‘Restless, creative, and upbeat, “Trans-Atlantic Flight of Fancy” deserves a place in the new music standard repertoire.’ – I Care If You Listen
NOW Ensemble were an vital component of my musical development – several of their members, Judd Greenstein, Patrick Burke, Mark Dancigers and Michael Mizrahi were co-students and close friends at Yale – and those artists and the Ensemble’s subsequent work remain a potent influence.
Although we planned for me to write a piece when I was still at Yale in NOW Ensemble’s early days, somehow several years went by before I completed it, by which time I was based back home in the UK. Working on a piece I had begun in a totally different zone of life and a totally different culture was something of a mental ‘trip’, to which the title of the piece refers.
Overall my piece is about a coming together of diversity – place, culture and, to a certain extent, time and memory – and making something of different ideas and views and situations. Except that I didn’t actually have any such ‘exchange’ in writing the piece – it was all just in my imagination.
Musically these ideas are represented with the presentation of two very different styles, which gradually combine. Much of the music is contrapuntal – not in a traditional sense, but in that it is made up of different events which work together by highlighting their diversity. It requires the performers to play together but somewhat independently (which is a lot harder than it sounds on paper…)
Music seems a pretty unlikely medium of communication at first glance – it certainly can’t express specifics very easily, for example – but the fact that I and a group of musicians on opposite sides of the world can create something through music, without meeting even speaking at all, is really inspiring – and oddly reassuring.
I am hugely grateful to NOW for being true collaborators: prepared to listen to people from different places, and speak to them in return.
Trans-Atlantic Flight of Fancy was included on NOW Ensemble’s 4th album, Dreamfall, alongside works by Scott Smallwood, Mark Dancigers, John Supko, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Andrea Mazzariello, and Judd Greenstein. Click here to listen and purchase on the album page on Bandcamp. Visit the band’s own Bandcamp page to experience their other work.
– NW, May 2015
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