Published May 17, 2015Hans Tammen is a German-born, NYC-based guitarist and composer. He is probably best known for his Endangered Guitar project, which is an amazing collision between analog and digital technologies. Another is Third Eye Orchestra, an improvisational ensemble exploring Earle Brown's concept of "open form" composition.
The 16-piece orchestra brought together for this evening's show (May 16) was a stellar NYC outfit. From vocalist Shelley Hirsch to flautist Robert Dick to guitarist Nick Didkovsky, the stage was packed with players and composers of the highest order, all of them following the cue cards and hand signals of Tammen.
The music was far less antic than the Jean Derome orchestra piece two days earlier. The music often moved in large blocks, with different sections of the band moving together or in counterpoint with grace and power.
The program notes cited Ives as a prime stylistic antecedent, but I was more often reminded of Pierre Boulez's post-serialist work of the '60s. But the use of electric guitar, electric bass and heavy electronics gave everything more contemporary heft, and the set was wildly successful by any measure.