What piece have you chosen?
Emergence for trio and chamber orchestra by Vijay Iyer.
Why is it special for you?
I saw the Vijay Iyer Trio perform a couple of years back and it was one of the most intense experiences of my life. Iyer’s earlier trio records were an inroad into a whole world of fantastic music, stretching through duos with celebrated free jazz performers (Wadada Leo Smith & Stephan Crump) to sextets (like Far From Over) and into larger orchestral pieces like Emergence. I’m interested in music that muddies the lines between pieces and performances, notation and improvisation; Emergence is a great example of a composition that does both.
What should we listen out for?
Iyer says: ’This piece situates our trio’s collaborative improvisational language in the context of a classical ensemble. In juxtaposing the respective powers of these very different ensembles, and featuring them separately and together, we explore how these two contrasting perspectives on music might coexist.’ Listen out for these moments of scatty coexistence (22’) and how the trio provide the impetus for timbral change on top of their ‘rhythm section’ role. Listen too for times when the ‘all grooving together’ narrative is exploded, and the quietly satisfying coda.