On June 20 from noon to midnight (EDT) Bang on a Can presents 12 hours of streaming performances of Michael Gordon’s Timber by ensembles from around the World. The show includes interviews with performers and collaborators, archival videos, remixes, and more!
The performers are:
Slagwerk Den Haag and Club Guy & Roni dance (Netherlands)
Ensemble Tactus (France)
Institut für Musik Universität Kassel (Germany)
Ictus Ensemble (Belgium)
Grupo de Percussão (Portugal) and Roberto Olivan dance (Spain)
Ensemble Perceum (Uruguay)
Left Edge Percussion (USA)
Steven Schick (USA)
Nief Norf (USA)
University of Michigan Percussion Ensemble (USA)
Mantra Percussion (USA)
Timber was originally performed in sections in 2010 by Slagwerk Den Haag [SDH] for dance performances with the Dutch company Club Guy and Roni (who co-commissioned Timber with SDH and the American ensemble Mantra Percussion). The complete work was finally premiered in concert on June 16, 2011 at the Korzo Theatre in The Netherlands by Slagwerk Den Haag.
It has since been performed more than 150 times over the past decade by dozens of ensembles (and dance companies) from over 20 countries.
An hour-long tour de force for six percussionists, Timber is scored for six pieces of wood, known as simantras — instruments from the Eastern Orthodox liturgy. Using these simple instruments (cut to varying pitches from low to high) Gordon shapes the music in both polyrhythmic and dynamic waves of textures; often each players’ hands are in separate rhythmic ‘worlds’, each traversing a different dynamic contour from loud to soft to loud.
When amplified in a resonant space the “glorious overtones produced from this limited array has to be heard to be believed.” (TimeOut Chicago) What can be described as an aurora borealis of sound, the overtones from the instruments combine to create hidden melodies — an other-worldy mix of timbres and harmonies that float and shimmer above the ensemble. “It has a halo, an ethereal aura of sound.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)
This marathon streaming event marks a new decade for the work.