Le Cirque

Contemporary Music for Guitar Duo

Anderson-Fader Duo

Track Time Preview Cost +Add
1 Genius Loci (2008) for mandolin and guitar 1:27 $0.99
2 Corbett: Archipel Chagall II: Le Cirque - Mon Dieu 3:48 $0.00 Not available for download.
3 Corbett: Archipel Chagall II: Le Cirque - Le Cirque Ambulant 2:12 $0.00 Not available for download.
4 Corbett: Archipel Chagall II: Le Cirque - Horizons 2:50 $0.00 Not available for download.
5 Corbett: Archipel Chagall II: Le Cirque - Mon Cirque 2:24 $0.00 Not available for download.
6 Rokeach: Fantasy on 12 Strings (1995) 8:14 $1.99
7 Wuorinen: Dodecadactyl (2003) 4:07 $0.99
8 Welch, arr. Anderson: My Morphine 3:28 $0.99
9 Bowery Haunt 9:24 $1.49
10 Lang: Warmth (2006) 7:06 $1.49
11 Pollock: Entertwined (2001) 11:48 $1.99
12 Biscardi: Resisting Stillness (1996) 5:10 $1.49

This page has been viewed 6,556 times.

4.7/5 rating (3 votes)

American music in the early 21st C. is a musical circus. Anderson and Fader offer a disc that traverses a broad range, outlined by two Pulitzer Prize winners – the brilliant maverick David Lang on one extreme,  and the unrepentant modernist Charles Wuorinen on another. This disc includes many works commissioned by the duo, and most of them are recorded here for the first time. 


Soprano Elizabeth Farnum is featured on Sidney Corbett's poignant masque, Archipel Chagall II: Le Cirque and acclaimed soprano Haleh Abghari joins the duo in Anderson's setting of Gillian Welch's My Morphine (a pristine example of Southern decadence).  My Morphine sets the tone for Scott Johnson's psychedelic Bowery Haunt, a latter-day prog-rock tour de force. Wuorinen's Dodecadactyl likens the duo's 12 strings to poetic units or ‘dactyls’, here paired with Martin Rokeach's vastly contrasting Fantasy on 12 Strings, the work which won the Cygnus Ensemble's composition award in 1996.   Composer, virtuoso pianist and Maui resident Robert Pollock is represented here with his highly virtuosic and ‘entertwining’ Entertwined. Chester Biscardi's work never fails to garner extraordinary critical praise, most recently for Anderson-Fader's performance at the Library of Congress, where the Washington Post cited the "delicate and beautiful Resisting Stillness for two guitars".

It was comforting to be part of a project that we all understood.   The Cold War was an era of shared values to a great extent, subject to rebellion from those who felt those values as a tyranny.  "There is no name yet for this kind of music," wrote Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed of David Lang's work.  We are now in the simultaneously wonderful and terrifying position where none of the music that matters to us fits neatly into any existing category (including the late great works of the aging and dying modernists), so it's exhilarating and exciting but unpredictable and anxiety-provoking as well.


Elizabeth Farnum
Praised by the New York Times for her “honeyed tone”, Elizabeth Farnum is one of the worlds’s most highly sought-after vocalists in the field of modern music.   Widely known for her high level of musicianship, versatility and range, she has performed in several genres and has toured throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia with a number of varied ensembles.

For the past 15 years, Elizabeth has specialized in modern music, for which she is world-renowned.  She has performed in venues such as Lincoln Center, Alice Tully Hall, London’s Institute for Contemporary Art, the American Academy at Rome, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Library of Congress, collaborating with such composers as Samuel Adler, Ricky Ian Gordon, John Harbison, Peter Schickele, Charles Wuorinen and John Zorn.  She has appeared as a guest soloist with many prominent modern music ensembles throughout the U.S. and Europe.  A prolific studio artist, Elizabeth has been featured on over 30 recordings, four of which were nominated for Grammy awards, on such labels as Deutsche Grammophon/Archiv, Delos, Bis, Naxos and Koch.

Elizabeth earned her degree in Music/Drama at the Hartt School of Music.  She began her career as a “belter”, appearing in numerous regional and Off-Broadway productions in such roles as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, Sally Bowles in Cabaret and Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun.  She also performed on the jazz and cabaret circuits, and toured on the cruise ship SS Rotterdam. As a member of Riverdance, she toured and appeared in the Broadway production.  Her operatic roles include, among others, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Pamina in Die Zauberflote and Alva in Shala Fears for the Poor, a role she created with composer Anthony Braxton conducting.  Additionally, she appeared in a featured role in the American premiere of Pascal Dusapin’s To Be Sung, presented by L’Opera Francais.   She has also sung in the chorus at the Metropolitan Opera.

In the realm of early music, Elizabeth has performed with the acclaimed Waverly Consort, and was a member of the Grammy-nominated group Pomerium, touring extensively with both.  In the oratorio and concert worlds, she has presented the standard works of  Bach, Handel, Haydn and others, and has performed with the American Symphony Orchestra, the La Jolla Symphony, the Riverside Symphony, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic (with whom she premiered Lucas Foss’ The Prairie).

Elizabeth has a keen interest in nature, animals, and the environment, and is a New York State licensed wildlife rehabilitator.   She lives on City Island, New York, with her husband Ken, a keyboardist and piano technician, and their three cats.

Haleh Abghari is a native of Iran and divides her time between California and New York City.  She has performed as a singer, actor, and voice-over artist in the U.S., Canada and Europe to critical acclaim.  The New York Times hailed her work in Georges Aperghis' Recitations for Solo Voice as "a virtuoso and winning performance," and the Washington Post described her voice as ". . . high, dry, sweet and piercingly pure soprano."  Her portrayal of King George III in Eight Songs for a Mad King by Peter Maxwell Davies with the New York New Music Ensemble was cited as one of the “Performances of 2007” by MusicWeb International.  She is the only woman to perform this demanding role, originally written for Roy Hart, a pioneer of extended vocal technique.

In addition to working with numerous living composers and premiering new works, Abghari has created original music and performance pieces.  She has collaborated on many projects and installation-performance pieces with visual and performance artists.  She has performed and created live soundtracks to several animations by Martha Colburn including Destiny Manifesto at venues such as San Francisco MOMA and the Whitney Museum of American Art.  Her awards include a Fulbright Scholar Grant to work on the vocal music of György Kurtág in Budapest.  She previously worked as a music programmer and host for WNYC and WQXR (NYC’s public radio stations).  Her past activities include appearances at the Monadnock Music Festival, the IFCP Festival, and the CrossSound Festival (in Alaska), as well as EtnaFest, Teatro Manzoni, and SoundRes in Italy.  She has appeared as guest soloist and/or recorded with numerous ensembles including The New York New Music Ensemble, Cygnus Ensemble, Sequitur Ensemble, Bent Frequency, Empyrean Ensemble, Thamyris, and Fred Ho’s Afro Asian Music Ensemble.  Abghari was an artist-in-residence at the University of CA in Davis and at Montalvo Arts Center, and has conducted master-classes and workshops at universities and schools in the US and abroad.  As an educator, she has worked in the NY public schools as a teaching artist through Arts Connection and the education program of the American Composer’s Orchestra.

Abghari’s major teachers were Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Adrienne Csengery, and Paul Hillier and she pursued her studies in music at The University of California at Davis, Peabody Conservatory, The Mannes College of Music, and the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada.

The Anderson/Fader Guitar Duo has been heard in concerts throughout the US, Latin America and Europe, playing any and all repertoire for pairs of plucked strings.  Both were proteges of the legendary guitarist David Starobin. Based in New York City, the duo performed with many presenters and organizations, including ISCM, Music From Japan, Theater Chamber Players, and with James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Players. The duo is regularly featured on concerts given by the Cygnus Ensemble, most recently in a residency at the Library of Congress. The pair are tireless champions of new American music. and have been called "electrifying" by Allan Kozinn of New York Times.

The duo is regularly featured on concerts given by the Cygnus Ensemble, most recently in a residency at the Library of Congress were they revisited Chester Biscardi's exquisite miniature, *Resisting Stillness*.

Allan Kozinn gave this account of the duo's premiere of Milton Babbitt's Soli e Duettini, presented by ISCM/League of Composers in March, 1991 at Weill Hall:

"His melodies leap freely around the fretboard, and his rhythms are complex and perilous. Yet Mr. Anderson and Mr. Fader played the work from memory, and gave an impressive account of it." (NY Times, April 2, 1991)


Warmth            David Lang
Commissioned by Cygnus in 2006
Passionate, prolific, and complicated, composer David Lang embodies the restless spirit of invention. Lang is at the same time deeply versed in the classical tradition and committed to music that resists categorization, constantly creating new forms.
In the words of The New Yorker, "With his winning of the Pulitzer Prize for the little match girl passion (one of the most original and moving scores of recent years), Lang, once a postminimalist enfant terrible, has solidified his standing as an American master."

Sidney Corbett        Archipel Chagall II: Le Cirque   
                (Circus Songs)
Commissioned by the City of Remagne; US premiere given by Cygnus and Anderson/Fader Duo at the Society for Ethical Culture in 2005
FP 1998 Reutlingen
Verlag Neue Musik

Sidney Corbett was born in Chicago in 1960, studied music and philosophy at the University of California, San Diego, and continued his study of composition at Yale University, where he earned his doctorate in 1989, and from 1985 to 1988 at the Hamburg Academy of the Arts with György Ligeti. Corbett has been active primarily in Europe since 1985.

His output includes works for the stage, orchestral compositions, instrumental chamber music and a large amount of vocal music. His works have earned him numerous national and international awards and prizes and have been performed and broadcast worldwide. A particular emphasis in his recent work has been in the area of music theatre. His chamber opera, X UND Y, which was premiered at the Eclat Festival in Stuttgart in February 2002, the scenic work PARADISO, after Dante, for speaker and string quartet, which also premiered in 2002, in Basle, the large scale opera, NOACH, after an original libretto by Christoph Hein, which ran very successfully in the 2001/2002 season at the Bremen Opera and his third opera, KEINE STILLE AUSSER DER DES WINDES (No Silence but that of the Wind), after texts by Fernando Pessoa, which premiered in the Concordia Theatre Bremen in January 2007 are all examples of this recent focus. His most recent opera, UBU, will premiere at the opera house in Gelsenkirchen in April 2012.

Corbett has also received commissions from the Berlin Philharmonic, MusikFabrik, West German Radio, Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart among many others. He is currently at work on a piece commissioned by the Siemens Foundation for Ensemble Aventure.

His music is published by Edition Nova Vita, Berlin, and some earlier works were published by Ricordi, Bärenreiter and Verlag Neue Musik. Sidney Corbett is currently professor for composition at the University of the Performing Arts in Mannheim. Corbett currently resides with his wife and three children in Berlin, Germany.

Genius Loci                        Frank Brickle

Composer Frank Brickle has pursued an eccentric path to the music he is writing now. He was born, musically speaking, into High Modernism: at Princeton, his chief teacher and mentor was Milton Babbitt, and he worked long and hard to master the esoteric style and techniques of that milieu. Between then and now, however, he has worked even longer and harder to mold those same arcane techniques to the needs of a much wider range of styles, from high down to low, and much in between.
Brickle has created over seventy-five compositions, and a number of arrangements and transcriptions, for a wide range of instrumental ensembles and media. Many of his earlier pieces employ synthesized and processed sound. Over time, however, he has concentrated increasingly on writing for instruments and the voice, as he has come to treasure especially the unique moment when the performers have begun to be comfortable with the score and start making the music their own. And while his music has been evolving a great deal over more than four decades, he has attached much importance to continuity: rather than rejecting 20th-century Modernism, he has devoted much effort to adapting and transforming its methods and techniques into a more personal, expansive, intimate, and inviting dialect.

“The spirit of the place,” Genius Loci (2008) acknowledges the existence of places particular to special hauntings and the sense we often have that a ghostly presence both special and poignant resides in a unique physical location.  Here in this short work, a boisterous tune revisits; yet each time a different shadow is cast, a different angle presented  -fleeting like a phantom, yet a friendly one.

Dodecadactyl                        Charles Wuorinen

Commissioned by Cygnus, 2003

Charles Wuorinen (b. 1938, New York) is one of the world's leading composers.  His many honors include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and the Pulitzer Prize (the youngest composer to receive the award).  His compositions encompass every form and medium, including works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, soloists, ballet, and stage.  Wuorinen has written more than 250 compositions to date.  His newest works include It Happens Like This, a dramatic cantata on poems of James Tate, Time Regained, a fantasy for piano and orchestra for Peter Serkin, James Levine and the MET Opera Orchestra, Eighth Symphony for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Metagong for two pianos and two percussion. His operatic treatment of Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain, with  libretto by the author will be premiered by the Teatro Real in Madrid in 2014. (Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories based on the novel of Salman Rushdie was premiered by the New York City Opera in Fall 2004.)
 Wuorinen has been described as a "maximalist," writing music luxuriant with events, lyrical and expressive, strikingly dramatic.  His works are characterized by powerful harmonies and elegant craftsmanship, offering at once a link to the music of the past and a vision of a rich musical future.
 Both as composer and performer (conductor and pianist) Wuorinen has worked with some of the finest performers of the current time and his works reflect the great virtuosity of his collaborators.
 His works have been recorded on nearly a dozen labels including several releases on Naxos, Albany Records (Charles Wuorinen Series), John Zorn’s Tzadik label, and a CD of piano works performed by Alan Feinberg on the German label Col Legno.
Wuorinen is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Fantasy on 12 Strings                Martin Rokeach

Martin Rokeach’s music has been performed throughout the United States, Europe and Australia by many orchestras, chamber music ensembles and soloists. In the past year his works have been performed by the Chicago Ensemble, Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, St. Olaf Trio (MN), Cygnus Ensemble (NY), Wyck Trio (U. K.), Sheridan Ensemble (Chicago), Webster Trio (TX), and Anderson-Fader Guitar Duo (NY). His music has earned honors in eleven composition competitions, most recently those sponsored by the International Clarinet Association, the Chicago Ensemble, and Cygnus Ensemble, and he has been commissioned to write music for the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Music Teachers Association of California, Northeastern University Band, and California Association of Professional Music Teachers. His music has been published by Fallen Leaf Press, RonCorp, ALRY, and Dorn, and recorded on the Albany, North/South, Capstone, Amie, Arizona, Furious Artisans and CRS labels. He has been a featured composer and speaker at New York University and Wichita State University, and concerts devoted exclusively to his music have been held at Washington State University and Western Carolina University. Mr. Rokeach earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from San Francisco State University, and his Ph.D. in composition and theory from Michigan State University. He is a member of the faculty at Saint Mary’s College, where he teaches music theory, history and chamber music.

Bowery Haunt                Scott Johnson (b. 1952)

commissioned by Cygnus in 2005
Premiered by Bill Anderson and Oren Fader Apr 23/06, Merkin Hall, NYC

Composer Scott Johnson has been a pioneering voice in the new relationship being forged between the classical tradition and the popular culture that surrounds it.  Since the early 1980’s, he has played an influential role in the trend towards incorporating rock-derived instrumentation into traditionally scored compositions, and the use of taped, sampled and MIDI-controlled electronic elements within instrumental ensembles.  His music has been heard in performances by the Kronos Quartet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Bang On A Can All-Stars, and his own ensembles; in dance works performed by the Boston Ballet, the London Contemporary Dance Theater, and the Ballets de Monte Carlo; in Paul Schrader's film Patty Hearst, and in recordings on the Nonesuch, CRI, Point, and Tzadik labels. Johnson's scores generally mix acoustic and electric/electronic instruments, and he has premiered most of his electric guitar writing himself.  Compositions which feature sampled voice include the groundbreaking 1982 John Somebody, as well as How It Happens, commissioned by the Kronos Quartet, and based upon voice recordings of the late journalist I.F. Stone.  Johnson’s recent concert appearances include Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Japan Society, the Lincoln Center Festival, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, Yale University, the Schleswig-Holstien Festival, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s “Great Day In New York” series.  Other premieres include works for the Bang On A Can All-Stars at Lincoln Center, and the New Millennium Ensemble and Cygnus at Merkin Hall.  Awards include a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship and a Koussevitsky commission.  Johnson has also lectured at leading conservatories and universities, including San Francisco and Peabody Conservatories, Senzaku Ongaku Daigaku, New York University, The Manhattan School of Music, and Yale.

Before I was a composer, I was a guitarist; specifically, a teenager learning rock songs from recordings, and torturing my parents with basement rehearsals.  So when I found myself in New York City a dozen years later, living on the Bowery a block and a half away from the punk Valhalla of CBGB’s, my mind was stocked with all the necessary cultural references when the Ramones appeared with their hilarious black leather nightmare about surf music.  This memory provides the principle theme of Bowery Haunt, which appears after a quiet introduction.  Remembered images of loud clubs, of Soho streets lined only with art galleries, of audiences lying on the floor at marathon minimalist loft concerts; all remind me of the sense of unfurling possibility in a young person’s first years in the city.

The phrases of the main theme run through rock “power chords” that touch briefly on every major triad except E, the ur-key of rock guitar, and then settles in for some shifting harmonies above that lowest and most resonant note on the instrument.  This sets up the polytonal world that this piece shares with most of my recent work.  Many of the evocations of the American vernacular that follow in the course of Bowery Haunt refer to the type of “progressive rock” that punk rockers hated; and of course this piece, and I, live in a musical subculture that is usually far removed from all such popular sources.  But since I prefer hybridism to purity, these collisions look more like a playground than a minefield.  I think of this work as an abstraction based on the reality of our own popular musics, and I want it to bear the same relationship to the rock genres that I grew up on that a painted cubist head might bear to a realistic portrait.

Resisting Stillness (1996)                Chester Biscardi

Commissioned by the Cygnus Ensemble and the International Guitar Festival of Morelia (Mihoacan, Mexico) for William Anderson and Oren Fader (Anderson/Fader Duo).

Chester Biscardi’s music has been performed throughout Asia, Europe, and North and South America. It has been featured at the Beijing Modern Music Festival, the Gaudeamus Festival in Rotterdam, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in England, Moscow Autumn, Music Today-Japan in Tokyo, the Thailand Composition Festival in Bangkok, the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival, the North American New Music Festival in Buffalo, the Festival of New American Music in Sacramento, Piccolo Spoleto, the Staunton Music Festival, the International Guitar Festival of Morelia, and the Bienal of São Paulo, Brazil. Performances of his music have also been sponsored by the American Composers Orchestra, the BBC-London, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Cygnus Ensemble, Ensemble TIMF of Korea, the Gothia Percussion Ensemble of Sweden, the Group for Contemporary Music, the Houston Symphony, the Library of Congress, the National Flute Association, the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, the Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma della RAI, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Sequitur, and UNESCO/International Music Council.

Biscardi’s catalog includes At the Still Point, for orchestra, Piano Concerto, for piano and orchestra, Recognition, for piano and violin with string orchestra, Sailors & Dreamers, for voice and chamber ensemble, Tight-Rope, a chamber opera in nine uninterrupted scenes, Trasumanar, for twelve percussionists and piano, and numerous works for solo piano, voice and piano, small and large chamber ensembles, and chorus, as well as incidental music for theater, dance, and television.

His work is published by C. F. Peters Company/Edition Peters, Merion Music, Inc. of Theodore Presser Company, and Biscardi Music Press, and is distributed by Classical Vocal Reprints and Theodore Front Musical Literature, Inc. Recordings appear on the Albany, American Modern Recordings, Bridge, CRI (New World Records), Furious Artisans, Intim Musik (Sweden), Naxos, New Albion, New Ariel, North/South Recordings, and Sept Jardins (Canada) labels.

Chester Biscardi: In Time’s Unfolding, an all-Biscardi chamber music CD, was released on Naxos in late June 2011. He is a Yamaha Artist.

Biscardi is a recipient of the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Academy Award in Music and a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Aaron Copland Award, fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation, the Djerassi Foundation, the Japan Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the Rockefeller Foundation (Bellagio), as well as grants from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard, the Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation, Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Born in l948 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, he received a B.A. in English Literature, an M.A. in Italian Literature, and an M.M. in Musical Composition from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an M.M.A. and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Yale. He is Director of the Music Program at Sarah Lawrence College, where he was the first recipient of the William Schuman Chair in Music. For more detailed information please visit http://chesterbiscardi.com/.

Resisting Stillness, for two guitars

A fundamental lyricism has been a defining characteristic of Chester Biscardi’s (b.1948) music throughout his career and Resisting Stillness (1996) is no exception. This is music whose rhythmic sense is extremely fluid and leisurely, which projects meaning above all through the delicate interplay of timbre and pitch. Like much of Biscardi’s work, there is an impressionistic sensitivity to the expressive power of pure sound wedded to bel canto line – the two guitars in fact become like a single dreamy meta-instrument, dropping handfuls of glistening harmonics which dapple the music’s surface like light on water. Musical images evoke memory, time, and the cyclical nature of existence. The title suggests a way of listening to the work and reflects Biscardi’s creative struggle at the time of its writing – a personal "pulling up from silence".  

Entertwined                        Robert Pollock

Commissioned by Cygnus in 2002

Robert Pollock--married to Klazine since 1970, with one daughter, Esther, two grand daughters, Celeste (12), Beatrice (4)-- is co-founder of the New York Guild of Composers (1975), and founder/director emeritus of the Composers Guild of New Jersey (1980-1998).  Since 1999, Pollock directs a contemporary music and arts presenting organization, Ebb & Flow Arts, Inc., in Hawai'i. He has organized over 600 new music concerts and, as pianist, premiered over 100 compositions by composers from around the world. He recently performed solo piano recitals in Honolulu, Hawai'i, Princeville, Kauai, Berkeley, California, Seoul,  Korea (twice), and Tokyo, Japan (twice). He was featured in Composer in Residence Day, William Paterson University, and the Festival for New American Music, Sacramento State University.

Some of his over 100 compositions received recent performances in Russia, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Hawai’i, Italy, Poland, Germany, Austria, Mexico, Bulgaria, Denmark, Israel, Ireland, New Jersey, California and NYC.

Several of his works are recorded for Furious Artisan, CRI, CGNJ and Union of Composers, Tartarstan, Russia, labels. Several works are published by Mobart, E.C. Schirmer, Veritas Musicae and Rosalime Productions. He received a B. A. in Music from Swarthmore College, and M.F.A. in Musical Composition from Princeton University.

Program note

The title, "Entertwined" for 2 guitars, is a homogenized word that combines "entertain" and intertwined." There are tips of the hat to entertainment music.  There is a constant interweaving of the two guitars through invertible counterpoint.

Mostly I composed this 11 minute piece for Oren and Bill, wonderful musicians who performed in Hawai'i ℅ Ebb & Flow Arts several years ago. Hawai'i was new for my wife and I. We loved the climate. It was a happy time. "Entertwined" is a happy romp. I remember Bill, in Hawai'i, was somewhat amazed that I wrote the piece in relatively quick order. He asked how I did it. Oren told Bill to not be so impertinent as to ask such a question.  Didn't he realize that I paid someone very well to write the piece? Seriously, the honest answer is that it's not possible to tell him. As many composers experience, including Bill, it just happened.

                General considerations - Three musical exigencies

For me, there are certain musical exigencies. Chief among them is stepwise motion. From note to note, the musical step is as basic as the human foot step. If in our pitch class consciousness, we move expressively between registers after a series of basic, closed register steps, then it is because the ordinariness/orderliness of basic, closed register steps becomes uninteresting. Yet local, note to note flight between registers forces our ear to seek that basic closed register stepwise motion over a larger time span, at a deeper, middle ground level. Either way, we cannot avoid stepwise motion.

A second musical exigency is motivic design. The concept of motive runs through all the Arts - painting, literature, dance. It is as natural as the senses themselves. We make sense of the World through common motivic connections that our senses constantly feed to us. In music, the short, rhythmic and pitch intervallic idea does many things. It unifies, leverages diversity and complexity, and makes non-related passages more coherent. In the latter case, the central, pivotal motivic idea forces us to consider the possible "motive" for non-motivic passages. No matter how seemingly non-motivic some music may be, we, as listeners, nevertheless seek a motivic design. This is not because we are not listening with the appropriate "set of ears" for the musical composition being performed. In fact, a non-motivic set of ears for a non-motivic composition, is another version of motivic design. The absence of motive is nonetheless a meta-motivic process .

A third musical exigency is harmonic coherence. Add one factor a 4th up from the top, and another factor a minor sixth from the bottom of  Wagner's tonality-breaking "Tristan Chord" (circa 1860). What evolves is Scriabin's "Mystic Chord" 50 years later. About 60 years later, Peter Schat began composing with his Tone Clock system for harmony with 12 tones. Here the 11 trichords that generate all 12 pitches when transposed/inverted, plus the 4-part diminished chord,  show a further evolution of Harmony. For example, hour 12, the augmented triad, plus one of its "steering intervals" add a seventh factor to Mystic Chord, a tritone up from the top. My own approach coalesces an interval scale with the content of an eight factor chord. This chord extends a major sixth below the bottom. At the top this chord resolves the tritone to a major third, thereby adding an eighth factor. Regardless of the path, composers find harmonic coherence. Even more urgently and powerfully, harmony measures the composer. Harmony's inexorable evolution drives compositional achievement. As with natural selection, the aurally 'fittest' constructs survive. They adapt to the moment, force the musical moment to adjust and breathe anew.

William Anderson--married to pianist Joan Forsyth, with one son, cellist Henry--occasional composer and full time plucked string player, founded Cygnus in 1985.  Anderson has a great tendency to compose with found objects--found musical objects.  This does not mean he is always merely setting folktunes and pop tunes.  He is also hard at work trying to apply the incredible profusion--the Burgess Shale of compositional techniques--that appeared in the 20th Century, in ways that intersect with music that is in circulation.   My Morphine, by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings is lusciously decadent.  Like Faulkner and Tennessee Williams, Welch is wonderfully attuned to the way the languor and religiosity of the American south can be tweaked ever so slightly in the direction of Oscar Wilde, or Stephan Georg & Georg Trakl.  Anderson's treatment nods to these relationships, and it is also the first pop song to be accompanied by a multiply partitioned 4-part array.


Produced by Marc Wolf & Jeremy Tressler
Engineering by Jeremy Tressler at Dreamflower

Track 12 Produced & Engineered by Judith Sherman with engineering and editing assistance by Jeanne Velonis. Additional mastering by Dreamflower Studio in 2012

Genius Loci  © 2008 by Frank Brickle. Creative Commons License NC/ND/ATTR
Archipel Chagall II: Le Cirque, is published by Verlag Neue Musik GmbH © 1998
Fantasy on 12 Strings by Martin Rokeach is self published, © 1995
Dodecadactyl by Charles Wuorinen is published by C. F. Peters Corporation.
My Morphine by David Rawlings & Gillian Welch is published by Irving Music Inc.
   This arrangement for 2 guitars and voice by William Anderson © 2005 Editions Albion
Entertwined by Robert Pollock is published by Rosalime Productions © 2001
Resisting Stillness by Chester Biscardi is published by C. F. Peters Corporation.
   Recording originally released on ‘Cygnus Ensemble: Broken Consort', New World Records NWCR 834.
   ®  & © 2007 Anthology of Recorded Music, Inc. Used by permission
Warmth by David Lang is published by G. Schirmer Inc. © 2006
Bowery Haunt by Scott Johnson © 2005: Emotomat Music, ASCAP

Cover Image: Marc Chagall: The Little Harlequins, Paris , December 1962, lithograph
© 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris Used by permission

The texts used in Archipel Chagall II: Le Cirque were taken from various written sources of Marc Chagall, and rearranged as poems by Sydney Corbett.

Funded in part through a grant from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc.
Additional funding provided by The Composers Guild of New Jersey

Buy the compact disc here:

One Step Checkout with PayPal

Fast, secure one step checkout with PayPal. No account needed.



  1. Please enter a valid email address.