Barbara Monk Feldman and Eighth Blackbird

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This week on The New Canon, we hear premiere recordings of works by Barbara Monk Feldman, as well as a new album by the Chicago-based Eighth Blackbird.

Canadian composer Barbara Monk Feldman strives to depict the beauty of the places she's been, but not in a literal sense. Both The Northern Shore and In the Small Time of a Desert Flower are inspired by powerful images from her travels, including everything from "the intensity of the light on the water" of the St. Lawrence river to a lonely flower surviving the harsh climate of the Chaco Canyon of New Mexico. She takes care to point out, however, that these are not programmatic works. Rather than attempting to portray the specific visual intrigue of any of these locations, her goal is to capture the unspeakable: the feeling of being in these breath-taking natural settings. 

Our album of the week also aims to take you on a journey, this time into an unfamiliar home. Eighth Blackbird's album Meanwhile features an eclectic selection of pieces inspired by everything from a children's game (Thomas Adès' Catch) to mysterious and unnamed pain (Roshanne Etezady's Damaged Goods). The ensemble invites you to treat their playlist as a walk through a home you've never visited, with each door leading to something unexpected and wonderful.