August 27, 2011
Present Music & combined choir of women, youth and children
126.96.36.199. 188.8.131.52 perc(2) hrp pi single vln(1 & 2) vl vlc dbass & choir
Still, Flow, Surge is commissioned by John Shannon and Jan Serr for Present Music, to celebrate the ensembles 30th anniversary. The work is about water. Especially what large bodies of water, oceans and seas make me feel. They are: calm, peace, humility, excitement, awe, mystery, fear, wonderment, curiosity. The elements that have an effect on water, topography and soil of the land and the wind, which cause color and movement, the sound of the air and wind and the movement of water are important. Also the mystery and wonderment of its structure. The feeling of humility being able to look at only the surface of this mass world. The fear of the unknown, the overwhelming unbarring feeling of eternity..
The dancing and projections halted for the musical centerpiece, the premiere of Kamran Ince‘s Still, Flow, Surge. At 19 minutes, it involves children’s choir (Vocal Arts Academy), women’s choir (MCA), a 20-something piece orchestra, and a guy sloshing water around in a plastic tub, close-miked. Also, the choristers held little jars half-filled with gravel. On cue, they stirred the stones with teaspoons to simulate the sound of waves. The striking, highly original sound world Ince created charms at every turn. His formal procedure, while free-wheeling and intuitive, is comprehensible. He works with certain categories of sound: quiet, lapping ones; dreamy siren songs; gently rocking, repetitive ones; breathy, gossamer ones; and wild raucous ones. He might not use the same notes when these categories recur, but we recognize the sentiment of the sound, and the sentiments build the structure. You can follow the development and interactions of these sentiments and qualities of sound, and the whole thing makes sense in a very original way.
Third Coast Digest (Milwaukee)
Kamran Ince’s Still, Flow, Surge, for voices and ensemble, was premiered. About the mystery of large bodies of water, it included the invented instruments of the chorus playing small stones in a jar mixed with a spoon, and an amplified “water player,” who sensually dipped his hands through the liquid. Abandoning his customary style of Middle Eastern-flavored content, Ince’s new piece is among his most innovative works.
In the world premiere of Kamran Ince's "Still, Flow, Surge," commissioned by Jan Serr and John Shannon for this concert, the MCA, Bel Canto Boy Choirs and Vocal Arts Academy of Milwaukee joined PM to pay homage to the life cycle of big bodies of water, including their power to overwhelm us: The work's most forceful passages suggested the chaotic terror of storms at sea. During this work, in the center of the performers, Walter Boyer sat in front of a plastic basin partially filed with water, his hands poised. The first of several times he sloshed his hands through that water, many audience members laughed. By the final time he did so, the audience sat reverently silent, as if meditating on the connection between the power of big water and Boyer's simple human act.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel