Taking a Nap, I Pound The Rice EP featuring Jill Feldman
Phaedra Ensemble / Fred Thomas / Fred Rzewski
About Taking a Nap, I Pound The Rice
by Fred Thomas
Written by ECM artist Fred Thomas and commissioned by Phaedra Ensemble, Taking a Nap, I Pound the Rice is a five-movement work for string quartet, percussion, prepared piano and spoken voice. The title, an enigmatic Zen proverb misremembered and misquoted by John Cage, illuminates the spirit of the composition and performance. Each movement represents a musician or writer important to the composer:
In performance, iconic soprano Jill Feldman narrates spoken texts composed ‘after’ each artist, whilst Maurizio Ravalico and Fred Thomas conjure playful textures that collide with a luminous string quartet sound. In this way, combining fixed and improvised elements, the work attempts, through free association and sonic manipulation, to capture the abstract essence of five great thinkers.
About Attica by Frederick Rzewski (1974)
Phaedra’s unique interpretation of Frederick Rzewski’s open scored minimalist masterpiece. With the piano of Fred Thomas and percussion of Maurizio Ravelico, plus quartet, clarinet and The Magic Lantern (Jamie Doe), the piece draws together many of of Phaedra’s collaborators to date.
First performed by Phaedra Ensemble together with its companion piece Coming Together the week Trump was elected, and recorded for the album here, in full, improvised takes, the piece resonates politically now, as much as it did fifty years ago. Rzewski composed Attica and Coming Together in response to the uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility maximum security prison in New York State in 1971. The texts draw upon testimonies of two men who participated in the riot: Samuel Melville and Richard X. Clark (Attica), - giving voice to the hardships of incarceration only to have that voice break apart into fragments and silence.