LSM Newswire

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Continuum Contemporary Music presents By other means

Toronto, April 22, 2014: Other means of sound generation, and other meanings of past styles:  By Other Means explores the alternative possibilities of traditional instruments, wholly new musical devices, and past styles as raw material for composition.  Works include Esplorazione del bianco II by Salvatore Sciarinno (IT); Music for Body-Without-Organs by Nicole Lizée (CA); Trio for disposable reeds and Tonewood, by Hugo Morales Murguía (MX/NL); Spill by Erik Griswold (AU), and the world premiere of Au fond du cloître humide, written for Continuum’s ensemble by Thierry Tidrow (CA), commissioned with funding from the Canada Council for the Arts.
A revered “avant-garde” composer of our day, Salvatore Sciarrino has created a new aesthetic through extended techniques, and also through reconstructing and filtering works of the past.  Experimentation is rooted in tradition -- in Sciarinno’s words, “the distance between classical, traditional and contemporary music is not that great. I personally feel that it is essential to understand the roots of our identity that lie in tradition.” 
Known for incorporating into her work turntable techniques and out-moded devices such as Atari video and Simon hand held games, Nicole Lizée taps into our nostalgia for the near past.  Music for Body-Without-Organs is a sonic representation of a continuous process of movement and flux. It is also a musical interpretation of an analysis of the horror film genre along Deleuzian “body-without-organs” lines.  Winner of the 2013 Jules-Léger Prize, Lizée has been commissioned by more than 40 performers and ensembles, ranging from pianist Eve Egoyan through the Kronos Quartet to the BBC Symphony.
Netherlands-based Mexican composer Hugo Morales Murguía is at the centre of a new wave of experimentation that does everything with instruments but what they were meant to do; his language is both comprehensible and profound. His programme notes for Trio for disposable reeds and Tonewood are taken from a children’s book and Wikipedia.  “Trio for disposable reeds…you just make a reed instrument. As you blow, the trimmed straw tips vibrate. This vibration causes the air molecules to vibrate. Vibrating air molecules are also known as sound waves. As you blow, sound waves travel up and down the straw and also travel to your ear and that's what you hear”.  And Tonewood generally refers to any wood which may be used in the construction of a musical instrument… The term is frequently used in the context of stringed instruments.”  The work is for violin, cello, bass and piano, not played as they are designed.
Much-performed and lauded Australian composer Erik Griswold finds surprising ways to make music – in the case of Spill, with an enormous funnel, swung in an arc, gently spilling out 20 kilos of rice.  “[Beneath,] the solo performer humbly offers bowls, temple bells, rice paper and other sounding materials to produce delightfully unexpected rhythms… Spill is a work that explores my ongoing interest in percussion and kinetic sculpture.
Ottawa native Thierry Tidrow is recently graduated from the Freiburg Hochschule für Musik and the Amsterdam Conservatorium and now lives in Cologne.  His new piece for Continuum’s ensemble was written on a Canada Council commissioning grant and is titled Au fond du cloître humide (From the depths of the damp monastery).  This is an indirect allusion to its fairly well-known source material, which becomes progressively more identifiable as the piece goes on.
Formed in 1985, Continuum Contemporary Music presents concerts featuring the core ensemble of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion, as well as unusual instrumental combinations. Led by co-artistic directors Jennifer Waring and Ryan Scott, the organization is widely acclaimed for its inspired and innovative programming and has commissioned 150 new works from emerging and established composers.  Continuum has performed across Canada and Europe. 
By other means
Sunday, May 4, 2014, 8pm
Music Gallery, 197 John Street
Tickets $30 / $20 / $10, available at the door or online at
For more information visit  or call (416) 924-4945
Continuum is generously supported by:
The Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, the Julie-Jiggs and SOCAN foundations, Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu, Urbane Cyclist, The Printing House ,
and many private donors.

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