Is the appropriation of the past (as material for a new work) any less creative than all-new material? Historically, the answer is no. Since the dawn of western music, composers have built on the generations before them, from the earliest mass composers using existing chant, through Beethoven composing variations on Mozart, all the way to Steve Reich using Radiohead songs. Today's show explores this concept, and specifically what happens when composers IMPROVISE on existing material.
Just as jazz musicians use a lead sheet, these composers use music from the classical canon as their own lead sheets. We'll hear music by Gabriela Montero in which she improvises on Handel's Water Music, Uri Caine's inimitable rendition of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations, Fred Hersch and his jazzed-out versions of Ravel and Fauré, as well as selections from Michael Bates and Ted Hearne's band R We Who R We. Are these improvisations improve-isations? Only you can say!