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Michael Gordon

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Rushes (2012)
Work Notes
Certain restrictions apply.
Red Poppy
Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
Year Composed
56 Minutes
Programme Note
Michael Gordon Rushes (2012)
Michael Gordon discusses Rushes
First performance:
September 15 2012
Rushes Ensemble
bassoonists Dana Jessen, Saxton Rose, Rachael Elliott, Jeffrey Lyman, Lynn Hileman, Maya Stone, Michael Harley
EMPAC, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY

Composer note:
Rushes is a trance-like experience for bassoons — a reedy mass of pulsing and shifting textures. It is music that the listener enters into and lives in, a small-scale spectacle. Rushes is based on the shortening and lengthening of patterns over a period of approximately one hour. These patterns are made collectively by the seven bassoonists through a subtle shifting of dynamic focus from one player to the next. This continual dynamic shifting gives the impression that the sound is traveling in space, and in fact it is. As the piece progresses, the speed of the patterns begin to shift. The music becomes polyrhythmic. At times they are stacked in many distinct rhythmic speeds. Over the course of time, these ebb and flow.

— Michael Gordon

  • Ensemble
    Rushes Ensemble
    Cantaloupe Music:
  • 22 APR 2016
    Durham, NC
    Mantra Percussion, Rushes Ensemble

    Other Dates:
    23 April - Durham, NC
  • 23 OCT 2015
    Rushes New York Premiere
    New York, NY
    Park Avenue Armory
    Rushes Ensemble
  • 29 MAR 2014
    Montclair State University, NJ
    Bang on a Can/Rushes Ensemble
    Dana Jessen, Rachel Elliott, Michael Harley, Lynn Hileman, Jeffrey Lyman, Saxton Rose, and Maya Stone, seven bassoons
  • 15 NOV 2012
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Rushes Ensemble

    Other Dates:
    16 November - The Hague, Netherlands
  • 11 NOV 2012
    SURROUND Festival
    Brugge, Netherlands
    Rushes Ensemble
  • 10 NOV 2012
    GLOW Festival
    Eindoven, Netherlands
    Rushes Ensemble
  • 08 NOV 2012
    Rushes European Premiere
    November Music Festival
    Den Bosch, Netherlands
    Rushes Ensemble
  • 15 SEP 2012
    Rushes World Premiere
    EMPAC, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
    Rushes Ensemble

"Rushes" is more or less just what it sounds like: a steadily pulsating, unbroken wall of woodwind sound. But like the rippling patterns of the op art it calls to mind, "Rushes" is full of wonderful, illusory textural effects and little bursts of surprise. The combination of brusquely staccato phrasing and tender modal harmonies makes for a bittersweet flavor that shifts constantly beneath the listener's attention.... Gordon uses the distinctive qualities of the bassoon - its reediness and weight - to create a boldly different sonic landscape.
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Gate,30/04/2014
Round, reedy tones cluster like dots in a Seurat painting and drive forward, sometimes with the mistiness of a cloud, sometimes with the concentrated force of a powerful wave. They join together in rich harmonies, high, plaintive cries and deep, oceanic rumblings.
Ronnie Reich, Star Ledger,23/03/2014
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