Ringmasters: Augusta Read Thomas

Augusta Read Thomas' latest works have been gargantuan, to say the least.  Last year, she composed 30 minutes of music for Third Coast Percussion consisting of nothing but bells (300 of them, BTW).  What's even more impressive is that she was writing another half hour-long work at the same time, her Mahler-inspired Earth Echoes for solo vocalists and chamber orchestra.

Thomas seems to have maximized the Mahlerian spirit, incorporating in both of these works a conglomeration of cultures from around the world, be it instruments or poetry for the libretto.  But out of that plethora of material comes extreme conceptual and compositional precision and cohesion.  Take, for example, the beautifully interwoven timbres from the second movement of her Resounding Earth.