John Zorn: 18 Studies from the Later Sketchbook of J.M.W. Turner
With Stephen Gosling, piano
The saxophonist John Zorn is “the most prolific and polarizing figure in New York’s downtown scene” and “a major American composer whose work crosses just about every stylistic boundary imaginable” (The New York Times). In four decades, Zorn has released dozens of albums on his own label, Tzadik; their contents are famously varied, ranging from riotous jazz interpretations of Ennio Morricone and hardcore punk versions of Ornette Coleman to orchestral and choral music. As the uncontested icon of the American avant-garde, Zorn’s only conventions are collaboration, curiosity, and an unquenchable conviction that the story of music is still unfolding. An all-star cast performs eight different programs of his work at Big Ears.
18 STUDIES FROM THE LATER SKETCHBOOK OF J.M.W. TURNER
In the nineteenth century, the English Romantic painter J.M.W. Turner elevated the landscape in the pantheon of art. In the twenty-first century, Zorn took the artist’s late sketches as inspiration for one of his longest pieces of music, a solo piano suite that showcases a seemingly infinite variety of styles and devices, from études and studies to nocturnes and impromptus. These are ably executed by frequent collaborator Stephen Gosling, whose “feeling and facility for Mr. Zorn’s music was consistently impressive,” The New York Times said of the premiere in 2019, where Gosling “found just the right punch for the percussive interjections that Mr. Zorn inserts into this not-quite-minimalist procession, keeping a quality of steely edge.”