May 27, 2011

Nathan Davis: “The Mechanics of Escapement”

We are very excited for the forthcoming release of ICElab composer and ICE percussionist Nathan Davis' new album, "The Bright And Hollow Sky", which will be brought to you by our good friends at New Focus Recordings starting this Tuesday, May 31st. We'll be celebrating the release with an evening of Nathan's music, including world and NYC premieres of new pieces, at our final FREE ICElab show next Tuesday evening at LPR.

In anticipation of the release, we bring you a full length mp3 of "The Mechanics of Escapement". See below for Nathan's description of the piece, and for streaming audio:

Nathan Davis, The Bright and Hollow Sky

From the composer:

The Mechanics of Escapement (2008) for toy piano and clock chimes
Performed by Phyllis Chen

The Mechanics of Escapement is about the fragile athleticism of playing an instrument, and examines the musical, physical, and cultural aspects of making music despite the mechanical separation of sound source from the body.  It was inspired by my encounter with the device Robert Schumann used to strengthen his technique, which ultimately ruinied his hands, and by my own battles with performance injuries.  It is written for toy piano and for a collection of clock chimes (long resonating rods, like those that are in the toy piano) built by the composer together with master carpenter John Roche.  The clock chime instruments are placed on high poles around the audience and played by the pianist by pulling long strings connected to them.

Commissioned by Concert Artists Guild for Phyllis Chen