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  September 13, 2004

MacMillian Work Launches 
L.A. Master Chorale Season

Scottish composer James MacMillan’s – Magnificat/Nunc dimittis, two canticles from St. Luke’s account of Christ’s nativity that combine rhythmic excitement, raw emotional power and spiritual meditation, are part of an all-organ kickoff to the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 41st season at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on October 3. 

Designed to showcase the many voices of Disney Hall’s new organ, the program, conducted by Music Director Grant Gershon, features three distinguished organists performing three works for chorus, orchestra and organ.  James Walker, Director of Music/Organist-Choirmaster at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, is featured on Dvorák’s Mass in D.  Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna features James Buonemani, organist and director of Music for St. James Church in Los Angeles, who premiered the work with the Chorale in 1997.  And David Goode, Organist-In-Residence at the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, joins the Chorale for the West Coast premiere of MacMillan’s Magnificat/Nunc Dimittis.

“We’re featuring three of the most prominent organists in the community to help celebrate the inauguration of this new instrument,” says Gershon.  “The unveiling of the Disney Hall organ is the most significant musical event of the season in Los Angeles, and it’s especially significant for the Master Chorale because it allows us to explore in our own home the full range of the rich and varied music written for chorus and organ. 

“The three works we’re presenting represent three different traditions in this repertory.  The Dvorak Mass is a beautiful and well-known masterpiece of the genre.  James Macmillan’s Magnificat/Nunc Dimittis is a wonderful example of the tradition of English choral music updated to the 21st Century.  Finally, the Lux Aeterna of Morton Lauridsen, which was written for and premiered by the LA Master Chorale in 1997, has become one of the most often performed and beloved choral works of the last 50 years.” 

James MacMillan read music at Edinburgh University and took Doctoral studies in composition at Durham University with John Casken. After working as a lecturer at Manchester University, he returned to Scotland and settled in Glasgow. The successful premiere of Tryst at the 1990 St Magnus Festival led to his appointment as Affiliate Composer of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Between 1992 and 2002 he was Artistic Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra's Music of Today series of contemporary music concerts. MacMillan is internationally active as a conductor and in 2000 was appointed Composer/Conductor with the BBC Philharmonic. He was awarded a CBE in January 2004. 

The Grammy-Award nominated Los Angeles Master Chorale, embarking on its 41st season as a resident company of the Music Center, is considered one of the best symphonic choruses in the world.  The New York Times calls the choir “inspired” and The New York Observer declares it “a superb vocal ensemble.”  Recognized as one of Southern California’s cultural treasures, the Chorale has received accolades for its innovative and dynamic programming, and its commitment to commissioning new works. 

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Last Week's News

Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale

José Serebrier's Carmen
Wins Latin Grammy Award
Composer and Conductor José Serebrier's spectacular new recording of the "Carmen Symphony", his own arrangements of 
the music by Georges Bizet, was named "Best Classical Album" at the 5th Annual Latin Grammy Awards ceremony, held in Los Angeles on September 1.On the disc, BIS-CD-1305, Serebrier conducts Orquestra Simfònica De Barcelona I Nacional De Catalunya (The Barcelona Symphony Orchestra) with results that have already been highly praised by the reviewers.
International Record Review's critic wrote: 'It's rare that a recording encourages you to listen more attentively to music you thought you knew backwards' while French magazine Classica-Répertoire stated that José Serebrier's creation was characterized by 'an exemplary musicality and intelligence.'
Carmen Symphony 
Composers: Serebrier/Bizet   Orquestra Simfonica Barcelona

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Who's Afraid of Julia Wolfe
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 The Pianist: The Extraordinary 
True Story of Wladyslaw Szpilman
John Adams' Atomic Opera
A Bridge Not Far Enough
Turnage Signs With B&H
Sophie's Wrong Choice
Copland's Mexico
On Being Arvo
Rzewski Plays Rzewski
Praising Lee Hyla
David Lang's Passing Measures

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, New York, NY 10019
             THIS WEEK'S PICKS

 11 Studies for 11 Players: Piano Concerto
Composer:  Ned Rorem
Performer(s): , Lowenthal, Mester, Louisville Orchestra
First Edition

Rorem ages well and a recent spate of re-releases of his early chamber and orchestral works demonstrate that he is a good deal more than simply a master of art songs.  Like most of Rorem's work, 11 Studies is distinctly more European than American and recall Berio's marvelous Sequenzas. 

Piano Concerto. Concerto for two pianos. Piano Sonata
Composer:  Arthur Bliss
Performers: . Peter Donohoe, Martin Roscoe (pianos), Royal Scottish National Orchestra, David Lloyd-Jones (conductor). Naxos

The piano concerto is rip-snorting, full-blooded, heavy breathing romantism of the Rachmaninov variety played with over-the-top virtuosity by the nimble Peter Donohoe.  Listening to it makes you want to invade Russia.

Symphony No.1, 'Jeremiah'. Jubilee Games
Composer:  Leonard Bernstein
Performers: Helen Medlyn (mezzo), Nathan Gunn (baritone), New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, James Judd (conductor). Naxos 

Young Bernstein, filled with piss and vinegar and more musical ideas per page than any eight of his contemporaries.  A joy to listen to a genius in the process of finding his compositional voice.

Organ and Silence
Composer: Tom Johnson
Performer:  Wesley Roberts, organ

A collection of 28 organ pieces to be played separately or as a long recital A music concerned for, as the author writes in the disc notes, "… the importance of silence in music…". This work is conceived not "for organ" but, really, for "organ and silence", as the silence is a fundamental part of it, and it’s not possible to give it up. It’s an attempt, as the author explain " to permit as much silence as possible, without allowing the music to actually stop".  Tom Johnson is one of the masters of minimalism, but he combines this with rigorous logic. His work, free from false glitters, defines, better that any other one, the sense of a research the goes beyond the strict genre definitions, and become poetic application of original ideas.

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