subota, 7. prosinca 2013.

Caroline Shaw - Partita for 8 Voices (2013)

Caroline Shaw: Partita for 8 Voices - EP, Roomful of Teeth

A cappella shizofrenija za govor, šapat, uzdahe, stenjanja, mrmljanja, melodije bez riječi i nove vokalne efekte.

Inspired by conceptual minimalist Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing 305

Partita is a simple piece. Born of a love of surface and structure, of the human voice, of dancing and tired ligaments, of music, and of our basic desire to draw a line from one point to another.
It was written with and for my dear friends in Roomful of Teeth. Inspired by Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing 305.

The four pieces of Partita were written for the innovative vocal octet Roomful of Teeth and premiered individually from 2009-2011, at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, MA. Additional performances of selections from the set have occured at Merkin Hall, the Lincoln Center Atrium, Williams College, Principia College, and Philadelphia University. Live concert recordings from 2010-2011 have been used for broadcast on WNYC, WQXR, WBUR, and WAMC, for a dance performance at Mass MoCA, and for a short film trailer. The four pieces were recorded by Roomful of Teeth and released together on the self-titled debut album Roomful of Teeth on October 30, 2012 (New Amsterdam Records). Jesse Lewis was the producer and engineer.

Partita for 8 Voices by Caroline Shaw has been awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music! The 26-minute four-movement work composed between 2009-2012 was recorded by the vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth for New Amsterdam (released on October 30, 2012). The prize is for a “distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States” during the previous calendar year and comes with a cash award of ten thousand dollars. The jury described Shaw’s composition as “a highly polished and inventive a cappella work uniquely embracing speech, whispers, sighs, murmurs, wordless melodies and novel vocal effects.’

Caroline Shaw, 30, Wins Pulitzer For Music

Caroline Shaw, winner of this year's music Pulitzer, performing with the ACME ensemble in New York in September 2012.
Caroline Shaw, winner of this year's music Pulitzer, performing with the ACME ensemble in New York in September 2012.
AJ Wilhelm for NPR
Thirty-year-old composer, violinist and singer Caroline Shaw had the surprise of her life this afternoon. Enjoying a sunny day outside, she got a call from a friend informing her that she had won the Pulitzer Prize for her Partita for 8 Voices, which she wrote for the by vocal group Roomful of Teeth, of which she is a member. Shaw is one of only a handful of female artists to have earned a Pulitzer in music — and she is the youngest composer to have won the award since its inception in 1943.
A native of Greenville, N.C., Shaw has been featured twice on NPR Music live webcasts. In the most recent, she played first violin in , in a concert given by members of ACME at (Le) Poisson Rouge. She was also a member of the ensemble that performed at the stunning 2011 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, featuring William Basinski's as well as pieces for string quartet by Ingram Marshall, and .
Roomful of Teeth/YouTube
Shaw's versatility as a performer absolutely informs her work as a composer. Partita for 8 Voices is a four-movement work, built on the Baroque dance forms of the allemande, sarabande, courante and passacaglia. She wrote the Partita for Roomful of Teeth, who released their debut album in October. Back then, I lauded the album in part for "the sheer virtuosity and total joy in the sounds they produce, like the supernuminous lines floating over churning breaths in 'Courante,' one of singer Caroline Shaw's Baroque-structured compositions that weave through the album like glittering threads."
The music committee praised Shaw's "highly polished and inventive a cappella work uniquely embracing speech, whispers, sighs, murmurs, wordless melodies and novel vocal effects."
"Each summer," Shaw recalled, "I would write a little bit more. I was inspired by texts from Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawings [which is on exhibit at MASS MoCA through 2033]. The first section I wrote was the Passacaglia, which was inspired by Lewitt's and all of its patterns, lines and texts. And since I'm a violinist, I was drawn to those Baroque forms. I played a lot of 's partitas and sonatas; I like the way that Bach was abstracting already from these dance forms." She added that her secret hope in winning the Pulitzer was to have a choreographer or other artist working in dance or theater stage the Partita in an interesting way.
Shaw began playing violin at age 2 and has been composing since she was young, and only began singing in college. She says that her constant work through all these different mediums is just part of modern artistic life. As she told my colleague Tom Huizenga this afternoon, "Living in New York City, you have to keep trying to do a lot of things." (This evening, she's on her way to a scheduled rehearsal with ACME.)
She noted that she sent in the piece for Pulitzer consideration — not that she thought that there was much chance of winning, but because she wanted more recognition for Roomful of Teeth's work. "I thought," she says, "'Well, I might as well see what they think.'"
The other 2013 music finalists are 1998 winner , for his Pieces of the Winter Sky, and 71-year-old composer and trumpeter for his Ten Freedom Summers.
Until this afternoon, Shaw's terse on her website ended with these words rendered in grey: "And she likes short bios. Or no bios." I suspect that while this may remain true, her self-description will be at least three words longer from here on out.
Meanwhile, we're happy to note another member of the larger classical community who has earned a Pulitzer accolade this afternoon. Philip Kennicott, who writes about art and architecture for the Washington Post — and was formerly its classical music critic — has been awarded the Pulitzer for criticism. The Pulitzer committee cited "his eloquent and passionate essays on art and the social forces that underlie it," calling him "a critic who always strives to make his topics and targets relevant to readers." Kennicott was a former colleague of mine at Gramophone Magazine; my Deceptive Cadence co-host Tom Huizenga is an occasional contributor to the Post. Kennicott's fellow finalists are Los Angeles Times TV critic Mary McNamara and movie critic Manohla Dargis of The New York Times.

With Pulitzer, She Became a Composer


 “I don’t really call myself a composer,” she said, laughing, in an interview in her sunny studio apartment in Chelsea. “That’s what’s awkward about this whole thing: that’s not really what I call myself.”
Ms. Shaw would prefer to be known simply as a musician. And it was largely as a musician, a busy freelancer in New York, that she was known before Monday’s announcement that she had, at 30, become the award’s youngest winner, for “Partita for Eight Voices,” her dazzling, emotionally generous take on a Baroque dance suite.
Audiences had heard her as an incisive violinist with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. She also appeared as a pure-voiced alto in ensembles like Trinity Choir and Roomful of Teeth, the adventurous vocal octet for which she composed “Partita” and which recorded it as part of a sensually stunning debut album for New Amsterdam Records last year.
But Ms. Shaw’s small, meticulous and searching body of writing — including rewritings of old bluegrass and gospel songs and a work for flowerpots, vibes and marimba for the group So Percussion — flew under the radar even after she started the doctoral program in composition at Princeton University in 2010.
“Just last week,” she said, “someone was like, ‘I didn’t know you write music.’ ”
It seems safe to say that few people will make that mistake again. On Monday she was walking in Hudson River Park when she began getting e-mails and calls from friends telling her that she had gotten a Pulitzer. “I briefly thought that I was having a psychotic break,” she said. She finally called her father, who went on the Internet and told her that she had actually won.
The award citation praised “Partita” as “a highly polished and inventive a cappella work uniquely embracing speech, whispers, sighs, murmurs, wordless melodies and novel vocal effects.”
Jeremy Geffen, the director of artistic planning at Carnegie Hall and the chairman of this year’s Pulitzer jury, recalled: “We kept listening because we were required to. But also because none of us could see what was around the next corner.
“She changes gears so quickly and so easily, and every turn is so unexpected and so full of joy. And it’s in such a convincing and cohesive manner that you could never doubt the sense of architecture and the sense of premeditation.”
Ms. Shaw wrote the work over three successive summers, starting in 2009, during which Roomful of Teeth was in residence at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. The new ensemble wanted to explore nontraditional vocal techniques and was focusing on Tuvan throat singing, yodeling and belting, all of which found their way into “Partita.”
The group’s founder, Brad Wells, a member of the voice faculty at Williams College, announced the first summer that there was room in the final concert if any member wanted to write something. Ms. Shaw volunteered, and the result was “Passacaglia,” which eventually became the fourth and final section of “Partita.”
“We’d been trying all these sounds and making these different kinds of music and I’d just spent a year playing all this thorny contemporary music,” she recalled. “And I remember thinking, ‘All I want to hear is just one chord.’ So that was the beginning of the piece, how to make that one thing I wanted to hear.”
The finished “Passacaglia” radiates that focus in its quiet beginning and in the rapturous keenings that follow. Rounded tones abruptly end in swallowed grunts; medieval harmonies hover behind the sound of a man reciting the instructions for Sol LeWitt’s conceptual “Wall Drawing 305,” on display at the museum. A babble of spoken voices reconstitutes with a great groan into a celebratory wail, then vanishes in a final hush tinged with the metallic twang of throat singing.
“We’d rehearse all day,” Ms. Shaw said. “And then I’d usually get Brad’s key and go 10 minutes down the road to Williams and just play the piano until 3 or 4 in the morning and write stuff and bring in pages the next day.”
“Courante,” the third section of the suite, emerged the following summer, when the group was working with two Inuit throat singers from northern Quebec. It begins with soft, breathless gasps that break into a gentle version of the hymn “The Shining Shore” before building to a delirious, swaying swirl of voices.
The summer of 2011 brought the grandly vibrating aura of the suite’s opener, “Allemande,” and the otherworldly “Sarabande.” Though the four sections have not yet been performed live as a unit, listening to them in sequence gives a moving sense of old and new coming together, as if Gregorian monks and those throat-singing Inuits had joined for some Baroque dances at a country jamboree.
Born and raised in Greenville, N.C., Ms. Shaw began playing the violin when she was 2. (Her mother, Jon, an accomplished player and singer, was her first teacher.) She began to write when she was 10 or 11 — imitations of the Mozart and Brahms chamber works she had fallen in love with — but focused mainly on the violin for the next decade, eventually getting a master’s degree in the instrument from Yale.
The years that followed, in which she earned a living accompanying ballet and modern-dance classes on piano, violin and percussion, were her compositional laboratory.
“Every day, you have to make three hours of music, just randomly improvising,” she said. “And that’s a great way to weed stuff out.”
The experience seems to have given her a confidence and comfort with experimenting and adapting her work, intimately tailoring it to its performers. The music that results is clearly the product of a composer who is a performer herself.
“I just don’t think that music is possible without being a player and being a participant in that world,” said Daniel Trueman, a professor at Princeton and one of Ms. Shaw’s teachers. “It’s too much of the body and the breath and these kinds of idiosyncratic things that are possible with our voice and the things that come up when you collaborate with other people.”
Those collaborations continue this fall with a new song cycle for guitar and the soprano Estelí Gomez, one of Ms. Shaw’s Roomful of Teeth colleagues. A piece for the Baroque violinist Robert Mealy and the harpsichordist Avi Stein is on her mind, as is a work for Roomful of Teeth and the self-conducted string orchestra A Far Cry that will have its premiere next spring.
It is astonishing that Ms. Shaw’s career is still young enough that that two-ensemble piece is her first real commission. As Mr. Trueman said, “It’s hard to track a style that seems to have emerged all of a sudden, fully formed.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: April 19, 2013
An article on Thursday about Caroline Shaw, who won the Pulitzer Prize for music this week, referred incorrectly to a vocal technique explored by a group she has sung with, Roomful of Teeth. It is Tuvan throat singing — a tradition of the Tuvan people of Siberia — not “tooth and throat” singing.

Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective

Wall Drawing 305 is composed of one hundred random specific points that are determined by the draftsman. The points are random in that they may be placed anywhere on the wall. The draftsman uses Sol LeWitt’s vocabulary and geometric lexicon to guide the mapping of the points. This lexicon includes the corners, midpoints and center of each wall, which serve as reference points that are connected and traversed by lines and arcs. The one hundred points are specific in that they are created at the meeting of the junctures of these formal elements. As the draftsman maps out each generated point, he or she writes a description of how he or she arrived at that point next to it. This allows the viewers to trace the process of the placement of the points.
Wall Drawing 305 is one of a series of drawings in which LeWitt experimented with textual instructions that direct the draftsman to construct shapes on the wall. Called ‘location’ drawings, these works are done in black pencil with geometric figures emphasized in crayon, foregrounding the process of drawing as a problem-solving mechanism. -

Gustave Le Gray
for piano

Boris Kerner
for New Morse Code
cello + flower pots

Partita for 8 voices
with Roomful of Teeth

for the Brentano Quartet

for string quartet

for string quartet

for Sō Percussion

Fly Away I
for a lot of singers

for film, music & theatrical bits

Sounds of the Ocean Cassette
for actor, tape & a couple of instruments

Limestone & Felt
for viola and cello

By and By
for string quartet & solo singer

Jacques Duran
for string trio

in manus tuas
for solo cello

The Walking Man
for solo shakuhachi

Cantico dell creature
for soprano, violin & piano
alternate version with cello added

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