In Wolff’s music, one might say that the implied history of each piece, the fact of its composition, its notation, its interpretation and performance, is elevated to the point where it is not just present, but it is, in fact, how the piece is experienced. Every sound is a reminder of its own origin.
On paper, the June 17 concert presented by the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice, part of the institute’s annual week of new music training, festivities, and shenanigans, made some piece-to-piece local connections but seemed more miscellaneous on a global scale. In performance, though, a theme kept peeking around the edges.
Neil Young Cloaca is an irrepressible showman. Bromp Treb is an opportunity for him to apply that carnival-barker enthusiasm to a table full of mismatched gear. Cloaca circled the table, triggering highly distorted samples while playing up theatrical befuddlement, as if he was trying to decipher a recalcitrant machine—or defuse an eccentric bomb.
Meredith Monk: Piano Songs, a new compilation performed by Ursula Oppens and Bruce Brubaker, features music that finds expressive possibilities in the act of moderating between extremes. Old and new, traditional and experimental, memory and transformation–within all those competing forces, Monk’s music seems to hover at a point of balance.