Inquiries into the early years of SJI

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ward-Bergeman and eighth blackbird at the Curtis Institute of Music


I know noble accents
And lucid inescapable rhythms:
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

That is the eighth stanza of Wallace Stevens' Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.

The chamber group, eighth blackbird (lower case is deliberate), are an adventurous sextet with three Grammy trophies who explore the edges of the modern repertoire, from Reich and Lerdahl to, well, "St. James Infirmary." Clarinet, flute, violin, viola, percussion, piano, cello . . . this is a virtuosic ensemble of great depth and feeling.

Recently they met with composer, singer, accordionist Michael Ward-Bergeman at the Curtis Institute of Music in Chicago, for a rendition of a Ward-Bergeman arrangement of SJI. Readers of this blog know of Michael Ward-Bergeman as an accomplished composer of contemporary classical music, as well as a musician deeply committed to roots music, blues, Americana ...

The link below is via YouTube. You can also access this video through Ward-Bergeman's site at http://compmjwb.blogspot.ca/ In fact, he has recently posted the score for this performance on his site. You can read it by clicking here. The performance is eight minutes of stellar musicianship and takes us to many places, including a lively gypsy campfire.

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