1-2 Weeks

NW 80751CD NW 80751CD

"Featured works: 'Seahorse' (2009) (for theremin and Partch Instruments), 'Arcana' (2004) (for flute and recorded sound), 'Piranesi' (2007) (for theremin and string quartet), 'Three Arias from A Bookmobile for Dreamers' (2011) (for theremin and recorded sound), 'Atlantis' (2007) (for theremin and amplified classical guitar), 'Mirage' (2008) (for shakuhachi and string quartet), 'Shinshoufuukei, or An Imagined Landscape' (2010) (for Japanese traditional instrument orchestra) The music of Elizabeth Brown (b. 1953) revels in paradox, but of a subtle kind. The strangeness of the music sneaks up on you; its liquid, mellifluous quality masks a far more radical stance. Seemingly irreconcilable instrumental timbres coexist peaceably: shakuhachi with string quartet, theremin with guitar, Partch instruments with theremin. The music is blessed with an old-fashioned gift for clear and singable melody... except for the fact that the tune keeps bending and melting. There is a genuine romantic sensibility, yet it exists in a soundworld that can only be avant-garde. But the avant-gardisme is in turn presented within a sensibility that is tender, sweet, and toy-like. In short it expresses a genuine innocence, something we encounter far too rarely in an era of postmodern irony. Brown's musical world is one of dreamlike sounds, images, textures, colors, and harmonies. One sees the literature of the past, especially the Romantic era, transformed through its colored filter. One also glimpses a musical future that is fresh and imaginative, but never afraid of beauty, nor of humane warmth. Brown is a 'gentle maverick.' Though her music bespeaks an ironclad intelligence and steely will, and evidences ties to all sorts of American experimental traditions, it still desires to give pleasure to performer and listener alike. It is eclectic, but seamlessly so. Its many sources and influences blend into an organic whole that seems to have always been there, but which she fortuitously discovered. Above all, it is personal, the work of an unpretentious, deep, and questing spirit. Performed by Elizabeth Brown, flute, shakuhachi, theremin; Newband; Momenta Quartet; Pro Musica Nipponia, Yasushi Inada, conductor; Ben Verdery, amplified classical guitar played with slide bar."