GRAMMY-nominated composer and Pulitzer Prize finalist Christopher Cerrone and GRAMMY-winning flutist Tim Munro have released a new EP, Liminal Highway, on New Focus Recordings. The hypnotic five-movement work for flute and electronics evokes the moment of limbo between sleeping and waking.
“One of our most versatile composers under 40” – NPR
“The fierce virtuosity of Munro was worth the price of admission all by itself.” – Chicago Tribune
Cerrone’s Liminal Highway, written in 2015 for Munro, is inspired by a poem by John K. Samson, the lead singer and songwriter for the Canadian pop-punk band, The Weakerthans. Caught between sleeping and waking, Samson’s protagonist comes to understand who they are and where they are going. Cerrone’s piece evokes that moment of limbo, an anxious, gauzy, in-between state of memory and nostalgia that forces you to reflect on your life. Layers of flute shimmer, pulse, and glow, conjuring an atmosphere of anxiety tinged with a fragile sense of hope. The piece was co-commissioned by Miller Theatre and premiered there by Munro in November 2016.
The film, created by Four/Ten Media, was also released, and features Munro performing aboard the SS United States, a ship that was the hope of a nation, but now lies, ruined, in the Philadelphia harbor – a reflection of the concept of flawed memory and nostalgia in the piece and poem. Watch the film on the Miller Theatre website. A “making-of” documentary will premiere on 21CM in September 2020.
The opening of the poem reads:
when you fall asleep in transit
you rarely wake up much closer
to where you want to be
and you’ve missed the song
you were waiting to hear
coming up after the ad for a
funeral home and the traffic and weather
in a town you’ll never live in
or even see now that you’ve passed it
in a dream you don’t recall
Cerrone says, "I stumbled upon an article about the longest naturally occuring echo in the world. A researcher squeezed into a giant storage tank and shot a gun, and the sound echoed for 75 seconds. I imagined a flute playing in this vast and lonely space, and thought about how memory functions like a vast, echoing chamber. These ideas led to Liminal Highway."
Munro relates the energy throughout Liminal Highway to the current anxieties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, explaining, "The liminal, in-between spaces of this piece capture my feelings during the in-between period of this quarantine period. I'm filled with uncertainty about what is next, but always, somehow, I keep moving forward."