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Modern Notebook

Modern Notebook

Each week, Tyler Kline journeys into new territory and demystifies the music of living composers on Modern Notebook. Listen for a wide variety of exciting music that engages and inspires, along with the stories behind each piece and the latest releases from today’s contemporary classical artists. Discover what’s in store on Modern Notebook, every Sunday night from 8 to 10 on Classical WSMR.
  • Composer Courtney Bryan.
    Photo credit: Taylor Hunter.
    On this week’s Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline: “Unity Amongst Youth of Diaspora” and “Secondline for Black Love” are the two movement names of Courtney Bryan’s “Carnival of Unity.” We’ll hear this piece as a part of a special Juneteenth lineup, plus music by Ornette Coleman, Julius Eastman, and others. And Valerie Coleman’s “Portraits of Langston,” inspired by the great Harlem Renaissance poet.
  • Composer Hannah Selin.
    Photo credit: Nicki Adams.
    Coming up on the next Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline: I’ll have music for cello by Jorge Sosa called “Reimagined Spring,” and pieces by Shawn Okpebholo and Julia Perry. Plus, this piece by Carmen Sandim for solo piano titled “Amanhecer ao Entardecer,” meaning “Dawn to Dusk.”Then: Composer Hannah Selin experienced some strange, deep dreams during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021… and these dreams inspired her piece “Dream Journal.” This is music composed for voices, pianos, toy pianos, and electronics, seamlessly woven together to craft a musical atmosphere like no other.
  • On this week’s Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline: Perforation, by Alex Burtzos, is an exploration of grief, presented in a deliberately stripped-down, bare sonic environment. In this solo piano work, the composers leverage pulse, repetition, and silence to respond to the raw and direct emotionality of words by poet Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz.Then: There is a Buddhist concept that says, “if we fully accept that nothing lasts, then we may take a step - by letting go - towards finding tranquillity.” Composer Michael Zev Gordon likes this sentiment - but, in contrast, he also acknowledges his connection to things: remembered, passing, desired.
  • Jamaican-American violist Jordan Bak has a new album out called “Cantabile: Anthems for Viola,” and it is a celebration of works both new and old. I’m Tyler Kline, and on the next Modern Notebook we’ll hear a world premiere recording of a wordless song that’s been composed for Bak.Then: “'Plain, quotidian, and sometimes fragile,” is the way that composer Lisa Illean describes the sound world she is aiming to create with her piece “arcing, stilling, bending, gathering.” It’s music she says leans into a non-tempered tuning system to convey “moments of kinship and tenderness that balance the immensity of the world we inhabit'.
  • On the next Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline: States of discord: like struggle, disagreement, dispute, and division - is the subject matter of Clarice Assad’s “CLASH.” Composed between 2020 and 2021, the music responds to what was, for many, a turbulent period of health crises, the collapse of the economy, political turmoil, and more.Then, it’s a work by Andrew Noseworthy for cello and electronics that draws on elements of shoe gaze music. Titled “GomL_V7FinalMix_LessVox_MoreVerb_Dec13_MASTERED_48k24b_FINAL.wav,” it’s music that cloaks quiet acoustic gestures behind a thick, My-Blood-Valentine-esque foreground of bit-crushed cello.
  • On this week’s Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline, tune in for a new recording from composer Nova Pon, with a piece called “World Within.” It’s music that melds Romantic and Post-Minimalist sounds and derives its entire thematic material from a well-known symphonic theme.Then: While it might not necessarily sound like jazz on the surface… Anthony Cheung’s “All Roads” is music that draws on jazz influences, like Billy Strayhorn’s song “Lotus Blossom.” It’s a work full of complicated harmony, jaunting rhythms, and - in the composer’s words - “distant transformations and ‘detours’.”
  • Coming up on the next Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline: There is a tapestry of symbolism and rich imagery throughout Theresa Wong’s solo piano work, “She Dances Naked Under Palm Trees.” From music inspired by Nina Simone, to moon cycles, to the Norse goddess of Freya - the music is an evocation of movement into self-knowledge.Then: Xochiquetzal means “feather flower,” and it’s also the name of an ancient Mayan goddess not too different from Aphrodite or Venus: she is often associated with music, dance, beauty, love, fertility and female power. We’ll hear this violin concerto by Robert Xavier Rodriguez inspired by this figure.
  • On the next Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline: On April 8th, 2024, a solar eclipse will sweep across North America, and over 31 million Americans are in the 100-plus mile-wide path of totality. On the next Modern Notebook, we will hear music by Jessica Meyer commissioned by the group fivebyfive and composed specifically for this monumental event.Then, Tyler will be joined by composer Roger Zare for music and conversation. Roger is a Sarasota native, and will have a new work performed by the Sarasota Orchestra April 12-14.
  • On this week’s Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline, tune in for a work by Kerry Politzer for solo piano titled “Microclimates,” and a buzzing work by Arlene Sierra inspired by bees and a busy bee hive. And this piece by Britta Bystöm, “Images from the Floating World,” inspired by the Icelandic story known as Njals Saga.Then: Plant life germinating and flourishing; the rapid development of human activity; and the harmonious coexistence of all living things. This is the subject matter of Yue Song’s work “Senses IV:” the relationship between humans and the natural environment. It is an incredible work where chaos has its own order, and musical gestures float freely in a carefully constructed sound world.
  • On the next Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline: Sun Keting’s acapella work, “Mang Gu,” draws on the Yunnanese tribal dance of the same name. It’s music that incorporates elements of the song and dance that people in the ethnic minority areas of China would use to communicate with one another through the echoes of the mountains.Then, we’ll hear new saxophone music from composer Maria Kaoutzani as well as a duet for cello and electric guitar by Rose Connolly. And Carrie Frey’s “Seagrass/Reed:” it is music full of sparkling, fleeting, and noisy gestures, exploring the array of techniques and sounds that the viola is capable of making.
  • Coming up on Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline: Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold. It’s when an object becomes more beautiful for having been broken. On this week's program, hear Salina Fisher’s work “Kintsugi.” It’s a fragile sound world of musical fragmentation and finding beauty in the “cracks,” a metaphor for embracing strength in imperfection.Then, listen for new music from Shelley Washington that is a musical depiction of her neurodivergent experience of “time blindness.” Titled “Eternal Present,” it’s music that explores two kinds of timelessness: the “now,” and the “always.”
  • On this week’s Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline: Composer Outi Tarkiainen grew up in the northernmost region of Finland, most of which sits above the Arctic Circle and is known for the Summertime Midnight Sun. We’ll hear a work by Tarkiainen inspired by the infinitely-nuanced hues that this phenomenon produces: her orchestral work, “Midnight Sun Variations.”Then, it’s music that draws inspiration from the Vijñāna school of yoga with Osnat Netzer’s Contrapose. Scored for viola and piano, it’s music that is all about balance, with the two instruments constantly equalizing one another throughout the piece.
  • On the next Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline: Liliya Ugay is a composer who is also a mother, and she says that composer-mothers have been vastly underrepresented in the history of music,past and present. Her piece “Mother Tales” is inspired by the routines of motherhood, with the first movement depicting lulling a baby to sleep, and a second movement which captures the curiosity, awkwardness, and wonder of play.Then: There is an effervescence and turbulence to artist Gwen O’Dowd’s abstract sea paintings, which serves as inspiration for Jane O’Leary’s work “underneath the dark blue waves.” It’s music that moves in waves of sound, at times capturing the brightness of the ocean’s surface, other times its peacefulness, and even its fury.
  • On this week’s Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline: Just a fraction of the music written by composer Julia Perry survives in a way that we’re able to enjoy through performance and listening today. Born in Lexington, KY in 1924, she was a prolific composer whose work would eventually evolve into a highly European-influenced, post-modern style. Her 1969 “Violin Concerto” is no exception, and we will discover it on the next program.Then: join Tyler for music and conversation as he’s joined by Anthony R. Green. Anthony is a composer, performer, and artist whose broad body of work comments on many issues related to social justice. A new work of his will be premiered in March while he is in residency with the Tampa-based Contemporary Art Music Project.