- Mason Bates (b. 1977)
- Boston Modern Orchestra Project
- Gil Rose, conductor
Regular readers will know how averse I am to the sort of avant-garde music which merely seeks to annoy old fogies like myself – if that’s the intention, it surely works – and how delighted I am to be able to welcome works by contemporary composers which are a joy to listen to. There’s the odd item here that I shall have to come to terms with but nothing that I find harder to absorb than, say, the music of Toru Takemitsu.
Youngish composer Mason Bates (b. 1977) has a directly visceral approach to composing for orchestra that makes his music in-demand on concert stages throughout the world. The Boston Modern Orchestral Project under Gil Rose has recorded an anthology of Bates' works on the recent album Mothership
Ever since the extravaganza of the YouTube Symphony’s premiere of Mason Bates’ Mothership at the Sydney Opera House in 2011, the piece has taken off (sorry), popping up in the programs of major orchestras across the US and abroad. Mothership is perhaps the most direct and largest-scale representation of Bates’ style as an ensemble composer, which blends contemporary American classical composition with jazz and electronic sounds. Its driving, grooving feel is positively addictive, like Short Ride in a Fast Machine seen through a smoky jazz/electronic kaleidoscope.
Le jeune compositeur américain Mason Bates (qui est aussi DJ) est l’un de ceux (avec John Adams) dont la musique est le plus souvent entendue dans les concerts symphoniques aux États-Unis, mais je ne crois pas qu’on l’ait jamais entendu chez nous… C’est donc encore une fois une excellente occasion que nous offrent le Boston Modern Orchestra Project et son chef Gil Rose de découvrir une partie de ce qui se fait aujourd’hui chez nous voisins du sud.
Mason Bates is, in my mind, one of the best and most promising younger generation American composers. His music is always refreshingly different with its reliance on a blend of electronic sound sources and live sampling plus traditional acoustical sources. He is not afraid to be just a little coy, humorous or shocking in his aesthetic, either, but always amazing!