A Great Many Aaron Siegel



release date: October 12, 2018

release date: October 12, 2018

A Great Many is the new album from Brooklyn-based composer Aaron Siegel. The record is available through New Amsterdam’s Bandcamp subscription as part of the Windmill Series, a new digitally-focused set of releases for subscribers in addition to our regular release schedule.

Bandcamp Daily found that Siegel’s writing “deftly reflects the visually dazzling phenomenon when large flocks of the birds take to the sky” and admired the use of various instruments as “a sonic blend.”

A Great Many is a new work for six percussionists and clarinet that represents the latest collaboration in 10-year relationship between composer Aaron Siegel and Mantra Percussion. This fruitful relationship started with the premiere and subsequent recording of Science is Only a Sometimes Friend, for eight glockenspiels and organ, which was selected as one of Time Out New York’s Ten Best Classical Albums of 2011. Mantra has premiered several other works for percussion during the intervening years, including The Light Come Down, a collaboration with the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, and the full-length opera Brother Brother, at Abrons Arts Center in 2014. A Great Many was commissioned by Chamber Music America in 2017 as a feature for clarinetist Christa Van Alstine and subsequently performed at the Vancouver New Music Festival and at the Ecstatic Music Festival.

Notes from composer Aaron Siegel:

“The original idea for A Great Many came from videos of starlings moving together in a murmuration. I am interested in large groups of organisms and the way they operate with each other in highly choreographed ways. A Great Many is a dense piece with layers of sound stacked on top of one another.

In concert, the vibrations from the percussion and clarinet should feel like the air sweeping by. Music like this gives listeners a chance to feel the vibrations of the sound and to live with them as part of their lives for the duration of the performance. At the same time that the piece is the physical feeling a great many sounds together, it is also a series of states that together (I have learned) constitute something like a cycle of agitation and introspection. In a way, the form of the piece may in the end suggest the kind of narrative arc that I have explored in my works for theater over the last several years. In this case, though, the sounds represent a character who is at times clearly defined and at other times conflicted and confused. A Great Many is a collaborative performance project between Mantra Percussion and Christa Van Alstine and really could not exist without them.”

Composed by Aaron Siegel

Performed by Mantra Percussion (Joseph Bergen, Albert Cerulo, Christopher Graham, Michael McCurdy, Joseph Tucker, and Mark Utley)

Featuring Christa Van Alstine on B-flat and Bass Clarinets

Recorded by Jeff Cook at 2nd Story Sound

Mixed by Jeff Cook

Mastered by Oscar Zambrano