Taking Control

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

More and more composers these days don't simply sit down to write notes on a page; sometimes music is only one of the many elements involved in conceiving a piece.

Composer Mary Ellen Childs takes matters into her own hands when constructing a composition, often taking on the role of stage director or choreographer in addition to composing music. Founding her own ensemble, CRASH, Childs experiments with adding visual imagery and movement in her music, adding an extra dimension to her already kinetic, captivating concept of sound and color. Using anything from clapping games to baseball coaching signals to things that roll, Childs proves she can channel inspiration from almost any source, and knows how to take control of the chaos.

This week, we're listening to Mary Ellen Child's Hocket, performed by the thrilling string quartet ETHEL. Also, composers performing a bit of their own music, including Mark O'Conner and Gavin Bryars.


Seven Partsongs, Op. 17: Nightengales
Gerald Finzi
Paul Spicer, conductor
The Finzi Singers
Chandos 8936

Steal Away
Traditional/Valerie Coleman
Imani Winds
Koch 7599

Mary Ellen Childs
Innova 672

Music on the Floor
Michael Torke
Lothar Zagrosek, conductor
London Sinfonietta
Argo 443528

St. Louis Blues
W. C. Handy
Louis Armstrong, trumpet
Decca Jazz 4-613

David Baker
Anne Akiko Meyers, violin
Andre-Michel Schub, piano
RCA 68114

The South Downs
Gavin Bryars
Sophie Harris, cello
Gavin Bryars, piano
Point 456514

Suite for Cello and Harp
Lou Harrison
Nina Flyer, cello
Dan Levitan, harp
Koch 7465

Apres un reve, Op. 7/1
Gabriel Faure
Renee Fleming, soprano
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
London/Decca 467697

Viola da Gamba Sonata in D Major
George Phillip Telemann
Lorenz Duftschmid, conductor
Lorenz Duftschmid, viol
Armonico Tributo Austria
Arcana 42

Johnny Appleseed Suite
Mark O'Connor
Marin Alsop, conductor
Mark O'Connor, violin
John Jarvis, piano
Bryan Sutton, mandolin
Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Omac Records 08

Mary Ellen Childs
Innova 672

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