My first solo recording will feature a work I commissioned in 2011, The Landscape Scrolls by Peter Garland. I'll be recording at Wire Road studios with engineer Brad Sayles.
I gave the premiere of the piece at the Rothko Chapel back in 2012 and have played it a number of times in concert including two performances in South America. When I had the opportunity to take a sabbatical from teaching this semester, I decided to devote my time to recording this ground breaking and little known work. It deserves to be known and performed by more people! It is a significant contribution to our repertoire.
The Landscape Scrolls by Peter Garland
Notes on the piece:
"My basic view of culture is that it is not merely a question of "products"—i.e. the pieces you write (or poems or paintings, etc.), or the concerts you present. But rather, and most fundamentally it is the life you live, where you live it, and the deep reciprocity of place and people." - Peter Garland
"The Landscape Scrolls" was commissioned and written for John Lane and Sam Houston State University through the Enhancement Research Grant Program. The work is loosely inspired by the idea of 19th Chinese landscape paintings. Instead of lush mountain scenery, Garland reflects on his backyard in rural Maine. The work is concert length and traces the outline of a day. Each movement is a monochromatic study, more about resonance and space than melody or harmony: "early morning; mist on the river" (chimes), "mid-day, jagged peaks, endless mountains" (chinese drums), "sunset; vernal pools, frog pond" (for 9 tuned rice bowls), "after dark; fireflies" (for triangles), and "late; Starry Night" (glockenspiel). Monochromatic colors for each movement and moto perpetuo musical settings bring to mind the vibrantly stoic color field paintings of Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko.
This work also reminds me of a cultural/historical resonance, experienced vividly through our attention to geography and landscape. Garland sees cultural history through a lens of geographic landscape. This view led him to a conception of America as a physical reality that extends beyond artificial political boundaries or nation-states. He reminds Americans that we need look no further than our own backyard to discover resonances and cultures as rich and vibrant as any "exotic" culture of the world.
Garland's music is also a spiritual vessel. Performed sympathetically, it can have a visceral and transformative effect on the performer, and therefore the audience.
Peter Garland (b. 1952) studied with Harold Budd and James Tenney at Cal Arts and had strong mentor/friendships with several luminaries of the American Experimental Tradition, including Lou Harrison, Harry Partch, and Conlon Nancarrow. He is also known as the publisher of Soundings Press from 1971-1991, a press dedicated to printing scores and writings by significant American experimental composers and scholars.