Tank Masters Series

Michael Harrison
Just Constellations

Performed by
Roomful of Teeth

In 2017, the astonishing, GRAMMY-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth came to the TANK. Among the compositions they performed and recorded was this one, Michael Harrison’s Just Constellations.

After Bach, musicians adopted the compromise tuning system of equal temperament, in which all intervals are mildly dissonant, but compatible across keys. Michael Harrison is one of the leading composers in America working in an earlier tuning system that preserves the pure harmonies of perfect intervals: Just Intonation. Those pure harmonies combine perfectly in the TANK, blending with no dissonance across the long sustaining reverberations inside the structure.

Roomful of Teeth spent several nights at the TANK recording Just Constellations and earlier this year released an album of that material, which was recently listed among NPR’s BEST 100 SONGS OF 2020 and BANDCAMP’S Best Contemporary Classical Albums of 2020.

At the TANK, Roomful of Teeth also presented a performance of Just Constellations for a small audience.  We are posting the video of that live event here.

Tom Huizenga of NPR writes that Just Constellations “takes great advantage of [the TANK’s] spectacularly reverberant space. The music, by Michael Harrison, unfolds in blurry, swirling, echoing layers that produce massive ‘halos’ of glowing sound. Let the music wash in and out, and you can hear what might have happened if Giovanni Palestrina was a fan of Tuvan throat singing.”

Brad Wells conducts Cameron Beauchamp, Dashon Burton, Martha Cluver, Eric Dudley, Estelí Gomez, Avery Griffin, Virginia Warnken Kelsey, and Caroline Shaw. This recording was produced by Jesse Lewis, who has just been nominated for 2021 Classical Producer of the Year by the GRAMMY awards.

Roomful of Teeth Director Brad Wells and composer Michael Harrison

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