nedjelja, 29. prosinca 2013.

Timo Andres - Home Stretch (2013)

Mozart + Brian Eno. Neuništivi hipsterski spoj.


NPR describes Timo Andres's piece Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno, off his new album, Home Stretch, as "a gentle gondola ride through five lovely Eno songs ... a clever, lovingly orchestrated homage in the time-honored spirit of Franz Liszt."

Today marks the release of Timo Andres's new album, Home Stretch, on Nonesuch Records. On the new album, Andres pairs the newly composed title work with two reinventions of works by musical heroes Mozart and Brian Eno: Mozart "Coronation" Concerto Re-Composition and Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno. The New York City-based chamber orchestra Metropolis Ensemble, led by conductor Andrew Cyr, performs on the album, with the composer on piano. The album, says NPR, offers "thought-provoking glimpses into how the past and the present merge in classical music today." In the UK, the Independent gives it four stars, calling it "a compelling blend of ancient and modern."
The album's title piece, Home Stretch, was written for pianist David Kaplan and was conceived as a companion piece to Mozart's Piano Concerto, No. 12, K. 414. Andres wanted the piece to reflect the musical resonance of the Mozart and his friend Kaplan's personality. Andres notes, "I knew I wanted Home Stretch to have something to do with fast cars, which David is obsessively interested in. The piece is in three large sections that gradually accelerate: beginning in almost total stasis, working up to an off-kilter dance with stabbing accents and ushering in a sturm-und-drang cadenza that riles itself up into a perpetual-motion race to the finish. However, there are always little 'smudges' of music from each section in the others, sometimes fitting into their new context, sometimes balefully interrupting."
Also on the album is Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 26 in D, "Coronation," completed by Andres. A virtuosic improviser, Mozart left much of the solo part unwritten as he expected to play the piece himself. In particular, the left hand is mostly absent from the original manuscript. Pianists generally play from a completed score that adds simple accompaniment patterns and harmonies for the left hand, but Andres's treatment of the concerto takes a wholly different approach. He inserts his own voice into the left hand and ends the work with newly written cadenzas. He explains, "I approached the piece not from a scholarly or editorial perspective, but more as a sprawling playground for pianistic invention and virtuosity, taking cues from the composer-pianist tradition Mozart helped to crystallize." The New Yorker's Alex Ross wrote on his blog that the result is "mesmerizing."
The recording ends with Andres's Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno. Already an influential force in popular music history, Brian Eno is increasingly gaining recognition from classical composers. As Andres writes, Eno is a composer with "two quite distinct sides: as an innovator who works in ambient and collage music, and as a quirky and crafty pop songwriter. It’s all interesting, but the really amazing things happen when these musical personalities overlap and wear away each other's surfaces." In Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno, Andres focuses on Eno's albums Before and After Science and Another Green World. He builds what he terms, "a 19th-century style 'orchestral paraphrase' on the subject of Eno’s music."

Home Stretch was recorded at Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood. It is Andres's second album with Nonesuch; his first, Shy and Mighty, was praised by the New York Times for its "inventiveness and originality," and by the Guardian for the way it "glides across stylistic boundaries in a totally unselfconscious way." -

Timo Andres is a young New York composer who stole the show at the final night of the Nico Muhly (another great young New York composer) weekend at the Barbican earlier this year. His album consists of three pieces, of which the centerpiece is his version of Mozart's Concerto for Piano No. 2 in D. Mozart never wrote down the piano part for the left hand and so Andres has written his own part. It's highly entertaining how the piece is both very familiar (with the distinctive Mozart lightness) and jarring when the deliberate dissonances and more modern approaches pop up. The final piece is based on music by Brian Eno and features, at its conclusion, the most beautiful and calming two minutes of music I've heard all year. - Jill Faure

Timo Andres' Home Stretch (Nonesuch): Any music that successfully manages to pair Mozart and Brian Eno is worth its weight in gold. Timo's Home Stretch is, for me, one of 2013's most colourful and brilliant releases. - James McVinnie

Nonesuch released the first album of music by Timo Andres three years ago. A set of pieces for two pianos under the collective title of Shy and Mighty, it marked Andres out as a distinctive new voice on the US contemporary-music scene. His collection of influences was predictable enough – John Adams first and foremost, as well as Steve Reich's brand of minimalism, with other composers such as Ligeti and Nancarrow added to the stylistic mix – but his textural imagination and ear for piquant harmony gave his music its own particular flavour.
The centrepiece of this latest collection is a perfect example of Andres's playful intelligence and individuality. The manuscript of Mozart's penultimate piano concerto, the so-called Coronation Concerto in D major K537, not only omits written-out cadenzas, but for many passages there is also no left hand for the solo part; presumably, when Mozart was the soloist, he instinctively added the necessary bass lines, and, when the Concerto was published, the missing lines were added by someone else. In 2010, though, Andres made his own completion; it's sometimes disconcerting, sometimes witty. His additions often take very circuitous routes between the fixed points of the existing text, visiting surprisingly remote keys, while his cadenzas seem to pack two centuries'-worth of piano music into their rhetorical gestures.

Andres is also the immensely accomplished soloist in Home Stretch, a work for piano and orchestra that he composed in 2008 while still a student at Yale. It's a piece of wonderful subtlety and subversive understatement that seems constantly to avoid putting the soloist centre stage. The opening is one of several passages in which Andres reveals his debt to Brian Eno's ambient music, and he extends his tribute in Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno, which the Metropolis Ensemble commissioned as a companion piece to Home Stretch in 2010. Weaving together treatments of five songs from Eno's rock albums, it is familiar without being cliched, and affectionate without seeming sentimental. - 
Any contemporary classical composer who can be compared to John Adams – much less by the age of 27 – deserves to be listened to. And so it was that I came across Timo Andres (“Timo” is short for Timothy), an American-born prodigy who’s also a gifted pianist, and whose latest album, Home Stretch, was recently released on Nonesuch Records.
Writing in The New Yorker, critic Alex Ross said of Andres’ 2010 debut recording, Shy and Mighty, that its “unhurried grandeur has rarely been felt in American music since [Adams] came on the scene.” And indeed, echoes of Adams resonate on Home Stretch, which consists of two original pieces by Andres, interspersed with a “recomposition” of Mozart’s “Coronation” Concerto, written in 1788.
It’s impossible not to draw parallels between Andres and even younger colleague and fellow sensation Conrad Tao, another fresh face who’s shaken up classical music circles. (Andres himself was already improvising compositions at the age of six). Whereas Tao’s album from earlier this year was called Voyages, the cover art for Home Stretch is a tip-off that Andres is on a journey of his own as well.
The eponymous title track begins the trip with Americana-like tinges of composer Charles Ives, followed by shades of Steve Reich’s Different Trains that reverberate towards the end of the piece. Backed by New York City’s Metropolis Ensemble, Andres creates a pointillist effect which quietly announces something’s coming, its underlying sense of anticipation recalling Adams.
The reinvention of the “Coronation” Concerto is made possible by its uniqueness, as Mozart omitted notes for the left hand for many sections of the score when he composed it. Andres lets his imagination fill in the gaps, and in the second movement of the three that comprise the work, creates a lovely amalgam of Mozartian classicism and modern pianistic sensibility. The finale of the third movement is a wonderful showcase of his virtuosic skills.
The album closes with “Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno,” an ode to the experimental genius and renaissance man of rock. A defining influence for Andres (who says of Eno in the liner notes: “I could immediately sense a sort of kindred spirit: These are the right notes, sounding at the right time”), Eno’s “soundscapes” clearly left a deep impression. Though I was expecting something a bit edgier (I found the piece a tad on the dainty side), “Paraphrase” nevertheless starts with an intriguing tone of ambiguity, leaving one to wonder whether Home Stretch signifies an end or whether it’s actually just a beginning.

Either way, it’s not every day that Mozart meets Eno, and Andres is another refreshing addition to the crop of young musicians who are helping to shape the future of classical music. - 

Shy and Mighty cover art

Shy and Mighty (2010)  samples

Nonesuch releases composer/pianist Timothy (Timo) Andres’s Shy and Mighty on May 18, 2010. Comprising 10 interrelated piano pieces, Shy and Mighty is performed by Andres and pianist David Kaplan. This is the first recording of the work, and also Andres’ label debut.
Andres was an undergraduate at Yale University when critics and fellow composers began to take notice of his skills as both writer and pianist. In 2004, the New Yorker’s Alex Ross said of him: “He is a formidable pianist who has the measure of Charles Ives’s towering Concord Sonata. He is also a composer ... Most notably, his music is beginning to show an individual voice, which is the hardest thing for a composer to achieve.”
Though steeped in the classical canon, Andres has expressed his admiration for a range of artists, like Radiohead, Brian Eno, Múm, Sigur Rós, Wolf Parade, Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Olivia Tremor Control, and Boards of Canada. His classical influences include John Adams, Charles Ives, György Ligeti, and his former teachers, Ingram Marshall and Martin Bresnick.
While each track stands on its own, Andres conceived of Shy and Mighty as an album-length work. As Andres says in the album’s liner notes: “When I sat down to write Shy and Mighty, this was very clearly my goal for it—that I would write an album for two pianos. I was very focused on the recorded medium—even though this is obviously something that works live, that was somehow secondary. The two albums that really did it for me were Olivia Tremor Control’s Black Foliage and Boards of Canada’s Music Has the Right to Children, both of which are structured in a similar way ... larger set pieces and little transitional things in between. And that’s what I set out to do—I didn’t end up writing too many miniatures, but that was the idea, anyway.”

Timo Andres 2013 by Michael Wilson
Timo Andres (b. 1985, Palo Alto, CA) is a composer and pianist who grew up in rural Connecticut and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. His début album, Shy and Mighty, which features ten interrelated pieces for two pianos performed by himself and pianist David Kaplan, was released by Nonesuch Records in May 2010 to immediate critical acclaim. Of the disc, Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker that Shy and Mighty “achieves an unhurried grandeur that has rarely been felt in American music since John Adams came on the scene … more mighty than shy, [Andres] sounds like himself.”
Timo’s new works include a piano quintet for Jonathan Biss and the Elias String Quartet, commissioned and presented by Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and San Francisco Performances; a solo piano work for Kirill Gerstein, commissioned by the Gilmore Foundation; a new string quartet for the Library of Congress, premiered by the Attacca Quartet; and a new piece for yMusic. Upcoming commissions include a major work for Third Coast Percussion and an ensemble song cycle to be premiered by himself, Gabriel Kahane, Becca Stevens, Ted Hearne and Nathan Koci at the Ecstatic Music Festival, and presented by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music series.
Recent highlights include solo recitals at Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, (Le) Poisson Rouge, and San Francisco Performances; a weekend of performances in Los Angeles, featuring a new work for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and a performance of his re-composition of the Mozart “Coronation” Concerto; and performances of Crashing Through Fences by eighth blackbird. Collaborative projects of the past season include a duo program with Gabriel Kahane at the Library of Congress, and a world premiere performance of selected Philip Glass Etudes, alongside the composer, as part of Nico Muhly’s A Scream and An Outrage at the Barbican.
Timo earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale and in addition to music, he has worked occasionally as a professional graphic and web designer. He is one sixth of the Sleeping Giant composers’ collective, and performs regularly with ACME. He has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, BMI, and ASCAP, as well as grants from New Music USA and the Copland Fund.

An avid cyclist, Timo can often be sighted commuting astride his 1983 Mercian.

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