Video Premiere: Dániel Matei Performs “Compare the Way We Move” by Molly Herron

Percussionist Dániel Matei is sitting at a table, looking like a spelunker traversing a cave. His headlight illuminates pieces of pottery, a metal ruler, and a door stop spring that he moves, pulls, or strokes at different intervals. The audio editing by Matt Poirier and direction by Four/Ten Media enhances this mesmerizing atmosphere: equal parts meditative, unsettling, and curious. This is Compare the Way We Move.

Written by composer Molly Herron, Compare the Way We Move has roots in her “long-time fascination with wobble/rattle/ricochet.” It is an exploration of control, or lack thereof. The pottery shards create melodies by contour instead of pitch, creating timbres that are unique to the performer and their shards per performance.

Dániel Matei (Photo by Anna Yatskevitch) and Molly Herron (Photo by Catalina Kulczar)

Dániel Matei (Photo by Anna Yatskevitch) and Molly Herron (Photo by Catalina Kulczar)

Here’s what Matei had to say about performing Compare the Way We Move:

CTWWM is the most unique piece I have ever performed. Not only because of the unique sounds, but because of the relationship between the performer and the objects required for the piece to succeed. The performer is not the master of the objects. Comparing the way they move only becomes possible by playing each object according to its needs, dictated by its physical properties. Focusing on these similarities/differences creates a special relationship: rather than controlling the objects so that they serve you, you have to turn into a curious explorer to help them flourish the only way they can.

Herron adds:

We commonly define pitch, rhythm, and timbre as the elements of music, but when rhythms speed up, they become pitch. When pitches layer, they become timbre. Each term is a different lens on the same phenomenon. The objects in Compare the Way We Move illuminate the space where one element ends and another begins

About Molly Herron

Composer Molly Herron “thinks deeply about motion, energy, and the physics of sound” (NPR). Whether writing for baroque strings, flowerpots, or newly designed instruments, her work achieves “a wonderful consideration of counterpoint and sound in time” (Seen and Heard International). Released on New Amsterdam Records, the album Through Lines: New Music for Viola da Gamba is a collaboration with the viol consort Science Ficta. Of the album, I Care If You Listen says: “”The casual listener might get pleasantly lost within the sounds of these pieces, while deep listening reveals smartly crafted layers of historical and contemporary ideas … In negotiating the space between the conventional and the unconventional, [Herron] creates a connection between composers of the past and herself, a thoughtful and skilled composer of the 21st century.”

Herron’s work has been featured on the Bang on a Can Marathon, MATA festival, American Composers Orchestra’s SONiC Festival, Fast Forward Austin, Berlin Film Festival, and Sundance Film Festival. She has written for The Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Argus Quartet, Sō Percussion, Contemporaneous, and the String Orchestra of Brooklyn among many others. Her work has been supported by the DeGaetano Composers Institute, MATA, The New York Foundation for the Arts, The Brooklyn Arts Council, the Copland Fund, Avaloch Farm New Music, and Exploring the Metropolis.

Herron received a Masters of Music degree from The Steinhardt School at New York University and a Ph.D from Princeton University. She is an Assistant Professor of Composition and Theory at Vanderbilt University.

About Dániel Matei

Dániel Matei is a New York based Hungarian-Romanian percussionist, composer, improviser with a keen interest in the collaborative and ever-evolving nature of music. He has recently performed with ensembles such as Sō Percussion, Brooklyn Chamber Orchestra, Contemporaneous, Talujon, TACETi, Tactus, The Orchestra Now, and participated in a project with the New Chamber Ballet, at venues including Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, DiMenna Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Opera America, MASS MoCA, The Clark Institute, and Banff Centre for the Arts.

Dániel is a recent graduate of Manhattan School of Music’s Contemporary Performance Program, where he studied percussion with David Cossin and John Ferrari, and composition with Reiko Füting. He received his BM and BA from Bard College, where he studied with members of Sō Percussion.

These days he is most excited about Noise Catalogue, an ensemble he co-founded that won the 2023 Dwight and Ursula Mamlok Junior Award.



I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorially-independent program of the American Composers Forum, funded with generous donor and institutional support. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and may not represent the views of ICIYL or ACF. 

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