Decasia (pronounced di-KA-zha), the soundtrack to Bill Morrison‘s film of the same name (which showed at the 2002 Sundance, Rotterdam, and Edinborough Film Festivals), is a large-scale, single-movement, relentlessly monumental work about decay – the decay of melody, of tuning, of classical music itself. Following the atmospheric ambiance of his recent string orchestra piece, Weather (Nonesuch/Warner), Michael Gordon‘s new work retunes a giant amplified orchestra (the Basel Sinfonietta) to resemble a piano fallen from a great height. With gripping strings, four detuned pianos, and massive winds and brass, the huge sound comes out of electronica and Mahler at the same time – stratospheric harmonies decay one into another, giant blocks of sounds shift and fall like an earthquake giving off a tremendous energy. At the 2001 premiere performance, the Basel Sinfonietta stood on a triangular pyramid 3 tiers high, completely surrounding the audience within.
“A fascinating ride up and down a fine, slippery musical slope.”
– T.J. Medrek, Boston Herald
“So mesmerizing it may hypnotize household pets.”
– David P. Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer