THE MUSIC OF ANN MILLIKAN FEATURING THE CALIFORNIA EAR UNIT
1. Trens Coloridos Para Gabriela (8:39)
2. Three Reflections (5:23)
3. Red Migration (7:37)
4. The Woodcarver & The Blacksmith (18:32)
5-7. Cantando Para A Onça (15:10)
I. Floresta (5:15)
II. Construindo (6:02)
III. Cavalo (3:53)
8. 221B Baker Street (5:08)
Total Duration (60:29)
California EAR Unit
Dorothy Stone, flute
Pat O'Keefe*, clarinet
Amy Knoles, percussion
Nicholas Terry*, percussion II
Vicki Ray, piano
Mark Menzies, violin
Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick, cello
Marc Lowenstein*, conductor
* guest artist
Publishing: All works by Ann Millikan, Sword Dance Publishing Co. (ASCAP), www.annmillikan.com
"Just as a certain smell from the kitchen can evoke a whole series of memories and sensations in an instant, music can be the aural trigger for a world of images and lasting impressions that go beyond just sound. The tangible sense of place and time that makes storytelling so captivating and alive in the moment, is what I experience during the process of composing and hope to have come across in my music. This element of immediacy informs all my work." Ann Millikan
1. TRENS COLORIDOS PARA GABRIELA (2000) 8:39
flute (piccolo, alto), clarinet (bass, water pot), percussion (drum set, roto-toms, metal bowls), piano (egg shaker, harmonica), violin (triangle), cello (bongos)
When I was 14 years old, my brother spent his first year in Brazil (where he has since lived most of his life), returning with a wealth of music and culture that made a deep impression on my development both as a musician and as a person. Having family in Brazil establishes a cultural and personal connection that is vital to my music. Trens Coloridos Para Gabriela, "Colored Trains for Gabriela," is dedicated to my niece Gabriela. The piece was originally inspired by the sonic experience of traveling on trains in Europe. One always hears the constant rhythm of the train moving over the tracks, but as it comes in and out of tunnels and passes different resonant surfaces, sudden changes in color and volume occur in the sound. This spirited and rhythmically driving composition incorporates these ideas, shifting between Bebop, layers of Brazilian and African rhythms, and even a couple of melodies reminiscent of Brazilian songwriter Milton Nascimento. Written for my second year in the EAR Unit Composer Residency in Arcosanti, Arizona, this piece requires unconventional doubling by the performers, including Vicki on harmonica (!) and one section where the entire ensemble plays percussion.
2. THREE REFLECTIONS (1999) 5:23
alto flute, bass clarinet, vibraphone, piano, violin, cello
Three Reflections is essentially a mini-violin concerto, written for my first year in the EAR Unit Composer Residency. The violin line (which is restricted to 10 pitches) contains all of the melodic and expressive material, while the rest of the ensemble creates a slow-moving texture and sound world surrounding it. The alto flute, bass clarinet and cello function as a trio, while the vibraphone and piano both act independently. This type of layering comes from the great influence Morton Feldman has had on my music. In 1990, I recorded Feldmans Rothko Chapel with the UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus (New Albion). This was a pivotal experience that drew me into contemporary classical composition, and a long-standing affinity with Feldman's music. In my last year at CalArts I requested an independent study with Stephen "Lucky" Mosko on the music of Morton Feldman. Lucky had worked personally with Feldman, conducting many of his pieces, and was a brilliant teacher. I eagerly pored over scores with him, especially For Samuel Beckett. I will never forget his generosity and the gift of these illuminating sessions. I would like to dedicate Three Reflections to the honor and memory of Lucky Mosko.
3. RED MIGRATION (2005) 7:37
flute (piccolo), clarinet, percussion I (tom-toms, crash cymbal, vibraphone), percussion II (sleigh bells), piano, violin, cello
Red Migration, tells the story of my sudden, disorienting, and ultimately joyous move to Minnesota (and my red studio) from California in 2004. The composition is sectional in nature, given this was the story of my move to MN. I wrote it with an intentionally linear course, beginning in one place, ending in another completely, while creating an evolution in the process, with specific points of connection both motivically and orchestrationally. From its explosive beginning (I had to pack quickly!), the piece travels through long melodic contours and rhythmic layering, to an ending that both soars off and arrives home at the same time.
4. THE WOODCARVER & THE BLACKSMITH (2005) 18:32
flute (piccolo, alto), clarinet (bass), percussion (crotales, vibraphone), piano, violin, cello
for the California EAR Unit
Underwritten by the American Composers Forum
with funds provided by the Jerome Foundation.
The Woodcarver & The Blacksmith features the cello and
flute as two distinct characters, functioning independently from each
other. The cello character is forceful and abrupt, rhythmic and
virtuosic. It can also be pensive and bittersweet, utilizing a modal
quality, and space. The flute character has different personalities
on the three instruments. The piccolo in its haunting lower range
with very regular rhythms, has an almost rigid quality. When played
on the alto, it evokes the breathy attack, and the melancholy and
longing quality of the Ney. When played on the C flute, it is
characterized by fluidity, with fleeting gestures and long angular
lines. The cello and flute characters, with their contrasting and
similar qualities, weave in and out of each other like two people in
a story simultaneously going through changes, but never meeting. The
orchestral texture is constantly shifting as well, at times driving
the energy forward, and other times creating stasis the
overall effect being layers of sound, developing on multiple levels
5-7. CANTANDO PARA A ONÇA (2005) 15:10
I. Floresta (Forest) 5:15
II. Construindo (Building) 6:02
III. Cavalo (Horse) 3:53
clarinet (bass) with prepared bass drum; percussion I (mini maracas, Brazilian shaker, wood blocks, bass drum, gong, tom-toms, marimba); percussion II (Brazilian shaker, clackers, thunder tube, water tam-tam, slit drums, triangle, agogos, wood block, vibraslap, congas, bass drum, vibraphone; piano
Cantando Para A Onça, "Singing for Jaguar," is a three-movement work that was written for my nephew Pedro, who is Brazilian, based on a story I also wrote for him. The composition evokes the story dramatically and situationally, but is not intended to accompany it. Ideally the story should be read aloud prior to hearing it.* I utilized over 20 different percussion instruments in the work, layering them in unique patterns and interplay between the two percussionists. The bass clarinet is also connected to a percussion instrument in the first movement, Floresta. I used a technique that I developed in a set of pieces called HOUSE OF MIRRORS, where resonators are created by stimulating various instruments with modified speakers and amplifiers. The result is a raucous booming sound when certain pitches are produced. As it relates to the story, this sound evokes the "loud, booming sounds" associated with the Green Anaconda. Cantando Para A Onça is a sonic adventure through the Amazon rain forest. Enjoy the ride! *Note: This is an enhanced CD. A PDF of the story can be found on the disc.
8. 221B BAKER STREET (2005) 5:08
flute (w/effects processor), clarinet (w/effects processor), drum set, keyboard synthesizer, violin (electric, w/effects processor), cello (electric, w/octave divider)
221B Baker Street, is a quirky jazz/rock detective story inspired by the brilliant Sherlock Holmes series portrayed by Jeremy Brett. Layered over a 5-against-4 groove and full of unexpected twists and turns, 221B Baker Street is just plain fun.
The California EAR Unit is a Los Angeles-based new music ensemble dedicated to the performance, promotion and creation of the exciting music of our time. Founded in 1981, the group has brought unparalleled versatility, virtuosity and dedication to its performances and is recognized today as one of America's finest contemporary chamber ensembles. www.earunit.org
Pat OKeefe (clarinet) www.zeitgeistnewmusic.org
Nicholas Terry (percussion II tracks 3, 5-7) www.nickterry.us
Marc Lowenstein (conductor) www.calarts.edu/schools/music/faculty/lowenstein.html
ANN MILLIKAN (b. 1963) composes concert music for orchestra, chamber ensembles and choir, as well as interdisciplinary projects involving theatre and dance. Rhythmic vitality is a powerful force in her music, stemming from years of playing jazz, African and Brazilian music. Her music is expressive and colorful, moving freely between atonal and tonal/modal languages depending upon the overall desired effect. She creates rich orchestral textures that are characterized by layering, rhythmic juxtaposition, and complex counterpoint. Millikan received her MFA in Composition from the California Institute of the Arts where her mentors were Mel Powell, Morton Subotnick, and Stephen L. Mosko, and her BA in MusicJazz Concentration (jazz piano, voice, composition) from San Jose State University. She has studied West African percussion from Ghana and Senegal, as well as many years of classical voice. Millikans works have been performed by the California EAR Unit, Citywinds, Grace Cathedral Men's Choir, New Century Players, Oregon Repertory Singers, Joan La Barbara, and Zeitgeist, among others. She has garnered awards from the California Arts Council, American Music Center, ASCAP, American Composers Forum, Meet The Composer, Jerome Foundation, Zellerbach Family Fund, Berkeley Civic Arts Program, and Waging Peace Through Singing (Highest Honors). MMC Recordings will release a CD of Millikan's orchestra works in 2008.
CREDITS & ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This album is the culmination of my relationship with the California EAR Unit over many years. From attending the EAR Unit Composer Residency in 1999 and 2000, to sharing an artistic residency at the Berkeley Art Center in 2001, and finally working on this album, these experiences and the artistry of the musicians have helped shape me as a composer. My heartfelt thanks to the EAR Unit, guest artists, engineers, funders, and especially my partner Brent Michael Davids, for making this project possible.
Producers: Ann Millikan and Brent Michael Davids
Executive Producer: Ann Millikan
Recording Engineers: Scott Fraser/Architecture (tracks 1, 3, 5-7, 8)
Wayne Peet/Killzone Music (tracks 2, 4)
Music Editing & Mastering: Brent Michael Davids, Blue Butterfly Theatre, Saint Paul, MN
CD Design: Ann Millikan and Brent Michael Davids
Photoshop & Photography: Brent Michael Davids
Sword Dance Publishing Co. Logo: Ann Millikan
All works recorded May 24, 25, 26, 2006 at ARCHITECTURE, Los Angeles, CA
Innova Director: Philip Blackburn
Operations Manager: Chris Campbell
Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.
This album is:
Supported by the Jerome Foundation in
celebration of the Jerome Hill Centennial
and in recognition of the valuable cultural
contributions of artists to society.
This project is supported in part through
subito, the quick advancement grant
program of the American Composers Forum.