Pieces for People

Pieces for People

Musical relationships and sonic connections
Paula Matthusen
Terri Hron
James Moore
Mantra Percussion
Jamie Jordan
Kathleen Supove
Yvonne Troxler
Molly Shaiken
Tiit Helimets
Abi Basch
Wil Smith
orkest de ereprijs
Wim Boerman
Todd Reynolds
Catalog Number: 
new classical
music for dance

Middletown, CT

Release Date: 
Oct 30, 2015
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
Matthusen: Pieces for PeopleiTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.Sparrows in Supermarkets06:15$0.99
3.The Days Are Nouns06:33$0.99
4.AEG: III. —05:26$0.99
5.AEG: IV. —03:44$0.99
6.Of Architecture and Accumulation12:27
8.In Absentia04:31$0.99
One Sheet: 

Although there’s something romantic about the notion of the composer slaving away in the isolated attic, accompanied only by her muse and the flickering light of a waning candle, the truth is that collaboration drives creativity, and composer Paula Matthusen’s Pieces for People celebrates that process.

Reflecting a decade’s worth of work with friends and ensembles whom Matthusen admires, the record places performers inside of electronic soundworlds: album opener “sparrows in supermarkets” takes its inspiration from a family of sparrows in a local grocery store, with Terrie Hron’s recorder conversing with drones and repetitive textures; album closer “in absentia” harnesses the talents of violinist Todd Reynolds and pianist Yvonne Troxler to explore ideas about memory through repetition and erasure alongside a bed of miniature electronics. In between we hear works featuring banjo (James Moore), organ (Wil Smith), and larger ensembles (Mantra Percussion and orkest de ereprijs) that seem to explore friendships as much as soundworlds.

Expansive and atmospheric, but also melodic and thematic, Pieces for People finds humanity in collaboration and explores the construction of a community through its processes.

Paula Matthusen is a composer who writes both electroacoustic and acoustic music and realizes sound installations. Awards include the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Fulbright Grant, two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards, and recently the 2014 Elliott Carter Rome Prize. Matthusen is currently Assistant Professor of Music at Wesleyan University, where she teaches experimental music, composition, and music technology.


Best Recordings of 2015 -- Alex Ross

By combining an instrument or two with ingenious electronic processing, composer Paula Matthusen creates incantatory sonic landscapes that are varied, mysterious and often ravishingly beautiful. There are eight pieces on this wonderful new release, and what’s striking about them is how uniquely each one draws on its particular sonic toolbox while still maintaining a distinctive personal style. Matthusen opens with a delicately avian study for recorder (“Sparrows in Supermarkets”) and a twangy but subdued piece for banjo (“Limerence”), then runs through a number of other spare but richly shaded palettes. In each, the electronics contribute just enough highlighting — a punchy rhythmic reworking here, an extended chordal drone there — to complement the acoustic instruments without drowning them in high-tech fussiness. And Matthusen’s harmonic language, steeped in a gentle but deftly charged tonality, gives it all an inviting air of breathiness. “Of Architecture and Accumulation,” a slow, expansive study for organist Wil Smith, acts as a lengthy counterweight to the short-breathed scale of some of the other pieces; the brief final “In Absentia” can almost break your heart. [FULL ARTICLE]
Joshua Kosman