YellowBarnBlog

Yellow Barn’s 2018 Summer Artwork

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Katie Loesel, Plastiglomerate: Human Fossil, ink and watercolor, 22" x 30"; Courtesy the artist
 
Katie Loesel’s current work uses abstraction and color to explore ideas of geological history, microscopic surfaces, and rocky formations. Her interest in human influence on climate change and plastic as a distinct marker of our current era plays into the shapes and forms. Plastiglomerate is a new type of rock formation that has been proposed as a geological marker of our current epoch, the Anthropocene, created from a mixture of natural and sedimentary elements fused by plastic from the ocean. The horror and intrigue from this distinctly human interference inspires the shape, form, and color that meld together through layers in the artwork. The appearance of these objects in the work are strangely playful, yet expose our flaws as creators of this plastic virus that is becoming layered into our history. The subjects in the artwork develop and grow in complexity throughout the process of making and layering and range from simple, overlapping shapes, to complicated structures.
 
Katie Loesel grew up on Lake Erie in Erie, Pennsylvania. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking from The Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, Ohio and a Certificate in Museum Studies from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. She is a snowboarder, sailor, crafter, gardener, environmentalist, cyclist, and lover of local food and drink. After living in Thailand and Boston, Katie moved to Vermont to focus on her art. She tends to make prints, drawings, installations, and sometimes books. She has participated in artist residency programs at Vermont Studio Center and Zea Mays Print Studio. Her work has been exhibited nationally, with frequent shows throughout Vermont. Katie is the recipient of a 2016 Vermont Arts Council Creation Grant. Katie teaches printmaking at Burlington City Arts and Champlain College.
 

Find out about Yellow Barn's 2018 Summer Season

Ornamentation and Articulation in Bach

Friday, March 23, 2018
 
Pianist Enrico Elisi discusses his April 2018 artist residency, Bach's Partitas for Keyboard:
The life of a performing musician who is simultaneously juggling the many responsibilities of a full-time professorship is hectic. Occasionally, I feel the need for a short escape to find protected time for my practicing and personal studies. When that retreat takes place at Yellow Barn—an idyllic place with studio space in quiet, spacious settings—one feels grateful. For this reason, it is exciting to imagine and look forward to my upcoming residency, when I will be able to concentrate on qualitative work and find some truly productive time!
 
This residency will give me the chance to continue my studies of selected repertoire by J.S. Bach, in preparation for three upcoming solo recitals in China, the United States, and Italy. In addition, this moment of unique concentration on my work will be of great value for my upcoming CD project on the same subject. The focus of my residency is the study of choices of ornamentation and articulation, as well as the variety of applied possibilities, that the original text of Bach's selected works suggests based on historical evidence. In addition, I wish to use the uninterrupted time at my disposal to transcribe and study ornaments and articulations used by selected keyboard players who have left us recorded and vibrant interpretations of Bach. I am especially (but not solely) interested in the work of musicians who perform Bach on historical keyboards. Since I play Bach on the modern piano, the view of musicians who do not can only compliment and enrich what I feel more comfortable with. I am ready to accept the challenge!
 
There is a downside to this idea, however, which has to do with certain traditions in the field of classical music. For instance, young jazz pianists routinely transcribe sound documents as a tool to better understand and study the styles of various performers. Unfortunately, this is not widespread among "classical" pianists, or, to avoid the use of that misunderstood word, pianists tackling other forms of art music. On the contrary, it is often frowned upon. 
 
This said, I have a very open-minded approach, and if the result of my work can help me (and others, when I present what I have discovered to other musicians) think of a few more possibilities to draw upon ornaments and articulations more freely (possibly, even on the spur of the moment from the available choices) and thus create some fresher interpretations, then I will be satisfied with the scope of the project. 
 
Naturally, there are helpful (albeit confusing) statements on ornamentation in several important historical sources (the major treatises of the Baroque period, for instance), but even those suggestions can be interpreted slightly differently among performers. Transcriptions may reveal differences in the interpretation of ornaments played by different musicians. Interpretations can vary between musicians even when their choices are based on historical evidence. The truth is that there are some possibilities and I am far more interested in the notion of the variety of these possibilities than of confining myself to accepting only one view (for instance, the first I envision). If there is one truth about the Baroque period, it is that performers were allowed a certain latitude with the text. The symbols—the notes, the pauses, the slurs, the staccatos, the ornaments—were meant as starting points. This does not mean that a performer should have a green light to do what he or she wishes at will. I hope to find a balance—a synthesis—between these radical points. I know that my journey at Yellow Barn will be a fascinating one!

Enrico will conclude his residency with a performance at Next Stage on Saturday, May 5th at 8pm. The concert concludes with an open discussion between musician and audience. 

Extramusical Frameworks

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Returning to Yellow Barn for a residency in February 2018, Yellow Barn alumni Brigid

Coleridge, violin, and Lee Dionne, piano, introduce their new work Permanent Red:

Many of our projects provide our audiences with extramusical frameworks through which to listen, not to distract from the music-making, but as a reminder to listen closely, to hear a familiar piece differently. We are interested in what happens when the music that we play is brought into conversation with other artistic mediums—when our music is understood as fluid and dynamic, capable of interaction and discussion. 

In the case of Permanent Red, our recital is framed and interwoven with Christopher Logue’s epic poem, War Music, of which Permanent Red is a smaller section. What Logue does so brilliantly in War Music is to take a story with which so many of us are familiar, the Iliad, and to re-tell it with an utterly free and contemporary use of language and verse. Using Homer as his guide, Logue relies both on our familiarity with the events of the Trojan War, as well as our knowledge of certain tropes that Homer returns to again and again in his verse. . .in order to transform the original Greek into singing modern speech, knowing that we will still recognize within it both the form and content of Homer’s masterpiece. Neoclassicism at its best.

Logue, then, is the inspiration both for our relationship with the recital format, and for our choice of repertoire within it. The musical works that we've chosen either share a similarly re-creative relationship with their predecessors, or are pieces that we've brought into the program in a somewhat irreverent fashion (often in single movements), thus allowing for a range of possible attitudes in which any given piece or movement might be performed.

Among the works responding to specific predecessors are Lutoslawski's Partita for Violin and Piano (a reimagining of a classic form), Szymanowski's The Fountain of Arethusa (after a Greek myth), and the first movement of Dmitri Smirnov's Violin Sonata No. 3, which transforms the melody from a Bach chorale "Es ist genug..." ("It is enough...") in a particularly gripping fashion. Among the shorter, more excerpted works on the program include 19th and 20th-century favorites of Kreisler, Strauss, Poulenc, and de Falla. How these smaller works are interwoven may range from simply expressing and amplifying the feeling a given textual moment, to an entirely humorous or ironic relationship with the text.

In all cases, the relationship of music and text is immediate and visceral. Every juxtaposition suggests a certain connection to be made. . .or equally to be rejected by the audience. Some of the neoclassically themed works may also be fun Easter eggs for musicians to recognize and identify, but altogether the program relies much more on connections that any listener can make on first hearing. In general, music and text alternate, but are also sometimes used together (with occasional speaking happening over the music or accompanied by passages of music).

Finally, the physical theater component of our work is less of an element in itself and more what emerges naturally from two musicians who are also delivering lines, inhabiting characters, and toggling between those roles of player and speaker on the turn of a dime. Often we will be speaking from staging configurations that should be familiar to anyone used to seeing musicians perform a recital, but that invite us, in that moment, to re-examine those physical configurations, restoring meaning to actions as simple as entering stage and taking a bow.

Artwork for Musical Offering

Saturday, January 13, 2018

In January 2018, Yellow Barn's residency of J.S. Bach's Musical Offering, with interludes by Lei Liang's Garden Eight, toured from Putney to Symphony Space in New York, and to the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas. Yellow Barn designer John Kramer and Artistic Director Seth Knopp collaborated on graphic interpretation of the program.

John Kramer describes the image:

The central geometric form in the cover art is derived from the shape of a fountain in the gardens at Sanssouci, the summer palace of Frederick the Great. The superimposed image of a bare oak tree is rotated 12 times, aligning with the radial symmetry of the fountain’s design, and alluding to Bach’s branching polyphonic structures as well as the 12-pitch theme. Paths leading to the fountain from north, south, east, and west were converted to compass points in acknowledgement of the four-point directionality of Garden Eight.

Robert Mann (1920-2018)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Robert Mann, our dearest friend, mentor, and inspiration. The words of his quartet family speak for all of us as we begin a new year—a year shaped, like so many others we have known and will know again, by Mr. Mann's pure, unending love of music.

We, the remaining Juilliard Quartet colleagues of Robert Mann, deeply mourn his passing this past week. We send our condolences to his dear wife, Lucy, to the family, to all his friends and to all his former students, who had the good fortune to be guided and inspired by him, as we were. His students are, of course, such a wonderful and important part of his legacy.

In today’s world, it may be hard for some to comprehend the deep significance of Robert Mann’s legacy. Bobby devoted himself passionately and daily to insight of all kinds, hungry as he was to experience the joy of discovery at every possible moment.

Rehearsals with Bob Mann were always a highly energized search for beauty, order, coherence, insight, truth and catharsis, a seemingly unlikely mix of things. Almost in contrast, performances with Bobby were passionate abandon in the service of the composers’ imaginations, while holding the ship steady towards its goal. Bobby deeply respected and understood the necessary interplay of rational and irrational thought and feeling requisite to great art of any kind and he helped each of us welcome both into our musical and personal lives, expression and process.

Chamber players are the peacemakers of music, musicians rejecting the “older” model of heroism, to replace it with the heroism of the peacemaker: he/she who struggles to promote understanding through shared honest interaction. Bob Mann, you were our general, leading us into musical battle for the “musical” common good.

We would like to ask the student who reads these words to ponder and try and grasp just how much patient hard work, listening, honesty, self-appraisal and love of music it takes to become a Robert Mann. The hard work is not to be underestimated. And the motivation was pure: to be worthy of the genius of the composer.

Sadly, most critics were never able to recognize Robert Mann’s most important asset: his great and innate ability to sing on the violin and render unforgettable performances of the quartet literature’s most intimate and lyrical phrases and moments, whether the Cavatina from Op. 130, the Largo of Op. 135, the slow movement of Ravel and Debussy quartets or the Largo of Haydn’s Op. 76 no. 5. The voice was always his own: plain-spoken, loving, vulnerable, always generously reaching out.

We each feel so lucky to have shared a good portion of our lives, musical and non-musical, with this amazing and wonderful human being. And though Bobby is with us no longer, we will ever feel his beneficent influence and will continue to share his memory and legacy with all who will listen.

Rest in peace, dear Bobby.

Earl Carlyss, violin, 1966-1986
Samuel Rhodes, viola, 1969-2013
Joel Krosnick, cello, 1974-2016
Joel Smirnoff, violin, 1986-2009

Reprinted with the permission of the Juilliard String Quartet

Yellow Barn Listening

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Listen to festival performances from the Big Barn in Putney, Vermont.

Yellow Barn's Summer Season

Watch videos from Yellow Barn's 2017 Summer Festival

2017 summer season

Johann Sebastian Bach Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G Major, BWV 1048
James Tenney Maximusic
Franz Joseph Haydn Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Hob. XV:30
Franco Donatoni Alamari
Eric Nathan Quartet for Oboe and Strings
Maurice Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello
Johann Sebastian Bach Selections from Cantatas BWV 197, 88, 47, and 42
Jörg Widmann Zirkustänze
Jörg Widmann String Quartet No.1
Ludwig van Beethoven Sonata in F Major, Op.24 “Spring”
Jörg Widmann Oktett
Giacinto Scelsi Khoom “Seven episodes of a love story and of a non-written death in a faraway land”
Henry Purcell Sonata in A Minor, Z.804
Toshio Hosokawa Landscape II
Pavel Haas String Quartet No.2, Op.7 “From the Monkey Mountains”
Sofia Gubaidulina Galgenlieder à 3
Alban Berg Lyric Suite 
Sergiu Natra Music for Violin and Harp
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart String Quartet in G Major, K.387 
Alexander Raskatov Five Minutes from the Life of W.A.M. 

2016 summer season

Johannes Brahms Poco Allegretto from Symphony No.3, Op.90 
Michel van der Aa Oog 
George Frideric Handel Concerto Grosso in F Major, Op.6 No.2, HWV320 
Arnold Schoenberg Brettl-Lieder (Cabaret Songs) 
Jörg Widmann 180 beats per minute
Charles Wuorinen Spinoff 
Alexander Raskatov Dolce Far Niente “Sweetness of Doing Nothing”
Oliver Knussen Prayer Bell Sketch
Toshio Hosokawa Drei Engel-Lieder (Three Angel Songs)
Johannes Brahms Sonata in E-flat Major, Op.120 No.2 
Hans Abrahamsen Schnee “Snow”: 10 Canons for 9 Instruments. 
James MacMillan Visions of a November Spring
Sofia Gubaidulina Garden of Joy and Sorrow
Thomas Adès Lieux Retrouvés
Dmitri Shostakovich String Quartet No.9 in E-flat Major, Op.117 
Beat Furrer Aer 
Luciano Berio Naturale
Charles Ives The Things Our Fathers Loved
Charles Ives Tom Sails Away (1917-1921)
Charles Ives Two Little Flowers
Charles Ives General William Booth Enters into Heaven
Charles Ives Charlie Rutlage
Charles Ives The Housatonic at Stockbridge
Charles Ives Down East
Charles Ives The Side Show 
André Caplet Les Prières 
Susan Botti Bird Songs
Franz Schubert Sonata for violin and piano in A Major, D.574 “Duo” 
György Ligeti String Quartet “Metamorphoses nocturnes”
Ted Hearne Vessels
Johannes Brahms String Quartet in A Minor, Op.51 No.2
John Zorn The Aristos, ten metaphysical ambiguities for violin, cello and piano 
Travis Laplante Thank You Is Not Enough
Magnus Lindberg Clarinet Trio
Béla Bartók Sonata No.1, Sz.75 for violin and piano
Stefano Gervasoni Phanes
Stefano Gervasoni An, Quasi una serenata, con la complicitá di Schubert
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart String Quartet in B-Flat Major, K.589
George Crumb Books I-V from Madrigals
Stefano Gervasoni Adagio ghiacciato, da Mozart, K.356
Arnold Schoenberg String Trio, Op.45
Matthias Pintscher A Twilight’s Song
Franz Schubert String Quartet in A Minor, D.804 “Rosamunde” 
Stefano Gervasoni Luce ignota della sera “Unknown Evening Light”, da Robert Schumann, Zwölf Vierhändige Klavierstücke für kleine und große Kinder, Op.85 No.12 for piano and electronics
Stefano Gervasoni Sonatinexpressive
Felix Mendelssohn Sonata in D Major, Op.58 for cello and piano

 

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