Performer’s Guide to “Another Life”

A one-stop shop for performing organizations interested in Tod Machover’s “Another Life,” a work for instrumental ensemble and electronics.

” This piece revisits some of the musical concerns of [Machover’s] own youth with the resources and experience of maturity; it is about personal expression, full of exuberance and regret, nostalgia and celebration.” – Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

LISTEN – Excerpts

To request the full audio please email junekino@media.mit.edu.

Another Life – Introduction

Another Life – Mid-section

THE SCORE: “Another Life” available for rental from Boosey & Hawkes

PERFORMING ENSEMBLE REQUIREMENTS

Scored for nine unamplified instruments plus live computer electronics. 1(=picc,afl).1(=corA).1(=bcl).0-0.0.0.0-pft-elec.kbd-perc(1):mar/vib/xyl-strings(1/0/1/1/1) electronics triggered from laptop. Contact junekino@media.mit.edu for information regarding electronics.

REVIEWS

NOTES

“Another Life” received its premiere in March, 2006, by the Collage New Music ensemble at the Longy School of Music, Cambridge, MA. Length – 15 minutes

The following is from the program notes for a performance by the Argento Ensemble, Cornell University, May 11, 2012.

Another Life was composed in 2006 for Collage New Music, and is scored for nine unamplified acoustic instruments plus live computer electronics. The title refers to reflecting on the passing of time, in my case thinking back on the intensive period I spent in France from 1978-1985. This time at IRCAM allowed me to confront musical ideas very different from my own – especially the timbral elegance of the “spectral school” and the “organic proliferation” ideas of Pierre Boulez – and gave me much to think about and absorb, and also helped me to find my own personal voice. Since that “voice” turned out to be not very French, I also realized that I had to return to the States – helping to launch the MIT Media Lab, where I still work – in order to best develop my music and ideas. In doing so, I turned my back on many of the experiments that I tried in Paris, and that period has come to feel like “another life” to me. But of course it isn’t, so in this piece I have tried to reconsider some of the ideas and feelings which I felt passionately about during my time in Paris, to explore the many conflicts I experienced trying to refine my personal vision in the midst of a fairly alien atmosphere, and to reexamine my musical roots which have been with me since childhood.

Another Life is in three movements played continuously without breaks. The first movement is quiet and delicate, juxtaposing contrasting musical elements that fuse into pulsating textures and timbres. The second movement is lyrical, with shards of melody passed from instrument to instrument surrounded by brief fragments of shared accompaniment. The final movement presents an attempt to force cohesion between the piece’s many diverse elements, exploding into a more gentle mood of acceptance – both of what was done in the past and in what might come next – with which the piece ends. Throughout, the electronics serve both to enhance the sonic specificity of, and difference between, each acoustic instrument, while paradoxically providing the context or “timbral sea” in which all elements swim, find their commonality, and merge into something richer than the sum of parts.

Performer’s Guide to “Sparkler”

A one-stop-shop for performing organizations interested in Tod Machover’s “Sparkler”, a work for orchestra and electronics.

“Machover’s controlled venturesomeness in terms of rhythm, tempo, and dynamics makes the music so scintillating that “Fireworks” would have been a likelier title for this work…”
– Phil Muse

“Sparkler (2007) sparkles. There’s a wealth of color-drenched details: virtuosic wind passages juxtaposed with high string sonorities and untuned metallic percussion…”
– Andrew Violette in New Music Connoisseur

LISTEN – Excerpts

To request a CD or MP3 of full tracks please email junekino@media.mit.edu for a download code. The CD is available for purchase from Bridge Records and Amazon.com.

Sparkler (opening)

Sparkler (excerpt)

THE SCORE:  ‘Sparkler’ (Boosey & Hawkes 2001)

PERFORMING ENSEMBLE REQUIREMENTS

“Sparkler” is scored for a large orchestra with standard complement of strings and brass, augmented winds (flutes and alto flute; oboes; clarinets in B-flat and E-flat and bass clarinet; oboes; English horn; bassoons and contrabassoon) and large percussion battery of pitched and unpitched instruments – vibraphone, celeste, xylophone, glockenspiel, marimba,
maracas, thunder sheet, glass wind chimes, temple bells, tamtams, tomtoms, suspended cymbals, low gong, timbales, temple blocks, roto-toms, bass drum, snare drum, and tympani. Continue reading

Performer’s Guide to “Jeux Deux”

A one-stop-shop for performing organizations interested in Tod Machover’s “Jeux Deux”, a work for orchestra, Yamaha Disklavier and electronics.

Machover utilizes his “hyperpiano” concept, in which the grand piano, played with consummate sensitivity by Paul Chertock, interacts with the Yamaha Disklavier in a way that augments, transforms and splinters the music, sometimes releasing a volley of pre-composed notes in greater profusion and rapidity than a live pianist could possibly play them. The result is an absolutely stunning experience for performer and listener alike.
– Phil Muse

In Jeux Deux, a wild and disarming tribute to Debussy’s last orchestral work, the soloist plays a Hyperpiano – a Yamaha Disklavier Grand – which outdoes Liszt, thanks to software that takes the solo part beyond the realm of mortal possibility. – Gramophone

LISTEN – Excerpts

To request a CD or MP3 of full tracks please email junekino@media.mit.edu for a download code. The CD is available for purchase from Bridge Records and Amazon.com.

Jeux Deux (excerpt 1)

Jeux Deux (excerpt 2)
 

Jeux Deux (excerpt 3)

Additional video of live performances, audio excepts, photos, composer’s remarks and links are available at Tod Machover’s official website.

VIDEO

The CD was partially funded through Kickstarter. The project video provides some fun background information, excerpts and documentary footage of the world premiere performance of ‘Jeux Deux”.

THE SCORE: ‘Jeux Deux’ (Boosey & Hawkes 2005)

PERFORMING ENSEMBLE REQUIREMENTS

“Jeux Deux” is scored for the standard orchestra formation, Continue reading

Performer’s Guide to “Hyper Dim Sums”

A one-stop shop for performing organizations interested in Tod Machover’s “Hyper Dim Sums”, short works for string quartet

“Machover’s exquisite attention to line and form is most evident in the trio of splendid short works for string quartet”
– Phil Muse

LISTEN – Excerpts

To request a CD or MP3 of full tracks please email junekino@media.mit.edu for a download code. The CD is available for purchase from Bridge Records and Amazon.com.

Interlude 1 (excerpt)

Winding Line (excerpt)

THE SCORE: 3 Hyper Dim-Sums (Boosey & Hawkes 2004)

PERFORMING ENSEMBLE REQUIREMENTS

“Hyper Dim Sums” is scored for a traditional string quartet, with no electronics.

REVIEWS OF THE CD “…BUT NOT SIMPLER…”

NOTES (From Booklet notes by Richard Dyer, former chief music critic for the Boston Globe.)
Between 2001 and 2008 the Ying Quartet spent part of each season as Blodgett Artists in Residence at Harvard University. In 2003 the quartet – then still in its original configuration of four siblings from Winetka, Illinois (Timothy and Janet Ying, violins, Philip Ying, viola, and David Ying, cello) – contacted Machover and asked him to write a string quartet as part of LifeMusic, a series they created that has grown to embrace more than a dozen commissions for new works that reflect life in America today.

Machover ultimately responded in 2005 when he created a major string quartet which he entitled “. . . but not simpler.’’ But before Machover embarked on that piece, he involved the Ying Quartet in a project with the La Jolla Music Society in California which sponsored a composition competition in the San Diego area using Hyperscore. As part of the mentoring process for all the amateur composers, Machover created three short pieces for string quartet using Hyperscore himself, Hyper-Dim-Sums.

Machover admits with a laugh that Beethoven himself could not have created his string quartets using Hyperscore; the computer program makes it easier to explore and experiment than to realize pre-imagined sounds and structures, but it is certainly possible to create music of sufficient quality and density to interest performers and an audience.

The titles of these tasty little appetizers are descriptive and selfexplanatory – “Glade,’’ “Winding Line,’’ and “Punchy.’’ In fact, on the Hyperscore screen for “Winding Line’’ you can see the sinuous twists and turns of a line that looks like a country highway on a map– the meter in “Winding Line,’’ for example, is constantly changing, and the harmonies are often surprisingly pungent. (One of the many interesting aspects of the Hyperscore workshops with children is that they are completely unfazed by dissonance – in fact they seem to prefer it.)