Robert van Sice, marimba I; Kunihiko Komori, marimba II; Izumi Sinfonietta Osaka, Norichika Iimori, conductor; Taimur Sullivan, saxophones; Maya Beiser, cello; Steve Schick, percussion; Povera Players: Lisa Moore, solo piano; Meighan Stoops, bass clarinet; John Ferrari, drum set; Jason Treuting, vibraphone; Marija Ilic, keyboard; Mark Stewart, guitar; Jeanine Wynton, violin; Patti Monson, flute; Jo-Ann Sternberg, clarinet; Lisa Moore, piano; Timothy Fain, violin; Marka Gustavsson, viola; Ole Akahoshi, cello; Ransom Wilson, conductor
Martin Bresnick (b. 1946) has long been an influential teacher of music composition at Yale but over the past few years he has begun to receive recognition as an important composer in his own right. On the occasion of Bresnick's receiving the first Ives Living Award, John Harbison averred, "His music is formally clear, and it has a combination of a direct expressivity and a rigorous method, as well as a real sense of sonic immediacy." His versatility and ecumenical approach to the materials of his art are evident throughout this program of several of his most recent compositions.
Bresnick's music aims to calmly convince rather than to incite. Mostly scored for various-sized chamber ensembles, his most public, large-scale works are conspicuously unflamboyant. What is striking is not the surface but rather the underlying architecture that supports it-invariably a faultless model of compositional craft, of palindromes and pitch rotations, inversional symmetries-of governing logic recapitulated on all structural levels, of minutely planned proportions unfolding across a rich and varied temporal canvas.
Bresnick's consummate professionalism results from an intimate familiarity and intense study of five centuries of musical literature as well as an apprenticeship with the uncompromising modernist GyÃ¶rgy Ligeti, whose works are similar tours de force of elegance and refinement. It is this legacy that his compositional work celebrates and which he has transmitted to his many students. As Bresnick's artistic identity has come into sharper focus, his position as a Janus, simultaneously looking back from modernist rigor and ahead to post-modern eclecticism has become increasingly evident.
My Twentieth Century (2002), Grace (2000), Tent of Miracles (1984), Songs of the Mouse People (1999), Fantasia on a Theme by Willie Dixon (2001)