ABOUT THE EVENT
An internationally acclaimed cellist of new and experimental music, Charles Curtis has woven a unique career through the worlds of classical performance and musical experimentation, with a special emphasis on the interpretation of the post-John Cage American avant-garde. He has worked extensively with pioneers of new music including Christian Wolff, Alvin Lucier and Éliane Radigue, whose works he performs in an intimate solo concert kicking of Bowerbird's GATE series.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Eliane Radigue: Occam V (2013)
A new work for solo cello, part of the ongoing series "Occam River." A particular idea from "Naldjorlak I" is here focussed on exclusively, without the large-form development of the latter. An open string and its adjacent unisons and octaves are exhaustively investigated as a terrain of constantly varying resonance. "Occam V" was developed collaboratively by Éliane Radigue and Charles Curtis between January 2012 in Berlin and July 2013 in Clans, France. Approximately 15 minutes in duration.
Tashi Wada: Untitled (2013)
A work of variable length - up to 40 minutes - in which Tashi Wada manipulates, in performance, a recording of Charles Curtis played back on a specially-modified Teac 4-track reel-to-reel deck, while Curtis performs related material. The space of the recording and the space of the performance are superimposed in such a way that acoustical differences stand out but also interchange in ambiguous ways.
Christian Wolff: One Cellist (2013)
A very recent work (completed in May 2013) of about eight minutes duration, much of it a kind of two-part polyphony for a single instrument. Very fast material alternates with nearly static moments; sometimes a clear variation process is evident.
Wolff writes: "One Cellist" was made for Charles Curtis. It pushes - perhaps rather far, the furthest so far - my current way of working with fragments - about 25 of them here, variously derived - from simple gestures (bits of a tune, e.g. from a Shaker song, a children's song, parts of scales). Occasionally these fragments are interwoven with each other, but mostly they are just there, one after another. The music is presented in such a way that the performer may choose various ways of realizing it.
Alvin Lucier: Slices for Cello and Pre-Recorded Orchestra (2011)
53 orchestral instruments sustain a 53-note tone cluster in pre-recorded loops. The solo cello plays through the cluster melodically, eliminating with each played note the orchestral instrument sustaining that note, until the cluster is erased. In a new melodic ordering, the solo cello brings the corresponding sustaining instrument with each new tone until the cluster is re-inscribed; this alternating process of erasing and re-inscribing the cluster is repeated seven times. The soloist controls the pacing by activating a Supercollider patch via foot pedal. The duration is about 25 minutes.
Alison Knowles: Rice and Beans for Charles Curtis (2010)
Knowles made a graphic score of hand made rice paper with lentils, bits of string and cloth worked into it. In performance, Curtis explores the natural resonance of the cello by working through the entire corpus of the instrument in a way analogous to the process suggested by the making of the score. The duration is variable, between 10 and 20 minutes.