nu performed like dreams, statistics are a form of wish fulfillment (2005) on its October 27th, 2012 concert.
like dreams, statistics are a form of wish fulfillment (2005) is scored for flute, clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), violin, cello piano, percussion and electroacoustic sounds. This piece is a reaction to Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun which Debussy described as “a very free illustration of Mallarmé’s beautiful poem.” Longing, desire, fantasy and dream states are central to the poem, to Debussy’s musical reaction to it and to Broening’s evocation of Debussy’s work. It is these terms that the title might best be understood – not as a literal exploration of statistics! Broening doesn’t quote Debussy’s Prelude at all in the piece. Rather, the musical correspondences are subtler and consist of materials that are harder to pin down: characteristic intervals, transitional strategies and timbral associations. The way the electroacoustic sounds, which all started out as recordings of acoustic instruments, combine with the live instruments creates a space where it’s not always entirely clear what is dream, what is the expression of desire or what is the memory of longing.
Benjamin Broening’s music couples his interest in the expressive power of sound with a sense of line derived from his background as a singer. Active as a composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music, Broening has written pieces for soloists and ensembles such Zeitgeist, eighth blackbird, Camilla Hoitenga, Tim McAllister, Richard Hawkins, Charlotte Symphony, the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, the Band and Orchestral Division of Yamaha Corporation of America, the Arts Now Series at North Carolina State University, Ensemble U, duo runedako, and the Connecticut Choral Society, among many others. In the past few years his music has been performed across the United States and in eighteen other countries. A recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, Broening has also received recognition and awards from the Jerome Composers Commissioning Program, American Composers Forum, Virginia Commission for the Arts, ACS/Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Presser Music Foundation.
Recombinant Nocturnes, Broening’s 2011 Innova CD of piano music performed by duo runedako has been called a “gorgeous disc of music” and “thoughtful, eloquent, and disarmingly direct” by New Music Box, “deep, troubling” by François Couture and “Lovely, delicate, calming” by Los Angeles’ KFJC. Trembling Air, a disc of Broening solo and chamber music recorded by eighth blackbird was released in September 2012, by Bridge Records. Other recordings have been released by Ensemble U in Estonia and on the Centaur, everglade, Equilibrium, MIT Press and SEAMUS record labels. Broening is founder and artistic director of Third Practice, an annual festival of electroacoustic music at the University of Richmond, where he is Associate Professor of Music. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan, Cambridge University, Yale University and Wesleyan University.