Time Turns Elastic, a ground-breaking work for vocals, guitar and orchestra composed by Trey Anastasio and Don Hart, will be released on May 12th by Rubber Jungle Records, Anastasio’s independent label. The piece – orchestrated by Hart and performed by Anastasio and The Northwest Sinfonia, conducted by David Sabee – blends the intrinsic elegance of classical music with searing blues-rock guitar, resulting in an exhilarating work that engages and challenges fans of both genres.
“Neither of us had ever heard anything that uses a guitar as a serious instrument intermingled with an orchestra in the same way one would write a concerto for a violin and orchestra,” says Anastasio, who first collaborated with Hart at the 2004 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival while staging a piece from one of his solo albums, Seis de Mayo. “I grew up loving Ravel and Eric Clapton equally,” he continues. “So I kept saying to Don, ‘why can’t we have a piece of music that’s half Ravel and half Cream’s Disraeli Gears?”
Both Anastasio, named one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by Rolling Stone and a founding member of the genre-melding rock band Phish, and Hart, who’s worked with a diverse group of musicians that includes Martina McBride, Collective Soul and Randy Travis and is currently Composer-in-Residence for Orchestra Nashville, are musical chameleons whose tastes cross all boundaries. While the pair’s collaborations on Anastasio’s Shine (2005) and Bar 17 (2006), may prefigure Time Turns Elastic, the composition actually began as a Phish song.
“I was living in upstate New York when I started writing this little tune that just kept growing,” recalls Anastasio. “I initially thought it would be a Phish song, but after I sent a demo of it to Don, it just grew organically into an orchestral piece.” The 13-minute acoustic guitar demo – which is included on the album – evolved into “Movement 2” and “Movement 3” and provided Hart with the inspiration for “Movement 1.”
Anastasio and Orchestra Nashville (conducted by Paul Gambill) gave Time Turns Elastic its debut performance at the Orchestra’s season opener at Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium in September 2008. “It was ambitious, strange and wholly entertaining,” said rollingstone.com. “There was no doubt that he had won over both his hardcore fan base and the Bach aficionados who were new to the party.”
Time Turns Elastic will receive its East Coast premiere on May 21st when Anastasio joins Music Director Marin Alsop (the first woman to head a major American orchestra) and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for a special evening – already sold out – that will also feature classic Phish songs and solo Anastasio compositions. And Time Turns Elastic will come full circle when Phish performs it on the band’s upcoming summer tour, interpreting the piece as an epic rock song. For details on the tour, the band’s first in five years, please visit http://www.phish.com/.
The track listing for Time Turns Elastic is as follows:
1. Time Turns Elastic
Song at Dawn
Ruby Shaded Sea
Rays of Blue Light
Silver Sound Shower
2. Time Turns Elastic (Acoustic)