Hello from Rome!

What a few months it’s been. After returning to New York for a few convulsive weeks, I headed out to the American Academy in Rome which is just an amazing and beautiful space. My colleagues are brilliant artists and scholars, and Rome is, well, my favorite place on the planet.

And the food. That’s a whole other story.

I’m planning to post a big season update in the coming days. I can’t wait to share with you performances by groups including eighth blackbird, the Sharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic, a Yellow Barn tour of Memory Palace, violinist Tim Fain, the return of the ACO Sonic Festival, a portrait concert in Baltimore, and more! Everything will be posted by October 14!

But as you can imagine with all the moving to Europe I’m a bit slow on the uptake. In the meanwhile, I wanted to share the release of Barbary Coast, an album of new music performed by Red Light New Music, a group that I co-founded in 2007 that features my piece The Night Mare. You can buy a hard copy from the New Focus site, order on iTunes, or stream below on Spotify.

The cellist Joshua Roman wrote a beautiful note on the piece here as part of Second Inversion radio, where my piece was a staff pick. And the site Textura wrote a particularly flattering review of of it here.

The album material is impeccably performed by the musicians, and the works themselves are a consistently engaging bunch. Some, however, are more memorable than others, The Night Mare arguably the most memorable of all. For this nine-minute setting, Cerrone drew inspiration from a Jorge Louis Borges lecture, specifically its characterization of nightmares as chaotic series of images that are fashioned into coherent narrative forms upon waking. Cerrone incorporates into the work’s design electronic effects derived from a field recording of a train and bolsters its haunting quality by exploiting the instrumental resources of the group to sculpt a powerfully atmospheric sound design. Droning, slightly dissonant tones gradually morph into short melodic statements that retain the unsettling tone established at the outset, and Cerrone exercises admirable restraint in the way the subtle modulations in mood are effected from beginning to end. In fact, so strong is the composition, one longs to hear an album-length presentation of Cerrone’s work rather than a single setting only.

Doesn’t get much better than that! Check it out! And here’s the view from the 4th floor terrace at the American Academy.