We were in the stars with Monteverdi when Mason Bates arrived and hauled us from the l7th to the 21st century and into the Magellanic Cloud. He had come to have his first hearing of his piece in which ancient maoris are picked up by a satellite in the cloud. Some of us are the maoris and some of us are the satellite. A lot of discussion was had about the right sound for the satellite's beeps - finding a vowel for it that isn't like a maori vowel or a regular a e i o u vowel. Adam came up with one which we thought sounded more like a submarine than a satellite. We'll be experimenting for a while.
Cool piece. It was good to have Mason back and he said he had really enjoyed writing for us - this time knowing exactly how everybody sounds (or everybody but 2) and being able to write music in 12 parts knowing that we will sort it out and make a fabulous texture of it. We hope we do. Last season our program "in time of..." included "Stelle" and "Sirinu" from his cycle "Sirens" written for us in 2008. Another movement from that cycle will be included in our April 2010 Bay Area program "The Boy Whose Father Was God." This year "Observer in the Magellanic Cloud" will have 50 or so peformances in our season program "Out of this World!" in which we're also repeating "Stelle" - which we've also recorded. It's a big Mason Bates year!

Here on earth in San Francisco we are in our own cloud - of fog and overcast, and we have to wear jackets to rehearsal! But we know many of you would trade places with us...