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Released: 08/30/11





Michael Gordon



  1. Timber: Part I [ MP3 ]
  2. Timber: Part II
  3. Timber: Part III
  4. Timber: Part IV
  5. Timber: Part V


Michael Gordon's Timber from Red Poppy Music on Vimeo.

Physical copies of Timber have been packaged in special wooden boxes. Cut to near standard CD size in length and width, but made out of medium-density fibreboard an inch thick, each weighs approximately one pound. View photos HERE.

Musical pioneer and Bang on a Can co-founder Michael Gordon's subtle rhythmic investigations and fearless compositional inventions have led WNYC to note, "Gordon's music is an outgrowth of his underground New York rock band experience combined with formal music training from Yale, so it's no surprise that he's obsessed with the nature of rhythm. ?[He] has built his career on exploring rhythm and what happens when different rhythms are piled on top of each other, to mesmerizing effect." For his most recent composition, Gordon has ventured outside the realm of traditional instrumentation to achieve an evening-length tour de force.

His new work, Timber, is scored for six wooden 2x4s, each cut into different sizes, giving each one a slightly different pitch. Called a "simantra", this percussion instrument was first devised by composer Iannis Xenakis. Far from a gimmick, the instrumentation allows Gordon to create the impression that the sound is traveling around and through the room by subtly shifting the accent of sound from one player to another. The result is a meditation on sound and rhythm, bringing the physicality, endurance and technique of percussion performance to a new level.

Timber had its world premiere on June 16, 2011 at Korzo Theatre in Den Haag, The Netherlands, with the Dutch percussion group SlagwerK Den Haag performing. Since its founding in 1977, Slagwerk Den Haag (The Hague Percussion) have focused on performing and developing contemporary percussion music in its most diverse forms. On October 14, New York City's Mantra Percussion will give the US premiere of Timber at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Hailed by The New York Times as "finely polished...a fresh source of energy," Mantra Percussion is committed to substantially expanding the future of percussion by commissioning new, significant works for six or more percussionists by established and emerging composers. During the month of October, Mantra Percussion will tour the work both nationally and in Canada. Full tour schedule below.

Over the past 25 years, Michael Gordon has produced a strikingly diverse body of work, ranging from large-scale pieces for high-energy ensembles to major orchestral commissions to works conceived specifically for the recording studio. Transcending categorization, this music represents the collision of mysterious introspection and brutal directness. Gordon has been commissioned by Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the BBC Proms, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival, among others. The recipient of multiple awards and grants, Gordon has been honored by the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His recordings include Weather, Light is Calling, Decasia,(purgatorio) POPOPERA, Van Gogh,Trance, and Big Noise from Nicaragua. Formed in 1983 as The Michael Gordon Philharmonic and renamed The Michael Gordon Band in 2000, Gordon's own ensemble performed across Europe and the United States at venues as diverse as Alice Tully Hall and the punk mecca CBGB, on the Contemporary Music Network Tour and at the Almeida Festival in London.