For around fifty hypnotising minutes, the cellists of Cello Octet Amsterdam will play 8, a new work by American composer Michael Gordon, one of the founders of the new and exciting New York music collective known as Bang on a Can. For this performance, the cellists are arranged in an imaginary circle around their audience seated on benches and cushions. As the music hums, saws, sizzles and swishes, a sense of timelessness falls over the listeners. The sound engulfs the audience in waves and then pulls back only to re-emerge as an approaching tsunami. Rhythms tumble over each other, slowly creating shifting patterns to encircle the audience like whirlpools. Finally, the musicians direct their music to one another and seem to disappear in ever softer sounds into an endless universe of silence.
Michael Gordon about this ensemble: “Eight cellos is an ocean of sound. It is mysterious and has an inevitability about its power. I have traveled up and down the secret passageways of the cello, exploring strange sparkling notes and the notes between the notes. I can drown in the lowest spectrum of the cello, the true powerhouse of the bass; but in the upper realms incomprehensible worlds become visible, wispy beams of sound bend into thin air and disappear. It is with great anticipation that I look towards a new work for Cello Octet.”
The première performances of 8 were given at the Cello Biënnale Amsterdam and Festival November Music in Den Bosch.