dedicated to Rensselaer’s own Pauline Oliveros.
The program closes with the classic opening half of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” arranged by Stravinsky for four hands on one piano.
Following the concert, there will be a launch of the DVD documenting the first five concerts of the RCME, 2008-2011. Free copies will be available. The DVD was produced by Professor Michael Century, edited at Campus Multimedia Services, recorded by Arts Department engineering staff, filmed at EMPAC, and features performances by Rensselaer students and faculty. Funded by the Offices of the President and Provost, it is a wide-ranging collection of 20th- and 21st-century works by Bela Bartok, Maurice Ravel, George Crumb, Steve Reich, Frederic Rzewski, Pauline Oliveros, Julius Eastman, and Kathy Kennedy