The Contemporary Classical Music Weekly
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FINALLY, SOME RESPECT: Female composers have been making great strides in the classical music world in the last decade. Case in point: New Jersey's Melinda Wagner, who has watched her Pulitzer Prize-winning flute concerto take on a life of its own, even as she moves on to her next high-profile commission. Philadelphia Inquirer 04/03/01
CONSIDERING STRAVINSKY: Was Igor Stravinsky the most influential composer of the 20th Century? Thirty years after his death, his music appears to have the staying power... Dallas Morning News 04/08/01
THE SOUND OF MUSIC: For all the calculations, acoustics is more art than science. "Scale models and computer simulations can demonstrate the motion of sound waves, yet relatively few modern concert halls have stunning sound. Virtual reality cannot replicate the visceral sensation of sitting in a space and hearing it resound with real, unamplified music. Yasuhisa Toyota has spent 10 years working on the sound for LA's new Disney Concert Hall. Los Angeles Times 04/08/01
CHOICE COMES TO THE CLIBURN: The Van Cliburn competition has announced that contestants will now have their choice of four pieces of new music to fulfill the contest's contemporary requirement. In past years, a single work had been commissioned, and was required of all players. The change is popular with contestants and composers. Dallas Morning News 04/04/01
LONGEST MUSIC: Composer Robert Rich has recorded (on a high-capacity DVD) what he says is the longest piece of music ever. It lasts 7 hours, and "the work is designed to be played at such a level that the listener falls asleep as it begins, and then experiences it during the various stages of sleep. Rich notes that ‘You can listen to Somnium in your sleep with a small pair of headphones, although these can become uncomfortable if you try to sleep on your side'." Gramophone 04/05/01
THE LITTLE OPERA COMPANY THAT COULD: How many opera companies commission and stage a new opera every year, and then see those operas performed all over the world? The only one we know of is in a small town in Canada. Granted, it's a series aimed at children, but even so.... Ottawa Citizen (CP) 04/05/01
BILLY BUDD COMES OUT: Critics have long speculated about the homoerotic subtexts of Herman Melville's "Billy Budd." When Benjamin Britten and E.M. Forster, both gay men, created an opera from the story, however, the idea of a gay Billy was largely ignored by conservative opera companies and their audiences. The Canadian Opera Company's new production meets the controversy head-on. The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 04/05/01
NEW NAME, NEW DIGS: The Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, widely considered to be one of America's finest chamber orchestras, is getting a new name, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, to go along with it's beautiful new home in the Regional Performing Arts Center that opens this fall. The ensemble will also be bringing in a higher caliber of soloists and guest conductors. Philadelphia Inquirer 04/02/01
REINVENTING OPERA: "From Venice to Berlin, Europe’s opera houses are facing shrinking federal budgets, crumbling infrastructures, an aging core audience and accusations of elitism—not to mention the rapid incursion of mass media. In an effort to remain relevant—and solvent—European opera companies are being forced to radically overhaul everything from their repertoires to their management to their financial backing." Newsweek 04/02/01
MOZART, MD: Researchers have discovered that playing Mozart can be therapeutic for some patients. "Short bursts of Mozart's Sonata K448 have been found to decrease epileptic attacks." BBC 04/02/01
The Passing Mesures
Composer: David Lang
Marty Ehrlich and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
CANTALOUPE MUSIC: CA21003
A single consonant chord falls slowly over the course of this 43-minute ambient masterpiece for bass clarinet, amplified orchestra, and women's voices. And, that--David Lang says--is the piece. Ballsy and it works.
Bang on a Can All-Stars
Julia Wolfe Believing
Arnold Dreyblattt Escalator
Michael Gordon I Buried Paul
Glenn Branca Movement Within*
Phil Kline Exquisite Corpses*
CANTALOUPE MUSIC: CA21001
Loud, intense and tres Bang on a Can. Just about what you would expect from one of the two or three most out-there ensembles in new music.
Music for Prepared Piano-Volume. 2
Composer: John Cage
Naxos - #8559070 /
Man here was banging cans when the All Stars were pups.
Music of Libby Larsen; Performed by clarinetist Caroline Hartig and Friends
Virtuosic performance of six tough pieces for clarinet that show Caroline Hartig's enormous range and Libby Larsen's connections to jazz, garage band, Delta Blues and classical academe.
Caught by the Sky with Wire
Composer: Jack Body, Nick Didkovsky, et al.
Performer: Maya Beiser, Steven Schick
O.O. Disc - #67 /
Cellist Beiser and percussionist Schick are a couple of moonlighting Bang on a Caners who sometimes do their own thing with considerable brilliance. The pieces here range from seductive world music to egregious white-boy rap of the most annoying kind. All of it, extremely well-played
Look Both Ways
Composers: Luciano Berio, Charlie Parker
Show us a recording that takes its inspiration from Luciano Berio's Sequenzas and the first 13 notes of Charlie Parker's rift on "The Song is You" and we'll show you an album that we flat-out love.
These guys seriously cook.
Shadow Behind The Iron Sun
Composer: Evelyn Glennie
Performer: Evelyn Glennie
Bmg/Rca Victor - #63406
Percussionist Evelyn Glennie making it up as she goes along. Remarkable.
Divara - Wasser und Blut
Composer: Azio Corghi
Conductor: Will Humburg
Ensemble: Chorus of the Munster City Theatre
Naxos - #8554818
A splendid collaboration between Corghi and the Portuguese writer José Saramago, commissioned for the 1200th anniversary of the city of Münster. It deals, in vivid moderniststyle, with the Anabaptist experiments in collectivism in that city in the 1530s and the disastrous consequences.
Paul Schoenfield's Café Music
Composer: Paul Schoenfield
Performer: Charles Bernard, Lev Polyakin, et al.
Innova -- Bayside -- - #544 /
A smooth blend of classical, jazz, klezmer and whimsy, Café Music is probably a little too easy to like but it goes great with an iced Cafe Latte.
American Classics - Schifrin, Schuller, Shapiro: Piano Trios
Composers: Lalo Schifrin, Gunther Schuller, et al.
Performer: Nancy Baun, John Eaken, et al.
Ensemble: Eaken Piano Trio
Naxos - #8559062
The Naxos American Classics series is the best thing anyone has done for American music for a very long time. We love these people for consistently producing the best cost/value ratio in classical music.
Tapestry - New Music from the Americas
Composer: Pablo Ortiz, Yehuda Yannay, et al.
Performer: Elena Abend, Adrian Justus, et al.
Innova -- Bayside -- - #540 /
Music composed in the last decade by composers from the Americas: Mexico, the United States, Argentina, and Canada.
Makes you feel good about the future of contemporary music.
Jin Hi Kim, composer
Enchanting and otherworldly, this is the first CD by Jin Hi Kim devoted exclusively to the Korean Komungo (6-string, fretted, board zither). The disc features Kim's improvisations and compositions on this traditional 4th century instrument in addition to the electric komungo.
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