Craig Vear: Black Cats and Blues Craig Hultgren
- Craig Vear:
- 1Black Cats and Blues: I. The Plumber03:18
- 2Black Cats and Blues: II. Pins and Needles04:53
- 3Black Cats and Blues: III. Blues for a Black Cat06:09
- 4Black Cats and Blues: IV. Cancer03:33
- 5Black Cats and Blues: V. Dead Fish06:02
- 6Black Cats and Blues: VI. Journey to Khonostrov03:54
- 7Black Cats and Blues: VII. Blue Fairy Tale04:20
- 8Black Cats and Blues: VIII. Fog04:52
- 9Black Cats and Blues: IX. Good Students02:58
- 10Black Cats and Blues: X. One Way Street06:21
Info zu Craig Vear: Black Cats and Blues
A hyper-media concerto for improvising cellist and digital technology: Black Cats and Blues (2014-18) is an extended composition by Craig Vear for improvising cellist and digital technology. It is inspired by Boris Vian’s collection of 10 short stories and creates a unique hybrid performance environment for each. All the electronics components (processing, score generation and visual imagery) that form the “score” are generated live or are controlled by interaction with the cellist Craig Hultgren. His response is entirely in-the-moment and improvised, although it is guided by the imaginary worlds from within each short story.
The technical challenge in Black Cats and Blues was to reconsider the notion of a “concerto” through the digital score. Generally considered to be a masterpiece exemplifying the performance prowess of a single instrument or performer, the interpretation of the term was expanded to three core principles: first, the technical challenge for the musician to cooperate with the hyper-media elements of the technology; second, how the performer embraces the ‘pataphysical’ nature of the original stories and their translation into digital music; and third, how the performer embodies the digitally mediated worlds set-up by each of the movements.
The narratives of Black Cats and Blues were inspired by Boris Vian’s 1949 book Blues for a Black Cat and other short stories. The poetic aim was to rupture the domain of the page and enter the realm created in the imagination when the words are read; using technology and the digital score format to achieve this. This book was chosen because of its rich imaginative worlds and its references to sounds, images and colours. It was felt that this would translate well into music, and the fact that there were 10 short stories each defining their own imaginative world, would be a useful format with which to explore different technical approaches. To enhance this principle all the reference and found materials that serve to colour each movement are taken from the book and are clearly influenced by the left-bank aesthetics of 1960’s France and jazz (Vian was an important influence on the French jazz scene of this period).
The piece was premiered at the Kranzberg Arts Centre in St. Louis in May 2018 which was supported by Hearding Cats Collective.
Craig Hultgren, cello
remains active in new music, the newly creative arts, and the avant-garde. Leaving Birmingham after more than 30 years as a member of the Alabama Symphony, he now resides outside of Decorah, Iowa as the farmer-cellist. The New York Classical Review commented that he, “…played with impressive poise and sensitivity…” for Dorothy Hindman’s 2016 chamber music retrospective at Carnegie Hall.
At this point, almost 300 works have been created for him.
He was the cellist for many years with Thámyris, a contemporary chamber music ensemble in Atlanta and is a founding member of Luna Nova, a new music ensemble based in Memphis, Tennessee.
For ten years, he produced the Hultgren Solo Cello Works Biennial, an international competition that highlighted the best new compositions for the instrument.
He taught at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Wartburg College (Iowa) and Birmingham-Southern College where he directed the BSC New Music Ensemble.