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Dark Holler

by David Kirkland Garner

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Composer David Kirkland Garner deftly weaves influences from the musical tradition of the southern U.S. into his compositions. An avid banjoist and fiddler, Garner’s incorporation of vernacular elements is oriented less around collage and insertion of found sound as it is demonstrative of a honed technique for development of motive, orchestration, and structural pacing. Garner often approaches vernacular material from one of two angles — either we hear idiomatic folkloric material presented first and then deconstructed, or we hear the deconstructed fragments initially as Garner slowly reveals the larger whole, adding elements in other parts of the orchestra or fleshing out the initial motive. Fragments of fiddle influenced melodies are passed throughout the ensemble, as Garner twists and turns the motives in driving, pulsating textures. Swarming, chromatic motives that are initially introduced in a stylistically ambiguous fashion reveal themselves as pent up seeds of full throated hoedowns. One can consider Garner’s incorporation of folkloric material from the U.S. South in the context of the lineage of composers who drew on folk material. Garner’s approach is a natural blend between a Bartokian deconstruction of materials and a Coplandesque penchant for nostalgia, perhaps also demonstrating John Adams’ driving economy of motivic means. Garner’s album length chamber orchestra work Dark Holler, performed here by a star studded cast drawn from the New York based American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), is a strong statement by an American composer who embraces the music tradition of his surroundings while integrating it into a finely tuned compositional process. By taking a deconstructive approach to the component parts of Southern musical vernacular, Garner’s work grapples with the fraught complexity and richness of the culture that is the source of these sounds.


released July 28, 2017

Alex Sopp, Flute; Hideaki Aomori, Clarinet; C.J. Camerieri, Trumpet; Jamie Keesecker, Horn; Cameron Britt & Shawn Galvin, Percussion; Timothy Hambourger, Piano; Jacquelyn Bartlett, Harp; Rob Moose & Sarah Griffin, Violin; Nadia Sirota, Viola; Clarice Jensen, Violoncello; Shawn Conley, Double bass

Producer: David Kirkland Garner
Engineer: Sound Pure Recording Studios
Editing: David Kirkland Garner
Published by: Hanuga Music
Recording location: Baldwin Auditorium at Duke University in Durham, NC
Recording dates: November 3-4, 2013
Mix and Mastering: Ryan Streber, Oktaven Audio
Design: Dan Ruccia
Photos: Arthur Rothstein, Jack Delano, and John Vachon




New Focus Recordings New York, New York

New Focus Recordings is an artist led collective label featuring releases in contemporary music of many stripes, as well as new approaches to older repertoire. The label was founded by guitarist Daniel Lippel (who is the current director), composer engineer Ryan Streber, and composer Peter Gilbert in 2003-4, and features releases from many of new music's most active performers and composers. ... more

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