Michael Torke’s “Unseen” (No. 5): A Shifting Kaleidoscope

Last month, we listened to the first single from Unseen, the newest work of American composer Michael Torke. The piece, scored for orchestra, unfolds in nine brief movements, and continues in the direction of Torke’s recent groove-based chamber works, Being (2020), Psalms and Canticles (2021), and Time (2022). The complete album for Unseen will be released on May 10. Unseen, No. 5, which came out yesterday, emerges from a single pulsating rhythmic pattern in the strings. The piece develops …

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Michael Torke’s “Unseen” (No. 7): Embracing an Ecstatic Groove

The first single from Unseen, the newest work by American composer, Michael Torke, was released last week. (The full album will be available on May 10). The excerpt, No. 7 from a piece which unfolds in nine brief movements, delivers a visceral and ecstatic sense of groove. Scored for a larger ensemble, Unseen continues in the direction of Torke’s recent chamber albums, Being (2020), Psalms and Canticles (2021), and Time (2022). The composer writes, Unifying these four projects is the …

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Michael Torke’s “October”: Autumn Music

Although usually free of a literal program, the music of the American composer, Michael Torke, is highly evocative. Even if we don’t share the composer’s experience of synesthesia, in which musical keys are involuntarily associated with specific colors, Torke’s suite of Color Music from the 1980s makes us feel the essence of green, bright blue, and ecstatic orange. Other orchestral pieces such as Run (1992) and Javelin (1994) convey an exhilarating sense of motion, while December suggests …

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Michael Torke’s “Chancel” (“Sessions, 3 A.M.”): The Virtue of Simplicity

Chancel is the third single to be released from Sessions, 3 A.M, the latest album by the American composer, Michael Torke. The complete recording will be available in November. Recorded last May at the Samurai Hotel Studio in Queens, New York, Sessions, 3 A.M features a collection of fifteen brief and atmospheric pieces for solo piano which are performed by the composer. The excerpts that are currently available suggest the magical, nocturnal vibe of an …

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Michael Torke’s “Nave”: A Preview of “Sessions, 3 A.M.”

The atmospherically titled Sessions, 3 A.M. is the most recent project of American composer, Michael Torke. It is a collection of fifteen pieces for solo piano, performed by the composer. The first track, Nave, was released as a single earlier this month, and the full album will be available in November. In the nave of a cathedral, repeating structural columns rise to a vaulted ceiling and convey a sense of order and symmetry. …

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New Release: Michael Torke’s “Time”

In architecture, our perception of space is influenced by repeating elements which provide a sense of structure, form, and scale. A particularly sensuous example can be found in the crisp geometric lines which form the bronze curtain wall of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s 1958 Seagram Building in New York. While architecture occupies the spacial realm, music unfolds through time. Time is the title of the newest composition by American composer, Michael Torke (b. 1961). …

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Michael Torke’s “Green”: Verdant Vibrations

What color is E major? This question will leave many listeners bemused. Yet, for the American composer Michael Torke, the key of E is inextricably linked with the color green. Torke experiences synesthesia, a neurological condition that Dr. Oliver Sachs defined as “an immediate, physiological coupling of two sorts of sensation.” It’s a blending of the senses that other composers such as Liszt, Scriabin, Sibelius, and Duke Ellington reportedly experienced. Synesthesia inspired the …

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