BMOP/sound, the nation's foremost label launched by an orchestra and devoted exclusively to new music recordings, today announced the release of Ken Ueno: Talus, an imaginative collection of three innovative concerti by composer/vocalist Ken Ueno (winner of the 2006-07 Rome Prize and the 2010-11 Berlin Prize and UC Berkeley professor). Representing Ueno's debut album on BMOP/sound, Talus constitutes a kind of trilogy that contemplates mortality as well as the multifaceted ways in which survivorship requires heroism.
This recording serves as the product of a long-term collaboration between Ueno and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP). "I had the rare opportunity to compose specifically for BMOP," explains Ueno. "I was able to take greater personal and artistic risks because I felt I could count on not only their virtuosity, but also their trust."
The album kicks off with Talus (2007) featuring solo violist Wendy Richman (for whom the piece was written) and string orchestra. Talus was conceived when Richman fell off a stage and broke her ankle, resulting in Ueno's analysis of the corresponding x-ray image which generated some of the work's harmonic content. Talus has been cited as "building[ed] up blocks of sounds normally left between the lines of the classical tradition: scratches, whistles, the rustle of bow hair, the exotic outskirts of the overtone series. It's a concerto that engrossingly reinvents the discourse," (The Boston Globe).
On A Sufficient Condition For The Existence Of Most Specific Hypothesis (2008) is a concerto featuring the composer himself as vocal soloist (with amplification), boombox, and orchestra. It spotlights Ueno's vocal technique which is based on multiphonic throat-singing similar to that of many Eastern traditions. According to Sequenza21.com, the piece incorporates "a natural blend of dissonance and glissandi, along with rough and sudden entrances of instruments, making[ed] a perfect parallel to Ueno's singing. Most impressive was a cadenza-like throat singing passage, including a brilliant range of dynamics and wide intervals." Bookending the album is Kaze-No-Oka ("Hill of the Winds") (2005), a concerto inspired both musically and sociologically by the legacy of acclaimed 20th-century Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu. Featuring internationally acclaimed soloists Kifu Mitsuhashi on shakuhachi (bamboo flute) and Yukio Tanaka on biwa (short-necked lute), Kaze-No-Oka is a complex combination of the ancient and the modern. The Boston Globe describes it as "dense, slowly shifting microtonal sound-masses... earthy rumblings against ethereal chord-cloud -- painted a vast, brooding aural landscape."
BMOP/sound, the Grammy-nominated label of the acclaimed Boston Modern Orchestra Project, explores the evolution of the music formerly known as classical. Its eclectic catalog offers both rediscovered classics of the 20th Century and the music of today’s most influential and innovative composers. Additional 2010 releases include Dominick Argento: Jonah and the Whale; William Thomas McKinley: R.A.P.; Alan Hovhaness: Exile Symphony; Lisa Bielawa: In medias res; Eric Moe: Kick & Ride; Reza Vali: Toward that Endless Plain; Michael Gandolfi: From the Institutes of Groove; John Harbison: Winter's Tale; George Antheil: Ballet Mécanique; and Steven Mackey: Dreamhouse. Recent recordings have received several accolades including "Best of 2008" CD nods by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, National Public Radio, Time Out New York, American Record Guide, and Downbeat Magazine, as well as Grammy® nominations for both Derek Bermel: Voices and Charles Fussell: Wilde. For more information, visit http://www.bmopsound.org.