In Two Worlds
Susan Fancher, soprano, alto and tenor saxophones
In Two Worlds (1987/2007) Morton Subotnick (b. 1933)
alone-rushing-celebration-cadenza-alone-combat dance duration: 18:41
Jovian Images (2008) Reginald Bain (b. 1963)
SaxMax (2006) Mark Engebretson (b. 1964)
Corail (2001) Edmund Campion (b. 1957)
Penelope’s Song (2004/2007) Judith Shatin (b. 1949)
Slammed (2006) James Paul Sain (b. 1959)
Aeterna (1996) John Anthony Lennon (b. 1950)
Total duration: 6:11
Total duration: 68:58
This recording presents seven pieces from the large repertoire of Electroacoustic music I’ve performed over the past 10 years. The electronics range from simple techniques like the echo effect of John Anthony Lennon’s gorgeous Aeterna, to the complex programming required for the title track, Morton Subotnick’s In Two Worlds. I hope you will find In Two Worlds to be a journey through sumptuous sounds, calm reflection and powerful emotion. –Susan Fancher
Susan Fancher’s tireless and passionate search for a personal repertoire of colorful, lyrical and compelling compositions has produced dozens of commissioned works, as well as published transcriptions of music by composers as diverse as Josquin Desprez, Ben Johnston and Steve Reich. A much sought-after performer of new music, she has worked with a multitude of composers and has performed in many of the world’s leading concert venues and contemporary music festivals. Susan Fancher is an artist for the Vandoren and Selmer companies. She teaches saxophone at Duke University and the Hartwick College Summer Music Festival.
Susan Fancher plays on a Selmer Serie III soprano saxophone with Vandoren Optimum SL3 mouthpiece, Optimum ligature and Vandoren Traditional reeds strength 3, a Selmer Serie II alto saxophone with Vandoren Optimum AL3 mouthpiece, Optimum ligature and Vandoren Traditional reeds strength 3, and a Selmer Serie II tenor saxophone with Vandoren Optimum TL3 mouthpiece, Vandoren masters ligature, Vandoren Traditional reeds strength 3.
Morton Subotnick was recognized as "the first sonic virtuoso" by Newsweek magazine. Working with electronic sounds since 1959, Subotnick has proven to be an international leader and pioneer in new music technology with a special interest in exploring relationships between conventional and electronic or synthesized sounds. The title In Two Worlds refers both to the duality of the media (computer and traditional instrument) and to the musical materials. Subotnick's aim with the electronics was to find a way to blend the live performer with the technology, with the technology responding to the performer. It was originally composed for performance using the interactive computer program "Interactor," which was co-created by Morton Subotnick and Mark Coniglio in 1986, running on the Apple Macintosh platform (circa 1986 - 1991). The software was discontinued in the mid-90’s making performances of the piece nearly impossible for the past decade. In 2007, with the consent of the composer, Jeff Heisler and Mark Bunce created a new version of the work using the interactive computer software Max/MSP. The Max/MSP patch for In Two Worlds was designed to re-create, as closely as possible, the exact perimeters of the 1989 solo saxophone version and make this valuable piece of saxophone literature performable again.
Reginald Bain teaches composition, theory, and computer music at the University of South Carolina. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and the University of Notre Dame where he studied music, mathematics and computer science. Jovian Images, improvisatory frameworks for soprano saxophone and electronic sound, was written for saxophonist Susan Fancher. It was inspired by "sounds of the Jovian planets," that is to say, sounds created from data that has been collected from space probes. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are known collectively as the Jovian planets. Unlike the terrestrial planets Earth, Mercury, Venus, and Mars, which are composed mostly of solid matter, these gas giants lack a well-defined solid surface and have atmospheres that are primarily composed of swirling bands of gasses and liquids. – Reginald Bain
Mark Engebretson teaches composition and electronic music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is a recipient of commissions from the Fromm Foundation, and Thomas S. Kenan Center for the Arts. His music is founded on contemporary notions of performer/composer virtuosity, interactivity, melody, harmony and expressivity. SaxMax creates interactive situations on many different levels for the saxophonist and computer operator. The computer operator and the computer “listen” to the performance of the saxophone player and respond, while the saxophonist listens to the electronics and responds. The piece contains seriously “munged” hommages to musicians such as Michael Brecker, Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley. It was composed for Susan Fancher and James Romain and is performable on soprano or alto saxophone. – Mark Engebretson
Edmund Campion is Professor of Music at the University of California, Berkeley where he also serves as Co-Director of the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies. He has been the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Rome Prize and the Nadia Boulanger Award. Corail (Coral) is an interactive computer music environment for tenor saxophone. The program runs on a Macintosh computer using Max/MSP. Corail attempts a sonic analog to the contention that only when human culture moves within an ecological niche can it relate appropriately with all the fields of forces of nature, something of which it is inextricably a part. Just as we can move freely within our own environment, the saxophonist moves within her own sound world—one from which she is constantly drawing inspiration and upon which she interacts. From the sonic well of the live saxophone, the computer extracts fine details of pitch, dynamics, durations and silences using the composer’s special grammar and syntax to transform the data into an oceanic flow. The musician is constrained and guided by the conditions of the environment. Each musician is charged with finding his/her own voice within the work. Improvisation is an important element of the piece, but the sonic identity of Corail will always be present because the compositional constraints are designed into the programming. The piece is dedicated to John Campion. – Edmund Campion
Judith Shatin is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor and Director of the Virginia Center for Computer Music, which she founded at the University of Virginia. She is a sonic explorer whose music spans chamber, choral, dance, Electroacoustic, multimedia and orchestral genres. Her music has been called “highly inventive... on every level; hugely enjoyable and deeply involving (Washington Post). Penelope’s Song is a tribute to Penelope, Queen of Ithaca and wife of Odysseus. It was inspired by Homer’s epic, the Odyssey, but reflects Penelope’s point of view. The piece sings of Penelope’s adventures as she worked to stave off various suitors during her husband’s twenty-year absence. In one, she said she would take no suitor until she finished weaving a shroud for her husband’s aged father. But since she unraveled at night what she wove by day, she made no progress. The electronics were created from a recording of a local weaver working on wooden looms. This version, for soprano saxophone, was commissioned by and is dedicated to Susan Fancher. – Judith Shatin
"It's about innovation and a commitment to craft - for music composition to last beyond a lifetime it must have a uniquely eternal quality." Known for his work in alternative controllers for music performance and as the founder of the internationally acclaimed Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival, James Paul Sain's compositional oeuvre spans major acoustic ensembles, instrumental and vocal soloists, and embraces Electroacoustic music. His works have been performed throughout Asia, Europe, South America and North America. Slammed – the one word title of the work can be used in many contexts such as “gee…I’m slammed,” or “do you want to get slammed?” Slammed in these contexts can have any number of meanings. This work is meant to convey a sense of “slammedness” arriving at the point of psychosis. Though, this might only be the plight of a delusional composer and his personal hypnopompic hallucinations related to the melodic third. Thanks to Ron Parks for his spectral accumulation and evaporation MSP algorithm. Slammed was written for saxophone virtuoso Susan Fancher. – James Paul Sain
A professor of composition at Emory University, John Anthony Lennon resides in Atlanta. In addition to the Rome Prize, Guggenheim, Friedheim, DAAD and Charles Ives Prize from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, Lennon has been the recipient of numerous awards and has held fellowships at Tanglewood, Yaddo, McDowell, the Bogliasco Foundation and the Rockefeller Center at Bellagio. This version of Aeterna uses an electronic echo to create an aura of imitated sounds. Using alternating fingerings, the piece unfolds through its material coloristically. There is a sense the piece is an excerpt of unfoldings that could continue indefinitely. – John Anthony Lennon
Thanks to the North Carolina Arts Council and the partnering arts councils of the Central Piedmont Regional Artists Hub Program for their support of this recording.
Thanks to Dean John Deal of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s School of Music for providing use of the Recital Hall and the Organ Hall.
Thanks to these seven gifted composers for so generously collaborating on this project and for the stunning music they have created.
Thanks, especially, to Mark Engebretson, my partner in things both musical and metaphysical, for his work on this project as engineer, editor and co-producer.
Co-produced by Mark Engebretson and Susan Fancher.
In Two Worlds: recorded by Mark Engebretson. Approved by Morton Subotnick.
Jovian Images: recorded by Mark Engebretson and Reginald Bain.
SaxMax: recorded by Mark Engebretson.
Corail: recorded by Mark Engebretson, computer realization by Edmund Campion.
Penelope’s Song: recorded by Mark Engebretson. Approved by Judith Shatin.
Slammed: recorded by James Paul Sain.
Aeterna: recorded by Mark Engebretson and John Anthony Lennon.
Photos of Susan Fancher by Stacey Haines.
Photos of the Jovian Planets courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.