The Basketweave Elegies   CB0066

The music

The Basketweave Elegies is in nine movements:

    1.  Very quiet, still  
    2. Bright, clear
    3. Very quiet, still
    4. Bright, clear
    5. Lyric, expressive
    6. Vigorous, declamatory
    7. Peaceful, radiant
    8. Bold, emphatic
    9. Lyrical, tranquil

Garland writes about the work​:

“The title was originally conceived as a homage to the late artist Ruth Asawa (1926–2013), famous for, among other things, her woven wire sculptures. Also, anyone who knows me knows of my lifelong interest in basketry (and my collection!). My admiration for basketry and basket makers also extends to a kind of traditional lifestyle and art practice, one that is often rural, attuned to the natural world and the seasons, and lived at a slower pace than the urban-art-world-oriented modern artist (or composer). What difference is there between art and craft? There is some, I suppose, but what unites them both is the idea of doing something well. I want to write music that is well-made, sturdy, useful, and beautiful—like a basket—its beauty resulting from those first three qualities. . . . Formally I got an idea from the medieval poetic-musical form the rondeau. The work is in nine sections or movements. There are four declamatory “core” movements—sections 2, 4, 6, and 8—which are preceded and followed by lyric ‘refrains’—sections 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. Of course, this being the 21st century and not the 12th, I do not follow the rondeau form in any literal fashion. . . . It is very gratifying to me to have William Winant as the performer on this recording. We have been close friends and collaborators for over 50 years, and he has been a preeminent interpreter of my music. He was featured on two of my first CDs, 30 years ago, and it feels like we have now come full circle with this. Thank you, Willie.”

 The composer

Peter Garland is a composer, world traveler, musicologist, writer, and former publisher (Soundings Press) whose music is informed by his well-traveled ear and strong sense of personal vision. He studied with Harold Budd and James Tenney and maintained long friendships with Lou Harrison, Conlon Nancarrow, Paul Bowles, and Dane Rudhyar. As a musicologist, he has focused on Native American, Mexican, and Southwestern American musics and 20th-century experimental composers of the Americas, championing the work of  Revueltas, Partch, and Nancarrow long before their music became fashionable and regularly programmed.

Since the early 1970s, Garland’s music has been marked by a return to a “radical consonance” and simplification of formal structure influenced by Cage, Harrison, early minimalism, and a great variety of world musics. His unique and highly engaging pieces have been played around the world by such noted performers as William Winant; pianists Aki Takahashi, Herbert Henck, and Sarah Cahill; accordionist Guy Klucevsek; and the Kronos Quartet and released on the Cold Blue, Tzadik, New Albion, Mode, Avant, Toshiba-EMI/Angel, New World, and other labels. Garland’s music has appeared on eight previous Cold Blue CDs, which include Moon Viewing Music (Inscrutable Stillness Studies #1) (CB0052), Three Dawns & Bush Radio Calling (CB0059), After the Wars (CB0044), and String Quartets (CB0031), as well as on four of the label’s anthologies (CB0036, CB0014, CB0008, and CB0005).

“Garland’s music seems to be about the sheer expressive power of sound itself. . . . I feel he is one of our true originals.” —Robert Carl, Fanfare magazine

“Ever his own man, Garland has moved beyond a strictly minimalist phase of evolving melodic and rhythmic patterns into a hybrid sphere of many influences from the panorama of world music, suggestive of such composers as Conlon Nancarrow and Lou Harrison.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“[Garland] is an avatar of an experimental American tradition . . . a composer of mesmerizing music; and in many ways, the musical conscience of my generation.”—Kyle Gann, Chamber Music magazine 

The performer

William Winant, declared “the avant-elite’s go-to percussionist” by SPIN magazine, is a Grammy-nominated new-music champion who has appeared on more than 200 recordings. Among his recent recording appearances are on Roscoe Mitchell’s Bells for the South Side and Discussions, Joan Jeanrenaud’s Visual Music, Fred Frith’s Field Days (The Amanda Loops), John Zorn’s Malkhut and Fragmentations, Prayers and Interjections, the collaboratively composed (with Wadada Leo Smith, Henry Kaiser, and Tania Chen) Ocean of Storms, John Cage’s The Ten Thousand Things, and Alvin Curran’s Shofar Rags.

Winant has worked with and collaborated with some of the most innovative and creative musicians of our time, including John Cage, John Zorn, Alvin Lucier, Iannis Xenakis, Pierre Boulez, Frank Zappa, Keith Jarrett, Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Anthony Braxton, Fred Frith, James Tenney, Terry Riley, Cecil Taylor, Gerry Hemingway, Mark Dresser, Barry Guy, Marilyn Crispell, George Lewis, Steve Reich, Nexus, Peter Garland, David Rosenboom, Michael Byron, Jean-Philippe Collard, Frederic Rzewski, Ursula Oppens, Joan La Barbara, Annea Lockwood, Danny Elfman, Oingo Boingo, Sonic Youth, Marc Ribot, Keith Rowe, Joey Barron, Bill Frisell, Yo-Yo Ma, Rova Saxophone Quartet, Lawrence “Butch” Morris, Henry Kaiser, and the Kronos String Quartet. For many years he worked closely with composer Lou Harrison, premiering and recording many of his works.

Winant is principal percussionist with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and the William Winant Percussion Group and has been featured as a guest artist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (under the direction of Pierre Boulez), the San Francisco Symphony, and the Berkeley Symphony (Kent Nagano, director), as well as at the Cabrillo Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the SFJazz Festival, Central Park SummerStage, the Ravinia Festival, the Salzburg Festival, the Donaueschingen Festival, the Victoriaville Festival, the Holland Festival, the Edinburgh Festival, the Ojai Festival, the Sonar Festival, All Tomorrow’s Parties, the Taktlos Festival, the Other Minds Festival, the Meltdown Festival, Lincoln Center, the Royal Festival Hall, the Library of Congress, the Barbican, the Kennedy Center, the Paris Opera, Disney Hall, the Miller Theater’s Composer Portraits Series, Merkin Hall, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. (www.williamwinant.com)

 

“Winant is a dazzling virtuoso but also a catalytic presence in adventurous music, a percussive dynamo generating rhythms, colours and textures that blaze life into visionary scores.”—Julian Cowley, The Wire magazine

“[Winant is] . . . one of the most wide-ranging musicians in North America . . . making a cumulative point about open-field maverick tendencies in the music of this country, whether it involves notes-on-paper composers, noise generators, rock improvisers, jazz-tradition players or whatever.”—Ben Ratliff, The New York Times

“William Winant is simply the best percussionist working today. . . . . Whichever piece it is, he is not afraid to make it come alive.”—Kim Gordon

“William Winant always plays his ass off!”—John Zorn

“Willie is very much responsible for my lifelong infatuation with percussion and remains to this day a true inspiration to me.”—Danny Elfman

“One of the great contemporary percussionists . . . San Francisco’s William Winant.”—San Francisco Chronicle

Reviews