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  March 04-11, 2002
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
Crossing Kings Reach

On Wednesday night, the London Sinfonietta will perform the world premiere of Crossing Kings Reach, a new work by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies commissioned by the architectural firm Arup to celebrate the completion of London's Millennium Bridge.

The bridge spans the river Thames from just below St. Paul's Cathedral on its north bank to the Tate Modern on its south Bank. The foot bridge was designed by Arup, architect Norman Foster, and sculptor Antony Caro.

 Crossing Kings Reach traces an imaginary journey from the pomp and splendour of St. Paul's – 'with that church's notorious echo playing up', according to the composer – over the Millennium Bridge, and into the galleries of Tate Modern. 

 “The more I pondered the plans, the more I was attracted to a musical structure full of overlappings, in the manner of loosely intertwined cable, punctuated by static chords at one remove from the main perspective, analogous to the ever-modulating piers in the water,” says Maxwell Davis. “To establish a concept of "bridge" at its most basic level as transition from birth to death, I adapted the plainsong Nudus egressus sum de utero, and a setting of this text in English from my own oratorio Job – ‘Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will return there’ - my own tune being based on the first part of the contour of the plainsong."

  The piece will have its inaugural performance at an invitation-only concert arranged by Arup in the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 6 March. The premiere will be preceded by a performance of Davies's First Ferry to Hoy, complete with children's choir and ensembles drawn from local schools, as well as poetry and prose readings curated by Jo Shapcott, and performed by actors Maureen Lipman & Tom Courtney.

The London Sinfonietta performs the public premiere of Crossing Kings Reach as part of New to London on 16 May 2002, also in the QEH

The 325m Millennium Bridge is the first pedestrian river crossing over the Thames in central London for more than a century.
Maxwell Davis Bio

Official Maxwell Davis Web Site

Ove Arup Partners


Other Minds 8 Program 

What's New

Julia Wolfe after minimalism

Looking Backward to Crumb and Mahler

Deborah Kravetz

Philip Glass at 65
Jerry Bowles

An Interview with Steven R. Gerber

Sex and Female Musicians Or Babes in Boyland
Jerry Bowles

13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird--Number 8

Deborah Kravetz

A New Hall for Philadelphia
Deborah Kravetz

Terry Riley Gets Hot
A new recording makes an unlikely star.

Kernis Wins Grawemeyer
Adds to Pulitizer; nets $200,000

Interview with Poul Ruders

Our writers welcome your comments on their pieces.  Send your witty bon mots to jbowles@sequenza21.com and we might even publish some of them here.  And, don't forget--if you'd like to write for Sequenza21 (understanding that we have no money to pay you), send me a note.  JB

Record companies, artists and publicists are invited to submit CDs to be considered for our Editor's Pick's of the month.  Send to: Jerry Bowles, Editor, Sequenza 21, 340 W. 57th Street, 12B, NY, NY 10019  Also, feel free to nominate your favorite composer-- even if it's you--for Spotlight of the Week.

Modern Music News
REINVENTING OPERA: How much liberty ought an opera director or producer have in setting an opera. Updating and reinterpreting are popular right now, and they can help an audience see a piece in a new way. On the other hand, some rethinking distracts from the the work itself. But how far is too far? Chicago Tribune 02/28/02

RATTLE IN BERLIN: Simon Rattle takes over the Berlin Philharmonic podium later this year. The Berlin Phil is possibly the world's most prestigious orchestra. But is it possible the orchestra needs Rattle more than he needs it? "Perhaps it will send a signal that the times are indeed changing and that the symphonic music business needs to get with the times in order to maintain some relevance. It signals a dramatic shift in the mythology and mystery surrounding the role of the conductor - from an unapproachable, distantly enigmatic, eccentric figure to a proactive, hands-on, engaging human being that musicians and the public can relate to!" Christian Science Monitor 03/01/02

BROKEN ON PURPOSE: Recording companies are starting to produce CD's that can't be played on computers or players that can copy them. Consumers are protesting, but an industry spokesperson says: "If technology can be used to pirate copyrighted content, shouldn't technology likewise be used to protect copyrighted content? Surely, no one can expect copyright owners to ignore what is happening in the marketplace and fail to protect their creative works because some people engage in copying just for their personal use." The New York Times 03/01/02

SAMPLE THIS: It wasn't that long ago that musicians were railing against rappers sampling their music to make new songs. The practice is a staple of hip hop. Then the practice became highly regulated (and lucrative). "Now more than ever, it's the sellers who are actively trying to get established and up-and-coming musicians interested in picking up a beat, a musical fragment, or a snippet of lyrics. Yet the selling price of samples has some artists saying they're not in the market to buy anymore. ''It's costing too much to get clearances, and sometimes it's easier to just do your own music'.'' Boston Globe 03/03/02

BROOKLYN MUSICIANS LOCKED OUT? The Brooklyn Philharmonic is on shaky financial ground since September 11. Accordingly, the orchestra replaced some planned concerts with solo piano recitals instead. The musicians union - the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) - has complained that the orchestra has "locked out" its 77 orchestra members by making the program change... Backstage 02/25/02

IN SEARCH OF WOMEN: "Even now at the start of the 21st century, decades after the dawn of the contemporary feminist movement saw a rise in women's orchestras and gender-based musicological studies and long after the inclusion of a single piece by a female composer on a concert program has ceased to be remarkable, a whole concert of music by women, performed by women, still feels unusual. It remains an exception to the classical music norm, which is a concert of music written entirely by men." The New York Times 02/26/02

CAPITAL IDEA: The city of Bruges, Belgium begins its year as the European Union's Capital of Culture (sharing the honor with Salamanca, Spain) by opening a new concert hall and an ambitious festival. Andante 02/25/02

COOPERATING THEIR WAY OUT OF DEBT: The St. Louis Symphony has been facing major money problems. In response, the orchestra's musicians have come forward as partners with management. Perhaps here is a model for other orchestras. "It was clear right away that we had to move from arguing over how to cut up the pie to how to keep the boat from sinking. We all had to start bailing. We've already decided it's not merely to show up and play the notes on the page. But what is it? We're not fund-raisers, we don't plan the musical program, but we can contribute in those areas and in many others. I wasn't trained to do anything more than play the instrument, but that's not enough anymore." The New York Times 02/25/02

PRODUCER AS CREATIVE ARTIST: Music recording and editing software has become so sophisticated that producers have become an indespensible part of the musical creative process. "It's sort of the same as the difference between a typewriter and a word processor. The computer-based systems allow you to do the kind of editing that you do with a word processor, but with sound." Los Angeles Times 02/24/02

CITY OPERA AT WTC? New York City Opera is talking to other New York cultural institutions about building a major new arts center on the site of the World Trade Center. "City Opera officials caution that their planning is in its early stages and that they have not made a decision to go forward. But they have attracted interest from the Joyce Theater, the Chelsea-based home of contemporary dance, in becoming involved in the project, which in one configuration would include a 2,200- seat opera house for itself, a 900-seat dance space and possibly a museum." The New York Times 02/28/02

BROKEN ON PURPOSE: Recording companies are starting to produce CD's that can't be played on computers or players that can copy them. Consumers are protesting, but an industry spokesperson says: "If technology can be used to pirate copyrighted content, shouldn't technology likewise be used to protect copyrighted content? Surely, no one can expect copyright owners to ignore what is happening in the marketplace and fail to protect their creative works because some people engage in copying just for their personal use." The New York Times 03/01/02

 Last Week's News

A Touch of Shanghai
In Old Philadelphia

By Deborah Kravetz

I hadn't intended making a trip to the Orient this year, but this concert of work by Chinese composers working in America brought it to me with The Best of East and West, featuring guest artists Jiebing Chen, erhu, and Wu Man, pipa, in pieces new to Philadelphia, and one world premiere commission.

The Spell (1999) by Jing Jing Luo casts a suitable spell with aggressive low piccolo, plucked celli strings, and throbbing vibraphone that leaves tones ringing in the air long after intoned, and with shivering strings creating a scene-setting spell. A quiet celli duet and flute/piccolo duet soften the effect. Sounds imitate eastern instruments and let us know we're not in Philadelphia any more.

Spirit of Chimes (2000) by Zhou Long evokes the sounds of ancient instruments as a trio scored for violin, cello and piano demonstrating the harmonics of various bells and whistles. A usually unison melodic middle section evokes an ancient dance. The third section continues exploration of sounds applied to modern and Western instrumentation, with strings as winds and piano as percussion.

Shih-Hui Chen introduced her Fu II (1999) as an ensemble expansion of Fu I written for solo pipa. Fu means ambush, and in this context means the technique of abruptly stopping the instrument's strings after violently striking them. The pipa is also strummed here, while cello and violin play long notes and plucks, bass clarinet imitates a string bass and alto flute sounds just like a flute. Vibes provide a layer of resonance.

Jiebing Chen has arranged music for the traditional story of Butterfly Lovers, a Chinese variation on Romeo and Juliet composed originally as a violin concert , into theme and variations played here by cello and erhu, a Chinese version of a violin with no fingerboard and only two strings that is played with the bow between the strings. The cello plays the melody, while the erhu improvises in unison and embroiders the theme.

?as like a raging fire? (2002) is a world premiere of a Network for New Music commission by Chen Yi conducted by Jennifer Higdon. The composer explained that these are impressions of internal and external fire of nature and spirit, scored for violin, cello, piano, flute and clarinet. 

After a fast and furious opening tutti, the piece focuses briefly and individually on varying instruments. Piano and cello are used intensely and percussively at both extremes of range; less dense moments reveal flute and clarinet more fully.

Other than the recognizably oriental Butterfly Lovers theme, it turns out 
that the most Oriental of the music was expressed by non-Oriental instruments in Spirit of Chimes.

Settlement Music School
February 24, 2002
Reposted from Penn Sounds 2/27/02

Les Troyens Wins Grammy
for Classical Album of the Year
The big classical winner in the 44th Grammy Awards was the London Symphony Orchestra's recording of Berlioz's Les Troyens, conducted by Sir Colin Davis, which won both Best Classical Recording and Best Opera Recording awards. The recording is among the first from the ground-breaking LSO Live label, which is owned by the London Symphony Orchestra and was launched in 2000.
Christopher Rouse’s Concert De Gaudí For Guitar And Orchestra was the Best Contemporary Composition award and ECM’s Manfred Eicher was named Producer of the Year in the classical category. Here’s a complete list of winners.
Classical Grammy Winners

Previous Interviews/Profiles
Simon Rattle, Michael Gordon,Benjamin Lees, Scott Lindroth, David Felder, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Erkki-Sven Tüür, John Luther Adams, Brett Dean, Judith Lang Zaimont, Meyer Kupferman, Evan Chambers, Poul Ruders, Steven R. Gerber

Previous Articles/
Busoni The Visionary
The Composer of the Moment:  Mark-Anthony Turnage
Electronic Music
Voices: Henze at 75
Henze Meets Emenim
On Finding Kurtag
Charles Ruggles:  When Men Were Men
Ballet Mécanique
The Adams Chronicles

EDITOR'S PICKS - February-March  2002

Dead Man Walking
Composer: Jake Heggie
Conductor: Patrick Summers
Performer: Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade
Ensemble: San Francisco Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Wea/Atlantic/Erato - #86238 
No "Nixon in China" or "Einstein at the Beach" but young Heggie has a way with melody and this debut opera suggests there may be better things to come.

A Prole do Bebe No. 2, Cirandinhas
Composer: Heitor Villa-Lobos
Performer: Sonia Rubinsky
Naxos - 
Flat out fantastic.  Rubinsky makes child's play of Villa-Lobos' thornier conceits. If you live in New York, write this down: 
Sonia Rubinsky will be performing selections from Vol. 2 and the upcoming Villa-Lobos: Piano Music Vol. 3 on March 14th, Thursday, at 6:30 pm at the Klavier-Haus located at 211 
West 58th St. 

Music for the Movies
Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) 
Composer: Alfred Schnittke
Conductor: Frank Strobel
Ensemble: Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Rundfunkchor Berlin
Cpo Records 
Schnittke  regarded film music as a legitimate expressive medium and  wrote more than sixty film scores and worked with the prominent directors of his day.  This collection demonstrates that he understood film composition thoroughly and considered it  a new vista for his creative work.

Composers:  Harry Partch, Dean Drummond
Innova 561
Works by former cohorts and microtonal pioneers, Harry Partch and Dean Drummond. This stunning new recording  is performed by members of Newband primarily on the original Partch collection of hand-made instruments, notable for their sculptural and acoustic beauty. The music integrates declaimed poetry (masterfully performed by Bob Osborne) with colorful instrumental accompaniment. The Drummond pieces are first recordings, the Partch are the first since the 1940s.

Preludes & Fugues for 13 solo strings: Three Postludes; Fanfares
Composer: Witold Lutoslawski
Conductor: Antoni Wit
Naxos - #8555270 
A treasure trove of Lutoslawski's "little" works,  with lots of delightful listening for even those not fully committed to 20th century work.

Passacaglia, Symphony, Five Pieces
Passacaglia, Symphony, Five Pieces
Composer: Anton Webern
Conductor: Takuo Yuasa
Ensemble: Ulster Orchestra
Who knew that the Second Viennese School could be so...listenable.  Has the music changed or have our ears adapted to the atonality?

Concerto for Strings
Composer:  Joly BRAGA SANTOS 
 Performer(s): Braga Santos, Creswick, Somov, Blair, Cassuto
Marco Polo - 
Joly Braga Santos is one of the most interesting and gifted composers of the 20th century--and one of the most unknown. His musical language is based on a strong sense of architecture and drama, with generous melodic lines and a natural instinct for structure and formal coherence. If you don't know the work of this 20th century Portugese master, grab it.

Symphony No. 1
Composer: George Barati
Conductor: Laslzo Kovaks, Vladimir Valek
Ensemble: Budapest Symphony Orchestra, Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra
Naxos - 
The First Symphony was written in 1963 during a stay in Switzerland. Set in three movements, it is packed with musical incident. The Chant of Darkness was composed in 1993 as an expression of the composer’s grief as his daughter lay dying from cancer. The work exhibits a frightening sense of finality. The Chant of Light dates from 1994-5 and is cast in a simple structure, displaying Barati’s love of working with small motivic cells, combined with the use of luscious orchestral color.

90% Post Consumer Sound
Composer: Ellen Band
Performer: Adele Armin Ellen Band 
Band creates  'sound art' from everyday noises with results that sometimes sound celestially musical and sometimes sound like..well everyday noises. 

Three2, Twenty-Three, Six, Twenty-Six 
Composer: John Cage
Performer: Christina Fong, Glenn Freeman, et al.
Orchard - #6260 
The first recordings of Cage's final works for string ensemble and percussion ensemble.  Fong is a committed advocate and she makes the most of the minimalist elements presented here.

String Quartets 1 & 2
Composer:  Arnold Bax
Performer: Maggini Quartet
Naxos - 
Fresh from the Gramophone Award-winning Naxos recording of Vaughn Williams, the Maggini turn their attention to another English composer of elegiac melodies with superb results.

Guitar Music, Vol. 2
Composer: Leo Brouwer
Performer: Elena Papandreou
Naxos - 
One of the best writers for the guitar alive today, Brouwer combines elements of his native Cuba with jazz and European modernism.  Papandreou performs these tricky pieces elegantly. 

The Ancient Thespians
One-Minute Web Guide
The essential guide to intelligent life on the internet
SEQUENZA/21/ is published weekly by Sequenza/21 
Publisher:  Duane Harper Grant  (212) 582-4153
Editor:    Jerry Bowles   (212) 582-3791
Contributing Editors: Armando Bayolo, Sam Bergman, Joshua Cohen, Karina Cristina Demitrio, Deborah Kravetz 
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