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8 (start)

by Michael Gordon & Cello Octet Amsterdam

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Eight cellos in a circle. The audience can sit around the octet, or even inside the circle. The cellists start to play, and the resulting music spirals around like a moving object.

"8" is part of a series of works that started with "Timber" for six percussionists playing amplified simantras, and includes "Rushes" for seven bassoonists and "Amplified" for four electric guitarists. Each of these works is meant to induce a quasi-meditative, almost ecstatic state, in the listener as well as the performer.

The series for like-instruments is meant to be played seamlessly and grow to encompass an entire day. The innovation in this piece is that the sound travels around the circle in both directions. If you are in the middle of the circle, you can hear the dimensionality and perspective of the sound clearly. If you put on headphones and listen closely to the recording, you can hear the bass notes traveling in space independently of the melody line. Each cellist plays both the melody and the bass, switching back and forth in a choreography of musical roles.

I think of this perspective of sound a bit like moving from two-dimensional art to three-dimensional art. Sound isn’t a flat line — now it takes on multiple roles in space and time. It is a sculpture of three-dimensions. I picked the title 8 because the number is a beautiful rounded gliding symbol that looks like the cellos when they play together. — Michael Gordon


released December 31, 2020
Michael Gordon, 8

Cello Octet Amsterdam
Alistair Sung, Claire Bleumer, Esther Torrenga, Geneviève Verhage,
Rares Mihailescu, René van Munster, Sanne Bijker, Sanne van der Horst


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Michael Gordon New York, New York

Michael Gordon's music merges subtle rhythmic invention with incredible power embodying, in the words of The New Yorker's Alex Ross, "the fury of punk rock, the nervous brilliance of free jazz and the intransigence of classical modernism."

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