TODD MACHOVER (b.1953): Sparkler for Orchestra and Live Electronics, Jeux Deux for Hyperpiano and Orchestra (Michael Chertock [hyperpiano], Odense Symphony Orchestra; Paul Mann), Interlude 1 "After Bach", Interlude 2 "After Byrd", Three Hyper-Dim-Sums and ...but not simpler... for String Quartet (iO Quartet).
Catalogue Number: 01N073
Description: Much, though not all, of Machover's work is related to his development of 'hyper'-instruments - basically, electronically enhanced instruments that in performance can extend the technical capabilities of the performer through the real-time addition of computer-generated material. Jeux Deux is a good case in point; the 'hyperpiano' is a Yamaha Disklavier, a computer-controlled player-piano capable of playing acoustically pre-programmed sequences of notes triggered by the performer, which can far exceed in interchange between the instrument and the orchestra, and between the soloist and the enhanced soloist, so to speak. The piece is tumultuous and frantically active, though with unexpected diversions into thoroughly accessible tonal material. Sparkler applies similar techniques to the instruments of an entire orchestra, adding timbral and dynamic elaborations to the orchestral texture. Allusions to classical and popular music occur, anchoring the unfamiliar music to more accustomed material. The electronics-free quartet represents a search for order amid modern complexity and high-speed fragmentation - the opposite of the 'hyperpieces' in a sense. The quartet players constantly shift between conventional, even tonal music and wildly heterophonically diverse material.