Jeff Herriott's "The Stone Tapestry" is a collection of interwoven myths, about origins, lifecycles, and the pace and significance of change. The ritualistic approach to the performance of many segments of the piece places focus on the repetitive nature of the physical acts themselves.
|01||Clouds Of Stone|
Clouds Of Stone
|02||Between The Sun And The Shade|
Between The Sun And The Shade
|04||Beneath A Granite Sky|
Beneath A Granite Sky
|05||Consciousness Floats Into The Wind|
Consciousness Floats Into The Wind
|07||Purification Of The Stone|
Purification Of The Stone
|08||Lament Of The Stone|
Lament Of The Stone
|09||Draping The Walls With Ice|
Draping The Walls With Ice
“The Stone Tapestry is a collection of interwoven myths, about origins, lifecycles, and the pace and significance of change. As a whole, the piece divides into two segments that together trace the path of just a few stones, from discovery to disappearance. Musically, several different ideas appear and recur in different forms, modeling change across large time spans. The ritualistic approach to the performance of many segments of the piece is intended to impart a distance to the act of music-making, placing focus on the repetitive nature of the physical acts themselves.” — Jeff Herriott
This remarkable one hour long piece in nine sections, commissioned by the Barlow Foundation, written for Due East and performed here with Third Coast Percussion, marries a timeless stance to sound and pacing with a very contemporary approach to timbre and instrumentation. Each movement patiently excavates a different sound world, unearthing subtleties and long structural shapes. But the sonic pairings are innovative, like the union of processed, undulating flute and bowed vibraphone in the third movement. Due East and Third Coast Percussion are ideal instrumentalists for this music, exploring the fine details in timbral shading as an archeaologist might examine an artifact. Herriott’s expansive formal process in The Stone Tapestry allows the work to breathe and inhabit the world of natural time. While the resultant sound of the music is very distinct, the temporal quality of the piece is reminiscent of the music of John Luther Adams. In this sense, Jeff Herriott joins Adams in allowing his music to draw attention to, and not away from, our natural landscape. Stones, like rivers, mountains, and valleys, move and change at a glacial pace, and Herriot’s deft use of repetition with subtle variation, avoidance of didactic rhythmic regularity, and penchant for static harmonic textures bring us into a sphere entirely apart from glowing screens, twenty four hour news cycles, and crowded metropolitan areas.
Engineer: Dan Nichols
Recording location: Northern Illinois University
Mixed and mastered by Jeff Herriott
Design and layout: Scott McCormick
The Stone Tapestry was commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University, for the ensemble Due East.
Jeff Herriott is a composer whose music focuses on sounds that gently shift and bend at the edges of perception. His works, which often include interaction between live performers and electronic sounds, have been described as “colorful...darkly atmospheric” (New York Times) and “incredibly soft, beautiful, and delicate” (Computer Music Journal). In addition to the Barlow Endowment commission for The Stone Tapestry, Jeff’s works have been supported by the MATA Festival, Jerome Composers Commissioning Program through the American Composers Forum, the McKnight Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Jeff’s music is recorded on Albany, Innova, clang, SEAMUS, SoundSet, and Lakeshore labels. Jeff is Professor of Music at UW-Whitewater. (http://jeffherriott.com)
Hailed by The New Yorker as “vibrant” and “superb", Due East actively promotes new music and seeks to expand the flute and percussion duo genre through frequent commissions and premieres. The duo has performed in China, Brazil, Europe, Canada and the United States at venues such as the Beijing Modern Music Festival, the Warsaw Crossdrumming Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts and the SEAMUS conference. Due East has given multiple performances at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, won first prize in the 2008 National Flute Association Chamber Music Competition and were finalists in the 2011 International Concert Artists Guild Competition. The duo has on multiple occasions been ensemble-in- residence at the Yellow Barn Chamber Music School and Festival. Their first recording, Simultaneous Worlds, is available on Albany Records. Their second recording, Drawn Only Once, is a multi-media CD/DVD available on New Amsterdam Records. Noted critic Steve Smith gave it a rare 5.0-star rating in Time Out New York, calling it "spellbindingly beautiful." (http://dueeast.net) Hailed by The New Yorker as “vibrant” and “superb,” Third Coast Percussion explores and expands the extraordinary sonic possibilities of the percussion repertoire, delivering vibrant performances for audiences of all kinds. Founded in 2005, this “brilliant” ensemble (The Independent) has performed hundreds of Their first recording, Simultaneous Worlds, is available on Albany Records. Their second recording, Drawn Only Once, is a multi-media CD/DVD available on New Amsterdam Records. Noted critic Steve Smith gave it a rare 5.0-star rating in Time Out New York, calling it "spellbindingly beautiful." (http://dueeast.net)
Third Coast Percussion is a Grammy Award-winning, artist-run quartet of classically-trained percussionists hailing from the great city of Chicago. For over ten years, the ensemble has forged a unique path in the musical landscape with virtuosic, energetic performances that celebrate the extraordinary depth and breadth of musical possibilities in the world of percussion. The ensemble has been praised for “commandingly elegant” (New York Times) performances, the “rare power” (Washington Post) of their recordings, and “an inspirational sense of fun and curiosity” (Minnesota Star-Tribune). The four members of Third Coast are also accomplished teachers, and since 2013, have served as ensemble-in-residence at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Third Coast Percussion has commissioned and premiered over 40 new works, including music by Augusta Read Thomas, Donnacha Dennehy, Glenn Kotche, Lei Liang, Chris Cerrone, and Gavin Bryars.
Third Coast Percussion is: Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, David Skidmore
Fulbright Scholar, composer, educator, and “prodigiously talented percussionist” (Chicago Classical Review), Gregory Beyer is a contemporary music specialist who blends the disciplines of orchestral, jazz, and world music into a singular artistic voice. He is the Artistic Director of Arcomusical, a resource dedicated to the Afro-Brazilian berimbau musical bow. Beyer is Associate Professor and Head of Percussion Studies at Northern Illinois University. He is a core member of the Chicago-based new music ensemble, Dal Niente. He spent the 2015-2016 year in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, teaching at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, training capoeira Angola with Contramestra Alcione Oliveira of the Capoeira Angola Dobrada Association, and working with a tremendous group of musicians, Arcomusical Brasil, with whom he traveled to Africa to present and perform at the international Bow Music Conference.
As a soloist, and chamber musician Erin Lesser has been described as “superb”, “excellent”, and “elegant” (New York Times). She has travelled to prestigious venues around the world including Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Hall, the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ (Amsterdam) and Alice Tully Hall where she performed the American premiere of Morton Feldman’s For Flute and Orchestra with the Jancek Philharmonic. Erin is a member of Alarm Will Sound, a group that has been awarded the ASCAP Concert Music Award for “the virtuosity, passion and commitment with which they perform and champion the repertory for the 21st century”. She is also a core member of Wet Ink, a group that has been described as “thought-provoking and expansive and fearless” and a founding member of the Argento Chamber Ensemble. Erin is Assistant Professor of Flute at Lawrence University and a Pearl Flute Performing Artist. Erin is Assistant Professor of Flute at Lawrence University and a Pearl Flute Performing Artist.
A large-scale work for percussion quartet in two parts, composer Jeff Herriott’s Stone Tapestry uses a stunning variety of different sounds to evoke mythic imagery relating to origins, life cycles and the inevitability of change. In short, it’s music about the grand scheme of things in which little things like politics don’t much matter. A welcome distraction. -- Seth Boustead, January, 2017
Some recordings play like snapshots of a particular time and place; others transcend their moment of creation and convey a timeless quality that suggests the music could have arisen years, decades, even centuries ago as much as today. Jeff Herriott's The Stone Tapestry is one such creation, even if its CD presentation and electro-acoustic treatments relate it to a particular era. But in its compositional form, pacing, and flute-and-percussion arrangements, the hour-long recording nevertheless exudes a timeless quality that's very much in keeping with its ritualistic character. Using an instrumental presentation to trace evolutionary changes that accrue to stones across time, Herriott explores ideas about origins and life-cycles in the nine-part work.
Certainly one of the recording's major draws derives from the timbral contrasts between the percussion instruments and flute. Whenever she appears, Erin Lesser's entrancing woodwind playing (alto, bass, contrabass, and traditional flutes, specifically) warms the cool, metallic timbres produced by her Due East partner Gregory Beyer and Third Coast Percussion members David Skidmore, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and Sean Connors. Adding to the music's timeless character are the particular percussive instruments sourced as sound-generators: crotales, crystal glasses, glass bowls, gongs, pipes, stones, wood planks, vibraphones, and bowls of water.
Nominally, the genre in play might be identified as contemporary chamber music, but there's something undeniably primal about the material as presented by Due East (for which it was written) and Third Coast Percussion. Though all nine parts are united by a common theme, each section functions as a stand-alone in presenting a slightly different soundworld than the others, and in certain cases, a particular musical configuration is emphasized. On “Wanderer Hymn,” for example, Lesser's playing, heavily processed in this case, is featured, whereas “Draping the Walls With Ice” shifts the spotlight to Third Coast Percussion.
At album's start, “Clouds of Stone” tickles the ear with the resonant gleam and sparkle of mallet and bell textures, the music alternating between dazzling showers and quieter sequences where the tempo slows to a near-standstill (the effect revisited in the seventh part, “Purification of the Stone”). A third of the way into the fifteen-minute setting, Lesser's flute surreptitiously enters to add another striking dimension to the sound design and deepen the mysteries in play. Her playing proves especially hypnotic during the third movement, “Luminous Stones,” when her softly undulating expressions appear alongside bowed vibraphone textures and unusual scraping noises, and the fifth, “Consciousness Floats Into the Wind,” arguably the most swoon-inducing of the nine settings. Another appealing aspect of The Stone Tapestry is how unhurriedly its composition's sections unfold. A case in point, “Lament of the Stone” advances in a manner that seems almost like slow-motion, yet the presentation is all the more powerful as a result, especially when the listener is able to monitor so closely the interactions between the flute, vibes, and water bowls.
Herriott's atmospheric, delicately wrought works often involve interactions between live performers and electronic sounds, and while applications of the latter are present in the processing treatments applied to the flute, The Stone Tapestry sounds more like an acoustic than electro-acoustic work. The primal and timeless qualities of the material lend it a purity reminiscent of the music of John Luther Adams, another composer who repeatedly draws for inspiration from the natural landscape. Structure and form are omnipresent, yet Herriott's music unfolds in a way that feels natural, elemental even. Throughout the recording, the six musicians work together with the utmost patience, rather like archeologists painstakingly excavating a dig in hope of unearthing ancient artifacts. - Ron Schepper, textura, 3.2017
Third Coast Percussion is joined by the flute-percussion duo Due East on a New Focus CD devoted to Jeff Herriott's "Stone Tapestry." An aura of Zen-like simplicity and serenity hangs over this hourlong study in shimmering, glinting sonorities, its nine sections bearing such titles as "Beneath Granite Sky" and "Draping the Walls with Ice." Try this when you're in the mood for otherworldly musical meditation. - John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, 4.13.2017
Listening to Jeff Herriott’s The Stone Tapestry is a slow-moving, immersive experience, reminiscent of the vast musical tectonics of John Luther Adams; the music shares the timeless quality of someone like Takemitsu, but possesses a textural language very much Herriott’s own. Scored for multiple percussion and flute, Herriott distils a range of textures from the ensemble; the fragility of the last section revels in brittle percussion, whilst the fifth combines flute with vibraphone.
Repetition is a key feature of the work, with patterns turning and weaving to create tension in textures that are at once moving and yet fixed. It’s a music that speaks of wide, open spaces, of mist-shrouded landscape, of the strange hours just before dawn or at twilight when the past seems very close to the surface.
This is a feature of other works by Herriott; ‘at the whim of the current’ for vibraphone and electronics, or ‘heat curls up from the dust.’ It’s a music that transcends ordinary time, lifting the listener into another plane where the pace of life moves in a more considered fashion, with a quiet grandeur.
Herriott describes the piece as ‘a collection of interwoven myths about origins, lifecycles and the significance of change as a whole.’ There’s a restlessness to the music sometimes, too, particularly the second section, ‘Between the Sun and the Shade’ with repeating bell-patterns endlessly revolving against a warping background and the odd, unnerving sound of wood being scraped. An eerie banshee ghosts in the background, shadowing the flute in ‘Luminous Stones.’
The fifth section, ‘Consciousness Floats Into The Wind,’ is one of those rare ones that I instantly felt as though I’d known my whole life on first hearing, something unknown so immediately familiar.
Performed fluidly and with a real sense of the music's sonorous soundscapes by Due East and Third Coast Percussion, The Stone Tapestry is released on the New Focus Recordings label; details here. — Dan Harding, Shock of the New, 5.10.2017
Stone Tapestry (New Focus Recordings FCR 175), takes us on an extraordinary voyage through nine interrelated ambient sonic passages. This, the music of Jeff Herriott, comes forth in its own way, not quite like any other. Part of that has to do with the instrumentation. The duo Due East takes a leading role with Erin Lesser on flutes and Gregory Beyer on percussion. The formidable ensemble Third Coast Percussion adds considerable sound mass to the totality with David Skidmore, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin and Sean Connors manning a barrage of instruments..
The totalized instrumentation these seven instrumentalists play has been chosen carefully by Herriott for a special sound world highly evocative, timbrally complex and beautifully orchestrated. It comprises alto flute, bass flute, bowls of water, contrabass flute, crotales, crystal glasses, flute, glass bowls, gongs, pipes, stones, vibraphones and wood planks.
The result is an ever-shifting ambiance with highly luminescent clusters of wood, metal, stone and glass.
Jeff Herriott knows what he is after and the ensemble sounds the corpus of instruments with standard and extended techniques. Each movement fills the aural space with its own special constellation.
It is a remarkable sonority, a fabulous program.
— Grego Edwards, Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, 5.15.2017
In keeping with what appears to be a trend in the percussion world, Jeff Herriott’s Stone Tapestry is as much about the physicality of the performance as it is about the sounds. As he says, “the ritualistic approach to the performance of many segments is intended to impart a distance to the act of music-making, placing focus [sic] on the repetitive nature of the physical acts themselves.” I’ve always been a fan of things-in-themselves, though it’s unclear if Herriott means it in the Kantian sense. Herriott’s music attempts to represent several ideas more abstract than the music trying to concretize it: myths, origins, lifecycles, and the “pace and significance of change as a whole”. The things-in-themselves Herriott uses are your standard percussion ensemble fare, with added flute and bass flute, bowls of water, stones, and glass bowls. The sections are generally open and slow, often bordering on eerie. There really isn’t a section that stands out—they all tend to be quite forgettable—but the idea was to concentrate on the physical acts.
© 12.29.2017 American Record Guide, Kraig Lamper