Contemporary Chaos Practices: Two Works for Orchestra with Soloists Mary Halvorson, Kris Davis & Nate Wooley
There are few improvisers who can imagine their very personal, spontaneous and real-time gestures in much bigger, orchestral structures. There are not many composers who are ready to accommodate, codify or even conduct free and often chaotic improvisations within their thoroughly-notated and disciplined work. And there are very few improvisers-composers who have the far-reaching and cross-border vision that enable a unique and seamless blend of composition, conduction and improvisation.
Sax player Ingrid Laubrock is one of these few ones. She has studied to work with large ensembles with innovative composers-improvisers-conductors Anthony Braxton and Walter Thompson and experienced as a performer before the conduction of a collective improvisation with the London Improvisers Orchestra. She has written for different formats as the quintet Anti-House, the trio Paradoxical Frog and for a more unusual instrumentation as the mix of tuba, koto, electronics. And she has the integrity and the know-how that may appeal for both aficionados of modern, contemporary music, modern jazz and free-improvised music.
«Contemporary Chaos Practices» is the first recorded collection of orchestral works of the German-born, Brooklyn-based Laubrock and her most ambitious project so far. She wrote «Vogelfrei» – a German word for an outlaw – for the second Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute Reading, presented by the American Composers Orchestra at Columbia University in 2013. Laubrock later revisited and refined this compositions for performances by the Tri-Centric Orchestra in New York and the EOS Chamber Orchestra Cologne at the moers festival, adding pianist Kris Davis as the main soloist with prominent parts for Josh Stinton who plays the amplified contrabass clarinet and trumpeter Nate Wooley, and eight vocalists. Laubrock created «Contemporary Chaos Practices» for an orchestra augmented with four improvisers – her on saxophone, trumpeter Wooley, guitarist Mary Halvorson and pianist Kris Davis. for the 2017 moers festival. Laubrock employed two sympathetic conductors, composer-pianist Eric Wubbels and composer-trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum.
«Contemporary Chaos Practices» is a four-part dark tone-poem. It provides a productive tension between the highly individual voices, syntax and language of the four improvisers and the collective sound of the orchestra. Both sides search for delicate, common ground between and order and chaos and try to reach a balance yet fragile architecture between the urgent, personal voices of the improvisers and the very disciplined, grand orchestral envelope. «Vogelfrei» builds its playful, dramatic atmosphere patiently and weave beautifully the sinister and dissonant, electric sounds of the amplified contrabass clarinet of Stinton and the lyrical piano of Davis through a series of guided improvisations and an angelic choir.
You may find certain references and influences from the influential work of modern composers as György Ligeti, Witold Lutoslawski and Iannis Xenakis, as Steve Smith suggests in his insightful liner notes. Obviously, the work of Laubrock with Braxton also influenced her aesthetics and artistic vision. But eventually Laubrock composed two masterful pieces that sounds like no other, unfold in a truly arresting manner and never surrender to common conventions.
Don’t miss this masterpiece!
Soloists: Mary Halvorson (g), Kris Davis (p), Nate Wooley (tp), Ingrid Laubrock (s), Eric Wubbels (cond 1); Taylor Ho Bynum (cond 2); Greg Chudzik (b), Pat Swoboda (b), Bassoon (b), Nanci Belmont (b), Dana Jessen (b), Talia Dicker (c), Maria Hadge (c), Katinka Kleijn (c), Joshua Rubin (cl, bcl), Katie Schoepflin (cl, bcl), Bohdan Hilash (contrabcl, cl, bass cl), Michel Gentile (fl, piccolo), Zach Sheets (fl, piccolo, bass fl), Elizabeth Fleming (frh), John Gattis (frh), Christa Robinson (obo), Katie Scheele (obo, english horn), Tim Feeney (perc), Clara Warnaar (perc), Jacob Garchik (tb), Mike Lormand (tb), Gareth Flowers (tp, piccolo tp), Dan Peck (tuba), Dominic DeStefano (viola), Hannah Levinson (viola), Miranda Sielaff (viola), Sam Bardfeld (vio), Maya Bennardo (vio), Jean Cook (vio), Erica Dicker (vio), Mark Feldman (vio), Sarah Goldfeather (vio), Megan Gould (vio), Elena Moon Park (vio), Mazz Swift (vio), Roland Burks (v), Tomas Cruz (v), Chris DiMeglio (v), Walker J Jackson (v), Amirtha Kidambi (v), Kyoko Kitamura (v), Emilie Lesbros (v), Kamala Sankaram (v), Josh Sinton (amp b, cl)
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