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Four Places

This film-infused broadcast pairs two contrasting responses to places in America: Charles Ives’ haunting ode to New England, and a vivid portrait of New York by Michael Gordon and Bill Morrison.

Ives Three Places in New England [with film by Jon Frank]
Michael Gordon and Bill Morrison Gotham

Nicholas Collon conductor


Four Places

Charles Ives’ Three Places in New England was written by the composer over a period of nearly 30 years leading up to its premiere in 1930, and even today continues to astonish with its haunting combination of American folk tunes, multiple tonalities and sharp textural contrasts. It is presented here in combination with a specially-created film by the Australian photographer/filmmaker Jon Frank, originally commissioned by Aurora in 2013 as part of its New Moves series. Shot on location in the modern-day versions of the three New England locations that originally inspired the piece, Frank’s film captures the uncanny, evocative quality of Ives’ music whilst introducing a distinctively 21st-century vision of modern middle America.

Michael Gordon and Bill Morrison’s 2004 collaboration catapults us to the big city. Gotham paints a vivid picture of New York with music and imagery, featuring decayed black-and-white film footage cut to Gordon’s music by Morrison. As Gordon explains in his introduction to the score: “Gotham looks at the underside of the city — the sidewalks, manhole covers, the construction — what goes on in daily life here. Living through 9/11 made me think about where I live with fresh eyes and fresh ears. I wondered, Why am I living here? One doesn’t live in New York City because it is beautiful or an easy life. Those aren’t the reasons. It’s intense, it’s noisy, it’s exciting, it’s dirty. It really juices you up.” Aurora presents its live performance of Gotham at London’s Roundhouse in 2012.

Filmed live at Roundhouse in 2012.
Free to watch on Aurora’s Youtube channel.