STAFF PICKS: Friday Faves

Second Inversion hosts share a favorite selection from their weekly playlist. Tune in on Friday, April 28 to hear these pieces and plenty of other new and unusual music from all corners of the classical genre!

Shara Nova: You Us We All (Zosima)
Performed with Baroque Orchestration X

In recent years there’s been a notable resurgence of Baroque forms and instruments in contemporary classical music—but nowhere so convincingly as in Shara Nova’s Baroque chamber pop opera You Us We All.

This colorful court masque tells the story of five allegorical characters searching for meaning in the modern age, traversing through corny fan letters and cornetto solos, broken hearts and Baroque instruments all along the way.

Nova’s lustrous vocals sparkle in the leading role of Hope, alongside a small but mighty cast of singers who play Virtue, Love, Time, and of course, Death. Baroque Orchestration X provides a clean and courtly backdrop on period instruments, with some more modern percussion (typewriter, anyone?) thrown in for a 21st-century spin. All in all, it’s the perfect marriage of old and new: antique instruments, modern music, timeless themes—and just a dash of existentialism. – Maggie Molloy

Tune in to Second Inversion in the 2pm hour today to hear an excerpt from this piece.


Béla Fleck and Mike Marshall: “The Big Cheese” (Sony Classical)

Here in Seattle, it FINALLY feels like spring has arrived… after a record-breaking-ly soggy winter (look it up).  Still, I’ve been feeling some hesitation to go outside and reconnect with the glowing orb in the sky.  If you, like me, could use a kick in the pants to “get out there,” this track could just do the trick.  The lithe Appalachian flavors here are mixed with some decidedly more square music by English Renaissance composer William Byrd.  Perfect!
Seth Tompkins

Tune in to Second Inversion in the 3pm hour today to hear this piece.


Patrick Laird: “Che” 
Performed by Break of Reality

Break of Reality is the ultimate “don’t usually like classical but I love this” band.  They brand themselves as “cello rock” and it’s a fitting description as even my punk-rock-playing drummer dad would feel at home in this music.  With fierce cellos and intense percussion, “Che” is a passionate, almost violent, exploration of anger and fear.  If you’re looking for a unique classical experience, this is your stop.
Rachele Hales

Tune in to Second Inversion in the 6pm hour today to hear this piece.


Julia Wolfe: Early that summer (Innova Records)
Performed by ETHEL

Boy, this is a crunchy piece. Wolfe uses dissonance throughout this ostinato-filled string quartet to propel the energy along, creating an unfolding sense of conflict. It makes sense: she composed the work while reading a book on American political history, where seemingly small incidents (often introduced in the book with the phrase “early that summer”) would snowball into major political crises. This piece was composed in 1992, but it still represents some music that instead of shying away from the dissonance of our current political climate, dives fully in and revels in it.  – Geoffrey Larson

Tune in to Second Inversion in the 9pm hour today to hear this piece.

LIVE BROADCAST: ETHEL with Robert Mirabal

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Robert Mirabal - Hi-Res Image - Photo Credit - Kate RussellThis Thursday, October 8, at 8pm PT tune in to Second Inversion for a LIVE broadcast featuring the critically acclaimed (and incredibly fun) string quartet ETHEL with Native American flutist and two-time Grammy winner Robert Mirabal!  They have been collaborating for over six years, using rivers as inspiration for collaboration, and exploring water as the embodiment of spirit and its essential role in life on earth in a cross-cultural concert experience. Through music, narrative and ritual, their performance evokes timeless Native American traditions. Their program on Thursday includes works by Robert Mirabal, Phil Kline, and members of Ethel, themselves (see below for full program)!

 

We hope that if you’re in Seattle, you’ll come hear the concert in person at Meany Hall on the UW World Series (and say “Hi!” to KING FM and Second Inversion at the table in the lobby). For ETHEL and Robert Mirabal lovers worldwide, tune in on Thursday, October 8 at 8pm PT! On the go? Be sure to download our mobile app to listen anywhere.

We will also broadcast a bonus post-performance Q&A with artists immediately after the performance, so stay tuned for that, too!

Program:

Sky River Suite / music by ETHEL, words by Robert Mirabal
An Kha Na / Robert Mirabal
The River / Phil Kline
Kalimba Waterfall, Tsintskaro Memory and Rana Run / Ralph Farris
Gat’te / Dorothy Lawson
Jay-Red, Tsoma, and Clean Dirge, Dirty Dirge / Kip Jones
Tuvan Ride, In the Eyes of E, Wi-wa (traditional) and Peace Calls / ETHEL + Robert Mirabal

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A Celebration of American Composers: Video Edition

In celebration of July 4th, we have compiled some of our favorite videos by American Composers. Thanks to all of the artists and composers for sharing their music and performances with us!

NEW VIDEOS: NOW Ensemble

NOW Ensemble visited Seattle earlier this month for the TownMusic at Town Hall series and Second Inversion spent some quality time with them here in our studios!

For more in-studio sessions, including videos of Joshua Roman & Friends and ETHEL, visit our Video page.

To hear the archive of NOW Ensemble’s performance at Town Hall, visit our Live Concert Recordings page.

NEW VIDEOS: ETHEL

ETHEL is not your ordinary string quartet – don’t expect them to perform Mozart or Haydn, though I’m sure it would be brilliant if they did!  In short… ETHEL rocks.  They focus primarily on the works of modern composers and have worked closely with Julia Wolfe, Osvaldo Golijov, Jacob TV, Phil Kline and collaborated with artists from Kaki King to David Byrne to Gutbucket to Robert Mirabal to Bang on a Can.

ETHEL was recently in the Northwest and graciously stopped by our studios for a fun video session!  Here’s one of our favorites.

Check out the other four offerings on our video page and listen below to the full audio session!

LIVE CONCERT SPOTLIGHT: October 25, 28, 30

by Maggie Molloy

From percussion concertos to Kaki King, this week is packed with exciting contemporary music performances!

Tacoma Symphony Orchestra’s Season Opener Featuring Evelyn Glennie

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This concert is now SOLD OUT, but worth highlighting nonetheless!

Evelyn Glennie is not your average percussionist. The triple-Grammy winning musician was the first person in musical history to create and maintain a career as a solo percussionist, all while being profoundly deaf.

This Saturday, she will perform the world premiere of Sean O’Boyle’s new percussion concerto, “Portraits of Immortal Love,” with the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra. The piece, which is inspired by the 100-year anniversary of World War I, features percussion instruments ranging from waterphones to hand bells to singing bowls and shell wind chimes. The percussive instruments are meant to illustrate the aching beauty and desperate hope of long-distance love in a time when written word was the only means of communication.

In keeping with the organic, colorful rhythmic quality of percussion instruments, the Symphony will also perform Ravel’s “Bolero,” Debussy’s “Nocturnes,” and Respighi’s “Pines of Rome.” The performance also doubles as the inaugural concert welcoming Tacoma Symphony Orchestra’s new Music Director, Sarah Ioannides.

The performance will take place at the Pantages Theatre in Tacoma this Saturday, Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m.

Cornish’s Contemporary Piano Series Featuring Jonathan Powell

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Jonathan Powell is bringing some contemporary colors to the classical piano keyboard next Tuesday. As part of Cornish College of the Arts’ Contemporary Piano series, Powell will be performing a program rich in color with Romantic and lesser-known contemporary works by early 20th century composers.

The program includes solo piano works composed by Nikolai Medtner, Alexander Scriabin, Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, and Karol Szymanowski. The pieces showcase Powell’s musical talents as an international touring soloist with a wide range of colorful repertoire and a specialty in late-Romantic music. In particular, Powell is often associated with Sorabji, a prolific piano composer who’s demanding piano compositions Powell has performed and premiered at several concerts internationally.

The Contemporary Piano performance will take place at Cornish’s PONCHO Hall next Tuesday, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m.

Kaki King and ETHEL String Quartet

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The inimitable, uncategorizable Kaki King is joining forces with ETHEL, an experimental New York based string quartet, to create an evening of truly imaginative, totally indescribable music.

King is a guitarist and composer with an impressively diverse musical career. Aside from releasing six incredibly distinct LP records over the course of 10 years, she has also toured extensively and contributed to a variety of film and TV soundtracks. Though she’s impossible to pin down, King is known for her percussive, often jazzy melodies and her use of multiple tunings on acoustic and lap steel guitars.

ETHEL shares a similar interest in pushing musical boundaries. Unlike your typical string quartets, ETHEL plays with amplification and regularly incorporates improvisation into their performances. The group frequently performs original works as well as works by contemporary composers.

Kaki King and ETHEL will perform at the Edmonds Center for the Arts next Thursday, Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m.