The live iteration of a highly anticipated collaboration between Thomas Bartlett, also known as Doveman, and contemporary classical composer Nico Muhly kicks off Le Poisson Rogue’s special 10th anniversary music programme. Bartlett and Muhly will perform their forthcoming record Peter Pears: Balinese Ceremonial Music (Nonesuch Records) in its entirety.
Ten years in the making, this recording was born from a love of Colin McPhee’s (1900-1964) transcriptions of Balinese ceremonial music for two pianos. The dual pianos translate the complicated overlapping patterns of gamelan music into a stylised, Western approximation. McPhee lived, in 1940, with the composer Benjamin Britten, his partner Peter Pears, W.H. Auden and other artists.
McPhee and Britten recorded the suite in 1941, and while the recording’s audio quality is dated, it is evocative and points towards the music Britten wrote before his death in 1976. Bartlett and Muhly decided to write a set of nine songs loosely based on the textures and interlocking rhythms from McPhee’s transcriptions, as well as the various resonant sounds from Balinese music, but consolidated into their own stylised processes.
The project is named after Peter Pears, who, in addition to being Britten’s partner, was an observer and collaborator not just of Britten, but of a larger community of musicians, writers, and thinkers.
Thomas and Nico have both been frequent contributors to Le Poisson Rouge and we are delighted to welcome them back for this very special 10th Anniversary show where they will be joined by members of Ensemble LPR on strings and percussion.