October 8 7:30 pm
Samford University
Brock Hall
800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, AL

The second Birmingham New Music Festival, to be held on October 8-11 of 2015, will also herald the 20th anniversary season of presenting organization Birmingham Art Music Alliance (BAMA). As part of the celebration, six concerts will feature music by Alabama-based composers, and by all of the founding members of BAMA who have since moved to other parts of the country. Additionally, five guest composers were selected through collaboration with New York City new music organizations Vox Novus and Composers Concordance (Melissa Grey, Jessica Meyer, David Morneau, Gene Pritsker, and Robert Voisey).

Cellist Craig Hultgren will premiere Grey's new work dedicated to him, I understand you perfectly, for Electric Cello and Fixed Stereo (benjolin).

I understand you perfectly is based on the transliteration of an ancient phrase, sator arepo tenet opera rotas, a palindrome and magic square that can be read top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top, left-to-right, right-to-left and in a continuous back and forth “turning like oxen in ploughing.” The phrase can be translated loosely as the sower Arepo keeps the work moving, or the farmer uses his plow as his form of work.

Some scholars have considered the phrase a device invoked for magic incantation. It is found in many parts of the ancient world: Pompeii, Syria, Sienna, and more.

The matrix is 5x5, which is the structure of the SATOR magic square and also a term that refers to military voice procedures over two-way radios defined as a signal with excellent strength and perfect clarity—the most understandable signal possible. Five by five means I understand you perfectly.