The Squid's Ear Magazine

Powerdove: Bitter Banquet (fo'c'sle)

Keyboardist Annie Lewandowski (London Improvisers Orchestra, Fred Frith, Samech) composed this song cycle about ancient Greek figures in collaboration with David Yearsley, Theresa Wong and Russell Greenberg, poetic pieces contrasting traditional use of instruments with subtle experimental approaches in a unique and fascinating set of compositional strategies.

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product information:

UPC: 843563108130

Label: fo'c'sle
Catalog ID: FSCL-004
Squidco Product Code: 29728

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2016 and 2017, by John Dieterich.


Annie Lewandowski-voice, piano, harmonium, electronics

David Yearsley-harpsichord, fortepiano, clavichord

Theresa Wong-cello

Russell Greenberg-percussion, vibraphone

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Sample The Album:

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Bitter Banquet is a multi-media song cycle inspired by pivotal moments in the lives of several characters, as portrayed by Euripides in his tragedies: Hecuba, Andromache, Iphigenia, Phaedra, Evadne, Alcestis, Polyxena, Megara, Medea and Aegisthus. Themes exploring war, loss, and grief written millennia ago are brought to life through a modern prism with the hypnotic music of composer Annie Lewandowski, aka powerdove."-fo'c'sle

"...the two pianists and two percussionists of Yarn/Wire have solicited dozens of new works from rigorists modernists and freethinking outliers alike. On successive nights during their Stone residency, the players collaborate with the saxophone-and- percussion duo Popebama, reinvent works by Katherine Young and Annie Lewandowski (both of who appear as performers), and present a substantial premiere by Travis Laplante." - Steve Smith, The New Yorker, February 4, 2019

Artist Biographies

"Annie Lewandowski is a composer/performer who works in song and improvisation. As an improviser on piano, accordion, and electronics, she has performed/recorded with musicians including Fred Frith, the London Improvisers Orchestra, Caroline Kraabel, Theresa Wong, Tim Feeney, CAGE, Sarah Hennies, Spinneret.s, and Doublends Vert. As a singer, guitarist, and keyboardist, she has recorded with bands and ensembles including Emma Zunz, Xiu Xiu, The Curtains, Former Ghosts, and Yarn/Wire. Her band Powerdove has released nine recordings, most recently "War Shapes" (Murailles Music, 2017) and "Bitter Banquet" (fo'c'sle records, 2018). She premiered her Euripidean multimedia song cycle "Bitter Banquet" with baroque keyboardist David Yearsley at the Sustaining the Antique Festival of Classics at Cornell University in October 2016.

Annie has performed at festivals and venues across the United States and Europe, including the Casa da Música (Porto, Portugal), the Hippodrome (London), Musica Nelle Valli (San Martino Spino, Italy), the Great American Music Hall (San Francisco), the Frieze Arts Fair (London), Avalon (Los Angeles), and REDCAT (Los Angeles). She is a 2014 Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellow, and has been awarded grants from the Cornell Council for the Arts and the Atkinson Center for Sustainability for her work on humpback whale song with bioacoustics researcher Katy Payne and the Hawai'i Marine Mammal Consortium. In 2019, she contributed to the creation of Pattern Radio, Google Creative Lab's webtool for teaching AI to recognize patterns in humpback whale song.

Annie received her Master of Fine Arts in Music Performance and Literature with a Specialization in Improvisation from Mills College. At Mills, she was awarded the Flora Boyd Piano Performance prize for her work on extended techniques for the piano. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Music at Cornell University."

-Annie Lewandowski Website (

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"David Yearsley was educated at Harvard College and Stanford University, where he received his Ph.D. in Musicology in 1994. At Cornell he continues to pursue his interests in the teaching, history, literature and performance of music. His musicological work investigates literary, social, and theological contexts for music and music making, and while he focuses on J. S. Bach, he has written on topics ranging from music and death to musical invention, from organology and performance to musical representations of public spaces in film, from musical travelers to the joys of the keyboard duet. At Cornell he has taught courses on Bach and Handel, surveys of Western Art Music, keyboard performance, the organ, music journalism, film music, and music theory.

David's first book, Bach and the Meanings of Counterpoint (Cambridge, 2002) explodes long-held notions about the status of counterpoint in the mid-eighteenth century, and illuminates unexpected areas of the musical culture into which Bach's most obsessive and complicated musical creations were released. Bach's Feet: the Organ Pedals in European Culture (Cambridge, 2012) presents a new interpretation of the significance of the oldest and richest of European instruments-the organ-by investigating the German origins of the uniquely independent use of the feet in music-making. Delving into a range of musical, literary, and visual sources, Bach's Feet pursues the wide-ranging cultural importance of this physically demanding art, from the blind German organists of the 15th century, through the central contribution of Bach's music and legacy, to the newly-pedaling organists of the British Empire, and the sinister visions of Nazi propagandists.

His monograph Sex, Death and Minuets: Anna Magdalena Bach and Her Musical Notebooks is forthcoming from University of Chicago Press. In providing a range of literary, social, historical, and musical perspectives on the cherished musical manuscripts of J. S. Bach's second wife, herself a gifted professional musician, this study radically revises our understanding of women in music in 18th-century Lutheran Germany and within the Bach family.

David's current scholarly project has the working title Bach Laughs, and is a study of the composer as musical humorist.

His research has been supported by fellowships from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, The American Council of Learned Socieites, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

Also a committed journalist, David has been music critic for the Anderson Valley Advertiser since 1990; his weekly column can be read each Friday at A collection of his feuilletons, Bach and Taxes and Other Matters of Life and Death is in the works.

The only musician ever to win all the major prizes at the Bruges Early Music Festival, David continues to pursue an active career as a performer on keyboards historical and modern. A long-time member of the pioneering synthesizer ensemble Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company, his recordings are available on the Musica Omnia and Loft labels."

-Cornell University (

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"Theresa Wong is a composer, cellist and vocalist active at the intersection of music, experimentation, improvisation and the synergy of multiple disciplines. Bridging sound, movement, theater and visual art, her primary interest lies in finding the potential for transformation for both the artist and receiver alike.

Her works include The Unlearning (Tzadik), 21 songs for violin, cello and 2 voices inspired by Goya's Disasters of War etchings, O Sleep, an improvised opera for an 8 piece ensemble exploring the conundrum of sleep and dream life and Venice Is A Fish, a collection of solo songs. Her commissioned works include pieces for Splinter Reeds, Vajra Voices, pianist Sarah Cahill and Del Sol string quartet. At the heart of her work is a desire to expand the sonic possibilities of materials and to explore their potential in many modes of performance.

She collaborates with many singular artists, including Fred Frith, Ellen Fullman, Luciano Chessa, Annie Lewandowski, Chris Brown, Frantz Loriot, John McCowen, Søren Kjærgaard, Carla Kihlstedt, conceptual artist Jonathon Keats and filmmaker Daria Martin. In 2018, Wong founded fo'c'sle, a record label dedicated to adventurous music from the Bay Area and beyond, featuring inaugural releases by Ellen Fullman with David Gamper and Stuart Dempster, Chris Brown, Powerdove and the Lijiang Quintet.

Wong has shared her work internationally at venues including Fondation Cartier in Paris, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Cafe Oto in London, Festival de Arte y Ópera Contemporánea in Morelia, Mexico and The Stone and Roulette in New York City. She is the recipient of grants from the Center for Cultural Innovation, American Composers Forum, San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music and Meet The Composer. Wong is a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellow and has also been an artist-in-residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts and Yaddo. She currently works and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area."

-Theresa Wong Website (

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"New York-based percussionist Russell Greenberg enjoys exploring the creative and unclassifiable music of our time. Internationally sought-after for his singular approach and interpretation, he strives to share his passion for the musical experience with a wide variety of audiences.

As a founding member of the piano and percussion quartet, Yarn/Wire, Russell has collaborated with many of today's leading composers to craft a body of new, wide-reaching and vital repertoire. At the vanguard of contemporary music, Russell frequently tours the world, having appeared at the Ultima (Oslo), Tectonics (Glasgow), Lincoln Center (NY), Barbican (UK), and Rainy Days (Luxembourg) festivals among others, and is a regular visiting artist at universities including Columbia, Brown, and Stanford.

Russell is also member of Either/OR and the Wet Ink Large Ensemble, and appears with other prominent groups as well such as the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Argento, and sfSound, with performances having been labeled as "fearless" (TimeOutNY), and "intrepid/engrossing" (The New York Times). He has worked with a many leading composers and conductors including Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvös, Susanna Mälkki, Enno Poppe, Beat Furrer, and others. In addition to his work with contemporary music ensembles, Russell has toured and recorded with the bands Seaven Teares, Kato Dot, and Hi Red Center.

Mr. Greenberg's interdisciplinary work and collaborations include work with Theatre of a Two-Headed calf, the artist David Bithell, and Judy Dunaway. He has also penned music for the Off-Off Broadway theater production of Clubbed Thumb's Gentleman Caller among others.

Russell received his BA in music from the University of California at Berkeley in 2002, where he studied percussion with William Winant, and with Eduardo Leandro at Stony Brook University, where he earned his M.M. in 2004 and a D.M.A. in 2009.

Russell is sponsored by Pearl/Adams instruments and Paiste cymbals and has recorded for the WERGO, Bridge, Mode, Albany, Northern Spy, and Joyful Noise record labels."

-Russell Greenberg Website (

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Track Listing:

1. Hecuba 03:44

2. Iphigenia 02:12

3. Polyxena 03:44

4. Phaedra 05:52

5. Alcestis 04:44

6. Andromache 02:27

7. Evadne 03:58

8. Megara 01:41

9. Medea 04:24

10. Aegisthus 03:35

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic Improv
West Coast/Pacific US Jazz
Unusual Vocal Forms
Song Based Music
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New in Experimental & Electronic Music

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