Roscoe Mitchell with Ostravaska Banda - Distant Radio Transmission Also Nonnah Trio Cutouts for Woodwind Quintet and 8.8.88

Distant Radio Transmission was recorded as an improvisation by Roscoe Mitchell, Craig Taborn, and Kikanju Baku in 2013 and released as the third composition on Roscoe Mitchell Conversations 1 (Wide Hive Records WH-0317).

It was then transcribed by Stephen P. Harvey, in 2016, with further Transcription and Orchestration of air sounds for Strings by John Ivers, in 2017. Finally, it was fully Orchestrated by Roscoe Mitchell in 2017.

The Nonaah Trio Composed by Roscoe Mitchell

Recorded in Portland Oregon by Ryan Zubieta engineer and Josh Powell editing

Nonaah Trio:
Dana Reason: Piano
John C Savage: Flute
Catherine Lee: Oboe

Author’s Note:
In 2009 I was asked by the American Composers Orchestra if I could present a composition in the summer of 2010 in the Miller Theatre at Columbia University in New York City. It was clear to me that “Nonaah” (five solo works for the alto saxophone completed in 1972) was the composition best suited to the event, and so I chose to develop a version for Chamber Orchestra based off a transcription of the trio for flute, bassoon and piano. Unlike previous adaptations, “Nonaah” for Chamber Orchestra was penned as an entirely through-composed work.

In 2013, when Ilan Volkov invited me to his Tectonics Festival in Glasgow, Scotland I decided to take this piece of music that began as a solo alto saxophone feature in 1971 and infuse it with the grandeur of a full orchestra. February 22, 2014 was the world premiere of my composition.

Cutouts For Woodwind Quintet Composed by Roscoe Mitchell

Roberta Michel: Flute
Christa Robinson: Oboe
Carlos Corddeio: Clarinet 

Sara Schoenbeck: Bassoon
John Gattis: French Horn
Recorded by Sascha von Oertzen in New York New York March 5th 2019
Mixed at Wide Hive Records June 2019 by Gregory Howe and Robert Kirby

Author’s note:
This version of Cutouts, which is completely notated, was commissioned in 1981 by the Wisconsin Arts board and the Conimicut Foundation. In addition to traditional notation, this work contains symbols for extended techniques such as multiphonics, harmonics, micro-tones, special effects and circular breathing. The earlier works from the “cutouts concept” were scored for improvising ensembles.

Composed by Roscoe Mitchell
Performed on Yamaha Disklavier
Programmed and Recorded by Seth Horvitz
Mixed July 22nd 2019 at Wide Hive Records
Berkeley California by Gregory Howe

Author’s note:
August 8, 1988: this is the day I decided to write a solo composition for the great concert pianist Mr. Joseph Kubera. Since this work was not subject to the constraints associated with commissioned work, I spent ten years finalizing the first movement. In 1998 The Mutable Music Foundation commissioned me to complete the composition's remaining movements. 8/8/88 consists of three sections. The first movement is 35 measures long, divided asymmetrically into uncommon time signatures such as 15/8, 11/8, 17/8 etc. The second movement has 17 measures and the third movement 44 measures.

Distant Radio Transmission
Composed by Roscoe Mitchell, Craig Taborn, and Kikanju Baku 2013
Transcribed by Stephen P. Harvey 2016/17
Transcription and Orchestration of air sounds for Strings
By John Ivers 2017 Orchestrated by Roscoe Mitchell 2017

Petr Kotik, Conductor
Daniel Havel, Flute
Malgorzata Hlawsa, Flute
Kamila Motková, Oboe
Denisa Bílá, Oboe

Lukáš Danhel, Clarinet
Carlos Cordeiro, Clarinet
Stefanie Liedtke, Bassoon
Jan Soukup, Bassoon
Monika Cerovská, Horn
Jan Garláthy, Horn

Andy Kozar, Trumpet
William Lang, Trombone
Gergely Lukács, Tuba
Adam Maros, Percussion
Miklos Holló, Percussion

Chris Nappi, Percussion (solo)
Keiko Shichijo, Piano
Ivana Dohnalová, Harp
Conrad Harris, Violin I
Pauline Kim Harris, Violin I
Eszter Krulik, Violin I
Marco Cano, Violin II
David Danel, Violin II
Nikolaus Schlierf, Viola
Juraj Madari, Viola

Liuh Wen Ting, Viola
Andrej Gál, Violoncello
Matthias Lorenz, Violoncello
Juho Laitinen, Violoncello
František Výrostko, Contrabass
Juraj Bajús, Contrabass
Thomas Buckner, Baritone Voice
James Fei, Electronics
Roscoe Mitchell Soprano Saxophone

Track Listing: 

Distant Radio Transmission 20:14
Nonaah Trio 14.45
Cutouts for Woodwind Quintet 8.44
8.8.88 1 4.25
2 1.11
3 3.20

What was once sparely avant-garde is now luminously experimental. Electronics join with tart wind harmonies and resonant pitched percussion during the opening. The baritone Thomas Buckner — a veteran of Robert Ashley’s operas — brings abstract, ghostly exhalations to the mix, later on. Around the halfway point, when a stretch of Mitchell’s striated soprano-saxophone ornamentations gives way to jaunty patterns in the wider orchestra, there is a sense of a singular intelligence at work.

It never sounds like easy listening. Though when focusing on the finer details in this “Distant Radio Transmission,” it’s easy to be transported by the intensity of this broadcaster’s imagination.

New York Times
  • Roscoe Mitchell wearing goggle-inspired sun glasses.

    Roscoe Mitchell

    Called part of the ‘American Iconoclast’ by the New York Times, Roscoe Mitchell has forged a lifetime of truly free music and has lead an inspirational life as composer, musician, and teacher. Currently Emeritus Chair of Composition at Mills College, a position once held by esteemed composer Darius Milhaud, Roscoe’s past is abundant with art and musical achievement and awards. His work with the A.E.C. the A.A.C.M are the majority of his recorded music, but he has also toured and performed with many of the greatest names of Jazz.