Released on New Focus Recordings, this latest album features premieres recordings of works by Scott Wollschleger and Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti
The String Orchestra of Brooklyn (SOB) comprises a community of musicians aiming to democratize the production and reception of concert music. Founded in 2007 by artistic director Eli Spindel, SOB has given over 90 concerts and presentations of over 400 works with an emphasis on the work of living composers.
The group has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, I Care if You Listen, and The New Yorker, for its dedication to new music. SOB’s latest album, “enfolding” is their second album following “afterimage” in 2017.
“enfolding” features premiere recordings of Scott Wollschleger’s Outside Only Sound, which was recorded live during the pandemic, and Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti’s with eyes the color of time — a finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Music.
The eight movements of Lanzilotti’s with eyes the color of time, are titled The Bronze Doors, Open Triangles, Nahele (the Bronze Horse – The Forest), Les sortilèges (The Wound – The Torn Page), Silhouette, Mirror XV, Mahina, and Enfolding, respectively.
SOB principal cellist Ken Hashimoto described the fourth movement as “quietly sad, bound up with repetition and, ultimately, more than a little terrifying.” Further, the Pulitzer committee saw the entire work as, “a vibrant composition… that distinctly combines experimental string textures and episodes of melting lyricism.”
The movement titles refer to artworks that were featured in the Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House when it first opened in the late 1980s such as George Rickey’s sculpture “Two Open Triangles Up, Gyratory III,” Deborah Butterfield’s “Nahele,” and David Hockney’s “L’Enfant et les sortilèges,” which was originally made as a set for Ravel’s opera of the same name — from which a phrase also inspired the overarching title, with eyes the color of time.
“The main movements are framed by interludes referencing the bronze doors at the entrance of the museum which had silhouettes of women in them (by Robert Graham),” wrote Lanzilotti on her website. “The museum closed its doors permanently in December 2019 as I was finishing writing this work.”
Initially, SOB’s premiere of Lanzilotti’s piece was planned for March 2020 — which was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions. By Summer 2020, SOB was faced with indefinitely canceled concerts and rehearsal limitations.
Due to these circumstances, SOB decided to commission new works that could be tailored to new working conditions. Wollschleger and Lanzilotti had to ensure that the work could be performed in an outdoor environment and that SOB would not need to rehearse the work for more than a few minutes prior to the performance.
For Wollschleger, the solution was “to structure music material in which each player was like a single cicada and there was never a need for a conductor…[where] each player uses a stopwatch and functions as one of a group of insects in a field, or like a gaseous cloud of sound.”’
Scored for string orchestra and six percussionists, who also bow a range of metal mixing bowls, Wollschleger’s Outside Only Sound aimed to express the world of COVID-19 lockdowns, but in an outdoor space. The live recording in a Brooklyn park for the album also captures ambulance sirens, people talking, and children laughing — portraying a resilient New York City at the height of the pandemic.
Lanzilotti’s with eyes the color of time finally premiered in August 2021 — a performance described by Night After Night as “alive and vital, the kind you feel in your earbones and your viscera, infused with the specific manner of acoustic alchemy that makes us attend live concerts to begin with.”
To purchase and listen to the album, click here.
The live premiere video recordings of Outside Only Sound and the first movement of Lanzilotti’s with eyes the color of time can be viewed below.
SCOTT WOLLSCHLEGER | OUTSIDE ONLY SOUND | STRING ORCHESTRA OF BROOKLYN | 2020
ANNE LEILEHUA LANZILOTTI’S | WITH EYES THE COLOR OF TIME | I. THE BRONZE DOORS | 2021
Lanzilotti, 38, is a Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) musician and has composed music for ensembles such as Roomful of Teeth, Argus Quartet, and Chamber Music Hawaii. Her works have been performed at international festivals such as Austria’s Ars Electronica, Thailand International Composition Festival, and Australia’s Dots+Loops.
Born in 1980 and currently based in Brooklyn, Wollschleger works can be heard across the U.S. and internationally. He is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Nils Vigeland. He has released three albums, with his debut album, “Soft Aberration,” in 2017 being named a “Notable Recording of 2017” in The New Yorker.