Pianist Xenia Pestova returns to Calgary with a program of works for piano and multichannel live electronics including music by Gayle Young, Heather Hindman, Glenda Keam, Hans Tutschku and J.S. Bach.   Xenia Pestova bio

June 23, 2018
Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall

Gayle Young: Ice Creek (2018) – world premiere 16′

Ice Creek combines the piano’s sound with the sounds of an almost-frozen waterfall recorded through lengths of tuned tubing. Each pitch in the pre-recorded audio was determined by the length of a four-inch wide tube inserted through a hole in the ice that covered the waterfall — the low E-flat tube was almost fifteen feet long.

The piano part shares the overtones of the tube recordings, bringing harmonies inherent in the recordings into the foreground. In 2018, the centenary of Debussy’s death, I would like to acknowledge the influence of his explorations of piano resonance and the harmonies he built based on his observation of higher overtones barely audible in the piano.  gayleyoung.net

J.S. Bach: Sechs kleine Präludien für Anfänger auf dem Klavier BWV 933: number 5 in E major and number 6 in E minor 4′

Heather Hindman: Two and a Half Miniatures: I (2005) 2′

This collection of pieces arose from a desire to create music based on extreme subtlety, where the listener is directed towards details that in other contexts could be easily overlooked. On a surface level, the pieces seem to be designed around distinctive musical gestures and shapes, sometimes even grotesque ones in a sort of musical parody, but in fact these are merely in place to establish and explore what is underneath. The unique capacity of the piano to produce audible overtones is exploited, and each of the pieces gestate in some way out of the piano’s resonance.   heatherhindman.com

J.S. Bach: Sechs kleine Präludien BWV 939: number 4 in A minor and number 5 in C major 4′

J.S. Bach: Sechs kleine Präludien BWV 939: number 6 in C minor 2′

Glenda Keam: Mind Springs (2016-17) – Canadian premiere 10′

The initial images that preceded the composition of this work were of water springing and bubbling from the ground, and New Zealand’s geysers with their accompanying babbling flow of mineral-laden water that over time build sinter structures and pathways. Also, a boiling kettle (for a cup of tea – a necessity in the compositional process); when Xenia and I sat down to look at early “chunks” of the piece last year, we drank fruit tea.

But as the piece took form it became clear this was not made of bold, grand explosions but rather a more contemplative series of leaps that were inward-looking.  The work leaps (springs) between sections that are harmonically unified but texturally and gesturally quite disparate, with interruptions from some rather demanding birds, sections that motor along, and thick chordal sections like a small forest of shadowy statues. There are a few musical statues in this diverse landscape: Olivier Messiaen, Gabriel Fauré, Keith Jarrett, Robert Wyatt, Jenny McLeod and Gillian Whitehead may perhaps be seen standing in the shadows, but probably most prominent are the distorted echoes of the most statuesque composer of western traditions to date, J.S. Bach.  Glenda Keam bio

Gayle Young: As Trees Grow (2016) – Canadian premiere 12′

As Trees Grow is based on descriptions of six food-producing trees growing in the hills of Umbria in Italy. The text is in essence a letter to the musician from which a response in sound can be developed. The sounds and meanings of the text guide the pianist in articulating the shape of the music as the verbal descriptions are translated into sound. The sequences of pitches are distillations of elements found in Debussy’s piano music, exploring harmonic ambiguity as the music shifts tonality, alternating between whole tone pitch sets.  Thanks to the Civitella Ranieri Foundation for the six-week fellowship in Italy that inspired this piece.   Gayle Young bio

Hans Tutschku – Zellen-Linien (2007) 20′

Zellen-Linien uses my research on prepared piano and live-electronics I undertook over the past years. I wanted to create an “electronically prepared” piano and there are no physical preparations in the instrument. Since 1999 I experimented with real-time analysis of sounds and with possibilities to control the live-electronics through the gesture of the player. A first result was the composition “Das Bleierne Klavier”. Many performances of that piece enriched my experience and led finally to this new work.  Hans Tutschku bio

$25 adults/$18 students/seniors