Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lou Harrison's "Varied Trio" at Midwood House Concert Series

Several years ago I made a pilgrimage to Bard college to hear Morton Feldman's "Rothko Chapel", a piece that I was really into at the time and was excited to hear live, as it is rarely performed. The concert was part of a festival of music by composers associated with the New Albion record label, which features "New Music from the 14th Century to the End Of Time."
A lot of the music on their catalog is devoted to contemporary music, much of it very meditative and beautiful. They champion a lot of west coast composers like Ingram Marshall, John Luther Adams, and Lou Harrison. It was on this program at Bard that I first heard Harrison's "Varied Trio", a short piece in 5 movements for Piano, Percussion and violin. I was really taken by the music, and when I heard the piece again in New York a few months later I resolved to get the score.
I was lucky enough to have two great musician friends who were up for working on the piece with me. Martin Urbach and Erika Kapin. After rehearsing on and off for many months we performed the piece in the intimate setting of a house concert series hosted by Mariel Berger and Dustin Carlson.
Here's the first movement of the piece, "Gending".

Mariel played later that evening in a trio with Dustin Carlson and Shannon Barnett. I think this is a song by Brad Shepik.

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