Who: Wet Ink Ensemble
When: 7 p.m. Monday
Where: Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Tickets: $20 general, $8 students/children; www.mondaviarts.org; (530) 754-2787
Have you ever wanted to get on stage at the Mondavi Center’s Jackson Hall, so you could sit “that close” to the musicians as they perform?
Audiences will have that opportunity at 7 p.m. Monday when the Wet Ink Ensemble — an adventuresome group of new music specialists based in New York — will perform on the Jackson Hall stage, with the audience seated alongside in rows of folding chairs.
Tickets are $20 general, $8 for students and children, available at www.mondaviarts.org or (530) 754-2787.
Founded in 1998, Wet Ink has presented more than 80 concerts featuring a wide range of artists, both established and emerging. The group prides itself for presenting “exceptionally committed performances and for programming that is consistently diverse, fresh and exciting.”
The group’s repertoire ranges from scores of rigorous notational complexity to indeterminate and improvisational music, from the American experimental tradition to the contemporary European avant-garde, and from acoustic to amplified to electronic works and works for homemade instruments.
About a year ago, Wet Ink released its debut CD on the Carrier Records label. Upcoming releases include solo composition albums by George Lewis, to be released on Tzadik, and Alex Mincek, to be released on Carrier Records.
Works on Monday’s program include:
* Kate Soper: “Only the Words Themselves Mean What They Say” for soprano and flute. According to the composer, “I wrote this piece as a duo for myself and Erin Lesser, flute, in part to test my limits as a vocalist by writing a piece that challenged the singer as much as it did the flutist.
“Lydia Davis’ fabulously quirky texts, which I’d been smitten with for a few years before writing this piece, are the perfect vehicle for this project: They invoke a kind of unhinged virtuosity and idiosyncratic, multi-layered reading that I hope made it into the piece somewhat.
“And I think of Erin’s role as a kind of ‘Iron Man’ suit for me, amplifying the already very versatile instrument of the human voice to new planes of expressivity, intensity and insanity.”
* Eric Wubbels: “Katachi.” According to the composer, ” ‘Katachi’ is a form; posture of the body. A hybrid between a book of etudes and a variation set, the piece puts the ensemble through a series of focused contexts in which a given restriction produces a specific kind of acoustic fusion within the group.
“E.g.: a polyphony of ‘gestalts,’ each passed from one instrument to another, like a skein of yarn that continually changes color; a chorale with the entire ensemble amplitude-modulated, like a giant vibraphone with the motor on; and a single, baroquely ornamented melody, played in unison but played insecurely by all so that only 25 to 50 percent of any individual player’s notes speak, making the structure of the melody itself flicker from instrument to instrument.”
* Sam Pluta: “ATD V.” According to the composer, “I wrote this work in the winter of 2010 with the idea of creating a piece improvisational in form and at many points actually improvised. I had been listening to an album of Horowitz performing Chopin and thoroughly enjoyed the absurdity of the whole thing — both Chopin’s wild music and Horowitz’s ridiculous playing. I wanted to create a work that had a free and open form, which also gave the performers an open platform to display their virtuosity.
“Outside of composing, I spend much of my time improvising and wanted to be able to write myself into the piece. This work combines a fully notated structure, written for the ensemble, with an improvisational element performed by Alex Mincek on saxophone and myself on laptop.”