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 Three: "Portal" | by Bruce Brubaker
This week the piano is a “Portal.” Not the video game, but this “Portal” does include teleporting of a sort. Music lets us travel through time and space in many ways, by allowing us to hear in many different ways.
Composer Karlheinz Stockhausen said that some music allows us to “empathize with the temporal and spatial experiences of other living beings which live faster or slower, narrower or wider than the human being [insects, fish, birds, plants, trees, clouds] …”
The piano always has been a virtual instrument, able to mimic other instruments and even assume multiple musical personalities. The piano and pianists are always morphing into something else. For a moment the pianist’s a rock drummer, then an Italian coloratura soprano, country dancer, violin virtuoso, banjo picker, or a whole band, or gospel quartet.
Early keyboard music was all based on specific vocal pieces. But, this week, we’re not really talking about imitating voices or violins. Some keyboard music is a window, an opening through which the listener passes to distant realms, other ways of being, or altered states of consciousness …
Are we also considering program music, wordless music that tells stories? Maybe.
We hear part of Terry Riley’s The Harp of New Albion, Richard Beaudoin’s Black Wires, Alvin Curran’s piano-marathon Hope Street Tunnel Blues III, and James MacMillan’s piano concerto “The Berserking,” initially inspired by group hysteria MacMillan witnessed at a soccer game.
Exclusive Q2 Video: John Cage's A Room, performed by Bruce Brubaker