Brooklyn Rider Releases Third Album: Dominant Curve

Brooklyn Rider
21C Media Group

From 21C Media Group

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Brooklyn, NY: Dominant Curve, a new self-produced recording from the adventurous, genre-blending string quartet Brooklyn Rider marks the group’s second release on the In a Circle label and third release overall. Following Brooklyn Rider’s critically acclaimed 2008 albums, Passport (In a Circle Records) and Silent City with Persian kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor (World Village/Harmonia Mundi), Dominant Curve charts a new direction for the ensemble. The recording celebrates the pioneering vision of Claude Debussy and his ongoing influence on music today. Centered on a fresh and vivid interpretation of the composer’s great String Quartet in G minor, Dominant Curve also includes four like-minded works created for Brooklyn Rider within the past year.

The digital release of Dominant Curve will be available February 16 through iTunes, Amazon MP3, Rhapsody, Zune, and other major digital outlets. The physical CD will be released April 6 to in-store and online retail outlets, but it is already available for sale on In a Circle’s Web site:

Debussy’s insatiable curiosity and inventiveness paved the way, directly or obliquely, for all of the works on Dominant Curve. Brooklyn Rider violinist Colin Jacobsen has contributed a suite of modal pieces entitled Achille’s Heel that serves as a meeting place where the worlds of Brooklyn Rider and Claude Debussy (born Achille-Claude) coalesce. Jacobsen suggests how a creative nucleus of peers – in this case his fellow quartet members – can become a fertile laboratory for creativity.

Kojiro Umezaki’s (Cycles) what falls must rise, scored for shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute), string quartet, and electronics, explores the alternating tides of meditation and transcendence through the lens of a traditional Japanese melody. Another work composed for Brooklyn Rider is by Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, one of Uzbekistan’s greatest living composers; …al niente sublimates fragments from the Debussy Quartet within its structure to yield an entirely new and other worldly creation. Finally, Justin Messina’s arrangement of John Cage’s seminal 1948 work, In a Landscape, imaginatively expands the original version for solo piano or harp into a vivid electro-acoustic sound world.

Claude Debussy’s “String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10,” is one of the great works in the chamber music literature. Written four years after the composer’s memorable visit to the multicultural offerings of the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris, the quartet is full of rhythmic ostinatos, richly layered textures, and modal harmonies. This work is reflective of Debussy’s observation that “the music of Java at the Universal Exhibition of 1889 contained every nuance… There, tonic and dominant had become empty shadows of use only to stupid children.” Brooklyn Rider makes full use of their unique vantage point to give this often-recorded work a bold and revealing interpretation.

The extraordinary fin-de-siecle world of Claude Debussy and his friendship with many wellknown musicians, writers, and artists of his day serves as a model for the multi-faceted community of Brooklyn Rider. Dominant Curve honors this not only through its musical collaborations, but also by featuring Boston-based artist Lennie Peterson, whose visual responses to each of the five works on this album comprise the accompanying booklet.

Dominant Curve’s eclectic sound world is deeply reflective of the signature approach of Brooklyn Rider. Like much of the quartet’s output, the album is global in its scale: traditions from France, the United States, Uzbekistan, Japan, and beyond are represented. It also represents Brooklyn Rider’s newest iteration of their unique and porous approach to the string quartet tradition, creating a transformational journey between familiar and unfamiliar, acoustic and electro-acoustic, past and present.

“We’re trying to lead by an inclusive attitude to what a string quartet can be,” says Brooklyn Rider violist Nicholas Cords. “This is an amazing vehicle to explore collaborations past, present. and future.”

Violinist and composer Colin Jacobsen concurs: “We like to juxtapose things that we think make sense together or illuminate each other. They may be from seemingly disparate cultures, but there are often incredible connections.”

“We see the combination of pieces on this recording as a dominant curve,” adds violinist Johnny Gandelsman, also the founder of In a Circle Records. “Debussy’s bold visions continue to set amazing creative energies in motion.”

About Brooklyn Rider:

Hailed as a vital and dynamic ensemble, Brooklyn Rider is dedicated to both in-depth interpretations of existing quartet repertoire and to the creation of new works. The members of the Brooklyn-based string quartet have traveled the world as members of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project and gathered influences and inspiration from around the world. The quartet is known for its illuminating, raw, and edgy performances of adventurous, genre-defying repertoire. Recent collaborators include Irish fiddler Martin Hayes, singersongwriter Christina Courtin, 2009 Prix de Rome-winning composer Lisa Bielawa, and the innovative band 2 Foot Yard.

“Few young artists are as versatile as the four gentlemen of the string quartet Brooklyn Rider,” says the New Yorker. They are “all classically trained to within an inch of their lives,” adds NPR, and All Things Strings writes: “Brooklyn Rider is a gifted string quartet that mixes the classics with the contemporary to create music that is emotionally exhilarating and intellectually stimulating.”

The quartet’s name is inspired in part by the creations, interests, and cross-disciplinary visions of the Blue Rider group, an artistic association comprised of Vassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Arnold Schoenberg, and Alexander Scriabin, to name a few. The quartet also draws additional inspiration from the exploding array of cultures and artistic energy found in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City, a place they also call home.

Dominant Curve track listing:
In a Circle Records (ICR 003)

1-4 Achille’s Heel [2009]
by Colin Jacobsen
5 (Cycles) what falls must rise [2009]*
by Kojiro Umezaki
6-9 String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10 [1893]
by Claude Debussy
10 …al niente [2009]
by Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky
11 In a Landscape [1948]**
by John Cage, arr. Justin Messina [2009]
12 Lullaby from Itsuki – (bonus track - digital release only)
Japanese Traditional, arr. Kojiro Umezaki and Brooklyn Rider

Brooklyn Rider
Johnny Gandelsman, violin
Colin Jacobsen, violin
Nicholas Cords, viola
Eric Jacobsen, cello

Guest artists:
Kojiro Umezaki, shakuhachi and electronics*
Justin Messina, electronics**

Upcoming Brooklyn Rider engagements:

Feb 9, 2010 Seattle, WA: Town Hall
Feb 10, 2010 Irvine, CA: Irvine Barclay Theater
Feb. 11, 2010 La Jolla, CA: The Loft@UCSD
Feb. 12, 2010 Albuquerque, NM: The Andaluz Hotel Ballroom/Chamber Music Albuquerque
Feb. 14, 2010 River Forest, IL: Dominican University Performing Arts Center
Feb. 16, 2010 Milwaukee, WI: Frankly Music at Schwan Concert Hall
Feb. 19, 2010 West Long Branch, NJ: Pollak Theatre, Monmouth University
Feb. 20, 2010 Harrisburg, PA: Market Square Church
Feb. 21 & 22, 2010 Washington, DC: The Music Room at Dumbarton Oaks
Feb. 24, 2010 Indianapolis, IN: Basile Theater, Indiana History Center
Feb. 25, 2010 Muncie, IN: Sursa Hall, Ball State University
Feb. 27, 2010 Portland, ME: Hannaford Hall, USM Portland
Feb. 28, 2010 Orono, ME: Collins Center for the Arts
March 2, 2010 Toronto, ON: Glenn Gould Studio
March 6, 2010 Baltimore, MD: Baskt Theatre, Evergreen Museum and Library
March 11, 2010 Akron, OH: Akron Art Museum
March 13, 2010 Jonesboro, AR: Fowler Center, Arkansas State University
March 15, 2010 NYC: Angel Orensanz – Dominant Curve CD release party/show
March 22-25, 2010 Chapel Hill, NC
March 27, 2010 Philadelphia, PA: Kimmel Center with 2 Foot Yard
May 2010 Europe
June 8 & 10, 2010 Charleston, SC: Spoleto Festival USA
Aug. 24-Sept. 2 Stillwater Music Festival, MN