The Candlelight Concerts
St. George's Episcopal Church
4 Rutherford Pl, New York, NY 10003
Friday, July 12th, 2019
Ethos Percussion Group, members of So Percussion and Bang on a Can All-Stars
“Harold is a great abstract painter trapped in the body of a musician.” – Brian Eno
The Candlelight Concerts will mark Harold Budd's second appearance in New York City in over 20 years. Performing this summer at the historic St. George’s Church in Manhattan, he will be joined by ACME Ensemble, Ethos Percussion Group, with members of So Percussion and Bang on a Can All-Stars. The concerts will feature a full retrospective of Mr. Budd’s compositions with two unique concert programs, featuring works written at the beginning of the composer's career in the 1960s to works written as recently as summer 2018.
In the late ’60s, the young California composer Harold Budd was startled by a painting in a book. The work was by Mark Rothko, the brazen American artist whose color field paintings were monolithic attempts to convey and evoke moods. It changed Budd’s entire approach, leading him to stop with the traditional scores and traditional sounds and, as he put it much later, ask, “Why don’t I start writing music like that?” Off and on, in the fifty years since, Budd has done just so, using an approach he calls “soft pedal” to build dimly lit but radiant music that feels forever like a single frame of feeling. His work with Brian Eno on 1978’s four-part The Pavilion of Dreams and 1984’s exquisite The Pearl established him as a new architect of ambient music, though that is a term he roundly rejects. Even Rothko was a fan.
Whatever the term, Budd’s music exists in a sort of waking dream, with textures that seem to hover just above the surface of the earth and melodies that you can never quite catch but love to watch float by just the same. In recent years, Budd has released spectacular collaborations with Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins and an album produced by Daniel Lanois, who secretly recorded Budd as he played off the cuff for friends. At the age of 82, Budd remains tremendously creative in his laser-sharp vision of soft-focus sound.