The New York composer Michael Gordon, perhaps best known as one of the founders and artistic directors of the Bang on a Can Festival, wrote Weather in 1997 for the Frankfurt-based Ensemble Resonanz, a 16-piece string orchestra of young musicians. Originally conceived as a video opera for a “vertical orchestra,” Gordon collaborated with New York filmmaker Elliot Caplan, with whom he has worked since their 1991 collaboration Van Gogh Video Opera.
Weather was first performed live in Germany in 1997, with the members of Ensemble Resonanz stacked vertically on scaffolding and surrounded by video loops and graphics. The piece was performed throughout Europe and was recorded in Cologne at the end of the tour. The creative team of Gordon, producer Gregg Jackman and programmer Henry Jackman then added samples and drumbeats, processed the strings, and distorted the sound of Weather Two, making it more upfront and abrasive.
In the end Weather transcends the boundaries of both classical and pop music. It is an onslaught of sound, tuneful, rhythmic and raw. Michael Gordon’s music embraces elements of dissonance, rigorous minimalism, modality and popular culture in a bold and direct sound. The Wire calls Weather “satisfyingly direct and immediate, as exhilarating and refreshing as the storm it accurately depicts.”
For more information about the composer, visit the artist page for Michael Gordon.