String Quartet (amplified) and Six Percussionists
Commissioned by Flux Quartet and Mantra Percussion
Last Round (Ostatnia Runda), is dedicated to my dear friend and brilliant composer, Lee Hyla, who passed away in June, 2014. I recall many late nights in the 1980s at the Great Jones Cafe in the lower east side of Manhattan with Lee and a small circle of close friends, discussing the state of new music, improvisation, the baseball standings, while across the street the lights in Jean-Michel Basquiat’s studio would burn well into the early morning. Lee would cover the first round, Tim the second, Jim the third. Inevitably, wherever I was in the rotation, without fail, the bartender would say, “that’s ok guys, I got this one” —— Lee called it the “Rosenblum Round.” I don’t think I ever dropped a dime in that place, and Lee got a kick out of that. In Last Round, no specific reference is made to Lee’s music, however, his vibrant spirit was ever-present during the creation of this work.
Last Round was written for Flux Quartet and Mantra Percussion, two extraordinary ensembles known for their very adventurous and eclectic programming, as well as their superb musicianship. In this piece, I sought to capture the musical sensibilities that each of these groups embody as well as the particular sense of energy and exploration that we were experiencing in the 1980s in downtown Manhattan. In addition to the amplified strings, bongos, and a variety of small bass drums and small metallic percussion, a set of tuned pipes tuned to a 19 note-to-the-octave equal beating minor third tuning is used. Special thanks to Dan Savell (L.A. Percussion Rentals) and Al Cerulo (Mantra Percussion) for their invaluable help preparing the pipes and stands for this piece.
New Focus Recordings FCR219, Flux Quartet and Mantra Percussion
Plurabelle Music Publishing (Distributed by Subito Music Corp.)
March 1, 2015, Flux Quartet and Mantra Percussion, Beyond: Microtonal Music Festival, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh