Aventa Ensemble – Spanning Tree

Music of Michael Oesterle

1. Delilah Michael Oesterle (Mark Takeshi McGregor, flute)
2.-5.  Stand Still Michael Oesterle (Müge Büyükçelen, violin)
6.-11.  Spanning Tree Michael Oesterle (Bill Linwood, percussion)

Total duration: 57:13

Aventa Ensemble
Mark Takeshi McGregor, flute
Müge Büyükçelen, violin
Bill Linwood, percussion

Produced by Aventa Ensemble
Recorded June 2021, Farquhar University Centre Auditorium, University of Victoria
Digital Editing and recording by Bill Linwood
Mastered by Bob Katz at Digital Domain, Orlando, FL USA
CD design: Denise Burt, Elevator Graphics
Cover Artwork by Denise Burt using an original image by Marlon Dias, ‘Tree’ (CC BY 2.0)
Special Thanks to Michael Oesterle; Jordan Nobles; Kirk McNally; Bob Katz

Spanning Tree is available from:

TK505 © 2021 Redshift Music

Albums by Aventa Ensemble

Michael Oesterle’s music has been commissioned and performed by Canadian and European orchestras, ensembles, singers and soloists. This album is dedicated to three of Michael’s extraordinary works for solo instruments. Aventa’s solo flutist, Mark Takeshi McGregor, writes “here is a composer who understands the complexities and subtleties of writing for an unaccompanied instrument; who can reference the instrument’s incredibly rich history of both hedonistic folk music and 18th-century polyphony, all the while cunningly maintaining his unique voice.”

Alan Turing rode his bicycle.
He rode his bicycle to work.
He rode to Bletchley Park.
Riding, the chain on his bicycle comes off.

He rode his bicycle, counting – until the chain came off.
He rode his bicycle, counting.
Counting, he stopped before the chain came off.
He fixed the chain.

Riding again, counting,
he rode his bicycle to Bletchley Park.

Alan Turing (1912-1954) was a British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, computer scientist, mathematical biologist, and marathon and ultra distance runner. In 2012, Turing’s 1944 reports on his “speech system” Delilah, were finally pulled from the British National Archives and opened to the public. This functional machine, designed to scramble and descramble voice messages, was so far ahead of its time that it resembles the way we currently store music in digital format.

The musical construction of Delilah for solo flute (2014) was motivated by Turing’s unorthodox search for humanity or human intelligence within patterns and systems. It uses modules within a scheme of triangular number sequences, applied to a metric grid of constant alternation between two and three. The music constantly resets, like the chain on Turing’s bicycle (one of the stories of Turing’s eccentricities related by his colleagues at Bletchley Park – headquarters of the code-breaking brain trust for Britain in WW II). It searches for answers to an unasked question, allowing this systematic approach to creating subtle emotional shifts.  Like Turing, it presents its puzzle playfully: in its persistence, it becomes serious and then, as it begins to wallow in the process itself, lightens its mood again: a simple arc in a pattern of system, method, and discovery, its greatest motivation – the joy of moving forward.

Delilah was commissioned by Mark Takeshi McGregor, with financial assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts

Stand Still for solo violin(2011) is a monologue of brooding nostalgia with flashes of virtuosic impudence.  Over four short movements, the violin’s open strings resonate with a harmonic image that acts as a focal point around which the musical ideas pivot and play … there are hints of the Baroque, Folkloric, and Romantic traditions, snippets of diverse expressions which are all about my love for the instrument.   

I had a close look at Westhoff, Guillemain and Bjarne Brustad solo violin scores, and I listened to recordings of my favourite violinist playing Bach.  All of this set a context for my new piece, and writing the notes on the page wasn’t difficult – it all came together very quickly.” – Michael Oesterle

In his introduction to Spanning Tree (2013/14) Michael writes “A tree grows toward the sun, spanning the distance between itself and the light – each branch, each new angle reaching forward.  In mathematics, the branches of the spanning tree never grow back on themselves, never interfere with the light or each other, or, more accurately: A tree is a connected undirected graph with no cycles. It is a spanning tree of a graph if it includes every vertex (every corner) of the graph and every edge in the tree belongs to it. In reality (or art), the branches may not be straight, they might just sustain themselves beyond supportability, endure past simple logic or usefulness, exceeding the limits of prescribed space and ownership, straining to become something new.”

“In this piece, the growth of the tree is the labour of a lone percussionist. The parameters for the development of the “tree” are distilled into a simple format – balancing sounds that are long and sustain effortlessly with sounds that are short and have minimal sustainability. In each cycle, the ratio of instruments that sustain, to instruments that support a clean attack, is even: moving through 1:1, 2:2, 3:3, 4:4, 5:5, and 6:6. The ordering of the six parts is up to the performer, as is the choice of the instruments and their combination. The six stages are not designed to evolve from simple to complex, but instead, they outline musical tableaux which are presented to the performer in the form of six maze-like graphs. The way that the points of the graph are connected is determined by the percussionist. The choice of instruments renders duets of long and short sounds forming paths that lead us through, or perhaps, keep us trapped in the maze.” – Michael Oesterle

Spanning Tree was commissioned by Daniel Cooper for percussionist David Schotzko.

Described as a “mind-blowing” musician of “huge physical energy” (Times Colonist), flutist Mark Takeshi McGregor is one of Canada’s leading interpreters of classical, contemporary, and experimental music. As a soloist, chamber musician, and flutist of the Aventa Ensemble, Mark has performed extensively across five continents. Recent engagements include Innovations en Concert (Montreal), Ding Yi Chinese Chamber Music Festival (Singapore), Museo Leonora Carrington (San Luis Potosí, Mexico), Melos-Ethos Festival (Bratislava), Núcleo Música Nova (Curitiba, Brazil), and the ISCM World New Music Days in Vancouver. In 2020 McGregor was named “Classical Artist of the Year” by the Western Canadian Music Awards. www.marktakeshimcgregor.com

Müge Büyükçelen born in 1975, in Istanbul Turkey started playing at age 9. Muge currently performs with the Galiano Ensemble, Victoria Symphony, Emily Carr String Quartet and the Aventa Ensemble.  She has been a featured soloist with numerous orchestras, performing in France, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, North America, Costa Rica, Oman and Bahrain. She has also collaborated with many recognized musicians such as Martin Fischer-Dieskau, Jamie Parker and Lorraine Min.  In 2009, Muge performed the world premiere of Archimedes’ Codex, a piece dedicated to and composed for her by Michael Oesterle.  Other recent highlights included the world premiere of Quebec composer Yannick Plamondon’s concerto for electric violin La fenêtre II.

A native of Saskatoon, Bill Linwood is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Aventa Ensemble, with which he has had the opportunity to present Canadian music around the globe.  A champion of the music of Quebec composer Gilles Tremblay, Bill has conducted several programs and recordings devoted to his music, as well as premieres from such international composers as Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Pierre Boulez and Philippe Leroux.  Since 1982, Bill has served as Principal Timpanist with the Victoria Symphony and is currently instructor of percussion at the University of Victoria.  As part of the Canadian Music Centre’s 50th anniversary, Bill was named a CMC Ambassador in recognition of his dedication and commitment to Canadian music.

With a reputation for superb performance and ambitious programming, Aventa has established itself as one of Canada’s leading contemporary music ensembles. Comprised of musicians who are passionate about new music and its place in our culture, Aventa pushes musical boundaries through diverse projects, collaboration, and cultural exchange. https://aventa.ca/