DOUBLE FEATURE OF MUSICAL FIRSTS AT PEAK PERFORMANCES
MICHAEL GORDONS ‘RUSHES,’ A WORK FOR SEVEN BASSOONS
PREMIERES MARCH 29, 8PM
DAVID DEL TREDICI’S ‘BULLYCIDE’ PREMIERES MARCH 30, 3PM
Two works, each unique in its individual power––Michael Gordon’s “Rushes,” created for seven bassoons, and David Del Tredici’s “Bullycide,” written to commemorate the suicides of young people taunted by bullies for being gay––will receive their local premieres at the Alexander KasserTheater: “Rushes” on March 29 at 8pm , and “Bullycide, ” performed by the Shanghai Quartet on March 30 at 3pm. Both concerts are presented by Peak Performances.
When Bang on a Can composer Michael Gordon was asked to write a piece of music for the bassoon, he hesitated, then asked the potential commissioner to send him all the music that had been written in the 20th century for the instrument. Five pages arrived.
Gordon took up the challenge and created “Rushes,” a work for seven bassoons. His self-imposed challenge was to “create a beautiful landscape” through sound that would be at once dense, propulsive, rhythmic and visceral. The music’s title “Rushes,” refers to the double reeds that the players blow through and the rush of euphoria Gordon hopes to elicit in audiences.
Del Tredici’s mission is “to create a body of musical compositions that unambiguously celebrates the gay experience — happy, sad, horrible or bizarre.” “Bullycide” is inspired by the “horrible.” Like most, Del Tredici was horrified by news stories of gay people bullied by their peers until they feel so cornered that the only alternative is to take their own lives. The composer’s response is a deeply moving composition in two movements that honors the deaths of five of the victims, including Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi. In addition to the Shanghai musicians, “Bullycide,” which was commissioned in part by Peak Performances, includes guest artists Da Xun on contrabass and Orion Weiss on piano.
On a more traditional note: The Shanghai program also includes Franz Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in D Minor (“Quinten”), op. 76, no. 2 and Giuseppe Verdi’s String Quartet in E Minor.