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This Week's Spotlight Hans Werner Henze

Hans Werner Henze turns 75 on July 1 and the celebrations have been particularly intense in London:  eight  big concerts at  South Bank, a revival of 'Boulevard Solitude' at Covent Garden  and many subsidiary events spread over almost a month, involving the BBC Symphony, the Philharmonia, the London Sinfonietta, several smaller ensembles and numerous distinguished soloists. 

The variety of the programs have been equal to Henze's  extraordinary range. His musical style is diverse, displaying a respect for classical forms such as the sonata and a lyricism that reveals his knowledge of Italian opera. His many works include The Raft of the Medusa (1968) (a requiem for Che Guevara), the opera The English Cat (1982), seven symphonies, and ballet and chamber music.

 Henze's art is always theatrical, yet his work embraces  all the major symphonic genres, ballet and chamber music as well. An innate sense of  dramatic structure gives equal power and dynamism to his music whether written for stage or for the concert hall.

In his personal recreation of Baroque, classical and contemporary values Henze is one of the most emblematic artists of our time; and in his prodigious creativity, one of the leading figures of 20th century music.

 Composer: Hans Werner Henze
Conductor: Oliver Knussen
Performer: Peter Donohoe
Ensemble: London Sinfonietta
Uni/Deutsche Grammophon - #453467 

NYTimes  Review

               Call For Scores
The Northwest Electro-Acoustic Music Organization will hold its Third Annual Music Festival in Portland, Oregon in October 2001. NWEAMO is looking for scores that involve live performance or a compelling visual element, including works for acoustic instrument and electronics, live electronic performance and acousmatic/loudspeaker orchestra. 

All entries must use the online form at  http://www.nweamo.org/ Full guidelines can be found there.



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

old news
                Week of April 9
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

          What's New

PREformance: thoughts
by Joshua Cohen
Wherein the author introduces himself, delves into the meaning of religious musics, deconstructs Herr Lachenmann, and sizes up composition study in THE city…

Caught in the Act
by Deborah Kravetz
Echoes of Dead Men Past: 
Gender-flecting in Philadelphia

What's Still Good

The View From Here
by Sam Bergman
On Programming New Music.  "What the public does not like is not new music, but lazy attempts to pass off half- baked compositions and performances as great works of art."

Letter from Buenos Aires
by Karina Cristina Demitrio
Astor Piazzolla is identified around the world with tango music but his toughest critics were at home.

Electronic Dialogues/9

Judith Lang Zaimont is an internationally-recognized composer with an impressive catalogue of approximately 100 works in all genres, many of which are prize-winning compositions. Her works have been programmed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and other major auditoriums on three continents by such groups as Connecticut Opera, Philadelphia Orchestra, Czech Radio Orchestra (Prague), Baltimore Symphony, and many others.

She was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised in New York in a musical family, beginning her professional career (with her sister) in a teenage duo piano team which performed, recorded, and appeared on radio and TV. She began to compose at age 12 , and her early music was recognized through prizes from the National Federation of Music Clubs and BMI. Her formal composition studies were accomplished primarily through school programs (Queens College, CUNY; and Columbia University), and with postgraduate orchestration study with André Jolivet in Paris.

Zaimont is also creator and editor-in-chief of the critically acclaimed book series, The Musical Woman: An International Perspective (3 vols., Greenwood Press). She is currently professor of music at the University of Minnesota School of Music.


Judith Lang Zaimont Web Site

Composer: Judith Lang Zaimont
Conductor: Leos Svarovsky
Performer: Jaroslav Saroun
Ensemble: Czech Radio Orchestra
Arabesque - #6742
Previous Interviews/
Simon Rattle, Michael Gordon, Benjamin Lees, Scott Lindroth, David Felder, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Erkki-Sven Tüür, John Luther Adams, Brett Dean

Previous Articles/
Busoni The Visionary
The Composer of the Moment:  Mark-Anthony Turnage
Electronic Music
New York Journal
Henze Meets Emenim

The Web Magazine from the
           American Music Center


EDITOR'S PICKS - April 2001

The Passing Mesures
Composer:  David Lang
Marty Ehrlich and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
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.

Renegade Heaven
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*
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.

Dancing Solo
Music of Libby Larsen; Performed by clarinetist Caroline Hartig and Friends
innova 512
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
ArtMusic Ensemble 
innova 541 
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. 

OO #70 
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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SEQUENZA/21/ is published weekly by Sequenza/21 
Publisher:  Duane Harper Grant  (212) 582-4153
Editor:    Jerry Bowles   (212) 582-3791
Contributing Editors: Sam Bergman, Joshua Cohen, Karina Cristina Demitrio, Deborah Kravetz
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