Rushes for 7 bassoons world premiere at EMPAC in Troy, NY

July 11, 2012

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On Saturday, September 15, Michael Gordon’s newest work, Rushes for 7 bassoons, is premiered by the Rushes Ensemble at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in Troy, NY.

The new work is a 60+ minute tour-de-force that takes some inspiration from his recent work for percussion, Timber. In the new work Gordon shifts polyrhythmic material not only through timbre and dynamics, but by weaving melodic lines into the kaleidoscopic waves of rhythmic texture.

Gordon comments about the piece:

The title comes from the tall grass that is reminiscent of the reeds that the bassoon players use, but I also like the title because it refers to an ecstatic rush, or a euphoria, that I’m trying to build in a slow, long landscape that you enter into. This is a very special sound that these 7 bassoon players create. It’s not a sound or a combination of instruments that people know much about or that people have explored a lot. It’s a very different, very beautiful place.

I wanted to create something that was an environment or a spectacle that was very visceral for the players — they are basically playing non-stop for an hour. There’s a sense of intensity and concentration.

It’s pretty exciting to be working on rushes for this group of 7 bassoon players. The bassoon is unexplored territory in a certain sense, it’s been under appreciated.The Rushes ensemble (Dana Jessen, Saxton Rose, Rachael Elliott, Jeffrey Lyman, Lynn Hileman, Maya Stone, and Michael Harley) takes Rushes on a European tour in November 2012:

November 8 – November Music Festival in Den Bosch
November 10 – GLOW Festival in Eindoven
November 11 – Rushes and Timber at the SURROUND Festival in Brugge
November 15 – Ostadetheater in Amsterdam
November 16 – Korzo Theater in Den Haag

Rushes was commissioned by The New Music Bassoon Commissioning Fund.