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Chamber  eighth blackbird: thirteen ways 
eighth blackbird: thirteen ways
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thirteen ways
eighth blackbird
Cedille Records CDR 90000 067

"eighth blackbird is so good it's dangerous" - Boston Globe

The exciting young contemporary-music sextet eighth blackbird has been snatching up glowing reviews, prestigious engagements and residencies, and competition victories, including the 2000 Naumburg Chamber Music Award. This innovative ensemble of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion takes its name from the Wallace Stevens poem, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."

Thirteen Ways is also the title of the group's commercial recording debut album on Cedille Records, featuring music by four of America's most gifted composers:David Schober (b. 1974), Thomas Albert (b. 1948), Joan Tower (b. 1938), and George Perle (b. 1915). Tower's sparkling Petroushskates is a vibrant homage to Stravinsky; Schober's elegantly crafted Variations, by turns ethereal and insistent, garnered the 1999 Wayne Peterson Prize from San Francisco State University; Perle's Critical Moments II, one of the ensemble's recent commissions, is "remarkably fresh in its spiky crystalline fragments, rapid atonal flurries and muted wisps of sound" (Los Angeles Times); and Albert's kaleidoscopic Thirteen Ways is as evocative and stimulating as the poem that inspired it.

With its "hip, engaging energy and a sterling musicianship" (Chicago Tribune), eighth blackbird "proves that new music can be both fun and serious" (Detroit Free Press). Even if your tastes tend toward the traditional, you'll find yourself beguiled by the new CD from "this wise and vivacious ensemble" (San Francisco Chronicle).
Click here to download the CD booklet.

Click the Cedille Player at the upper left to hear excerpts from the tracks highlighted in red below. These have been carefully chosen as representative of the recording program.

PROGRAM (55:30)

Joan Tower, b. 1938 (arr. Allen Otte)
1. Petroushskates (1980) (5:49)

George Perle, b. 1915
Critical Moments 2 * (2001) (11:24)
2. I. (1:14)
3. II. (1:13)
4. III. (2:03)
5. IV. (0:51)
6. V. (1:19)
7. VI. (0:46)
8. VII. (1:27)
9. VIII. (1:05)
10. IX. (1:03)

David Schober, b. 1974
11. Variations * (1998) (9:05)

Thomas Albert, b. 1948
Thirteen Ways * (1997) (28:48)
12. I. Leaden, bleak (2:08)
13. II. Aloof, persistent (1:50)
14. III. Nimble, capricious (2:28)
15. IV. Sensuous, relaxed (3:42)
16. V. Freely, like a birdsong (1:43)
17. VI. Subdued, but urgently (2:42)
18. VII. Exuberant, but increasingly stodgy (1:57)
19. VIII. Steady, rhythmic (2:37)
20. IX. Spacious, detached (2:03)
21. X. Orotund, discordant (1:51)
22. XI. Driving, relentless (2:07)
23. XII. Seamless, expansive (1:56)
24. XIII. Serene (1:39)

* World premiere recording

Recorded: Track 1: October 3, 2002 Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Evanston, IL / Tracks 2-11: July 15 & 16, 2002 & Tracks 12-24 July 13-14, 2002 Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase, NY. / Producer and Engineer: Judith Sherman / Assistant Engineer: Hsi-Ling Chang / Editing: Track 1: Bill Maylone / Editing Assistants: Tracks 2-10 Hsi-Ling Chang / Tracks 11-24 Jeanne Velonis / Mastering: Bill Maylone / Front Cover Photograph: Andy Whale/Stone / Graphic Design: Melanie Germond & Pete Goldlust / Notes: eighth blackbird & the composers