Jeffrey Brooks Great Big Performance & Recording Project
Jeffrey Brooks is an outstanding composer. We've known that since we met him in the mid 1980's! Despite health setbacks that would have ended most careers, he's continued to make music that defies convention and touches us deeply.
Jeff's compositions invite you in, to draw connections to whatever kinds of music you've heard before and to imagine worlds you've never been to. His music is complex but never esoteric. There's symmetry and counterpoint, big expressive gestures, heavy basslines and references to pop and rock music, modernist dissonance and "downtown" noise, and elements of the Minimalists he was drawn to as a student under Martin Bresnick and Louis Andriessen.
Bang on a Can has commissioned Jeffrey four separate times, more than any other composer, and each piece has been more revealing than the last. Each of the works has been logistically challenging, with unusual combinations of instruments and virtuosic expectations of the players. As a result, we've workshopped and premiered them at our Bang on a Can Summer Festival at MASS MoCA, where we have the room and players to tackle major new works for small orchestras.
Each of these pieces garnered standing ovations at its world premiere. These are evocative and sensuous works of art. They speak to listeners, who in turn respond viscerally. In the video you'll hear Jeffrey explain how After the Treewatcher evolved from a defining moment with David Lang and Michael Gordon back in school.
About the second piece, Jeffrey writes:
Capriccio on the Departure of a Beloved Brother is written in memory of my dear friend, the British composer, Steve Martland. It begins by quoting the Bach keyboard piece of the same name and gradually morphs into the kind of driving, rhythmic and just plain loud music that Steve loved. When I hear the joyous guitar rock gigue that concludes the piece I see him dancing.
The Passion was not written to celebrate the fantastic story found in the Gospels. It was written to memorialize the everyday pain and suffering that average men and women must endure in their lives. Everyone deserves a Passion. The second movement features an undocumented worker with a leg that won't heal (a real person)who rides the bus for hours to a minimum wage job to support his family. The text to the third movement is from a pamphlet written by my sister. "Instructions for Living" was written as she lay dying of cancer and consists of advice that she knows she will never be able to give to her four children: "see your dentist twice a year — cook with your family — never leave your drink unattended at a party — you are loved — you are special — call home often"
This is deeply personal stuff, and yet wholly universal. We love it.
And now to the crux of the matter!
Were money not an issue, these pieces would have been recorded already. But they are large. The overall cost soup to nuts will cross $60,000 - we insist on paying proper wages for the work of the musicians to learn, rehearse, record and perform these pieces, all in the span of a few days.
We will perform all three at the FREE May 13 2018 Bang on a Can Marathon. So if you want to come hear precisely what your money is going to, that's a pretty good place to find out!
We definitely believe that Jeffrey Brooks falls into the "much underappreciated" category! While his career took an unexpected turn when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's, he has never stopped amazing us with his creativity and vision. To date his work is available only online through a handful of live recordings. The works on this proposed record - After the Treewatcher (2012), Capriccio for a Dear Departed Brother (2015) and The Passion (2017) will stand as testament to his vital creativity and vision.
Please give generously. Jeff and Bang will be grateful indeed.
Gifts to $100
We'll send you a signed copy of the record and the download a month before its released!
Gifts $125 to $500
You get the signed record and we'll add two VIP seats to the performance at the NYC Bang on a Can Marathon on May 13!!
Gifts $600 to $1000
You get the above and we'll add your name as a Producer of the Record!!!
Gifts $1500 to $5000
You get the above and we'll add a special dinner with Jeffrey and Maura for you and a guest in either Minnesota or NYC!!!! (For NYC, we'll add Bang founders Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe to the dinner.)