Listen: Nadia Sirota Premieres Dennehy’s ‘Tessellatum’ for Solo Viola and Viol Consort

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Thursday, March 03, 2016

Composer Donnacha Dennehy Composer Donnacha Dennehy (This Journal of Music)

On Friday, Feb. 5 we heard the world premiere of pioneering composer Donnacha Dennehy's Tessellatum with a live audio stream from Symphony Space's Peter Jay Sharp Theatre. Originally comprised of 11 viols and 4 violas, the 40-minute Tessellatum was performed in a special arrangement with Nadia Sirota on solo viola and a four-member viol consort, led by Liam Byrne, former member of the renowned viol consort Fretwork. Sirota and Byrne pre-recorded the backing track of the additional parts.

The final event of Nadia Sirota's Fuse Project residency at Symphony Space, the show opens with selections by composers from Iceland's Bedroom Community record label, including co-founders Nico Muhly and Valgeir Sigurðsson, and performances from Sirota and Byrne.

Nadia Sirota writes ;"All of the sounds in [Tessellatum] are acoustic, and yet, because Donnacha likes to slip back and forth between equal temperament and 'just' intonation, which uses the harmonic series to build up timbre and harp on resonance, the piece feels almost electronic. These moments of slipping in and 'out-of-tune' effectively un-moor the ear. By the end of the work, the harmonic tunings feel second nature, even more perfect than the equal tempered bits."

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Nico Muhly - Drones & Piano 1

Valgeir Sigurðsson - Crumbling/Gone Not Forgotten

Nico Muhly - Étude 3

Valgeir Sigurðsson - Anchor che col partire (Madrigale)

Nico Muhly - Skip Town

Nico Muhly - Drones & Viola de Gamba, Viola and Piano

Donnacha Dennehy - Tesselatum

Nadia Sirota, viola; Nico Muhly, piano & electronics; Liam Byrne, viol; Doug Balliet, viol; Loren Ludwig, viol; Zoe Weiss, viol

engineers: Edward Haber (technical director), Duke Markos (music mix), George Wellington

Violist Nadia Sirota is the host of Q2 Music's Meet the Composer podcast, which just concluded its second season.


Brad Balliett, Nico Muhly and Nadia Sirota

Hosted by:

Phil Kline

Comments [1]


Are there any plans to make the recording of this broadcast available? If not, will a recording of Tessellatum be made available for purchase soon?

Feb. 29 2016 09:06 PM

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