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Associate Professor Jorge Grossmann (School of Music) releases portrait album on Kairos label

Contributed by Kitty Whalen on 05/20/20 

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Jorge Villavicencio Grossmann’s new monographic album From Afar features performances of his original compositions by internationally-acclaimed performers.

 

Jorge Villavicencio Grossmann’s new monographic album From Afar features performances of his original compositions by internationally-acclaimed performers: pianist Anna D’Errico, the Talea Ensemble, Mivos Quartet and violist (and IC faculty) Kyle Armbrust. Two IC alumni and a current student also participated in the recording: Joshua Oxford (B.M. ’07, M.M. ’18) realized the electronics in Ludi Mutatio; Chris Chen (B.M. ’21) engineered the recording session for Partita; and Emmanuel Berrido (M.M. ’18) participated as recording engineer/editor/producer for two additional works on the album. Prof. Peter Silberman, associate professor of music theory, wrote the liner notes.

The most recent work on the album is Partita for solo viola that Grossmann wrote for Kyle Armbrust, assistant professor in Performance Studies. Armbrust and Grossmann worked together initially on the first movement of the work, “Toccata,” which, according to Prof. Silberman, “is typical of its name, as it is a virtuosic tour de force requiring speed and agility from the performer, who must navigate lengthy rapid passages, large leaps, and double and triple stops in a perpetuum mobile context relieved by only occasional pauses.” Grossmann intensely revised the movement after Armbrust’s “preview” performance of this first movement in the spring of 2019. From that moment on, Grossmann felt that the piece had become a real collaboration. Second and third movements followed suit and, although comparably virtuosic and technically demanding to the first, they became heavily informed by Armbrust’s personality and philosophy as performer. The third movement, “Troped Passacaglia,” Silberman writes, “employs a repeated bass line that is varied upon each of its reappearances and recalls, at least in technique, Bach’s celebrated “Chaconne” from his d minor Partita for solo violin, also a last movement.  (“Passacaglia” and “chaconne” are interchangeable names for a work based on a repeated bass line.)  In addition to being repeated and varied, the bass line also is “troped” - split into pieces with new material inserted – which suggested this movement’s title.  The troped material usually is set apart from the bass by a change of tone color, for instance sul ponticello contrasting with the bass’s ordinario.  As the movement progresses the troped material lengthens and transforms the bass line until it is virtually unrecognizable.  The bass line reappears in almost its original form seemingly unscathed near the end, but the concluding ghostly coda, marked misterioso, combines the bass with the troped material’s sul ponticello and tremolos, melding the two opposing parts into one.” 

 

The Vienna-based label Kairos, founded in 1999 by Barbara Fränzen and Peter Oswald, is dedicated to the release of exclusively new music. Kairos’s philosophy considers “new Music as a seismograph of differing societal perspectives and the various facets of the complex reality of our lives.” Kairos has featured  performers such as Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Recherche, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Arditti String Quartet, Nicolas Hodges, Ernesto Molinari, among others, as well as recordings of the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, RSO Vienna, SWR Orchestra, WDR Orchestra, etc.

 

Hear the album on Spotify.

 

More about Jorge Grossmann: www.shadowofthevoices.com

 

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