Robert Honstein's Email Songs

A Live Video Performance from The Greene Space at WQXR

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Friday, December 16, 2011

'Is it Auburn?' and 'Just please let me know and that's all I ask from you' are part of a larger set of works I'm calling Email Songs. The pieces in Email Songs take their cue from a collection of over 100 emails a friend of mine received in error. The emails had been sent to a man with the same name as my friend and contained a meticulous record of every communication this person had sent or received within a popular dating site. 

Each Email Song is a short instrumental work whose title is a line from these emails. The two pieces recorded at The Greene Space - 'Just please let me know and that's all I ask from you' and 'Is it Auburn?' - are the first lines of two separate emails. In fact Is it Auburn? is actually an entire email.

Aside from the fact the pieces use piano, I included them on Sleeping Giant's residency on Hammered! because many of the musical ideas grew directly out of the piano writing. In the first piece, 'Just please let me know and that's all I ask from you,' the piano is the rhythmic and harmonic back bone for the ensemble, maintaining a relentless pulse while also driving the work's harmonic motion. In the second piece, 'Is it Auburn?,' the music emerged out of the special resonant and percussive qualities of the piano's upper register. The string harmonics and glockenspiel live inside the shimmering resonance of the high piano notes, creating a swirl of reverberant attacks and lingering overtones. 

I play piano and I initially wrote 'Is it Auburn?for myself to play with a group of Canadian musicians called The Correction Line Ensemble. I've been fortunate enough to also have some local musicians play the pieces. Tema, Mariel, Owen and Karl deliver a thrilling interpretation and I'm so happy we can share this video of their performances with you.

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