ABOUT THE PROJECT
Composed by Douglas J. Cuomo
Performed by Wilco's Nels Cline (electric guitar with effects, acoustic guitar)
and the Grammy-nominated Aizuri Quartet
An evening length piece with optional projections
Touring February 1 - 14, 2021
Seven Limbs will be a virtuosic tour de force for both the quartet and the guitar, shot through with melodic beauty and rhythmic urgency, celebration and serenity, solemnity and unbridled joy. Juxtaposing Nels’ wildly inventive guitar playing and use of electronic effects with the Aizuri Quartet’s classically based but forward thinking musical outlook, Seven Limbs sets these five expert musicians in a landscape that is slightly unfamiliar - where the ground under their feet is always shifting a bit in unexpected ways. This requires a musical alertness and philosophical openness to whatever the moment brings, an outlook that has parallels to the Buddhist practice of the Seven Limbs.
Inspired by this thinking, the piece creates a world of musical ideas and settings that allow the musicians to explore ideas of meditative tranquility, subtle levels of mind, the battle with inner demons, the circle of karma, and sudden, profound bolts of insight. Nels will be playing electric guitar with effects, and acoustic guitar. His music will be partially notated but largely improvised but following specific direction and guidelines in the score. The Aizuri’s music will be entirely notated, utilizing the full range of techniques, colors and effects available to the 21st century string quartet.
Both strings and guitar are shapeshifters in that the roles of soloist and accompanist will be fluid — at times the guitar will be in front with the string quartet playing a more supportive role, at other times the guitar will conjure a multi-layered and evolving drone-like sonic environment and the strings will step to the fore. There will also be many instances of the when both will be on equal footing, intertwining in a way that make such distinctions moot.
The piece will be a ritual in seven movements, based on the Seven Limbs, which is a fundamental Tibetan Buddhist practice of purification. The limbs are: Prostration; Offering; Confession; Rejoicing; Requesting the Turning of the Wheel of Dharma; Beseeching the Buddhas not to pass away; and Dedication.
Nels Cline appears courtesy of Emcee Artist Management. The Aizuri Quartet appears courtesy of Concert Artists Guild.