On Thursday, November 8, Michael Gordon’s newest work, Rushes for 7 bassoons, is given its European premiere by the Rushes Ensemble at the November Music Festival in Den Boasch followed by a tour in The Netherlands and Belgium:
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 is Dana Jessen, Saxton Rose, Rachael Elliott, Jeffrey Lyman, Lynn Hileman, Maya Stone, and Michael Harley.
Rushes was commissioned by The New Music Bassoon Commissioning Fund .