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Excess Lori Freedman

Moderation is a fatal thing: nothing succeeds like excess.

Oscar Wilde

In this X-world of sound the music can be purely described in superlatives: exquisite, extraordinary, exhilarating, extreme, extravagant, exigent, exposed, extended, exciting, exceptional, expansive, exacting, excelling, exceeding and exponential. In the composers’ own performance instruction the words range from “delirious, obsessive, explosive, furiously,” to “imperceptible, frail, inscrutable, incoherent.” This recording is the solo programme of The Virtuosity of Excess, an eleven-city North American Tour that I played in 2016. Just under seventy minutes in duration it features music that travels all over the limits and thresholds of the low clarinets, obscuring what is possible and what is not. With this project I wanted to discover the beauty of the extremes, exploit them and embody them in the music. The compositions are by Brian Ferneyhough, Richard Barrett, Raphaël Cendo, Paolo Perezzani, Paul Steenhuisen and me, Lori Freedman. The latter three musicians created pieces specifically in light of the theme of the programme. Several of the works include singing, one also includes playing a kick drum, and another features live electronics with immersive spatialization.

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Lori Freedman

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About the works

Each of these pieces makes use of non-standard notation. This means that much of my preparation was time spent in my studio both alone and in collaboration with the composers (by means of recording, skype, telephone and face-to-face sessions) learning, imagining and inventing (notating) new ways of representing the sounds that we each wanted to hear. The scrutinizing work in developing performance access to this sound world, to the gestural vocabulary and to the notation systems — it all had a massive effect on the success of transmitting the music in concert. It allowed me to get inside and “underneath” the surface of the written pages that were so excessively covered with musical instruction, to bring out in each piece the vitality of the individual ideas and the resulting larger forms, and to offer a potent, vibrant and resonating delivery to the audience. The process was invaluable to me, both as a performer and as a composer — as a creative musician. Improvisation is always a part of my work in learning any programme and here was no exception. However in the specific works of VOE creative playing was not simply a tool used to develop my interpretation of the scores but was also, in the case of my own piece and that of Steenhuisen, a practical technique upon which the compositions themselves were based.


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