Featuring pianists Max Canaday, Michael Century, Catherine Chou, André Watson, recorded Nov. 18 2009, Experimental Media and Performing Arts Centre, Troy, N.Y.
Julius Eastman, an African-American composer, singer and pianist who died in 1990 at age 50, wrote Gay Guerrilla in 1979. For Eastman, the “guerrilla” of the title serves as a mark of political and personal courage – the willingness to sacrifice one’s life for a point of view: “I use Gay Guerrilla in the hopes that I may be one if called upon to be one”. About two thirds of the way through the piece, Eastman quotes the Lutheran hymn Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (A mighty fortress is our God), re-interpreting that affirmation of faith as a sonic manifesto, then concludes with the majestic rising modal scale that helps make this work an anthem to liberation unique in contemporary classical music.
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