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  May 14-21, 2002

Zaimont Symphony
Premieres in Ukraine

Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Vakhtang Jordania of the Kharkov Philharmonic Orchestra.
Nowadays even composers are taking their business offshore. Judith Lang Zaimont's Symphony No. 2 “Remember Me” for Orchestral Strings received its World Premiere last  Friday by the Kharkov Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction 
of resident conductor Yuri Yanko at Philharmonic Hall in the city of Kharkov, northeastern Ukraine. 

Zaimont says she wrote the new Symphony in response to the death of her aunt Mildred Friedman who died in 1988 unexpectedly at the relatively early age of 63.

"In response to her death, I conceived the idea of a very personal, three- movement work for string orchestra, Remember Me, in which I would contemplate lineage and the influence of previous generations on future ones. The symphony was written in 1999 
and 2000. 

"While truly symphonic in its scope and length (30 minutes), “Remember Me” does not conform to the traditional forms for its constituent movements, although they follow a rough symphonic plan of Essay - Song - Dance // Fast - Slow - Fast. 

"The second movement ‘Elegy’ was written first -- a long, songful lament. Then I turned 
to the opening movement, ‘Ghosts’, in which I embed six composer ‘ghosts’ via references to their works.  In three cases the references are clear and unambiguous - Britten, Ravel, Scriabin -- while the other three are briefer, and more beclouded - Laurie Anderson, Alban Berg, Christopher Rouse. The music 
of all six composers is vital and interesting
to me, so I organized the movement in a way that all the musics interpenetrate and overlap, ‘bleeding’ into one another in novel, yet reasonable manners. Naturally, the interpretation of these ‘ghosts’ is highly idiosyncratic, and the total effect is to visit with influential fragments within a conception that is wholly original. 

"The final movement, ‘Dancin’ over 
my grave’ is a passacaglia - but a demonic, jazzed-up one. Here, ghostly spirits thumb their noses at death, cavorting about, though in a dark tone. There is an American country-type fiddle-tune built from a minor third that passes around the orchestra, transmutes, and periodically returns. The entire orchestra dances madly, and a bit off-kilter. The movement ends wildly. 
There are many solo moments throughout Remember Me, and the concert-master reads a completely independent part - albeit not a true center-stage solo - during the entire work.” 

Our friend Jeffrey James, the classical music publicist, assumes us that the Kharkov Philharmonic is a superb orchestra whose illustrious history dates from the early 19th Century, and includes concerts conducted
by Tchaikovsky, Glazunov, Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Koussevitsky, Kondrashin and Rozhdestvensky. Soloists who have appeared with the orchestra have included Wieniawski, Richter, Rostropovich, Sarasate, Chaliapin and many other legends. Concert are given at the lovely and intimate Philharmonic Hall. 

Judith Lang Zaimont teaches at the University of Minnesota and is an internationally recognized composer whose music is characterized by its expressive strength, dynamism, and rhythmic vitality.  You can read our Electronic Dialogues interview with her by clicking here.   JB
Web Resources
“Reflections on an Undescribable Art - Being A Composer"
Zaimont Web Site

What's New

Lincoln Center Festival

Interview with Gloria Coates

Entering the 21st Century with
Kitty Brazelton
Frank Oteri

Arne Nordheim Rules

Henry Brant's Ice Field
Wins 2002 Pulitizer Prize

RELÂCHE Meets William Duckworth
Deborah Kravetz

Duane Digs HK Gruber

Gorecki Symphony Headlines 

Modern Polish Music Concert
Deborah Kravetz

Julia Wolfe after minimalism

Philip Glass at 65
Jerry Bowles

An Interview with Steven R. Gerber

A New Hall for Philadelphia
Deborah Kravetz

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
BOMBS COME IN MANY GUISES: A recent production of Mozart's Idomeneo at the Paris Opera was a bit unconventional. It featured an "Act I ballet with a dancing jellyfish attacked by Greek soldiers and then being comforted by nuzzles from a seahorse. Idomeneo's sacrifice of his son, Idamante, was foreshadowed by the simulated slaughter of a goat while dancing mermaids provided levity." And the critics? "Critical reaction was, in some quarters, incredulous. How could this happen in a major opera house? How could a conductor of Ivan Fischer's caliber have such judgment lapses as a stage director? Didn't anybody try to tell him?" Andante 05/07/02

MURRAY ADASKIN, 96: Murray Adaskin, one of Canada's most prominent composers, has died in Victoria at the age of of 96. "Adaskin, born in Toronto to a musical family on March 26, 1906, had a distinguished and varied career that spanned most of the 20th century. One constant was a passion for Canadian culture." The Times-Colonist (Victoria) 05/08/02

FOR THE JOY OF MUSIC: "Adaskin was a complete musician. He worked as a violinist, composer, teacher and mentor, and served as an unfailingly good comrade to five generations of colleagues." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 05/08/02

THE PROGRESSIVE: "Does music (or any other art) really move forward? Yes, it changes, as time moves on. But can we really call those changes progress? What would progress be, anyway? Which aspect of art would be progressing?" If you allow for the idea of progress, "then why won't sophisticates lose interest in anything earlier? Why won't Mozart sound too simple, once you've heard Brahms? Why won't Brahms himself sound too simple after we've heard Schoenberg?" NewMusicBox 05/02

DIGITAL DOWNLOADING HELPS MUSIC SALES: A new report says that experienced digital music downloaders are 75 percent more inclined to buy music than the average online music fan. "This shows that while the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) continue to scapegoat file sharing for their problems, all reasonable analysis shows that file sharing is a net positive for the music industry." Wired 05/05/02

WE'RE LISTENING: A new study of who listens to classical music shows a broad listenership. "Nearly 60 percent of 2,200 adults polled at random said they have some interest in classical music, and about 27 percent make classical music a part of their lives 'pretty regularly,' according to a study commissioned by the foundation. Nationally, 17 percent said they attended some kind of classical-music concert in the previous year. About 18 percent listen to classical music on the radio daily or several times each week." Philadelphia Inquirer 05/07/02

GOT THE BUZZ: Software writers have developed a program that performs improvised jazz that musicians can use to accompany themselves. "A team at University College London has written a program that mimics insect swarming to 'fly around' the sequence of notes the musician is playing and improvise a related tune of its own. Their software works by treating music as a type of 3D space, in which the dimensions are pitch, loudness and note duration. As the musician plays, a swarm of digital 'particles' immediately starts to buzz around the notes being played in this space - in the same way that bees behave when they are seeking out pollen." New Scientist 05/07/02

WHY NO ONE SINGS ALONG AT SYMPHONY HALL: "Classical music's advocates in the cultural marketplace must contend with the fact that the clichés of the concert hall are much more familiar than the content of the music itself. Everybody knows them: the pianist's tails draped over the piano bench, the conductor's flipping forelock, the orchestra tuning, etc. But when the music starts, I would contend that only a handful of members of the audience have any idea what to expect — or, in the case of Beethoven's Fifth, know what's coming after the first few bars." Is this a failure on the part of educators and performers, or does it speak to the enduringly complex quality of the music? Andante 05/10/02

THE MAHLER MOUNTIES: Early-music puritans drove audiences away with their picky academic concerns about being "authentic," writes Norman Lebrecht. But new adaptations of Mahler's unfinished 10th Symphony are something else. "The Mahler Mounties are frontiersmen, pushing out horizons. Rather than bemusing us, their Pooterish proliferation of Mahler Tenths undermines the academic notion of authenticity. It suggests that there is no correct way of reading a dying man's intentions - and that, in these politically correct times, is no small victory for freedom of thought." London Evening Standard 05/08/02

SVETLANOV, DEAD AT 73: Yevgeny Svetlanov, one of Soviet Russia's most-enduring conductors, has died at the age of 73. Russian president Vladimir Putin "wrote in a message to Svetlanov's wife, Nina, that the musician's death was an 'irreplacable loss for all of our culture'." Two years ago Svetlanov was "dismissed from his post conducting the State Symphony Orchestra after Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi said he was spending too much time conducting overseas." Yahoo News (AP) 05/05/02

 Last Week's News

The Critically-Acclaimed Pocket Opera Players makes its New York Debut with the World Premiere of the opera “…inasmuch” by John Eaton on May 21 & 22

Tuesday, May 21 & Wednesday, May  22
Symphony Space at 8PM
95th and Broadway
The Pocket Opera Players
New York New Music Ensemble
James Baker, conductor   Nicholas Ruddall, director
Carmen Tellez, conductor   Michael Phillips, director

John Eaton     “Peer Gynt”
John Eaton & Estela Eaton (libretto)  “..inasmuch”  (World Premiere)
Tickets are $20 and $12 (students and seniors)  and can be purchased by calling the Symphony Space Box office at (212) 864-5400, or visit their website at www.symphonyspace.org

Meet The Composer’s COMMISSIONING MUSIC/USA 2002 program—the nation’s preeminent supporter of new musical works—has awarded new commissioning grants to an eclectic group of 17 composers who will team with a diverse group of performing/presenting organizations around the country to create new works in a variety of forms, styles, and musical traditions.

Now in its l4th year, Meet The Composer’s commissioning program has facilitated the creation and multiple performances of over 700 works by many of America’s most exciting contemporary composers. Some well-known works that MTC has commissioned include John Adams’s controversial opera Death of Klinghoffer; orchestral works such as John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1, Philip Glass’s Timpani Concerto, and John Harbison’s Flute Concerto; multimedia pieces such as Paul Dresher’s Sound Stage, Meredith Monk’s The Politics of Quiet, and Steve Reich’s The Cave; and ensemble works such as Tan Dun’s Concerto for Six Players, Oliver Lake’s Flirtation Blue, and Steve Reich’s Drumming.

This year’s awards draw on classical, jazz, world, and electronic idioms. In addition, a number of works will be created for multi-disciplinary projects with dance and theatre companies; others feature twists on traditional chamber music settings, with unusual instrumentation and daring new repertoire. The composers range from major classical figures like Bernard Rands, to  jazz and crossover musicians like Leroy Jenkins and Bill Frisell, to experimentalists like Meredith Monk, to younger cutting-edge sound pioneers like Dan Becker and Sebastian Currier, to gifted emerging talents such as klezmer innovator Daniel Hoffman, composer/performer David Dzubay, and dance and theatre composer Guy Yarden.

Some hightlights include:

• a new 90-minute multimedia suite by composer/guitarist Bill Frisell for guitar, trumpet, violin, and charcoal in which the trio of Frisell, trumpeter Ron Miles, and violinist Jenny Scheinman perform live to 
video-projected animation by  “alternative” cartoonist Jim Woodring. Arts at St. Aim’s in Brooklyn will premiere the work in Summer 2003;

• a new 25-minute piece by classical tabla virtuoso/composer/multi-percussionist Zakir Hussain to be premiered on October 17, 2002 at the Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia. The piece is part of an evening length music and dance suite titled Flammable Contents. ZH/RH/SH, which brings Hussain together for the first time with the foremost practitioner of hip-hop dance Rennie Harris, and Spoken Hand—a hand drumming orchestra that combines Afro-Cuban bata, Brazilian samba, North Indian tabla, and West African djembe;

• a new 15-minute work for solo voice and piano by Meredith Monk that continues Monk’s groundbreaking exploration of the voice. This work will be premiered in New York during the 2002-2003 season at such venues as Joe’s Pub and the Knitting Factory;

• a new 25-minute concerto for guitar and chamber orchestra by Bernard Rands that will be premiered by the Boston Modem Orchestra Project, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and the Princeton Symphony Orchestra throughout the 2003-2004 season (Rands’ 70th birthday year);

• a new 80-minute music theatre work written by Daniel Hoffman for San Francisco’s A Traveling Jewish Theatre Company. Entitled Opening to You, the work will be based on Norman Fischer’s new translations of the Psalms, and will draw on five musical styles:20th Century Western classical music, Yiddish Folk music, Jewish liturgical music, classical Arabic music, and American jazz and popular music. It will premiere in January 2003;

• a new 20-25 minute work by Havana-born composer Tania Leon for the ensemble MOSAIC that involves the collaboration of choreographer Donald Byrd, composer Steven Mackey, and video artist Star Reese. The premiere will take place at New York’s Symphony Space in March 2003.

Meet The Composer is a national organization that has been rewarding the best musical minds since 1974. Its mission is to increase opportunities for composers by fostering the creation, performance, dissemination, and appreciation of their music. Meet The Composer encourages the composition of works representing the full spectrum of contemporary American culture, and has supported works encompassing classical, jazz, folk, ethnic, choral, and electronic music, among many other genres. Meet The Composer’s core programs include Commissioning Music/USA, Meet The Composer Fund, New Residencies, Music Alive, Compose Yourself and Fund for Small Ensembles

The submission deadline for the next round of COMMISSIONING MUSIC/USA is January 15, 2003. For further information, visit Meet The Composert or contact Mark Treviflo at (212)787-3601, ext. 101 or mtrevino@meetthecomposer.org.

Lincoln Center Festival schedule

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, Gloria Coates

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



Angelus; Exodus; Krzesany
Composer: Wojciech Kilar
Conductor: Antoni Wit
Performer: Hasmik Papian
Naxos - #8554788 
Not as well-known as his fellow Poles, Kilar is, nonetheless, extremely well-known in the world of film where he has written music for more than 100 movies. His music is strong, theatrical  and filled with adenture.  Nothing here is less than dramatic and much is downright unforgettable.

Cello Works
Composer: Kodaly, Veress, Kurtag Performer(s): Jean-Guihen Queyras,  Tharaud
Harmonia Mundi Franc - #901735
Marvelous playing from young Queyras whose technique is so formidable that he makes Kodaly's torturous and melancholy Sonata for Solo Cello, Op.8 sound like fun, which may be the wrong idea, but is no less awesome for the performance.  Highly recommended.

Chanson D'Amour
Composer: Amy Beach
Performer: Emma Kirkby
Ensemble: The Romantic Chamber Group of London
Bis - #1245 
Amy Beach's setting of Victor Hugo's L'aube naît, et ta porte est close! may have come after settings by  Donizetti, 
Gounod, Lalo and Widor
but hers is better than any of the boys.'

 Opera Arias and Overture
Composer: Gioachino Rossini
Conductor: Rinaldo Alessandrini
Performer: Maria Bayo
Ensemble: Concerto Italiano
Astree - #8853 
Mario Bayo's light soprano seems perfectly suited to these  Rossini arias, some of them rare.  A bonus is  the contribution of Rinaldo Alessandrini's Concerto Italiano, which plays this schmaltz with great gusto.

Thomas and Beulah
Composer: Rita Dove and Amnon Wolman
Performer(s): Ursula Oppens & Cynthia Haymon
Innova Records - #559
A theatrical song-cycle based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of poems by Rita Dove,  Thomas and Beulah,  traces the lives of her grandparents. In live performance hanging scrims and theatrical lighting were used to separate and illuminate each audience section, providing a physical parallel to the music¹s changing points of view. This dramatic setting is recaptured on the multi-media portion of the disc. Wolman's perfectly-integrated music  incorporates computer-generated sounds, often combined with acoustic instruments.

Why is this night different?, Tuireadh, Visions of a November Spring
Composer: James MacMillan
Performer: Robert Plane
Ensemble: Emperor String Quartet Bis - #1269 
MacMillan's writing seems to inhabit two worlds:  modern choral works that are often dissonant and suggest elements of Messiaen; yet they also reflect  harmonies and  plainsong-influenced melodic lines that are as old as the ages.  You don't need to be a believer to appreciate the sounds of the spirits he brings to life.


Hardanger Suites Nos.2 & 5 
Composer: Geirr Tveitt
Peformer: Royal Scottish National Orchestra 
Bjarte Engeset, conductor 
The latest offering from Naxos from the greatly underrated Norwegian genius Geirr Tveitt. Tveitt studied in Leipzig, Vienna and Paris with teachers including Honegger, Villa-Lobos and Wellesz, but his cosmopolitan style stemmed mainly from deep roots in his family’s native Hardanger region, whose folk tradition Tveitt made his own in these richly imaginative orchestral suites. "If a leaf grows on a birch tree," he said, "It has to be a birch leaf."

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Composer:  Stojowski
 BBC Scottish Sym OrchGeorge Hyperion - #67314 
Yet another in Hyperion's endless series of romantic piano concertoes, these two glorious, high-spirited works are the product of the imagination of a Polish composer named Sigismond Stojowski who is today  a completely forgotten name to all but the most dedicated piano aficionados.  Like so many "discoveries" in this invaluable series, one wishes the programmers would give the Grieg and the Schuman a rest and play some of these gems for a change. 

Performer(s): Theatre of Voices, Hillier
Harmonia Mundi Franc - #907276 
Not contemporary, of course, but strangely "modern" and  invaluable for those who aren't quite sure where Arvo Part, John Tavener or James MacMillan are coming from.

25 Preludes, Op. 64
Composer: César CUI
Performer:  Jeffrey Biegel
Naxos - #8555557
The lesser known of the five nationalist Russian composers of the second half of the 19th century known as the Mighty Handful or the Five, César Cui's music is notable for its melodiousness and fluency. His set of piano preludes, Opus 64, was clearly influenced by Chopin’s set of preludes. Varied in mood and atmosphere this set of fastidiously crafted miniatures is one of his most attractive and successful compositions, beautifully played by Jeffrey Biegel.

Piano Sonatas Nos. 6 & 8
Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Performer: Francois-Frederic Guy
Naive - #4898- 
François-Frédéric Guy sounds amazingly like a young Sviatoslav Richter as he powers his way through the climaxes of Prokofiev's demanding scores. Yet, he can also play quietly (as in  the Sixth Sonata's Allegretto).  One suspects we'll be hearing more about young Mr. Guy.

Piano Trios / Cello Sonata
Composer: Leo Brouwer
Performer: Elena Papandreou
Naxos - 
Fans of late romantic chamber music will find much to enjoy here. Gretchaninov left Russia after the Revolution, settled in Paris, and eventually moved to New York, where he died in 1956 at the age of 91.  His works are Russian, yet also reflect his French and American influences.  The performances are excellent. 

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