Chicago experimental ensemble Aperiodic will illustrate key threads in a new book by new-music scholar Jennie Gottschalk | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Chicago experimental ensemble Aperiodic will illustrate key threads in a new book by new-music scholar Jennie Gottschalk 

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click to enlarge Aperiodic

Aperiodic

Mark Doddato

Since 2010 this invaluable Chicago ensemble directed by composer Nomi Epstein has been the city’s most stalwart advocate for post-John Cage experimental music, working at various times with text scores, indeterminacy, and other open-ended modes of composition. For this unusual concert Aperiodic joins new-music scholar Jennie Gottschalk to illustrate some of the threads from her book Experimental Music Since 1970 (Bloomsbury), an accessible survey of some of the most interesting if misunderstood through lines in new music over the last five decades. Gottschalk will introduce the seven-piece program and briefly discuss it and how it relates to sections in her book. The first half of the concert focuses on indeterminacy and includes pieces that are loosely designed to achieve unknown results. Alvin Lucier’s “(Chicago) Memory Space” is an adaptable work from 1970 that asks any number of musicians to go out into the city and record, notate, or remember sounds and then re-create them on their given instruments according to a meticulously charted score, where (obviously) the various components and the way they come together are different every time. This section also includes Taku Sugimoto’s “VII” and Carolyn Chen’s “Declaration.” The second half of the performance is focused on silence, specifically, on works that deal with extended duration, hushed articulation, and the absence of performer-driven sounds. Ryoko Akama’s “A Proposal,” for example, combines long tones with an instrument voicing very minor pitch changes over an extended period. Catherine Lamb’s “Periphery (for Two)” is built around long tones sung by two vocalists standing close to each other while an instrumentalist produces sustained, soft pitches that are projected around the performance space in irregular patterns laid out in the score. In both works, the instrumentation is open to interpretation by the performers. The other pieces in this section are Antoine Beuger’s “Vegetable Rustling” and Matthew Shlomowitz’s “Letter Piece No. 5, Northern Cities.”   v

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