World Premiere by Composer Eve Beglarian
Twenty-four Double Basses in a Grove of Trees
By: Jessica Robinson - Aug 16, 2021
When was the last time you listened to music that was composed by a piece of birch wood?
Eve Beglarian, in collaboration with superstar bassist Robert Black, one of the founding members of the renowned Bang-on-a-Can All-Stars, has composed a fascinating new work entitled A Murmur in the Trees.
The short, half-hour only, composition was generated by treating a piece of birch bark as piano-roll notation, and reading it at the rate of one-third inch per minute, said to be the speed at which plant signals travel.
The unusual piece will be performed by an ensemble of bass players, led by Robert Black. The staging will be organized so that the audience can move along the entire length of an allee of trees, shaping their own listening experience as they choose to walk, or stand still.
The title of this idiosyncratic new work is inspired by a poem of the same name by Emily Dickenson, whose opening lines are:
A murmur in the Trees--- to note,
Not loud enough---for Wind.
The music will be performed softly as, indeed, bass instruments are themselves soft, (acoustic basses don’t project very far in the open air) and will mix with the natural ambience of a late-summer afternoon.
The composition aims to create a space in which art and nature are in a relationship that deeply rewards taking time and paying attention, time and attention that can’t help but reinforce reverence for the natural world.
“None of us has ever heard twenty-four basses playing a birch bark score in a grove of trees,” says Beglarian. “Encountering the sight and sound of basses in the woods helps us remember that much of the bass’ beauty as an instrument relies on its past life as a tree.”
The trees and the basses must have something compelling to say to one another, and I can’t wait to listen in on their conversation.
A Murmur in the Trees will have performances on Saturday, September 11, 2021 starting at 5 pm and 5:30 pm @ the Fuller's allée, 82 Park Street Extension, Brandon, VT 05733 and Sunday, September 12, 2021 at 11 am @ Hubbard Park New Shelter, Montpelier, VT 400 Parkway St, Montpelier, VT 05602).
Tickets for the event are free with pre- registration recommended.
For details visit: www.scragmountainmusic.org
The Brandon performance will also include walking tours of the town led by the Brandon Historical Society
Beglarian’s piece is paired with the World Premiere of a song setting of the same Emily Dickinson poem by Vermont composer/bassist and Scrag Mountain Music co-Artistic Director Evan Premo, performed by Premo, Robert Black, and soprano and Scrag co-Artistic Director Mary Bonhag.