Luminoso

AlexandraGardner

Innova662

 

1.Luminoso (2003)guitar and sampled sounds  (6:14)

Enrique Malo Lop,guitar

 

2.Tourmaline (2004) soprano saxophone and computer sound  (9:37)

Xelo Giner,saxophone

 

3.Ayehli(2002) marimba and sampled sounds (11:36)

RobertArmengol, marimba

 

4. Ónice (2003) bassclarinet and processed sounds (9:15),

Harry Sparnaay, bass clarinet

 

5. Snapdragon (2002) trombone and electronics  (10:56)

CarlosGil Ferrer, trombone

 

6.New Skin(2003-4)

asunrise meditation for alto flute and computer  (14:48)

Barbara Held, altoflute; Alexandra Gardner, computer

 

 

 

It must have been the Catalonian light, or perhaps the airor the classic stimulus - time without pressure, but Alexandra Gardner’s recenttime in Barcelona was clearly exhilarating. From it came a rush of pieces, manyof which are based upon the relationships she developed with various performerswhom she met there. Access to the IUA Phonos Foundation’s studio, andinteraction with other composers working in it, was clearly also a stimulus.She started exploring a dialog which has deep roots in the evolution ofelectronic music, between solo performer and electronics. By now, although therange and flexibility of resources for transforming sampled instrumental soundsand field recordings is very large, cliches abound in the genre. She avoidsthem all. There is freshness and vitality in the many ways she reshapes EnriqueLop’s gestures in Luminoso, juxtaposingthe angular energy of the acoustic guitar line with its fluid and multiplereflections. In Ónice’s lyricalmiddle section, on the other hand, Harry Sparnaay’s bass clarinet melts intoits electronic metamorphoses almost indistinguishably.

 

I also find her incorporation of ambient field recordingscompelling, and often surprising, particularly in Snapdragon and New Skin. This last work is a collaboration with American flutist Barbara Held,who has been important member of the new music scene in Spain for many years.There’s a lovely languor and an intimacy in the opening, the alto flute a calmpresence within the cross-currents of the dawn soundscapes and processed gong -a classic scenario I think, but this is no pastorale. Gardner’s sounds canbite. Just as I’m settling back, lulled, a blast of steam-like sound slices inand everything changes, tugging the player back into the thrust and flow of theeveryday world.

 

These are vibrant performances by very fine players, to berelished in repeated listenings.

I have known Alex for two decades and heard much of hermusic. There is an inherent joyousness at its core, a gift in these difficulttimes.

 

- Annea Lockwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luminoso (2003) guitar and sampledsounds  (6:14)

Enrique Malo Lop,guitar

 

The guitar part combines flamenco and classical guitartechniques with percussive sonorities played on the body of theinstrument.  The electronic part ofLuminoso is comprised entirely of acoustic guitar sounds, some of which areeasily identifiable, and others of which have been processed into completelydifferent forms using a variety of software tools. The title refers to thequality of sunlight in Barcelona, which I found myself trying to capture inthis music.

 

Tourmaline(2004)soprano saxophone and computer sound (9:37)

Xelo Giner,saxophone

 

The crystal tourmaline often showstwo or more colors, such as watermelon tourmaline, which has a red centersurrounded by bright green. A small change in the complex makeup of thedeveloping crystal will result in a completely different color scheme.According to legend, wearing the stone can lend permanence and stability tofriendships and love relationships. In this composition the saxophone andelectronics are closely linked in a fast-paced, animated conversation. Theelectronic part takes on a definite personality unto itself as it weaves about,interrupting and commenting on the saxophone part.  Twisting and turning through a series of moods andsituations, the many possibilities for interaction between the two instrumentsare revealed.

 

Ayehli (2002) marimba andsampled sounds  (11:36)

RobertArmengol, marimba

 

Ayehli was originally commissioned by marimbist Paul Cox.  The title is the Cherokee word for twin– the literal translation is “other wing”.  For me it speaks to the relationship between the marimba andthe electronic sounds – rising out of and falling into one another,melting together, always close.

 

The two primary sound sources for the electronic part aremarimba, and recordings from the “Ground Zero” site in New York City, taken atsunrise one morning in December of 2001. My intention in using this soundscape material was to transform theresults of a tragedy into something more positive and beautiful.

 

Ónice(2003)bass clarinet and processed sounds (9:15)

Harry Sparnaay, bass clarinet

 

Traditionally the stone called onyx is believed to absorband transform negative energy – to help bring us into contact with ouractual realities by assisting in the gradual release of all that is not inharmony with our present lives.

 

Snapdragon (2002) trombone and electronics  (10:56)

CarlosGil Ferrer, trombone

 

Snapdragon was originally written for Monique Buzzarté,commissioned by the Open Meadows Foundation PatsyLu Fund.  As with many of my works for instrumentand electronic sounds, the two parts are woven together into an aural landscapeof shifting rhythms and textures based largely upon the sonic material of theacoustic instrument.  Theelectronic part of Snapdragon includes recordings of Monique herself playing,as well as field recordings from outdoor spaces in Barcelona.

 

 

 

NewSkin(2003-4)

asunrise meditation for alto flute and computer  (14:48)

Barbara Held, altoflute; Alexandra Gardner, computer

 

New Skin was written for flutist Barbara Held.  It combines recordings of dawn fromvarious locations, digitally processed gong and percussion sounds, and livealto flute in a structured improvisation. In many cultures sunrise is receivedwith rituals of respect and thankfulness, acknowledged as a new beginning, orrebirth.  In this composition myintention is to evoke an arrival into “light” - a sense of awakening to a newday.

 

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

The music of composer Alexandra Gardner (b. 1967) combinesexplorations into the rich details of acoustic sound with a visceral percussiveenergy to create sonic landscapes of shifting rhythms and unfolding auraltextures.

 

Gardner's compositions have beenfeatured throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia, including performances at theAspen Music Festival, Akiyoshidae International Art Village, Centro de CulturaContemporania de Barcelona, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Joyce SOHO, DancePlace, The Library of Congress, Metronóm, and The Kennedy Center. She hascollaborated with such performers as Percussions de Barcelona, SOLI ChamberEnsemble, accordionist Teodoro Anzelotti, flutist Barbara Held, ContemporaryMusic Forum and virtuoso bass clarinetist Harry Sparnaay.

 

A native of Washington, DC, Gardnerstudied music composition at Vassar College, the California Institute of theArts, and The Peabody Conservatory of Music.

 

Among Gardner's honors and awardsare recognitions and commissions from Meet the Composer, ASCAP, The AmericanMusic Center, American Composers Forum, the Mid-America Arts Alliance, theMaryland State Arts Council, Vassar College, The Netherland-America Foundation,the CrossSound Music Festival, Deborah Riley Dance Projects, the Open MeadowsFoundation and the Smithsonian Institution. She has been acomposer-in-residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Harvestworks DigitalMedia Arts Center, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and The MacDowell Colony.  From 2002-2004 she was a VisitingComposer at the IUA/Phonos Foundation in Barcelona, Spain.

 

For more information about currentprojects and performances, visit www.jigsawmusic.org

 

 

Produced at the studios of theInstitut Universitari de l’Audiovisual/Phonos Foundation, Barcelona, Spain.

Recorded by Jose Lozano andAlexandra Gardner

Mixed by Alexandra Gardner

Mastered by Jody Elff

 

 

Special thanks to: Enrique Lop, Xelo Giner, Robert Armengol,Harry Sparnaay, Carlos Gil Ferrer, Barbara Held, Andrés Lewin-Richter, GabrielBrncic, Jose Lozano, Phonos Foundation, The Vassar College Rose Fellowship forthe Creative Arts, Annea Lockwood, the Gardner family, and Nike Carstarphen.