A Musical Meditation on the Anniversary of 9/11
I. Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky / Awakening *
Unknown / Oh Mother, the Handsome Man Tortures Me +
(arr. Ljova & Kronos) Iraq
Traditional / Lullaby +
(arr. Jacob Garchik) Iran
Ram Narayan / Alap from Raga Mishra Bhairavi +
(arr. Kronos, transc. Ljova) India
II. Einstürzende Neubauten / Armenia +
(arr. Paola Prestini & Kronos) Germany
John Oswald / Spectre *
Michael Gordon / Selections from The Sad Park *
Part 1 two evil planes broke in little pieces and fire came
Part 4 and all the persons that were in the airplane died
Played without pause
III. Osvaldo Golijov & Gustavo Santaolalla / Darkness 9/11 +
(from the film 11’09”01)
Terry Riley / One Earth, One People, One Love
(from Sun Rings) *
Traditional / Tusen Tankar (A Thousand Thoughts) +
(arr. Kronos, transc. Ljova) Sweden
Aulis Sallinen / Winter Was Hard +
(arr. Kronos) Finland
Vladimir Martynov / The Beatitudes +
(rescored for Kronos by Vladimir Martynov) Russia
Performed without intermission and played without pause.
* Written for Kronos
+ Arranged for Kronos
Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky (b. 1963)
Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, born in Tashkent, is a composer of stage, orchestral, chamber, vocal, and electroacoustic works that have been performed across Asia and Europe. He is also very active in the promotion of contemporary music in Uzbekistan.
Yanov-Yanovsky graduated from the Tashkent State Conservatory in 1986, where he took composition and instrumentation classes with his father, Felix Yanov-Yanovsky. He was a participant in the masterclasses in Lerchenborg, Denmark with Poul Ruders and Edison Denisov and took part in Summer Academia at IRCAM, Paris.
He has won a number of awards for his musical compositions, including Second Prize at the International Competition of Composition De musique Sacrée in Fribourg, Switzerland (1991) for his piece Lacrymosa (recorded by Kronos and soprano Dawn Upshaw on Night Prayers) and the ALEA III International Prize in Boston (1992) for his work Presentiment. In addition, he has won the Special Award of Nantes at the Cannes International Film Festival (1992) for his score to the film Kammie.
In 1993–94, Yanov-Yanovsky performed on the chang, a small Central Asian cimbalom, with Kronos in his piece Chang-Music V, and in 2000, he and harpsichordist Elisabeth Chojnacka performed and recorded his piece Music of Dreams. In 1996, he founded the International Festival of Contemporary Music ILKHOM-XX in Tashkent, and is now an artistic director of the festival.
About Awakening, Yanov-Yanovsky writes:
“Awakening was written in 1993 in response to a request from David Harrington for a piece for the Kronos Quartet.
“In my ensemble work Presentiment (1992), I was curious to experiment with the adhân (the Muslim call to prayer chanted from the minaret) and multi-track tape. Awakening allowed me the opportunity to do so again, this time under the conditions of chamber music-making and counting on the unique ensemble possibilities of the Kronos Quartet.
“Fundamental to the piece is the idea of combining here different compositional techniques: modal, serial and aleatoric. Although none of these three is used in a ‘pure,’ recognizable way, each plays and important part in the structural organization of the musical fabric.”
Yanov-Yanovsky’s note on Awakening translated by Gerald McBurney.
Unknown – Iraq
Oh Mother, The Handsome Man Tortures Me (c. 1980s)
Arranged by Ljova & Kronos
To Western ears, North African and Lebanese recordings have chiefly defined Arabic music. But there are sounds less exported that remain unique to their place of origin. The region containing modern Iraq is no exception. In fact, Baghdad has been a leader of musical innovation for millennia. Iraq’s unique brand of maqam styles and emotive orchestral epics have been reasonably well documented, yet a wealth of Iraqi sounds remain that haven’t been showcased abroad, including the outstanding folk and pop music styles produced by Iraqis—styles know as much for their rhythms as they are for their accompanying dances.
Oh Mother, The Handsome Man Tortures Me is an example of the infamous Iraqi choubi—a festive, driving rhythmic style that can feature fiddles, double reed instruments, bass, keyboards and oud over its signature beat. What really defines the Iraqi sound are the crisp, rapid-fire machine-gun-style rhythms set atop the main beat. They almost sound electronic—and sometimes they are, but usually this is the work of a unique hand drum of nomadic origin called a khishba—a.k.a. the zanbour (Arabic for wasp)—and it appears across the board in many styles of Iraqi music today. Kronos’ arrangement is based on a recording produced sometime during the Saddam period between the 1980s and 2002.
Ljova (Lev Zhurbin) is a composer, arranger and violist. Born in Moscow, he now works out of New York City. Ljova’s arrangements have been performed by the Kronos Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, Lara St. John, and many others. He has composed more than 70 works, including compositions for orchestras, chamber ensembles, jazz and Latin bands, as well as over a dozen scores for film and theatre projects. Recent commissions include orchestral works for the Staten Island Symphony, the Wild Ginger Philharmonic and the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble, as well as a chamber music commission from the American Composers Forum.
Program note adapted from liner notes to the album Choubi! Choubi! Folk & Pop Songs From Iraq, written by Mark Gergis. Printed courtesy of Sublime Frequencies.
Lullaby (arr. 2006)
Arranged by Jacob Garchik (b. 1976)
For most people, Iran won’t conjure up a musical image—unlike India or Turkey, perhaps. It’s partly because the political agenda of and media portrayal by the West are preoccupied with fundamentalist mullahs, oil reserves and nuclear proliferation. It’s certainly true that in the West we don’t get much access to Iranian music. And it’s not because this nation of 70 million doesn’t enjoy or contain a rich variety of music….
It’s true that, when the Islamic Revolution swept away the Shah’s regime in 1979, in an excess of fundamentalist zeal strict restrictions were placed on music. But apart from a ban on Westernized pop music these were swiftly dropped. It’s often forgotten that the Iranian Revolution was as much about reclaiming traditional Persian culture as espousing an Islamist agenda. Indeed, the long-term musical effect of the revolution has been a revival of Persian classical music, which had suffered in the face of heavy Westernization during the Shah’s regime.
Folk music in Iran is a strong living tradition and has probably also been boosted by the “back-to-roots” aspects of the revolution—although, beneath the radar, out of the urban centres, it has essentially been able to carry on untroubled, regardless of offical policy.
The group Jahlé is based in Bandar Abbas, Iran’s largest port-city, where there’s a sizable community of black Iranians descended from Arabian traders and African slaves. Jahlé’s performance of this traditional lullaby—which inspired Kronos’ version—was recorded by the BBC’s James Birtwistle when Andy Kershaw was gathering material for a programme on Iran in 2004. With vocals by Isa Baluchestani, guitar from Hamid Saeed and the plangent nay jofti (double flute) playing of Ghanbar Rastgoo, Jahlé’s performance is quite mesmerizing. The double-flute player Rastgoo is also a Baba Zar, a man who leads the ecstatic zar rituals practiced by the black Iranians of the region.
Trombonist and composer Jacob Garchik has performed with Lee Konitz, Steve Swallow, and Joe Maneri, and is a member of the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, Slavic Soul Party!, and other ensembles.
Note adapted from the liner notes to The Rough Guide to the Music of Iran, compiled by Simon Broughton, editor of the world-music magazine Songlines. Used with permission.
Ram Narayan (b. 1927)
Raga Mishra Bhairavi: Alap
Arranged by Kronos Quartet, transcribed by Ljova
Ram Narayan is one of the world’s most revered masters of the sarangi, the bowed string instrument from northern India renowned for its vocal expressiveness. Over the course of his long career, Narayan has been the person most responsible for bringing this ancient chordophone into the foreground of classical Hindustani music. Born in Udaipur, Rajasthan, Narayan grew up in a family of musicians, and began playing the sarangi as a child under his father’s tutelage. He began his career as a music teacher in Udaipur at age 15, then moved to Delhi in 1947 to work as a staff player at All India Radio. Like most sarangi players of the era, he played as a vocal accompanist only; however, he soon realized the potential of the sarangi as a solo instrument and pushed to bring his performances into the spotlight—a practice that was unheard of at the time. He moved to Bombay two years later to play in the burgeoning film industry and slowly pave the way for a solo career. In the early 1950s his ragas were some of the first to be recorded on LPs produced in India, and by the end of the decade Narayan became widely acknowledged as a soloist. Since then, he has received numerous awards, including the Sangeet Natak Academy Award, the highest honor issued in India for dance, music, and theater. Many innovations made by Narayan to bowing and fingering techniques on the sarangi have now become standard.
Ram Narayan is known for his vivid interpretations of traditional Indian ragas. A specified combination of notes played and embellished within a parent framework called a thaat, each different raga has the power to evoke a unique emotional transcendence. This esthetic feeling was termed by music scholars as Rasavadhana: a mystic state completely unrelated to desire, which is purely compounded of joy and consciousness. This arrangement of Raga Mishra Bhairavi is based on a performance by Narayan, recorded in 1989.
Einstürzende Neubauten (formed 1980)
Arranged by Paola Prestini and Kronos Quartet
The influential German band Einstürzende Neubauten—translated as “Collapsing New Buildings”—was founded in Berlin by Blixa Bargeld and N.U. Unruh. Though the roster has changed through the group’s history, for much of the 1980s Bargeld and Unruh were joined by Alexander Hacke, F.M. Einheit, and Mark Chung. Together they pioneered what has come to be known as industrial music. The group is known for its experimentation with sound and noise, using both standard instruments and self-made ones constructed from scrap metal and power tools, among other things.
The band’s 1983 album, Zeichnungen Des Patienten O.T., included a recording of Armenia, on which this arrangement is based. For the liner notes to a 1991 compilation, the band wrote:
“The piece originates in an affecting Armenian folk song. To translate its emotional impact to our world, F.M. and Blixa constructed the piece from several instrumental tape loops of the source recording, which in turn cued our non-Armenian speaking interpretation of its mood.”
Italian-born composer Paola Prestini is the director and founder of the award-winning interdisciplinary performing collective VisionIntoArt. Her music and arrangements have been performed throughout the U.S and abroad from Lincoln Center and BAM in New York to the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., Svetlanov Hall in Moscow to Teatro Manzoni in Milan. She has scored many films that have garnered awards from festivals such as Sundance and Austin. A graduate of the Juilliard School, she has been the recipient of awards from ASCAP, the American Music Center, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and New York State Council on the Arts. Prestini is the recipient of a Paul and Daisy Soros fellowship for New Americans and has repeatedly served as a panelist for the foundation. Her primary teachers include Samuel Adler, Robert Beaser, and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
John Oswald (b.1953)
Canadian composer John Oswald is well known for his development of “audioquoting” techniques which have challenged contemporary notions of artistic ownership.
In 1990, Oswald’s notorious recording Plunderphonic had to be destroyed as a result of legal action taken by Michael Jackson. In 1991, a sequel was released, featuring thoroughly reworked soundtracks by musical artists as diverse as the Doors, Carly Simon and Metallica. Discosphere, a retrospective of dance soundtracks, was released in 1992 followed by Plexure, the third album of the Plunderphonic series. A retrospective CD box set of Plunderphonic works has been called “mind-numbingly amazing” by Peter Kenneth in Rolling Stone, and made Spin Magazine‘s Top 10 in 2001.
A recent Governor General Media Arts Laureate, Ars Electronica Digital Musics and Untitled Arts Award winner, as well as the fourth inductee into the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Alternative Walk of Fame, Oswald has also been nominated to third place in a list of the most internationally influential Canadian musicians, tied with Celine Dion. Oswald is Director of Research at Mystery Laboratory in Canada. More information about his current activities can be found at www.pfony.com.
Oswald composed three string quartets commissioned by Kronos in the early 1990s: Spectre (for 1001 string quartet reflections), preLieu (after Beethoven), and Mach (for string and heavy metal quartets), followed by a 4th quartet, entitled Fore. In Spectre, Oswald interweaves Kronos playing in concert with multiple overdubs of his recordings of Kronos. In this sense, Spectre is written for a thousand-member string orchestra with all instruments played by Kronos. It was the composer’s first composition for live musicians in 15 years.
About Spectre, Oswald writes:
“The camera’s shutter blinks and a moment of the visual world is frozen on film. Still, there is no audible equivalent to the snapshot in the time it takes to sound. Sound takes time. Recordings of Kronos fill Spectre. Successive moments happen often at once. In concert the musicians add a final overdub to a string orchestra of a thousand and one reflections. This wall of sound of veils of vibration of ghosts of events of past and future continuously present is a virtually extended moment. An occasional freeze marks a moment’s gesture.”
Michael Gordon (b. 1956)
The Sad Park (2005)
Michael Gordon was born in Miami Beach, Florida, and raised in Nicaragua in an Eastern European community on the outskirts of Managua. His music, which combines the intensity and power of rock music and his formal composition studies at Yale, has been performed throughout the world. Gordon’s early compositions demonstrate a deep exploration into the possibilities and nature of rhythm and what happens when rhythms are piled on top of each other, creating a glorious confusion.
Gordon’s special interest in adding dimensionality to the concert experience has led to frequent collaborations with artists in other media. In his string orchestra piece Weather, a collaboration with video artist Elliot Caplan, the musicians sit on scaffolding three tiers high. In Gordon’s 2001 multimedia orchestra piece, Decasia, the audience sits on swivel chairs encircled by the orchestra and large projection scrims. In The Carbon Copy Building, an opera collaboration with comic book artist Ben Katchor, Bob McGrath and the Ridge Theater, and the composers David Lang and Julia Wolfe, a projected comic strip accompanies the singers, interacting with each other so that the frames fall away in the telling of this story (the work received the 2000 Village Voice OBIE Award for Best New American Work). More recently, Gordon premiered Gotham at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in February 2004; the work incorporates film, projections, lighting and an orchestra of 35 musicians to explore the ‘other’ New York City. The Sad Park is Gordon’s second string quartet written for Kronos Quartet; the first, Potassium, premiered in 2000.
In 1983, Gordon formed the Michael Gordon Philharmonic—part string quartet, part rock band—which performed his angular tunes and driving rhythms with compelling energy and off-beat humor in concerts worldwide. The latest incarnation of this ensemble, now called the Michael Gordon Band, debuted at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival in December 2000. Gordon holds a Bachelor of Arts from New York University and a Masters of Music from the Yale School of Music. He is co-founder of the Bang On a Can Festival, a major force in the presentation of new music. His recordings include Weather (Nonesuch), Trance (Argo), Decasia (Cantaloupe), Lost Objects (Teldec), Big Noise from Nicaragua (CRI) and Light is Calling (Nonesuch).
About The Sad Park, Gordon writes:
“The recordings used in this piece of children, ages 3 and 4, were made by Loyan Beausoleil, pre-kindergarten teacher at University Plaza Nursery School in Lower Manhattan, between September 2001 and January 2002. (My son Lev was in Ms. Beausoleil’s class during this period.) Her ongoing work with these children is chronicled at www.youngestwitnesses.com.
“I worked with sound designer Luke DuBois on the post-production of these tapes. I am deeply grateful to the Kronos Quartet for their artistry and their support in the creation of this work.”
Osvaldo Golijov (b. 1960) and Gustavo Santaolalla (b. 1952)
Darkness 9/11 (2002)
Conceived by French film producer Alain Brigand, 11’9’‘01 is the title of a collection of 11 short films by different filmmakers, each from a different country, reflecting on the events of September 11, 2001. Each individual film is 11 minutes, 9 seconds and 1 frame. The directors invited to contribute to 11’9”01 came from Iran, France, Egypt, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, the UK, Mexico, Israel, India, and the US, and included Mira Nair, Sean Penn, and Shohei Imamura. The film was awarded a Cannes Film Festival Special Prize.
Darkness 9/11 was written for the segment directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams). About the film he created for 11’9’01, Iñárritu said:
“[There were] no actors, no camera, no crew, no script, no nothing… my musical instinct and the memory of that man, dressed in red, falling from the World Trade Center towers were enough to guide me on this painful journey. He was my inspiration because I always wondered what this man was thinking as he was falling. I put the people falling as a metaphorical image of us: humankind falling as Icarus. I did not think my point-of-view was important, and I wanted to put myself and the audience in the shoes of those who were inside those buildings, waiting for the unpredictable. In a dark theatre, everything that will happen is as unpredictable as it was on that day. I lived under the schizophrenic messages of the media in the United States, which in some way, acted as another kind of terrorist, creating terror for those people who were watching and listening. That is why I constructed this piece as a trailer, but the horror is that this is not about a Schwarzenegger film. This is real, a trailer of our lives, and all of the sounds are real, but during the days following Sept. 11th, the media was selling the event with characters and heroes. That is why I did not use a rational narrative. I constructed this piece the way that I remembered it.”
Osvaldo Golijov grew up in an Eastern European Jewish household in La Plata, Argentina. He was raised surrounded by Western classical music, Jewish liturgical and klezmer music, and the new tango of Astor Piazzolla. He moved to Israel in 1983, where he studied with Mark Kopytman at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy and immersed himself in the colliding musical traditions of that city. Upon moving to the United States in 1986, Golijov earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied with George Crumb, and was a fellow at Tanglewood, studying with Oliver Knussen in the early 1990s. Golijov became personally acquainted with the Kronos Quartet at Tanglewood, and has since collaborated with the group on about thirty works.
Golijov is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, among many other awards. The recording of Golijov’s La Pasión Según San Marcos, on Hänssler Classic received Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations in 2002. Also in 2002, EMI released Yiddishbbuk, a Grammy-nominated CD of Golijov’s chamber music, recorded by the St. Lawrence String Quartet. Kronos’ recording of Golijov’s The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind was released in 1997 on Nonesuch Records, with clarinetist David Krakauer.
Gustavo Santaolalla, winner of the Academy Award for his score to Brokeback Mountain, is an composer, record producer and musician whose career has spanned more than thirty years. The rock band Arco Iris, which he founded in 1967 in Buenos Aires, was a pioneer in Latin American alternative rock music, as well as in the fusion of rock and Latin American folk music. In 1978, frustrated with the political and social situation in military-ruled Argentina, Santaolalla decided to leave the country and moved to Los Angeles. He has recorded three solo albums, the most recent being Ronroco, released in 1998 by Nonesuch Records.
Santaolalla’s career as a producer began in 1972 with the debut record by León Gieco, now a legend of Argentine folk music. Since then, Santaolalla and his associate producer Anibal Kerpel have worked with numerous artists in the traditionally separate worlds of Mexican and Argentine rock, including Juanes, Bersuit Vergarabat, Molotov, Julieta Venegas, Puya, Café Tacuba, and Bajofondo Tango Club. In 1997, Santaolalla and Kerpel founded the record label Surco; Molotov’s debut ¿Dónde Jugarán Las Niñas? and Café Tacuba’s Avalancha de Éxitos were both nominated for Grammys. Café Tacuba’s subsequent album Revés/YoSoy (1999) earned Santaolalla an award in the Best Rock Album category at the first Latin Grammy Awards. He co-produced Kronos’ 2002 album Nuevo, which was nominated for both Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards.
Terry Riley (b. 1935)
One Earth, One People, One Love from Sun Rings (2002)
You have to literally just pinch yourself and ask yourself the question silently: do you really know where you are at this point in time and space, and in reality and in existence? When you look out the window and you’re looking back at the most beautiful star in the heavens—the most beautiful because it’s the one we understand and we know it… We’re home. It’s humanity; it’s people, family, love, life. And besides that it is beautiful. You see from pole to pole and across oceans and continents. You can watch it turn, and there’s no strings holding it up. And it’s moving in a blackness that is almost beyond conception.
In Sun Rings, the wonders of technology meet the expansive and compassionate imagination of composer Terry Riley, bringing the music of the spheres to life. The full evening-length composition includes sounds harvested from our solar system—the crackling of solar winds, the whistling of deep-space lightning, and other cosmic events—which create auditory landscapes. This interplanetary musical story unfolds in a visual environment of imagery gathered by NASA spacecraft and prepared for the project by Kronos in collaboration with visual designer Willie Williams.
Given the literally galactic scope of Sun Rings, it is perhaps ironic that the seeds of the project lay in a cardboard box in the University of Iowa physics department. Inside that box rested a store of audio-cassette tapes of cosmic phenomena recorded over some 40 years by Iowa’s Dr. Donald Gurnett. Bertram Ulrich, curator of the NASA Art Program, long intrigued by Gurnett’s recordings and a devoted fan of Kronos, offered Kronos a commission to turn these seemingly random tones from outer space into music. Kronos’ David Harrington, for his part, turned to longtime Kronos collaborator Terry Riley—the California-based father of Minimalism, consummate uniter of musical traditions and innovations, and deep well of spirituality in sound—who agreed to serve as the project’s composer. On his approach to bringing together the music of Kronos and the sounds of outer space, Riley notes, “The ‘spacescapes’ that comprise Sun Rings…were written as separate musical atmospheres, with the intention to let the sounds of space influence the string quartet writing and then to let there be an interplay between live ‘string’ and recorded ‘space’ sound.”
In exploring the musical possibilities for the piece, Riley and Harrington paid visits to Gurnett at Iowa and to Cape Canaveral, where they observed the workings of NASA in person. Despite this promising start, however, the project was nearly de-railed by the tragic events of September 11, 2001, after which all parties concerned questioned Sun Rings’ relevance in the wake of the terrorist attacks and the impending war in Afghanistan.
At this point, a new and vital link emerged: as the L.A. Times put it: “Riley heard poet and novelist Alice Walker on the radio talking about how she had made up a September 11 mantra—‘One Earth, One People, One Love.’ It suddenly occurred to him that contemplating outer space could be a way to put the problems on Earth into perspective.” Walker’s mantra not only gave Riley the inspiration to continue; it also provided a title and focal point for Sun Rings’ concluding movement, the excerpt performed by Kronos in the present program. Furthermore, the sound of Walker’s voice intoning the words “One Earth, One People, One Love” became an integral component of the movement itself.
As David Harrington points out, the prayerful, even elegiac quality of Riley’s writing in One Earth, One People, One Love grows naturally from the composer’s previous work with Kronos. “The sonics are directly involved with—an extension of—the Cortejo Fúnebre en el Monte Diablo from the Requiem for Adam,” Harrington says. “You can hear the Tibetan bell tolling on every downbeat.”
As Riley describes his fully realized, post-September 11 conception of Sun Rings: “This work is largely about humans as they reach out from Earth to gain an awareness of their solar system neighborhood…. Do the stars welcome us into their realms? I think so or we would not have made it this far. Do they wish us to come in Peace? I am sure of it. If only we will let the stars mirror back to us the big picture of the Universe and the tiny precious speck of it we inhabit that we call Earth, maybe we will be given the humility and insight to love and appreciate all life and living forms wherever our journeys take us.”
Program note by Matthew Campbell
Traditional - Sweden
Tusen Tankar (A Thousand Thoughts) [unknown/arr. 2005]
Arranged by Kronos Quartet
Transcribed by Ljova
Tusen Tankar is a traditional Scandinavian folk song, which recounts a timeless, mournful tale of unrequited love. Kronos’ arrangement is based on a recording by the Swedish folk band, Triakel, built around the haunting vocals by Emma Härdelin. Triakel consists of Emma Härdelin (vocals), Kjell-Erik Eriksson (fiddle) and Janne Strömstedt (harmonium). All three are well-established in the forefront of Swedish folk music. According to Triakel, the first two verses of Tusen Tankar were taken from a version by Swedish singer Thyra Karlsson, while the third verse can be traced back to Danish origins.
Aulis Sallinen (b. 1935)
Winter Was Hard (1969)
Arranged by Kronos Quartet
Aulis Sallinen was born in 1935 in Salmi on the northern shore of Lake Ladoga (which the Soviet Union claimed in 1944). His early musical experience was playing the violin. Improvising (including jazz) on the piano led him to write his first compositions as a teenager. After studying with Aarre Merikanto and Joonas Kokkonen at the Sibelius Academy, he joined the staff there. In 1983 he shared the Wihuri International Sibelius prize with Penderecki. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Music Academy and Honorary Doctor of the Universities of Helsinki and Turku. The Finnish Government made him Professor of Arts for life in 1981, the first appointment of its kind.
His extensive catalogue of compositions includes eight symphonies, the latest of which was premiered by the Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2004. In addition, he has written major concert works involving voices, notably the Dies Irae (1978), an apocalyptic vision of our planet destroyed; Songs of Life and Death (1994), an expansive expression of Sallinen’s humanitarian creed; and The Barabbas Dialogues (2003), an unconventional, touching medititation on the Easter story. Sallinen has written six large-scale operatic works, all of which have been revived on several occasions. Since 2001, Aulis Sallinen has concentrated on writing works featuring solo instruments, ranging in size from the Cello Sonata (2005) to the Horn Concerto (2002).
In 2004 the German record label CPO released the first of a series of seven all-Sallinen CDs, featuring all of his major orchestral works.
Kronos recorded Sallinen’s Quartet No. 3, Some Aspects of Peltoniemi Hintrik’s Funeral March, for the album Kronos Quartet, which was released on Nonesuch in 1986. Kronos also commissioned Sallinen’s Quartet No. 5, Pieces of Mosaic. About Winter Was Hard, Kronos’ Artistic Director David Harrington says, “When I first heard it in 1983, I couldn’t get it out of my head. That melody and those voices have stayed with me ever since.”
Vladimir Martynov (b. 1946)
The Beatitudes (1998, rescored for Kronos 2006)
A native of Moscow, Vladimir Martynov graduated from the Moscow Music Academy with a dedication to composing minimalistic music. He organized and participated in avant garde music festivals and worked at the electronic studio of the Skryabin Museum. In the mid-1970s, Martynov made a radical move from the structural refinement of serial music to what he described as a “new innocence.” He said, “Pärt, Silvestrov, and I discovered the key at the same time, independently from each other.”
Martynov traveled northern and central Russia, northern Caucasus, Pamir, and Tadzhikistan searching for the “music of my people.” What he found triggered a completely new understanding of music for him. He began to look for manuscripts in libraries, with the intent to restore the tradition of the ancient Russian choir chant. He published several books on that subject and taught in the famous Orthodox monastery of Troitse-Serguiev.
Known as one of the leading composers of the latest Russian avant garde, Martynov’s musical works present a wholeness in which the traditions of East and West, the spiritual and the mundane, folk music and avant garde melt into a new synthesis.
About The Beatitudes, David Harrington writes:
“This is a re-scoring of a work for choir that I heard on a CD that Andrey Kotov, the conductor of the Sirin Choir in Moscow, gave each member of Kronos earlier this year. I went back to my hotel room and listened to the whole CD, which was typical Russian liturgical music, until the last track, which was this astonishing piece by Vladimir Martynov, who had already written two works for Kronos. I had been looking for something sublime for Awakening, a concert program we put together as a musical meditation for the fifth anniversary of 9/11, and late that night in Moscow I knew that I had heard it. When I got back to San Francisco, I was in touch with Vladimir, who agreed to create a version of The Beatitudes for pre-recorded quartet and live quartet specifically for that performance. The Beatitudes are truly a rare moment of perfection.”
Recorded track performed by Kronos and produced by Kronos and Scott Fraser.
“ All is not well in the world, and Kronos, which played with searing intensity all evening, does not pretend that it is. But hope springs from understanding, from open ears. [This] wake-up call demands wide dissemination. ”
- Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times
“ In the context of memorializing and mourning the attacks, the idea that voices from all over the world might sing in one virtual choir proved ineffably moving. ”
- Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
Awakening received its world premiere at Herbst Theater on September 11, 2006, presented by San Francisco Performances.
Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky’s Awakening was commissioned by Mrs. Ralph I. Dorfman for the Kronos Quartet.
This arrangement of Oh Mother, the Handsome Man Tortures Me by Ljova and Kronos Quartet was commissioned for Kronos by Deborah and Creig Hoyt. Kronos’ recording is available on Floodplain, released on Nonesuch Records.
Jacob Garchik’s arrangement of Lullaby was commissioned for the Kronos Quartet by Deborah and Creig Hoyt.
The Kronos Quartet’s arrangement of Raga Mishra Bhairavi by Ram Narayan was commissioned for Kronos by Deborah and Creig Hoyt in memory of Raymond Frase. Kronos’ recording is available on Floodplain, released on Nonesuch Records.
The arrangement of Armenia by Paola Prestini and the Kronos Quartet was commissioned for Kronos by Deborah and Creig Hoyt.
Spectre was commissioned for the Kronos Quartet by the Wexner Center, Canada Council and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and appears on Kronos’ Nonesuch recording, Short Stories.
Michael Gordon’s The Sad Park was commissioned for the Kronos Quartet through the generosity of Mrs. Ralph I. Dorfman with additional support from the Barbican, London (UK) and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Sun Rings was commissioned for the Kronos Quartet by the NASA Art Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Rockefeller Foundation’s Multi-Arts Production Fund, Hancher Auditorium/University of Iowa, Society for the Performing Arts, Eclectic Orange Festival/Philharmonic Society of Orange County, SFJAZZ, Barbican, London, U.K., and University of Texas Performing Arts Center, Austin (with the support of the Topfer Endowment for Performing Arts). Additional contributions from Stephen K. Cassidy, Margaret Lyon, Greg G. Minshall, and David A. and Evelyne T. Lennette made this work possible.
Kronos’ arrangement of Tusen Tankar was commissioned for Kronos by the Angel Stoyanof Commission Fund.
Kronos’ recording of Winter Was Hard is available on the CD Winter Was Hard (Nonesuch 79181).
|9-10-08||Gainesville, Florida||Phillips Center||University of Florida Performing Arts|
|11-4-07||Zürich, Switzerland||Tonhalle Zürich||Konzertreihe Rezital, Zürich|
|9-14-07||Durham, North Carolina||Page Auditorium||Duke Performances|
|9-7-07||College Park, Maryland||Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center||University of Maryland|
|9-11-06||San Francisco, California||Herbst Theatre||San Francisco Performances|