|Bang On a Can All–Stars & Choir of Trinity Wall Street — Julia Wolfe: Anthracite Fields (September 25, 2015)¾|
Bang On a Can All–Stars & Choir of Trinity Wall Street — Julia Wolfe: Anthracite Fields (September 25, 2015) Ψ Jak to popsat? Čakaj, kým sa zotmie? Labužnická roláda? Hornická sága? Nevím, pouze jsem poslouchal a mnul si bradu, aby mi nespadla. Však ona mi spadla nakonec stejně a pouze jsem řekl: ..., ne, to by mě vypípali. Uvědomuji si, že tento kolosální kus muselo být nesmírně obtížné nazpívat. Jeden z MASTERPIECE světové soudobé hudby, za který Julia Wolfe získala Pulitzerovu cenu za hudbu. Band byl popsán San Francisco Chronicle jako “the country's most important vehicle for contemporary music”. Samotné album obsahuje v bookletu 27 stránek. Hodnocení 9¾. 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music —The Pulitzer Prizes, May 28, 2015. Anthracite Fields by Julia Wolfe has been awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music. The work (which was commissioned through Meet the Composer’s Commissioning Music/USA program and is published by Red Poppy Music/G. Schirmer, Inc. ASCAP) premiered on April 26, 2014 in Philadelphia in a performance by the Bang on a Can All–Stars and the Mendelssohn Club Chorus. The Pulitzer citation describes the work as “a powerful oratorio for chorus and sextet evoking Pennsylvania coal–mining life around the turn of the 20th Century.” The prize is for a “distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States” during the previous calendar year and comes with a cash award of ten thousand dollars. © Julia Wolfe (Photo by Peter Serling)
Born: December 18, 1958, Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania
Location: New York City
Album release: September 25, 2015
Record Label: Cantaloupe Music
1. Anthracite Fields: I. Foundation (Choir of Trinity Wall Street) 19:35
2. Anthracite Fields: II. Breaker Boys (Ashley Bathgate) 14:25
3. Anthracite Fields: III. Speech (Mark Stewart) 6:29
4. Anthracite Fields: IV. Flowers (Choir of Trinity Wall Street) 6:39
5. Anthracite Fields: V. Appliances (Choir of Trinity Wall Street) 12:32
Ψ Music and text by Julia Wolfe
Ψ Produced by Damian leGassick / Recorded by Paul Geluso and Damian leGassick at Water Music, Hoboken, NJ, September 2014 / Assisted by Ernie Indradat, Shao–Ting Sun, Wentao Xing / Editing, mixing and mastering by Damian leGassick
Ψ Executive Producers: Michael Gordon, David Lang, Kenny Savelson and Julia Wolfe Label Manager: Bill Murphy Cantaloupe sales manager: Adam Cuthbert Art direction and design: Denise Burt, elevator–design .dk
Ψ Anthracite is a form of coal that can be used for domestic fuel. The name of this oratorio, Anthracite Fields is a tribute to those who “persevered and endured in the Pennsylvania Anthracite coal region.”
Ψ The entire piece consists of five movements, “Foundation,” “Breaker Boys,” “Speech,” “Flowers,” and “Appliances.”
• "Foundation": this movement is to honor those who have died in mining accidents in Pennsylvania through 1869 to 1916. The names of those who have died were sung in the piece.
• "Breaker Boys": this movement is a tribute to the Breaker Boys: boys who were working in Pennsylvania mines and removed coal from breakers.
• "Speech" is the third movement. In this movement, Julia Wolfe uses a speech by John L. Lewis who fought for safe working conditions for these miners.
• "Flowers:" This movement was created and inspired by an interview conducted with Barbara Powell who is the daughter and granddaughter of one of the miners. In an interview, she stated, “We all had gardens” and began listing flower names.
• "Appliances" is the last movement. The words used in this movement were taken from a coal–powered railroad ad. This idea being that the coal during the 20th century was a fuel source for the nation
Ψ Anthracite Fields runs approximately an hour and combines elements of folk and classical music. Its libretto contains various oral histories, speeches, interviews, advertisements, and other texts from the history of the region. On her inspiration and research for the composition, Wolfe wrote:
Ψ “I was born in Philadelphia and am from a small town about an hour north of the city. When (Mendelssohn Club Artistic Director) Alan Harler called me about writing a piece I thought that I would look to the region. Where I grew up, if you took the long country road up to the highway, route 309, and turned right you’d be heading toward Philadelphia. If you turned left, which we hardly ever did, you would head in the direction of Wilkes–Barre and Scranton–coal country. We hardly ever turned left, maybe once in a while to go to a diner. So I thought that rather than looking toward the big city I’d look the other way. The Mendelssohn Club was incredible in setting me up with a guide to the region. Theater artist Laurie McCants, who has a company in Bloomsburg, PA became my guide. She had a library full of books on the region, about life in coal country. She took me to some amazing small local historical museums that depicted everything about the miners–from the tools they used to the medical facilities, to the disasters. For over a year I read a lot, interviewed miners and children of miners, gathered information, and went down into the mines. It’s a vast subject to cover, but powerful themes emerged and called out to be in the piece. Anthracite Fields is about this industry and the life surrounding it. The piece is not directly narrative, but looks at the subject from different angles. My intention was to honor the people that lived and worked there, this dangerous work that fueled the nation.”
Ψ The fourth movement "Flowers" is the brighter or less ominous movement of the oratorio. The form of the fourth movement could be argued to be in an A B C form. The entire composition is a minimalist piece making the exact transitions difficult to define. Minimalist pieces have great repetition and change chords within the piece slowly. It is much the case for “Flowers.” The beginning of the piece starts with a guitar playing repeated sixteenth notes and the vocal part slowly repeating “we all had flowers.” The instruments change slightly in rhythm for the entire first half of the song which is barely noticed. The changes are small and it’s usually a change in rhythm from playing on beat one to instead starting on a different beat. The vocal parts also change their rhythm splitting up the word “flower” into smaller beats. While all this is happening the chordal structure still remains in the same area. It isn't until measure 70 that a major change is seen. At measure 70 the first thing to be noticed is the lyrics that now start naming off flower names instead of the repeating “flower” over and over. The guitar also returns in a new triplet rhythm giving the section a different feel from what was there before. This section also grows in small increments to the C section of the piece. The soprano lines start lengthening starting at measure 106 and keeps elongating the flower names ever so slightly until a change is heard at 123. Both soprano lines start holding their lines over two measures. The notes slow down much like how the beginning sounded but the lyrics and instruments are performing rhythms much different from what the listener first hears. It clearly a different section of the piece and continued it until the very end of the composition.
Ψ The rhythm throughout the movement shows a cycle. From beginning to end, the movement starts in longer rhythms but as the piece continues, the rhythms become more condensed, sporadic, and returns to longer rhythms in the end. The vocal lines “We all had flowers” and “We all had gardens” have longer notes such as half notes and quarter notes. For the word “flower” specifically, the “flo” has two quarter notes that are tied and “wers” is a dotted half note tied to a whole note. As the piece continues, that the idea of “flo” being shorter in rhythm while “wers” remains longer appears even when the rhythmic value of the notes has changed. As an example, measure 22 has “flo” being a tied eighth note to a quarter note and “wers” has a quarter tied to a dotted quarter. This pattern remains prominent until measure 34. The same motif from the beginning is still there, but the rhythm has been expanded on from previous rhythms.
Ψ By the middle of the piece, the vocal lines between each part becomes more rhythmically dense. As of measure 45, the only word sung is flowers. The voices sing “flowers” in two 16th notes with an 8th rest (constantly repeated) or split up the word and sing “flau”/“wers” in 8th notes consistently throughout the measures. The voices exchange these rhythms with each other creating an echo. By using 16th notes and 8th notes, the word “flower” is sung much quicker or even spoken. The use of the rhythms not only create an echo effect but also forces the listener to focus on the word. The sporadic nature of this section creates an idea of flowers blooming everywhere instead of just focusing in one place.
Ψ Measure 70 is when a list of flower names are sung. Notice that each syllable of the flower name is split into repeated quarter notes. This pattern continues until measure 105 when the quarter notes are dotted quarters. By measure 129 there are notes that are elongated through three or more measures. One noticeable elongated flower name is “forget–me–nots” By measure 129, “for–get–me” is sung with a half note and then a variation of longer notes such as a quarter notes tied with a dotted quarter and repeated. The purpose is to focus on the idea of “don’t forget me.” As a tribute to the miners that have passed in an accident, the composer chose to elongate “for–get–me” to create a haunting effect and at the end wrap it up with “forget–me–not.” This movement is used to illustrate that these miners and workers should not be forgotten.
Ψ The piece clearly lays out that the tonic is in A minor. An example occurs in the beginning where the lyrics say “flowers.” In the syllables “–weres,” it is held with a sustaining A, clearly labeling the tonic of piece. In the vocal parts, when one line is in the middle of a phrase another line comes in, and creates a sustaining echo. In each of the vocal parts, it remains diatonic. In the beginning, the range in each of the vocal parts is only an octave from A3 to A4. Each of the vocal parts resolve on the tonic. Although, sometimes the Alto’s resolves on 6th, which gives a minor third harmony (starting on measure 23). Whenever the lyrics says "flowers," the first syllable is either down a 4th or 5th then leaps up to the tonic on the second syllable. Most of the dissonances in the vocal parts are whole step apart. Then in measure 30 the last syllable of “flowers” ends on a G. And then the song changes. In measure 34, rather than the vocalists resolving to the tonic through a 4th or a 5th they resolve in sixteenth tones a whole step apart. In measure 52, everyone sings staccato eighth notes and the dissonances are either are primarily a whole step apart, or a 4th and 5th apart.
Ψ Haunting, poignant and relentlessly physical, Julia Wolfe's Anthracite Fields is a lovingly detailed oratorio about turn–of–the–20th–century Pennsylvania coal miners, and a fitting recipient of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Weaving together personal interviews that she conducted with miners and their families, along with oral histories, speeches, rhymes and local mining lore, Wolfe sought to honor the working lives of Pennsylvania's anthracite region. "It's not necessarily mainstream history," she told NPR shortly after she received word of winning the Pulitzer. "The politics are very fascinating the issues about safety, and the consideration for the people who are working and what's involved in it. But I didn't want to say, 'Listen to this. This is a big political issue.' It really was, 'Here's what happened. Here's this life, and who are we in relationship to that? We're them. They're us.' And basically, these people, working underground, under very dangerous conditions, fueled the nation. That's very important to understand."
Ψ Featuring the always adventurous Bang on a Can All–Stars and the renowned Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Anthracite Fields merges diverse musical styles with classical themes from the deep, ambient sweep of the opening movement Foundation (with the All–Stars Mark Stewart wrenching waves of keening sound from his electric guitar) to the high–energy rock mood of Breaker Boys.
2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music —The Pulitzer Prizes, May 28, 2015 ♦ http://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/nyu-stories/julia-wolfe-on-anthracite-fields-pulitzer.html
Ψ Wolfe has written a major body of work for strings, from quartets to full orchestra. Her quartets, as described by The New Yorker magazine "combine the violent forward drive of rock music with an aura of minimalist serenity [using] the four instruments as a big guitar, whipping psychedelic states of mind into frenzied and ecstatic climaxes." Wolfe's Cruel Sister for string orchestra, inspired by a traditional English ballad of a love rivalry between sisters, was commissioned by the Munich Chamber Orchestra, received its US premiere at the Spoleto Festival USA, and was released (along with her other string orchestra piece, Fuel) on Cantaloupe Music. Written shortly after September 11, 2001, her string quartet concerto My Beautiful Scream, written for Kronos Quartet and the Orchestre National de France (premiered in the US at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music under the direction of Marin Alsop), was inspired by the idea of a slow motion scream. The Vermeer Room, Girlfriend, and Window of Vulnerability show Wolfe's ability to create vivid sonic images. Girlfriend, for mixed chamber ensemble and recorded sound, uses a haunting audio landscape that consists of skidding cars and breaking glass. The Vermeer Room, inspired by the Vermeer painting "A Girl Asleep" — which when x–rayed reveals a hidden figure — received its orchestral premiere with the San Francisco Symphony. In Window of Vulnerability, written for the American Composers Orchestra and conducted by Dennis Russell Davies, Wolfe creates a massive sonic universe of dense textures and fragile windows.
Ψ The influence of pop culture can be heard in many of Wolfe's works, including Lick and Believing for the Bang on a Can All–Stars. Lick, based on fragments of funk, has become a manifesto for the new generation of pop–influenced composers. The raucous My Lips From Speaking for six pianos was inspired by the opening riff of the Aretha Franklin tune "Think". Wolfe's Dark Full Ride is an obsessive and relentless exploration of the drum set, beginning with an extended hi-hat spotlight, while Lad is a piece for nine bagpipes.
Ψ Wolfe has also extended her talents to theatre by composing for Anna Deavere Smith's House Arrest, and won an Obie Award for her score to Ridge Theater's Jennie Richie. She has compiled a series of collaborative multimedia works with composers Michael Gordon and David Lang, including Lost Objects (Concerto Köln, directed by François Girard), Shelter (musikFabrik and Ridge Theater), and The Carbon Copy Building (with comic–book artist Ben Katchor). Wolfe recently created the city–wide spectacle Traveling Music with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro in Bordeaux, France, filling the streets of the old city with 100 musicians walking and riding in pedi-cabs. Her work with film includes Fuel for the Hamburg–based Ensemble Resonanz and filmmaker Bill Morrison, and Impatience and Combat de Boxe for the Asko/Schönberg Ensemble and 1920s film experimentalist Charles Dekeukeleire.
Ψ For the Pulitzer Prize–winning piece Anthracite Fields, which premiered in Philadelphia and was performed at the New York Philharmonic Biennial in the spring of 2014, she drew on oral histories, interviews, geography, local rhymes, and coal advertisements to create an oratorio about the coal mining community of her native Pennsylvania. In the 2015–16 season, the Bang on a Can All–Stars, with first the Los Angeles Master Chorale and then the Danish Radio Vocal Society, give Anthracite Fields its West Coast and European premieres, and Cantaloupe Music releases the studio recording, featuring the Choir of Trinity Wall Street and the Bang on a Can All–Stars.
Ψ Wolfe’s interest in labor history has informed her recent work, including Steel Hammer, an evening–length art–ballad that was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. The text is culled from more than 200 versions of the John Henry legend and based on hearsay, recollection, and tall tales that explore the subject of human versus machine. Premiered by the Trio Mediaeval and the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Steel Hammer is presented in a fully staged version by director Anne Bogart and her SITI Company at the University of Illinois, UCLA, Virginia Tech, OZ Arts Nashville, and BAM in the fall of 2015.
Ψ Following her folk interests and the tradition of body percussion in American folk music also led her to compose riSE and fLY, a concerto for body percussionist Colin Currie. The piece premiered in 2012 with the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Keith Lockhart, and premiered in the Netherlands with the Codarts Ensemble and the United States with the Albany Symphony Orchestra in the 2014–15 season.
Ψ Wolfe has collaborated with theater artist Anna Deavere Smith, architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, filmmaker Bill Morrison, Ridge Theater, director François Girard, Jim Findlay, and choreographer Susan Marshall, among others. Her music has been heard at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival, Settembre Musica (Italy), Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and Carnegie Hall, and has been recorded on Cantaloupe Music, Teldec, Point/Universal, Sony Classical Records, and Argo/Decca. Wolfe received a 2000 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.
Ψ A graduate of University of Michigan (B. A.), Yale School of Music (M. M.), and Princeton University (PhD), Wolfe is co–founder of New York's music collective Bang on a Can. Her music is published by Red Poppy Music (ASCAP) and is exclusively distributed worldwide by G. Schirmer Inc. Since 2009 she has been Professor of Music Composition at New York University in the Steinhardt School.
♦ JULIA WOLFE WINS 2015 PULITZER PRIZE IN MUSIC
By Frank J. Oteri on April 20, 2015
|Bang On a Can All–Stars & Choir of Trinity Wall Street — Julia Wolfe: Anthracite Fields (September 25, 2015)¾|