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  July 8-15, 2002
Earl Browne
In every profession, there is someone who is famous for being unknown.  Earle Brown was one of them.
Earle Brown, a veteran of the original 
  post-war avant-garde of John Cage, Morton Feldman, Pierre Boulez, 
Karlheinz  Stockhausen, died last Tuesday at his home in Rye, New York. 

       Brown was born in Lunenburg, 
  Massachusetts, on December 26, 1926.  He studied mathematics and 
engineering at Northeastern University, and attended the Schillinger House School of Music for techniques of composition and orchestration  which was based on the ideas of the New York mathematician, composer and  musicologist, who 
had influenced a range of 
    composers including George Gershwin.

      Brown has been a major force in 
  contemporary music since the early 1950's.  His work at that time with new notations,  scoring methods, and performance attitudes  led to his development of graphic, 
    improvisational, and "open-form" scores such as DECEMBER 1952 (from his 
     collection of FOLIO), TWENTY-FIVE 
  PAGES (1953) for one to twenty-five pianos,  as well as the later orchestral scores  AVAILABLE FORMS I and II
(1961 and 1962).

After then he continued to develop his 
    "open-form" concepts and performance 
  techniques in new ways. Directly influenced  by the visual arts in many ways, in particular by the works of Alexander Calder and  Jackson Pollock,
Brown's music is also 
  related to the work of Robert Rauschenberg  in its conception and formulation, for  example in its use of collage and juxtaposition. In the past, Brown had organized "sonic events" and performances  of his own and other new music in galleries  and museums in the United States and  Europe, making clear through these performances some of the relationships between contemporary 
music and visual art.

   Brown has been composer-in-residence at  the California Institute of the Arts,
the University of California at 
Berkeley, the 
    Peabody Conservatory of Music (which 
  awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Music  in 1970), Rotterdam Kunstichting, the Basel  Conservatory of Music, Yale University, Indiana University, Bloomington, and at the 
  American Academy in Rome (1987), among  other institutions. He received numerous  awards and commissions both in this country and abroad. Some of 
these were a  Guggenheim Fellowship 
and an American 
  Academy and National Institute of Arts and Letter Awards, the Brandeis 
Creative Arts Award, grants from the National Endowment 
  for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, and commissions from Darmstadt, Paris, Zagreb, London, Rome, Saarbrucken and Venice, among others. 

        Brown had also been guest 
   composer-in-residence at the Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals, at D.A.A.D. Berlin (70'-71'), served as panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts Inter-Arts Program, and was a director of the Fromm Foundation at Harvard and has been the 
   president of the American Music Center.


    Earle Brown Web Site

What's New

Jennifer Higdon's Concerto for Orchestra Bows

Oliver Knussen at 50

Music for Chillin'

John Eaton's "...inasmuch" Debuts

Lincoln Center Festival

Interview with Gloria Coates

Entering the 21st Century with
Kitty Brazelton
Frank Oteri

Henry Brant's Ice Field
Wins 2002 Pulitizer Prize


Julia Wolfe after minimalism

Philip Glass at 65
Jerry Bowles

An Interview with Steven R. Gerber

New Hall for Philadelphia

Deborah Kravetz

Interview with Poul Ruders

Our writers welcome your comments on their pieces.  Send your witty bon mots tojbowles@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

Modern Music News
SMOKE GETS IN THEIR EYES: Glyndebourne was proud of its coup - signing British American Tobacco to sponsor a production of Carmen. "In an inspired piece of marketing, the tobacco giant is sponsoring the story of the heroine who labours in a cigarette factory, hoping to endear itself to the champagne-quaffing classes." But now politicians, anti-smoking campaigners and artists are attacking, especially because of a performance scheduled to be broadcast over BBC. The Guardian (UK) 07/01/02

HIGH TIDES RAISE TUNES: A "High Tide Organ" is being installed on the waterfront in Blackpool England. Powered by natural forces, "the organ will offer a concert-like performance. With a few short peeps heralding the high tide, the sea will lead up to the main show with a few intermittent notes and chords. At the point of high tide, the organ will gloriously strum out a rhythmic crescendo whose effect is supposed to be similar to an aeolian harp. Vulnerable to mood swings just like other artists, performances are expected to be wild and frenzied on stormy days and softly mellifluous on calmer ones."Wired 07/01/02

  • SOUND OF WATER: A water organ built in the 16th Century at the Villa d'Este in Italy was smashed in the 18th Century because villagers disliked its sound. Now it's being restored. "The organ works on a principle of creating air pressure with the suction of water plunging down a pipe. The water organ was one of the marvels of the Renaissance, but when it fell into disrepair, the skills necessary to maintain it had been lost." BBC 06/30/02
ART OF SOUND: Not really music, sound art is finding more practitioners. "The term 'audio art' encompasses work ranging from high-end audio documentaries to sophisticated electro-acoustic compositions that may also involve live performers. Often based on sounds the composer records in nature then processes digitally, the audio art movement has strong ties to environmentalism." National Post 07/05/02

THE IMPERFECT MOZART: No composer is so enshrined as a monument to musical perfection as Mozart. And yet, in reality, few artists have embodied such a struggle between sniggering immaturity and highly developed genius as the beloved Wolfgang. In fact, Mozart's image has undergone multiple revisions over the centuries, with musicians and scholars portraying him as everything from a flawed and vulgar prodigy to a godlike purveyor of truth and beauty. The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in between. The Observer (UK) 07/07/02

DON'T FORGET EGO STROKER AND PEACEMAKER: "Wanted: Conductor-music director for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Must be outstanding musician, inspiring leader, charismatic educator, willing fundraiser and committed community activist. Godhood an asset. And you wonder why it is taking so long for the orchestra's search committee to fill the patent leather shoes vacated last June by Jukka-Pekka Saraste?" Toronto Star 07/06/02

WHERE ARE THE BLACK MUSICIANS? "Since his breakthrough as a teenage pianist 40 years ago, the virtuoso Andre Watts has, until recently, been the only high-profile African-American performer in the traditionally white world of highbrow music. Now, however, classical concerts are beginning to show more racial diversity." Christian Science Monitor 07/05/02

LEAST FAVORITE INSTRUMENT: In a survey, children rank the recorder as their least favorite instrument. "The wind instrument was the least favourite of musical instruments in a survey of 1,209 pupils carried out by Susan O'Neill of Keele University, even though it was the one played by the largest number." The Guardian (UK) 07/04/02

MAJORITY OF ORCHESTRA MUSICIANS PLAY HURT: An expert in stress injuries who has studied orchestra musicians, says that "in any orchestra performing on stage, 60 per cent (of people) will be carrying some injury. Common injuries include muscle strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, thumb strain, tendonitis and shoulder injuries." Adelaide Advertiser 07/02/02

HOT NUMBER: Soprano Susan Chilcott was singing in Tchaikovsky's The Queen Of Spades at London's Royal Opera House when "a candle set fire to the train of her dress. Members of the audience shouted at her but Chilcott carried on with her aria, unaware of the danger. A member of staff and a fire officer then ran on stage and put out the blaze with a water extinguisher." BBC 07/02/02


 Last Week's News

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.
Travels with Sondheim: Pacific Overtures
The Lincoln Center Festival kicks off this week with an unusual take on Stephen Sondheim's much travelled 1976 operetta Pacific Overtures.  Directed by Amon Miyamoto, one of Japan's most promising young musical theater directors, this production synthesizes a variety of Japanese theater traditions-Noh, Kabuki, Bunraku, and Rokyoku-to create a highly original interpretation of this early Sondheim piece. 

The New National Theatre of Tokyo's production offers a unusual reversal, bringing a Japanese theatrical sensibility to an American perspective on the westernization of Japan. The advance program promises that traditional Japanese set designs-such as a hanamichi (a walkway which will extend down the center of the hall), a pool of water representing the Pacific Ocean, and elegant revolving screens-will transform rusty old Avery Fisher Hall into a Japanese stage of sophistication and beauty. 

Originally performed at New National Theatre's home in Tokyo, Miyamoto's production was enthusiastically embraced by Japanese audiences, critics, and Sondheim himself. "It was a fabulous show, powerful and without anything superfluous," he praised. The Daily Yomiuri applauded: "Miyamoto, aided by the terrific musical direction of Taizo Takemoto and an enormously talented orchestra, accomplished a feat that is all too rare on the Japanese theater scene." JB

Lincoln Center Festival

Will Sondheim Succeed in Being Genuinely Japanese?
January 4, 1976

Tokyo 2000

Off-Broadway 1984

London 1987

Broadway 1976

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





Violin and String Quartet
Composer: Morton Feldman
Performer: Christina Fong, Karen Krummel, et al.
Ensemble: Rangzen Quartet
Listening to this epic 2-CD chamber work is like watching a large block of ice melt for nearly two hours--excruciating sameness, tantilizing variation, in equal measures. A labor of love by all involved and the kind of thing that only small, independent labels will do.  Bravo 
OgreOgress Productions

Anake & Other Works
Composer: Lyell Cresswell
Performer: Daniel Bell, William Conway, et al.
Nmc Records - #77 
Compositions for solo instruments (other than the piano) rarely get recorded which is a shame because sometimes--as in this case--the results are spectacular.  New Zealand-born British composer Cresswell's warm and passionate solo turns for the violin, cello, flute, and piano are given convincing readings by members of The Hebrides Ensemble.

Symphony 4 / Overture / Nympholept
Composer: Arnold Bax
Peformers Lloyd-Jones, Royal Scottish Nat'l Orch
Naxos - #8555343 
Not in Vaughn Williams or Arnold's class as a symphonist, Bax nonetheless has a highly invidual voice and offers tremendous pleasures for those who look for less traveled paths.

 Silk Road Journeys
Composer: Michio Mamiya, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, et al.
Performer: Yo-Yo Ma
Ensemble: Silk Road Ensemble
Sony - #89782 
Okay, so the guy is a one-man marketing machine, classical music's equivalent of Sting, but the music is nearly always honest and heartfelt and God knows modern classical music doesn't sell itself. 

Turandot Suite
Composer: Ferruccio Busoni
Performers:  Wong, Hong Kong Phil Orch
Naxos - #8555373 
Little-known suite that Busoni extracted from his incidental music to Gozzi's play, Turandot. Completed in 1905, and in eight descriptive sections, it is engaging late Romantic with hints of Straussian darkness. The Saraband and Cortege are from Busoni's better-known Doktor Faust.

Compositions for Piano (1920-1952)
Composer: Stefan Wolpe:  Performer: David Holzman, piano BRIDGE 9116
From the nice people at Bridge Records comes an invaluable look at an early and largely forgotten modernist just in time for the Wolpe Centenary (1902-2002)

Pianist Holzman wins the uphill battle with such Wolpe knuckle-busters as the Sonata No. 1 "Stehende Musik" (1925), the aptly named 
Battle Piece (1943-47), 
The Good Spirit of a Right Cause (1942), Adagio. Gesang, weil ich etwas Teures verlassen muss (1920), Tango (1927), 
Waltz for Merle (1952), and 
Zemach Suite (1939)



The Rheingold Curse: A Germanic Saga of Greed and Revenge from the Medieval Icelandic Edda
Ensemble: Sequentia
Marc Aurel Edition - #20016
Wagner's mother lode. Apocalyptic texts, atmospheric performances, bring to shattering life the age of the Vikings and the Valkyries when Gods and mortals jousted for the medieval soul.  Thoughtful music for an age in which evil men once more live in caves and wreak havoc upon their fellow men.

Stephen Hough's English Piano Album
Composer: Alan Rawsthorne, Stephen Reynolds, et al.
Performer: Stephen Hough
Hyperion - #67267
Stephen Hough is among the most talented pianists today and also one of the most adventuresome.  Rather than concentrating on the surefire crowd pleasers, he has followed his own tastes which have taken him  down a less traditional path. His focus on neglected works by less-known composers is never less than rewarding and particularly so in this CD which showcases virtuoso piano pieces from English composers like Alan Rawsthorne and Stephen Reynolds as well as Elgar and Bridge.  A delight from start to finish. 

Speaking Extravagantly
Composer:  David Stock
Performer(s): Cuarteto Latinoamericano
innova 563 
Stock blends influences from Ives to minimalism, from Bartok to jazz, and from synagogue music to Schoenberg into a fresh and imaginative style of dramatic sweep and lyrical flight.  His close collaboration with Cuarteto Latinoamericano,  one of the world’s outstanding chamber ensembles,  has produced a recording of great emotional power and driving rhythm, with blazing colors and a wide dynamic and expressive range.

The Epic of Gilgamesh
Composer: Bohuslav Martinu
Conductor: Zdenek Kosler
Performer: Ludek Vele, Stefan Margita, et al.
Naxos - #8555138
Gilgamesh was an historical king of Uruk in Babylonia, on the River Euphrates in what is now modern Iraq; he lived about 2700 B.C.  Many stories and myths were written about Gilgamesh, some of which were written down about 2000 B.C. in the Sumerian language on clay tablets in the script known as cuneiform and which still survive,  providing continuing inspiration for writers and poet and musicians.  One of the most inspired of these was Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu, who wrote this magnificent choral masterpiece based on the legend in 1955--only a couple of years before his death.  Like virtually everything Martinu wrote, this one is indispensible.

Concertos for Two Pianos
Composer: Bohuslav Martinu, Alfred Schnittke
Conductor: Eiji Oue
Performer: Kathrin Rabus
Cpo Records - #999804 
An inspired pairing of works for two pianos by two of modern music's real giants.  Martinu's concerto is big, sprawling and filled with musical color; Schnittke's is restrained with tensions that build into moments of momentous relief.  Taken together, a testimony to the power of the imaginative to produce different, yet equally compelling, solutions to the same problems.


Symphony No. 9
Composer: Hans Henze
Performer: NYPhilharmonic
Berlin Radio Choir 
No  record can quite capture the excitement of a live performance, but having been there the night the Henze 9th  was recorded, I can testify that this CD comes very close to capturing the epic, shattering, passionate, heartbreaking pain of this incredible work. The Philharmonic plays magnificently, and the Berlin Radio Choir sings with total commitment this setting of seven harrowing poems by Hans-Ulrich Treichel, based on Anna Seghers's wartime novel "The Seventh Cross," about the re-capture and martyrdom by crucifixion of seven concentration camp escapees. No one who listens to this work will ever forget it.

SEQUENZA21/ is published weekly by Sequenza21/, 340 W. 57th Street, 12B, New York, NY 10019
Publisher:  Duane Harper Grant  (212) 582-4153
Editor:    Jerry Bowles   (212) 582-3791
Contributing Editor: Deborah Kravetz 
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