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Various Artists | Howard Hersh: Dancing at the Pink House

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Classical: Contemporary Avant Garde: Avant-Americana Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Howard Hersh: Dancing at the Pink House

by Various Artists

Terry Riley calls Dancing at the Pink House, "a downright exciting album, full of delightful twists and turns, always accessible, yet full of complex fabrics that reassemble themselves before our very ears."
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Madam's Tavern
Mary Rowell
7:53 $2.00
2. Loop
Jonah Kim, Brenda Tom & Patricia Niemi
9:05 $2.00
3. I Love You, Billy Danger
Brenda Tom
11:53 $2.00
4. Night
José González Granero, Patricia Niemi & Nick Matthiesen
9:24 $2.00
5. Dancing at the Pink House
Patricia Shands & James Winn
11:47 $2.00
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Terry Riley calls Dancing in the Pink House "a downright exciting album, full of delightful twists and turns, always accessible, yet full of complex fabrics that reassemble themselves before our very ears. Ranging from the cinematic Madam's Tavern to the forceful driving rhapsodic I Love You, Billy Danger, to the closing epic title track, Hersh proves himself to be inspired and masterful in all aspects of his craft. The performances are stellar, with Mary Rowell and Brenda Tom totally rocking it."

The following program notes were written by the composer:

"Madam's Tavern" is scored for solo violin and a phantom choir of 15 recorded violins. All the parts on this recording were performed by new music virtuoso Mary Rowell, for whom the piece was composed. In 2014, Mary and I shared a residency at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California. On one of the dark, rainy January nights, she told me about her dream of opening a tavern in her native Vermont, where thinkers, writers, musicians, and artists of all sorts could spontaneously gather to share their work and ideas. When I made this piece for her, I set it in her tavern, and imagined her alone, surrounded by the echoes of the voices and sounds to which she had helped give expression. This epigraph is at the top of the score: “At dusk, Madam sits alone in the darkening tavern. Snow falls.” (Mary Rowell, violin)

"Loop" was composed in 2006 for cellist Victoria Ehrlich and the Adesso Trio. Its structure is reflected in its title: a closed moment in time which folds back on itself, reappears in slightly altered ways, and, at its conclusion, hints at continued looping. (Jonah Kim, cello, Brenda Tom, piano, Patricia Niemi, vibraphone)

"I Love You, Billy Danger" was composed in 2012 for pianist Brenda Tom. The second chapter in The Book of Billy, a piano trio subtitled Billy's Great Day, was completed in 2017.When I was writing the piece, Ms. Tom was preparing a performance of the Liszt Sonata, and I wanted to incorporate some of the dramatic gestures, sweeping themes and virtuoso passage work that fueled the Romantic master’s work. Who is Billy? He's the leather-jacketed, swaggering bad boy, unpredictable, attractive, by turns tender and dangerous. I hope some of his spirit lives in the piece. (Brenda Tom, piano)

"Night" was composed in 2013 and is scored for clarinet and marimba, with a second percussion part adding the colors of pitched gong, suspended cymbal, and tam-tam. Much of the piece’s inspiration grew out of the warm, evocative timbres of these instruments. Night opens with quick bursts of wispy, intertwined flurries, then settles into an extended melodic section. The instruments take turns defining the music that follows - first the marimba, that combines with the metallic percussion to create a rhythmic pulse, then the clarinet, with its mini-cadenza. When they rejoin each other, the opening flurries return and disappear into the night. (José González Granero, clarinet, Patricia Niemi, marimba, Nick Matthiesen, percussion)

"Dancing at the Pink House" was composed in 2006 for Patricia Shands, whose own pink house is unique on the shady streets surrounding the University of the Pacific campus. It combines dance rhythms with lyrical sections and echoes of swing-era clarinet music, as well as quotations from "America the Beautiful," which first peeks out from behind a cloud of piano chords, and, near the conclusion, makes a full-blown appearance. (Patricia Shands, clarinet, James Winn, piano)

About the composer:

California-born composer Howard Hersh studied piano in Los Angeles and composition at Stanford University. Deep Listening icon Pauline Oliveros declared that his music “belongs in the American canon.”

He has been honored with a number of awards from organizations that include ASCAP, Meet the Composer, the American Symphony Orchestra League, the American Composers Forum, New Music USA, and the Irvine Foundation.

Together with his compositional work, Hersh founded and directed the San Francisco Conservatory of Music's New Music Ensemble and served as Music Director of public radio station KPFA.

He lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.



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