Artist: Rhinoceros Saxophone Quartet
Songs: Four Car Pile-up [excerpt] [composer: Brian Abbott] + Tragedy in five acts [edited excerpt] [composer: Tomasz Krakowiak]
Recorded at The Tranzac's Southern Cross Lounge (Somewhere There Creative Music Festival – Show 4), February 25, 2017.
This quartet (composed of Kayla Milmine, Bea Labikova, Paul Newman, and Jay Hay) offered a rare glimpse into the creative process at the festival's second afternoon show, holding an open rehearsal before playing a concert. That gave the public a chance to see behind-the-scenes details of how the musical sausages are made, including interaction with composers and the musicians digging their teeth into the details of timbres and transitions within a piece.
The quartet was showcasing some variant approaches, alternating between selections with flurries of notes and slower, more textured works. Resident composer Brian Abbott's selection hewed more to the former, while Krakowiak's piece (one of two premieres on this day coming from an open call for new works) worked more as a lovely soundfields. That piece also pushed things beyond the traditional score, working as much as a piece of spacialized choreography, with the composer "conducting" the ensemble (who were walking in a circle around the audience) with a series of traffic-sign-like-cues directing them to change direction, hold notes, or switch instruments. That was a very wonderful sound to be surrounded by — hopefully the recording gives some sense of that.