New York-based violist-composer Jessica Pavone’s Clamor was inspired by women’s oppression tactics in Korea in the 17th century when women weren’t allowed to leave their homes, so the see-saw gave them the ability to peek out the walls of their property, if even for just a second. This tactic led Pavone to find more stories of how women have worked around societal barriers and norms, and, in turn, to compose Clamor. The album reimagines the idea of «women’s work» using women-made inventions – the Neolttwigi, or the 17th-century see-saw, Nu Shu, a secret language developed by Chinese women who were forbidden from going to school, and bloomers, which were created by Amelia Bloomer during the Victorian dress reform – as a starting point to craft powerful and inspiring music.
Clamor first premiered in the fall of 2022 and was recorded at EastSide Sound in Manhattan in 2023. It was written for a six-person ensemble comprised of women and nonbinary musicians and bassoon soloist Katherine Young and features four movements that each take their name from an invention that women created to circumvent obstructions to their freedoms. The music of Clamor is a continuation of the concerto form Pavone developed in her 2021’s Lull (Chiakin). Two movements highlight Young’s singular and fearless full dynamic, textural, and emotional range of her bassoon, while the others center on minimalist and meditative, democratic ensemble dynamics.
Pavone devised Clamor from a time-based score, in which she instructed players to move from phrase to phrase at specific times. Each musician plays a specific pattern until they reach the designated clock marker that tells them to change; these loose dictations allowed Pavone to foreground each musician’s intuition and individuality instead of creating a composer-performer hierarchy. Clamor reflects faithfully Pavone’s sonic and socialist vision about the strength of individual and communal voices and demonstrates remarkably how women’s work can be a space for both agency and collectivity.
Jessica Pavone (viola), Katherine Young (bassoon), Aimée Niemann (violin), Charlote Munn-Wood (violin), Abby Swidler (viola), Mariel Roberts (cello), Shayna Dulberger (double bass), Max Jaffe (sensory percussion, synthesizer, vocals), Rob Lundberg (bass, guitar, fretless guitar, keyboards, vocals), Dave Scanlon (guitar, keyboards, voice, programming)