Michael Gordon Percussion Sextet
30th September 2009
On 6 November in the Stadsschouwburg in Groningen, The Netherlands, the Dutch percussion ensemble, Slagwerkgroep den Haag premieres a new work for percussion sextet by Michael Gordon.
Michael Gordon © Alice ArnoldGordon's new piece, which is currently untitled, is an evening-length tour de force. Scored for two african log drums and four graduated wooden Simantras — percussion instruments devised by French composer Iannis Xenakis — the work brings the physicality, endurance and technique of percussion performance to a new level. In this new work, Gordon shapes the music in both polyrhythmic and dynamic waves of textures — often each players' hands are in separate rhythmic 'worlds', each traversing a different dynamic contour from loud to soft to loud, similar in some respects to his solo for percussion, XY.
Listen to Michael Gordon discuss
the percussion sextet
Listen to choreographer
Guy Weizman discuss his dance,
Pinball and GraceMuch of Gordon’s music demonstrates a deep exploration into the extreme possibilities and stunning nature of rhythm, as well as the enriching, yet disturbing, multidimensionality of polyrhythmic layers — what has been termed in his music to be, “glorious confusion.” Many of Gordon’s works, including Trance, Gotham, Decasia, and his most recent orchestral work, Dystopia, point to Gordon's interest in complex rhythmic and textural territory. Gordon's percussion sextet takes these elements and explores the extreme possibilities of rhythm and texture to a beautifully intense degree. The new hour-long work is indeed a unique and exciting addition to the world of percussion.
For the premiere, and for fourteen dates on tour through the end of November, the new work will accompany choreography by the Dutch dance company, Club Guy and Roni, who have co-commissioned Gordon's work along with Slagwerkgroep den Haag, Mantra Percussion in the United States, and Synergy Percussion in Australia.
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