Our first concert, Reflect, Respond, will present six works, including a few drawn from past and current commissions by Wild Rumpus and Composers, Inc. Dan VanHassel’s sextet Balance of Power plays funky, noisy percussive elements against a slowly unfolding chord progression, with the two sound worlds in a constant shift. Kaija Saariaho’s Cendres, a trio for alto flute, cello, and piano, delves deeply into the timbral world of the instruments, at times bringing them together and other times opposing them, to create a sound world that ranges from ethereal to sensual. Unwinding, a sextet by Ninth Planet’s own Ursula Kwong-Brown, is an aural reflection on the composer’s own process of treatment and healing from a traumatic injury.
Reflect Reflect Respond Respond (Echo and Narcissus in reverse), by Jenny Olivia Johnson, was commissioned by Wild Rumpus in 2012 and revised in 2015. For nine players (the full Ninth Planet complement), two sopranos, and live processing, the work is an extended meditation on Ovid’s story of Echo, the nymph cursed to only repeat what she hears, and Narcissus, who loves his own reflection, and is oblivious to Echo’s love. With live delay creating ripples in her already shimmering and canonic textures, the piece traces the emotional journey of the two figures’ doomed communication.
As a kind of extended prelude to Reflect, two pieces by Eve Beglarian that contain complementary elements: Play Like a Girl, and Until it Blazes. The former, written for one or two or more keyboard instruments with prerecorded tracks, weaves material from Bulgarian choral music into a twinkling spiral. Until it Blazes, played in this version on solo electric guitar with live delay processing, is a spellbinding journey guided by Beglarian’s simple patterns and the choices offered the performer.