Beyond 12 Volume 2 Notes
|1| Sidereal Delay (4:49) – Jeffrey Harrington
|2| I’m Worried Now (12:47) – Monroe Golden
Clouds of Clarification (18:55) – Robert Carl
|3| Introduction: Ebb and Flow
|4| Maestoso: Earth Processional
|5| Scherzo: Wind Dances
|6| Coda: Consumed by Fire
|7| Une Petite Bagatelle (1:47) – Veronika Krausas
|8| Terços (2:56) – Veronika Krausas
|9| Involuntary Bohlen Piercing (5:48) – Nick Norton
|10| The Blur of Time and Memory (5:51) – Alexander Elliott Miller
|11| Paths of the Wind (8:39) – Bill Alves
|12| The Weasel of Melancholy (7:12) – Eric Moe
About Aron Kallay
Described as a “modern renaissance man,” (Over the Mountain Journal) Grammy® nominated pianist Aron Kallay‘s playing has been called “exquisite…every sound sounded considered, alive, worthy of our wonder” (LA Times). “Perhaps Los Angeles’ most versatile keyboardist,” (LaOpus) Aron has been praised as possessing “that special blend of intellect, emotion, and overt physicality that makes even the thorniest scores simply leap from the page into the listeners laps.” (KPFK) Aron’s performances often integrate technology, video, and alternate tunings; Fanfare magazine described him as “a multiple threat: a great pianist, brainy tech wizard, and visionary promoter of a new musical practice.”
Aron has performed throughout the United States and abroad and is a fixture on the Los Angeles new-music scene. He is the co-founder and board president of People Inside Electronics (PIE), a concert series dedicated to classical electroacoustic music, the managing director of MicroFest, Los Angeles’ annual festival of microtonal music, and the co-directer of the underground new-music concert series Tuesdays@MONK Space. He is also the co-director of MicroFest Records, whose first release, John Cage: The Ten Thousand Things, was nominated for a Grammy® award for Best Chamber Music Performance. Aron has recorded on MicroFest, Cold Blue, Delos, Deutsche Grammophon, and Populist records. In addition to his solo work, Aron is currently a member of the Pierrot + percussion ensemble Brightwork newmusic, the Varied Trio, and the Ray-Kallay Duo. He is on the faculty of Pomona College and Chapman University.
Sidereal Delay is the third piece in a suite of 4 preludes written in 2004, using 19-EDO, the tuning derived by dividing the octave into 19 equal divisions. The music explores formal tropes related to popular electronic music, including looping, digital delay rhythms and the trippy visions of “space music” as practiced by composers like Terry Riley, et al. Through a series of episodes, each beginning similarly, the beautifully in tune resonant harmonies are explored, occasionally erupting in a explosive New Orleans-inspired tune. The piece slowly explores the radically unique tonalities of the scale and materials until climaxing in a series of episodes which expose the wonderful new added voice dissonances available in 19-EDO until climaxing in a section of wild harmonies evocative of an almost extraterrestrial jazz. -Jeff Harrington
I’m Worried Now was written for Aron Kallay and the Beyond 12 project, and loosely based on “Worried Man Blues” – a traditional tune of uncertain origin that has crossed genres, even making its way into my son’s lullaby repertoire. Despite an often jaunty rendering, the stanzas describe horrors of penal servitude. Our rightfully worried protagonist is imprisoned for a questionable offense, then sentenced to 21 years of hard labor on the railroad line with 13 links of chain around his leg. The tune and lyrical content informed the tunings, which in turn informed the music. There are five Extended Just tunings, (1) 13-limit with a common tone functioning as different partials, (2 and 3) utonal bass notes with a treble drone in octaves, (4) a lower tetrachord encompassing the black keys and upper tetrachord encompassing the white keys, ranging to the 91st partial, and (5) a I-IV-V relationship with the keyboard divided into three zones, each with partials up to 23. -Monroe Golden
My third piano sonata, Clouds of Clarification, is a further step in developing an overtone-based harmonic practice. It was inspired by my encounter with Aron Kallay, and his re-tunable digital grand piano, whose PianoTeq software allows instantaneous tuning changes, of any sort. This gave me permission to attempt a realization in precise tunings of an approach that up to this point I had undertaken only in equal temperament.
The piece is a realization of an earlier work of mine, Changing My Spots, an open-form improvisation of indeterminate time and instrumentation. That piece presents six harmonic regions: each consists of the twelve pitch-classes of the total chromatic, arranged registrally where they fall most closely with the nearest overtones off a given fundamental. Each region has the same structure and voicing, transposed to a different fundamental. Common partials between regions can be used as “pivots” for modulation.
This work takes this structure and creates a “frozen improvisation” based on the earlier schema. But for the first time, thanks to the digital setup, each region is able to preserve the actual just intonation tuning of its twelve pitches based on overtones in relation to their respective fundamental. Thus each will be a truly “pure” interval.
My whole approach to harmony over the past 15 years has been to find models that evoke processes and results similar to the flow and products of nature. I do not of course think that art equals or surpasses nature, only that the two exist symbiotically, art being a sort of “parallel universe” that helps us to understand, interpret and ultimately engage more fully with our world. This work attempts to bring that interaction into the sound itself, in a manner that to this point I’ve been unable to achieve.
I am grateful to Aron Kallay for his willingness to enter into the process of the piece’s development with his instrument, a fruit of technology that even a decade back was inconceivable.
While writing this work in 2014 in the very “sound-shadow” of the rhythms of the Mediterranean Sea (just outside my studio window at the Bogliasco Foundation near Genoa), I could not help but be influenced by the presence of deep, “tidal” rhythms. Thus, a four-movement structure emerged that suggests an “Elements” suite–water, earth, air, and fire. In addition, the final movement serves as a summation-coda, where elements of the previous movements rapidly intercut between one another, and there is a sense of compression. It ends in a consummation that leaves only a few floating ashes.
Clouds of Clarification is published by American Composers Alliance. -Robert Carl
Une Petite Bagatelle is a short work from 2013. This reimagining in 2/7 comma meantone tuning reflects the whimsy of the work.
Commissioned by Grammy-nominated pianist Aron Kallay for his second BEYOND 12 CD of microtonal piano work. Terços is Catalan for Thirds and the tuning of the work is Pythagorean. Although all but one of the 5ths are pure, the 3rds are variable. The piece creates different qualities and types of thirds. -Veronika Krausas
Involuntary Bohlen Piercing
The second-to-last step in my PhD qualifying exams was to compose a piece in 48 hours, using some parameters to make sure I didn’t cheat and use something I’d already written. My advisor, Clarence Barlow, knowing that I’d wanted to write something for microtonal piano for Aron Kallay’s Beyond 12 project, graciously gave me an assignment to write a piece using Bohlen-Pierce temperament. Bohlen-Pierce temperament uses the 12th instead of the octave as the interval of transposition and inversion, and then divides that 12th into thirteen step equal temperament. The result of it is that everything sounds crazy.
After a day wasted trying to wrap my head around the math, I just decided to improvise at my keyboard and find sonorities I liked, then mash them into a piece. Since then I’ve revised it to being worthy of Aron’s expert playing. Aron premiered the piece at the Outpost Concert Series in Riverside on November 4th, 2015. I’m thankful that I got the chance to write it for him, involuntary or not. -Nick Norton
The Blur of Time and Memory was composed in 2014 for Aron Kallay’s “Beyond 12” series. The piece itself utilizes a tuning system in which half steps are divided into five equal tempered steps, but selected pitches are removed from the keyboard in segments altogether, allowing the 88 keys to cover a wider range. This allows for some moments of equal tempered harmony, mixed with various glissando effects on the keyboard. I feel that those glissando effects, combined with the pedal, created some of the inspiration for the title, where lines between notes are blurred, where the clarity of a chord may begin to melt away and disappear behind a fog. -Alexander Elliott Miller
Paths of the Wind
This title was suggested by the Vayu Purana, a Hindu text I learned of during a period of study in India. The wind passing over bamboo or the vocal cords is the mythical origin of music in many traditions, and the wind is also the conveyance from the human world to the heavens. The tuning of this work is based on interlocking pathways of numbers, namely two, three, and seven. It was completed in 2010 at the request of pianist Aron Kallay, to whom the work is dedicated. -Bill Alves
The Weasel of Melancholy
Although I have been a fan of microtonal music for a long time, frequently listening to it, studying it, and performing it, I’d never written any myself until 2013. I was very glad to receive the commission from the wonderful pianist Aron Kallay for a microtonal piece. I was influenced in my choice of tuning for the work by listening to traditional Thai music that uses a pentatonic subset of a 7-note equally tempered scale. (In my piece, there’s one passage near the end where the listener may detect this influence). I added half steps, ending up with a 14-note equal temperament, which allowed me to extract extra melancholy from the weasel’s burrow. I also enjoyed the novel intervals that the tuning provided, in particular the extra thirds and sixths which give the piece a somewhat Romantic tone. The opening bars of The Weasel of Melancholy were composed during a summer 2013 residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the rest of the piece later that fall. -Eric Moe
About the composers
Jeffrey Harrington was born in Forest, Mississippi, Dec. 28, 1955, child of a US Forest Service research scientist and the private nurse to William Faulkner’s wife. He spent his formative high school years in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he became personally familiar with many great blues and funk artists with his work at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. While he has studied with several important composers at Juilliard and Tulane, including Elliott Carter, James Drew, and Roger Sessions, he attributes his musical education largely to self-study.
Jeffrey’s music is characterized by New Orleans-influenced rhythms, intense counterpoint and climaxes. A noted microtonalist and electronic experimentalist, he was also one of the first musicians to adopt the Internet for music distribution and promotion, starting in 1986 with RelayNet emails and BBS downloads. He is also likely the inventor of the free music distribution model, employing pre-web computer systems to distribute his music (both scores and recordings) to musicians and listeners around the world free of charge garnering worldwide performances and attention. He continues to do so to this day at his site: http://jeffharrington.org.
Monroe Golden is a composer from rural Alabama whose overtone-informed music has been called “delightfully disorienting,” “lovely, sumptuous, yet arcane,” and “irresistible…, full of wit and beauty.” He has received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the AMTA/MTNA Commissioning Award, and commissions from solo performers and groups. His work Incongruity (piano/fixed media) was the first prize entry in the Chicago-based UnTwelve Competition. Beyond his own artistry, Golden has actively promoted the innovative arts in his resident community. A founding member and three-term President of the Birmingham Art Music Alliance, he has also led the Birmingham Art Association, Birmingham Improv, Artburst performance series, and New Arts Stage — and implemented the inaugural Birmingham New Music Festival in 2014. He graduated from the University of Montevallo and earned a doctorate in Music Composition from the University of Illinois, studying primarily with Ed Robertson, Ben Johnston, Sever Tipei, Herbert Brün, and Aurel Stroé. There are three complete audio releases of his music: A Still Subtler Spirit (Living Artist Recordings, 2003), Alabama Places (Innova Recordings, 2007), and Incongruity (self-published, 2011).
Robert Carl’s music is performed regularly throughout the US and abroad. It concentrates on solo piano, chamber, orchestral, choral, and electroacoustic media. Its aim is to create a sense of space that provides the listener with a sense of freedom and openness. He has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters (the 1998 Charles Ives Fellowship as well as a 2106 Arts & Letters Award). Residencies include MacDowell, Yaddo, UCross, Djerassi, Millay, Bogliasco, Camargo, Copland House, Tokyo Wonder Site, and Bellagio. He lived in Japan for three months as an Asian Cultural Council Fellow in 2007. New World Records has released three CDs his works (music for strings; electroacoustic pieces inspired by Japan; and large ensemble/orchestral). Upcoming projects include Harmony, an opera based on the meeting of Charles Ives and Mark Twain, with libretto by Russell Banks (premiere in August 2021).
He writes regularly on new music in a variety of forums and magazines, and is the author of Terry Riley’s In C (Oxford University Press). In 2016 Bloomsbury Press released Jonathan Kramer’s posthumous text Postmodern Music, Postmodern Listening, which Mr. Carl edited. Bloomsbury has now publishing a book of his essays titled Music Composition in the 21st Century: A Practical Guide to the New Common Practice.
He is currently chair of Composition at the Hartt School, University of Hartford.
Of Lithuanian heritage, composer Veronika Krausas was born in Australia, raised in Canada, and lives in Los Angeles. She has directed, composed for, and produced multi-media events that incorporate her works with dance, acrobatics, and video. Krausas has music composition degrees from the University of Toronto, McGill University in Montreal, and a doctorate from the Thornton School of Music at USC in Los Angeles, where she is a faculty member in the Composition Department. She is a pre-concert lecturer and interviewer at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and serves on the advisory boards of Jacaranda Music and People Inside Electronics.
Nick Norton is—like you—made from materials forged in the cores of stars. He was born in Los Angeles approximately 13.6 billion years after the universe and at least a few hundred thousand after vertebrates developed a system to interpret vibrating air as sound, and has been making music ever since. The LA Times describes his work as crazy, and NewMusicBox referred to his pieces as “visceral sonic haiku.”
At an early age Nick discovered that he got a seriously life-affirming kick out of certain arrangements of sound, so started making some by playing guitar and saxophone in bands. He studied composition in college—a lot of it—and in a whole bunch of garages, studios, apartments, backyards, beaches, mountains, bars, libraries, clubs, restaurants, lakes, forests, glaciers, and deserts.
He’s been really lucky, because he’s had great teachers along the way, including Clarence Barlow, Curtis Roads, Joel Feigin, Andrew Tholl, Lei Liang, Rand Steiger, Chinary Ung, Anthony Davis, Robert Keeley, Harvey Sollberger, and Michel Merlet. Nick has also worked on pieces with Vicki Ray, Christopher Rountree, Sarah Gibson, Thomas Kotcheff, Justine Aronson, Richard Valitutto, Cristina Valdes, Ashley Walters, Giacomo Baldelli, Brandon Rolle, Anthony Garcia, Marc Evanstein, Sofia Gubaidulina, George Benjamin, Ted Hearne, Martin Bresnick, and Philip Glass.
As an armchair political philosopher Nick rejects the distinction between high and low forms of art. He is invested in creating new experiences for listeners from all backgrounds and destroying social barriers to enjoying music. He pursues his mission through his work on behalf of Equal Sound and Bathysphere Music, as well as with his bands Calm Machine, The Newports, and Honest Iago.
A student of Zen Buddhism, Nick enjoys punk rock, cinema, craft beer, sci fi, being in or near the ocean, publicly learning how to cook, and Oxford commas.
Alexander Elliot Miller is a composer, guitarist and educator based in Southern California. His compositions have been described as “deceptively laid back in an LA way…inventive…unconventional (LA Times), and “wild…unearthly…lyrical…a voice worth listening to” (San Francisco Classical Voice).
As an electric guitarist, Miller has frequently performed his own compositions, especially TO….OBLIVION: Historic Landmarks Around Los Angeles, an album released in the fall of 2018. The work is a collection of pieces inspired by six lost landmarks in Los Angeles, each of some social significance, scored for solo electric guitar, sound effects and video. The album received profiles in the LAist and Long Beach Press Telegram, and a 2019 performance at Boston Court Pasadena was listed in the LA Times “8 Best Things to do this Weekend.”
In 2020, Miller will launch a new guitar & percussion duo with Ben Phelps. The duo, Miller || Phelps has commissioned new works from composers Sarah Gibson, Hitomi Oba and Ian Dicke. Miller and Phelps previously Co-Directed the What’s Next? Ensemble, a new music collective in Los Angeles called “ready for any mainstage keen enough to know what’s what,” (LA Times). The group presented an all JacobTV concert in collaboration with the composer, performed with the Long Beach Opera and Grammy nominee Vicki Ray, and ran an annual series called the Los Angeles Composers Project, which presented the music of 60 composers over a five year run.
Miller’s compositions for chamber ensembles, voice and electronics have been performed or commissioned by contemporary music ensembles including HOCKET, Panic Duo, Duo Montagnard, Juventas New Music Ensemble, Boston New Music Initiative, Earplay New Chamber Music, and the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, as well as by Grammy nominated artists including Vicki Ray, Tony Arnold and Aron Kallay. In 2017, pianist Vincent Craig performed Miller’s composition Actions & Resonances at Carnegie Hall. He has received honors including a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, Earplay Donald Aird Composers Award, a Definiens C3 Commission, and the CAPMT Commissioned Composer Award.
Miller has been particularly active in California, where his compositions have been presented on many new music series and venues including San Francisco’s Center for New Music, ODC Theatre and Hot Air Festival, and Los Angeles’ Piano Spheres, Tuesdays@Monk Space, Hear Now Festival, Synchromy, People Inside Electronics, Carlsbad Music Festival, Microfest, Sound & Fury Concerts, Music@Mimoda and the LA Conservancy. In 2015, the LA-based People Inside Electronics series commissioned him to write for an instrument created by London based inventor, Andrew McPherson, called the Magnetic Resonator Piano. The work, a tribute to the Back to the Future movies called “88 MPH,” was subsequently performed at London’s Mile End Art Pavilion by pianist Kate Ryder, and featured in an article in Keyboard Concepts by Harvard Professor Emily Dolan.
As a teacher, Miller is on the faculty of California State University Long Beach, where he teaches all levels of music theory, composition, musicianship and Schenkerian Analysis at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music. During the Spring of 2017, he served as Acting Graduate Advisor. He also works at Chapman University where he initiated and developed a new Composition and Songwriting course for non-music majors, which has subsequently become a requirement for music technology minors. He has given masterclasses in Composition at the Music Association of California Community Colleges as well as many of the California Community Colleges and been a frequent adjudicator for guitar and composition contests run by organizations such as CAPMT, MTNA, and CSULA’s Gohar & Ovanes Adriassian Classical Guitar Competition.
Miller holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition from the University of Southern California, a Master of Music in Composition from the Eastman School of Music, and Bachelor of Music degrees in both Composition and Guitar Performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In his free time, he enjoys basketball, climbing, bike rides on the beach, cooking, going to concerts in LA and playing guitar.
Bill Alves is a composer, video artist, and writer engaged at the intersections of musical cultures and technology. His recordings include The Terrain of Possibilities, Imbal-imbalan, Mystic Canyon, and Guitars & Gamelan, and his work with computer animation pioneer John Whitney inspired abstract computer animations with music, now released by the Kinetica Video Library as Celestial Dance. He is the director of the HMC American Gamelan, an ensemble that plays new compositions on traditional Javanese instruments. His book Music of the Peoples of the World is now in its third edition from Cengage/Schirmer, and Indiana University Press has published his biography of composer Lou Harrison (with Brett Campbell). He has extensively explored non-standard tunings in his work and is co-director of MicroFest, the annual Southern California festival of microtonal music. He teaches at the Claremont Colleges in Southern California.
Eric Moe (b. 1954), composer of what the NY Times calls “music of winning exuberance”, has received numerous grants and awards for his work, including the Lakond Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Guggenheim Fellowship; commissions from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Fromm Foundation, the Koussevitzky Foundation, the Barlow Endowment, and Meet-the-Composer USA; and residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Bellagio, the Camargo Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and many others.
Strange Exclaiming Music, a CD of Moe’s chamber music, was released in 2009 by Naxos. Fanfare magazine described it as “wonderfully inventive, often joyful, occasionally melancholy, highly rhythmic, frequently irreverent, absolutely eclectic, and always high-octane music”. His sit-trag/one-woman opera Tri-Stan, available on a Koch International Classics CD, was greeted by the New York Times as “a tour de force” that “subversively inscribes classical music into pop culture”. Kick & Ride, on the bmop/sound label, was picked by WQXR for album of the week: “…it’s completely easy to succumb to the beats and rhythms that come out of Moe’s fantastical imaginarium, a headspace that ties together the free-flowing atonality of Alban Berg with the guttural rumblings of Samuel Barber’s Medea, adding in a healthy dose of superhuman strength”. Other all-Moe CDs are available on New World Records (Meanwhile Back At The Ranch), Albany Records (Of Color Braided All Desire, Kicking and Screaming, Up & At ‘Em, Siren Songs), and Centaur (On the Tip of My Tongue).
Moe studied composition at Princeton University (B.A.) and at the University of California at Berkeley (M.A., Ph.D.). He is currently Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh. More information is available at his website, ericmoe.net.
Beyond 12: Reinventing the Piano, Volume 2
Producer: Aron Kallay
Executive Producer: John Schneider
Recording Engineer & Editing: Aron Kallay
Mastering: Scott Fraser Architecture
Art Direction: Aron Kallay
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