International Contemporary Ensemble
Rebekah Heller, bassoon
Saturday, August 24th, 2013
The set ICE bassoonist Rebekah Heller put on for her CD-release party for the solo disc 100 Names at NYC’s Spectrum was a great collection of stark but robust compositions, all of which were from the disc. The live performances were quite identical in sound, but to see Ms. Heller at work giving the most experimental bassoon concert I certainly have ever seen in my lifetime was a treat to savor for many ages.
After an introduction by her ICE colleague, flutist Claire Chase (who produced the album), Heller started the program with Edgar Guzman’s “∞¿?”, a piece where the bassoon is interchanging and blending with a recorded buzz feedback in such a perfect pitch you almost can’t hear where one ends and the other begins.
Another favorite moment was Marcelo Toledo’s “Qualla II”, a piece that brilliantly displays what sounds like the ICE ethic at work. Like Claire Chase, Rebekah Heller uses every fiber of her being to extract the most primal noise from a traditional classical instrument and rebrands it for the new music world. Between the rapid keyboard fingering with and without notes, and the animalistic sounds Heller puts back into the instrument, the work bears the earmarks of an outstanding signature piece for the soloist.
Marcos Balter’s “…and also a fountain” continues the primal sounds with the addition of spoken word from Heller, while accompanying herself with ambient percussion.
The piece that wrapped up the evening’s program (“10pm, Ixtab”) was a chaotic duet with its composer, Du Yun on vocals. Heller ends it with a marvelous sequence of extended notes.
Rebekah Heller (Her artist’s page on ICEorg.org)