Sehr Flash: fiction becomes new music
The Latest Update
Austin Critics’ Table Awards
The issue of NANO Fiction (9.1) that features the Sehr Flash collaboration is out. That means that the recordings are done and available on NANO Fiction’s Soundcloud page (see above for a sample) and in a nice tidy playlist here. Our live events are less than two weeks away and all of the pertinent information can be found here.
Double Bars – and concert program set.
Hermes Camacho and I have finished the music and sent the formatted scores (a story in itself really) to NANO Fiction – this project comprises half of their issue. Speaking of the issue, the cover art is done and looks great. Follow that same link to see (rather small) score samples from the two solo violin works.
For the concert on October 18th at 2pm at the University of Texas, I put together a full length program that features the works from this project along with other works with a relationship to prose: Page Stephens, mezzo soprano, will be singing selections from Histories Naturelles by Ravel (amusing texts by Renard) and Rick Rowley will be playing selections from Schumann’s Kreisleriana. All of the music (and texts) will be presented in interleaved fashion and the afternoon will be video-recorded and available (at least some of it) on NANOFiction’s web site.
We’re currently working with the Cordova Quartet to schedule recording sessions – NANOFiction will release the streaming recordings on their website the day the issue launches (Oct. 1). Our next update will be shortly before that and maybe have one or two previews of those recordings…
Stories in hand, music in the works
The stories have been submitted, gone through the editorial process with the NANO Fiction folks, and are now in the composers’ hands…
Hermes and I met about two weeks ago to divide up the stories and decide on instrumentation (we are using subsets of the quartet for some pieces to minimize the pages we’ll take up in NANO Fiction and the quartet’s valuable rehearsal time) and here are the results:
- Dear Estranger – Matthew Salesses (solo violin)
- Kelly Luce – Outside (viola/cello)
- Callie Collins – A Surgeon Removes Frederic Chopin’s Heart for Safekeeping, 1849 (solo viola)
- Michael McGriff – Regarding the Owls (quartet)
Hermes (solo violin, solo cello, violin duo, quartet)
- Kelly Luce – Luscious
- Callie Collins – They Dig Up Oliver Cromwell’s Body to Publicly Hang It, 1661
- Jessica Lee Richardson – Dear X
- Michael McGriff – Bone Creek
We each took one story by the authors that contributed two pieces and each took a story in the form of a letter – not a bad bit of architecture for the project.
Scores are due to the magazine/quartet by August 14th. We’ll share some score smaples around then and some rehearsal footage as we head into September.
Austin, Texas markets itself as “the live music capitol of the world” and for good reason, but the city is also home to a thriving literature scene that boasts several independent presses, numerous lit magazines, and a smattering of independent book stores. It is also the site of the annual Texas Book Festival. The constituencies both practicing and patronizing the two art forms overlap to be sure, but collaborations rarely reach beyond something like a singer-songwriter accompanying an unrelated poetry reading.
Recently NANO Fiction, an online and print lit mag specializing in flash fiction, relocated its base of operations to Austin. Local composer and violist Russell Podgorsek reached out, having dabbled as an author himself, with an invitation to partner in presenting new works (both prose and musical) specifically written for the event. The Cordova Quartet, the University of Texas’ (UT) graduate string quartet in residence, was recruited to perform the musical works by Podgorsek and fellow composer and Austinite Hermes Camacho that will be inspired by short prose pieces penned by a cast of local writers including Vincent Scarpa, Kelly Luce, Callie Collins, and Mike McGriff, along with Jessica Lee Richardson and Matthew Salesses (all recruited by NANO Fiction’s editors).
Performances of the works, read by the authors, and played by the quartet, will occur in October of 2015. Since the collaborators represent both the vibrant local culture and also a wider reach (authors, composers, and quartet have won recognition around Texas, the Southwest, and nationally), there will be two premiere performances. The first will be at the Texas Book Festival spanning October 16-18, 2015 – the perfect stage on which to showcase the quality of work going on locally in both disciplines and to touch an audience from well beyond the boundaries of Austin – and even Texas (despite the festival’s descriptive name). The second will occur at the Butler School of Music at UT Austin – in an effort to bring the new works and spirit of inderdisciplinary engagement into the music community directly.
In addition to presenting the works live, NANO Fiction will be publishing the prose pieces and the scores of the musical works both on their website (along with video of the premieres) and in the Fall issue of the magazine. This represents not only an opportunity for the authors, but also a unique style of publication for the composers involved – and an avenue to an audience they would otherwise not likely reach as NANO Fiction has 1200-2000 unique visitors each month to their website and print subscribers on five continents. The quartet will likewise be acknowledged in the magazine, though in what specific form (beyond contact information) is to be determined by the graphic designer.
Ultimately, this project will provide one of the most healthy means of support for both camps – enlargement and diversification of audiences – while also strengthening each collaborator’s connection to his or her own specific artistic community.
The Cordova Quartet performs the third and fourth movements of Beethoven’s Op. 59 No. 3 string quartet at the Butler School of Music Centennial Celebration.
The Bel Cuore Quartet plays the fifth movement of Russell Podgorsek’s “Six Memos for the Next Millennium” at the NASA Region IV Conference in Oklahoma on February 22, 2015.
Final movement to Hermes Camacho’s Violin Concerto
The University of Texas at Austin – Bates Recital Hall
Live Performance, January 2012
Kevin Mendoza, violin
Hermes Camacho, conductor
Start and End Dates
10/15/2015 — 10/18/2015