Composer Phil Kline on music during—and after—COVID-19

Posted on: August 11, 2020

“In just two minutes of sound, composer Phil Kline captures the fervent but anxiety-ridden ruckus of massed New Yorkers paying tribute to front-line health care workers … during the early weeks and months of the COVID-19 pandemic,” writes Joseph Dalton in Wednesday’s (8/5) Times Union (Albany, N.Y.). “Booming drums, tolling church bells and screaming sirens can also be heard in the recordings that Kline used to create his sound collage ‘Every Night at 7’ … a thoughtful and well-crafted work that at first hearing … brought to mind Edgar Varese’s ‘Ionisation,’ a landmark work from 1931 for 13 percussionists…. Kline’s newest work is a collection of songs to statements of President Donald Trump … titled ‘The best words.’ … ‘An unbelievable thing’ and ‘Some kind of test’ will be performed … as part of the Bang on a Can online marathon … on Aug. 16…. In a post-COVID world, Kline expects changes that go far beyond sanitary venues and social distancing…. ‘Music adapts. The best example is during World War I, Stravinsky stopped writing big ballets and turned to chamber pieces like “Renard” and “L’histoire.” When the war was over, art became surrealism, the shattered world,’ observes Kline.”