FLUX Quartet Double LP: Spencer Topel
Heralded as champions of contemporary chamber music, the celebrated FLUX Quartet seeks funding to bring to completion the debut album of composer and sound artist Spencer Topel’s groundbreaking String Quartet for quartet and hybrid electronic-acoustic instruments.
The focal point of the album is the prismatic work “String Quartet”, written for FLUX Quartet in 2014-15. Unlike traditional quartets, performers interact with a second phantasm-like quartet of hybrid electronic-acoustic string instruments, called surrogates, which mirror the instrumentation of the quartet. The surrogates are sounded only through vibration (transduction) of live-electronic parts, utilizing the acoustic resonators of the instruments as the main form of amplification. The effect is one of rich counterpoint, where the line between the real and electronic is blurred to the point of sonic artifice.
This album marks the FLUX Quartet’s first recording of Topel’s music. The recording sessions for this album took place on May 6th, 2015 in rural New England. The recording and mastering engineer for the project is grammy-nominated Sangwook Nam (Jacob’s Well Mastering). In album form, the work is presented in three sections or tracks: quartet alone, surrogates alone, and quartet with surrogates, where the contrasting versions of the work operate in dialogue, rather than opposition to one another.
Support from New Music USA will go towards the performer licensing fees, LP mastering and plating, and for vinyl pressing and packaging of a limited-run Double LP. Future performances of this work will coincide with the release of the album as both a digital download and as a vinyl pre-order.
ABOUT THE FLUX QUARTET:
Considered the ultimate masters of Morton Feldman’s String Quartet No.2, a 6-hour masterpiece from 1983, FLUX solicited this reaction from David Patrick Stearns (Philadelphia Inquirer) at Philadelphia’s Bowerbird Festival, “This piece oozes a rarefied, spiritual air…the FLUX Quartet made all the difference. The players displayed an astounding ear for sound that made each gradation of timbre palpable.” Alex Ross (The New Yorker) described FLUX’s live performance as “a disorienting, transfixing experience that repeatedly approached and touched the sublime.”
ABOUT SPENCER TOPEL:
Spencer Topel is an American composer of experimental music and sound installations that explore relationships between architecture, space, and form. He is a recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Palmer Dixon Prize from the Juilliard School for best composition, BMI and ASCAP Awards, a Danish International Visiting Artist Residency in 2013 (DIVA), and was a recent artist-in-residence with the Meitar Ensemble in July 2014 (Tel Aviv). Upcoming shows include an exhibition of a new installation in the Echoic Memory series at the Estonian Academy for Music and Theater as part Estonian Music Days presented in April, a NY premiere of the Cuba Edition of Details on the Strasbourg Rosace by Third Sound at National Sawdust.
Topel received degrees from Cornell with Steven Stucky and The Juilliard School with Christopher Rouse before joining the Tenure-Track Faculty at Dartmouth College, where he is currently an Assistant Professor of Music.
Published on Jul 10, 2013
FLUX Quartet plays an excerpt from the transfixing String Quartet No.2 by Morton Feldman.
Live performance by Ensemble Third Sound at the Annual Havana Festival of Contemporary Music from the Basilica de San Francisco in Havana, Cuba on the American Composers Forum Delegation to Cuba project in November, 2015.
ABOUT THIRD SOUND
Sooyun Kim, flute; Romie de Guise-Langlois, clarinet; Karen Kim, violin; Michael Nicolas, cello; Orion Weiss, piano; Patrick Castillo, compose
Complete NPR story can be found here:
Start and End Dates
05/05/2015 — 11/26/2016
Hanover, New Hampshire