The Ear Heart Music series opened its fourth season last night at Roulette with a performance by Hotel Elefant, who in only their second season have established themselves as a player in the increasingly competitive NYC new-music scene. In her remarks before the program, Director Amelia Lukas spoke about the kismet of the program's theme, "Light and Dark," falling on the autumnal equinox, with its equal hours of daylight and darkness. "Ideas are born in the dark," she reminded us.
The program included engaging new works by ensemble Co-Director Leaha Maria Villarreal ("Dark Matter") and pianist Kirsten Vollness ("Precious Nothing"). But, the program was largely given to the music of Richard Carrick, who can most often be seen conducting his own ensemble, Either/Or. La scène miniature was written for the unusual combination of cello and piccolo, while the string trio à cause du soleil had Bartòk-like grit and snap.
Carrick conducted the full ensemble in the premiere of Prisoner's Cinema, named for the phenomenon experienced by inmates held in solitary confinement who hallucinate images after staring at the same blank walls for days on end. Carrick's music was stark and bracing, with shrieking strings over a steady low drone. The music was accompanied by Carrick's own long-exposure photographs shot in Quèbec this past summer, with clocktowers and streetlamps turned into Tesla coils.
The next Ear Heart Music show will be on October 16, featuring the American Modern Ensemble with the Mazzini Dance Collective. Hotel Elefant's next stop is no less than Carnegie Hall, where they'll be performing November 20 on David Lang's "New Voices, New Music" series. More info here.
More pics on the photo page.