SMALL CHAMBER ENSEMBLE - Tied Shifts (2004) - (fl ,cl, vn, vc, pno, perc)

Duration - 15:00

flute, clarinet, violin, violoncello, piano, percussion

Commissioned by eighth blackbird with funds from the Greenwall Foundation. 

With a background in jazz and rock as well as classical music, the New York-based Bermel is an eclectic with wide-open ears. The first movement of his two-movement opus began with violin and cello playing the same phrases over and over but that deceptively simple beginning developed into a fast and energetic interplay of all six players, the music developing an engaging rhythm & influenced at least in part by the minimalists, Bermel doesn’t resist giving his music a sequential logic that makes it easy to follow. But Tied Shifts turned out to be anything but slavishly predictable, with its second movement incorporating hymn-like material and echoes of Bulgarian folk music.
— Toronto Star
Derek Bermel’s Tied Shifts, pulsed its way through the Balkans, chock full of ungainly difficult clarinet runs, raw fiddling and crazy stop-time rhythms, songs growing out of embellishments, which grew into more songs. It all ended with a tolling hymn, part rock song, part Beethovian exaltation.
— San Jose Mercury-News
The attraction of Derek Bermel’s lively, harmonically alluring Tied Shifts (2004) was its rhythmic irregularity, inspired by the composer’s study of Bulgarian folk music, in which ties across bar lines give the impression of irregular meters.”
— New York Times
Opening the program was Derek Bermel’s 2004 work, Tied Shifts. A fabulously multilayered piece commissioned by eighth blackbird and driven by the complex folk rhythms the composer explored in the wake of a trip to Bulgaria. The staggeringly difficult work was full of ingenious ‘conversations’.
— Chicago Sun-Times
‘Tied Shifts’ is a crazy race through the Balkans, with jagged clarinet and fiddle playing and meters that shift at will...The ‘Rocking gently’ second movement starts out in Charles Ives hymn mode, the cello singing low and comforting against a flute that goes off on its own, but after that it just rocks. The playing rose to a chorus of chordal majesty before subsiding into mutterings..
— Jeffrey Gantz, The Boston Globe