Last weekend, we Brandesians were fortunate enough to have the Talujon Percussion Group in town for a 2-day residency. Friday they held a concert in the Rose Art Museum’s Lee Gallery that included John Cage’s Four6, a work by group member Dominick Donato, and a new work by fellow PhD student James Borchers. Saturday evening, as part of the New Music Brandeis concert series, they premiered 8 new works by Brandeis grad composers, including my percussion quartet, Froschteichmusik.
The work was inspired by an experience I had last summer of hearing an especially animated and evidently musically-inclined group of crepuscular creatures (frogs, toads, cicadas, etc) around a small farm pond in North Carolina (for more details, see my previous blog). It begins with a somewhat cheesily simplistic, metronomic ostinato, which quickly becomes the basis for several different but related temporal levels, mimicking the regular but independent polyrhythmic lines “performed” by the various frogs.
The rest of the work undergos various transformations, transcending (hopefully at least!) its humble beginnings and becoming an increasingly harmonically rich tapestry of sound, which, though not intentionally “programmatic”, does in some ways capture (inadequately of course) the essence of the night in question, out in the middle of nowhere, under a huge sky free from city lights, bursting with stars, the air filled with lingering humidity and the sounds of frogs.
In any case, the residency was a huge success in every way. We had a wonderful turnout for the concerts, some really amazing pieces/ performances, and the group really was a pleasure to work with from start to finish. Below are a few pics from the weekend’s festivities.