Among the top young string quartets now working the chamber-music circuit worldwide, Philadelphia’s award-winning Jasper String Quartet has made a habit of mixing canonical classics and freshly created fare. For its newest album, Unbound, the group opted try something novel, and to make a statement in the process. Using Judd Greenstein’s Four on the Floor as the centerpiece, the quartet – violinists J Freivogel and Sae Chonabayashi, violist Sam Quintal, and cellist Rachel Henderson Freivogel – surrounded that work with six additional pieces, all by living composers: three men and three women.
In addition to the Greenstein piece, Unbound, includes music by Caroline Shaw, Missy Mazzoli, Annie Gosfield, David Lang, Donnacha Dennehy, and Ted Hearne. The disc is due on March 17 via the audiophile label Sono Luminus in association with New Amsterdam Records – who’ve graciously allowed us to share the entire album in advance: right here, right now.
In a press statement, the Jasper players explained exactly what they’d hoped to achieve on Unbound:
“Seeking out new pieces to contribute to this conversation is as important, if not more so, as rediscovering the sublime human experience of a Beethoven quartet. The seven pieces on this album represent a collection of treasures we’ve discovered from this century. One of these pieces, Annie Gosfield’s ‘The Blue Horse Walks on the Horizon,’ was written expressly for our quartet. The rest we unearthed as we sifted through the vibrant and varied landscape of music being created today.
“We sought to find a set of pieces that were both enchanting on their own and together represent a cohesive aesthetic. From the immense technical challenges of Judd Greenstein’s ‘Four on the Floor,’ the meditative contemplation of David Lang’s ‘almost all the time,’ to the raw emotion and vivid imagery of Missy Mazzoli’s ‘Death Valley Junction,’ these pieces represent an incredible diversity of sound and style. Yet they all reside comfortably in this wonderful tradition of string quartets, of which we are lucky enough to be a part.”
The Jasper String Quartet maintains a busy concert schedule; you can see the group perform on March 16 in Philadelphia; on March 19 in Beacon, NY; on March 28 at Le Poisson Rouge (where your paid admission gets you two complementary download tracks from Unbound); and on March 30 at Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium. You can preorder Unbound using the link in the Bandcamp player or via the New Amsterdam website, or find it at your favorite retailer on March 17.
On March 26 at National Sawdust, the composer Harold Meltzer will celebrate his 50th birthday with a program of two substantial recent works. Meltzer sat down recently for an interview conducted by the acclaimed tenor Paul Appleby, a longtime colleague, who questioned him thoroughly regarding his musical development, textual inclinations, compositional influences, and creative process.
http://thelogjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Harold-Portrait-9-November-2012-print-large.jpg31743200Steve Smithhttp://thelogjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/TheLogJournal_300px.pngSteve Smith2017-03-23 21:10:452017-03-23 21:59:33Conversation: Harold Meltzer and Paul Appleby on the Art of Text Setting
"When you look at the Muslim populations in different Western countries, every Muslim community in every Western country has a different experience, based on the way that religion is situated within that country’s frame," Dr. Kathryn Spellman Poots observed during a recent interview. Rather than examining those differences closely, she says, Islam too often is characterized as a singular source of fundamentalist oppression and sectarian violence, a view that results in prejudice and irrational fear, as well as heavy-handed attempts at erecting barriers to no one's benefit.
http://thelogjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Kathryn-Spellman-Poots.jpg15892392Steve Smithhttp://thelogjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/TheLogJournal_300px.pngSteve Smith2017-03-18 00:08:372017-03-18 00:14:21Conversation: Kathryn Spellman Poots on Iran, Integration, and Nowruz
An hourlong cycle of 13 songs for three vocalists, chamber orchestra, and electronics, 'Unremembered' is the most extensive project to date from the composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, who collaborated with an old friend and renewed acquaintance, Nathaniel Bellows, a noted poet, novelist, singer-songwriter, and illustrator. Now touring the piece, Snider and Bellows sat down recently to trawl through memories of 'Unremembered.'
http://thelogjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/SNIDER_0005_cWilly_Somma.jpg27264088Steve Smithhttp://thelogjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/TheLogJournal_300px.pngSteve Smith2017-03-16 21:41:222017-03-17 16:51:07Conversation: Sarah Kirkland Snider and Nathaniel Bellows on Unremembered
“We will deepen the connection between music and mental health through a residency that offers musical performances and group exercises that inspire the creative process, fostering a safe space for openness and expression.” This ambitious statement reflects the mission of my string quartet as we aspire to design a residency program within a hospital setting this spring.
http://thelogjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/29468874401_5a6d9bf163_o.jpg36485472Kate Outterbridgehttp://thelogjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/TheLogJournal_300px.pngKate Outterbridge2017-03-15 22:16:152017-03-16 03:39:02Variations: Kate Outterbridge - Fostering Creativity and Communal Presence Through Music