Few pianists have proven themselves to be more programmatically inventive and musically provocative than this month's Hammered! pianist-in-residence, Bruce Brubaker. Open your ears all June for a month's worth of programs specially curated for Q2 by one of today's most intriguing contemporary artists.
In each of Brubaker's four week-long programs, the distinguished concert pianist, New England Conservatory faculty member and new music Jedi examines a series of endlessly fascinating themes and offers 1,200 minutes of music that is almost entirely new to Q2.
Each week will include a hosted Monday show and program note from Brubaker, and we'll also offer exclusive music videos recorded live by Brubaker of works by Philip Glass and John Cage.
Tune in all month for what promises to be an illuminating, sometimes quirky and altogether fascinating dive into the curatorial mind of Bruce Brubaker.
Week Two: "Drone" | by Bruce Brubaker
A drone could be a bee in a hive, or a missile! Or drones can be long held tones in music, giving it grounding—giving it a steady context against which change occurs. Part of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony has a drone in it, and so does the long beginning of Richard Wagner’s epic Das Rheingold.
There are drones in folk music, in a lot of folk music, and in Sonic Youth. There’s dronescape and dronology. Instruments like the bagpipes, hurdy-gurdy, or sitar are built to produce drones all the time they’re being played.
So what’s so appealing about drones? Composer Nico Muhly says that when he was a kid and heard the steady hum of the vacuum cleaner he liked to sing along!
On Hammered! this week, we “Drone.” We hear real drones in piano music by William Duckworth and Nico Muhly, and more figurative drones too. There’s a new recording of Tom Johnson’s An Hour for Piano, and iconic intonations from La Monte Young—from his Well-Tuned Piano, once but no longer deemed by the Guinness Book of World Records to be the longest piece of piano music.
Exclusive Q2 Video: John Cage's TV Köln, performed by Bruce Brubaker