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 October 7-14, 2002


Should you find yourself in London this week—and it’s a lovely time to find yourself there—check out South Bank Centre’s celebration of contemporary Dutch composer Louis Andriessen.  "Passion: the Music of Louis Andriessen," which began on October 4 and will run through October 17 at Royal Festival Hall, includes a world premiere and two U.K. premieres as well as several rarely performed early works. 

The world premiere of Andriessen's La Passione for voice, violin and ensemble will be performed by Oliver Knussen - who has a long association with Andriessen's works — leading the London Sinfonietta. The group will also accompany a concert performance of Andriessen's opera, Writing to Vermeer, in its U.K. premiere. (Vermeer was premiered at the Netherlands Opera in December 1999 and staged at the 2000 Lincoln Center Festival in New York.) The Arditti String Quartet gives the U.K. premiere of Andriessen's second string quartet, Garden of Eros.

Andriessen was born in Utrecht in 1939 into a musical family: his father Hendrik, and brother Juriaan were established composers in their own right. Andriessen studied with his father and with Kees van Baaren at the Hague Conservatory, and between 1962 and 1964 undertook further studies in Milan and Berlin with Luciano Berio.

Since 1974 he has combined his teaching with his work as a composer and pianist. He is now widely regarded as the leading composer working in the Netherlands today and is a central figure in the international new music scene.

From a background of jazz and avant-garde composition, Andriessen has evolved a style employing elemental harmonic, harmonic and rhythmic materials, heard in totally distinctive instrumentation. His acknowledged admiration for Stravinsky is illustrated by a parallel vigour, clarity of expression, and acute ear for color. 

"The creator should disappear behind the music. An essential aspect of my way of composing is the realization that each piece of music deals with other music. I learned this, of course, from Stravinsky, who in many respects is my great model...I don't feel comfortable with composers - like Schönberg - who always push ahead in one direction. I prefer the jacks-of-all-trades: the Purcells and Stravinskys, who are at home anywhere, borrowing here, stealing there..."
Andriessen is among the most eclectic of contemporary composers. His early works were strictly serialist in the manner of Boulez or Stockhausen, then in the 1970s he leaped  from modernism to post-modernism, adopting a style that was much closer to the minimalism of Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Terry Reilly. Along the way, he has consumed many other sub-genres, from musique concrète to electronic, to jazz and rock. 

Andriessen's inspiration is wide, from the music of Charles Ives in Anachronie I, the art of Mondriaan in De Stijl, and mediaeval poetic visions in Hadewijch, to writings on shipbuilding and atomic theory in De Materie Part I. He has tackled complex creative issues, exploring the relation between music and politics in De Staat, the nature of time and velocity in De Tijd and De Snelheid, and questions of morality in Trilogy of the Last Day.

Collaborative works with other artists include a series of dance projects, the full length theatre piece De Materie created with Robert Wilson for the Netherlands Opera, the music for the Peter Greenaway film M is for Man, Music, Mozart and the 'horse opera' Rosa premiered at the Netherlands Opera in 1994 with text and production by Peter Greenaway. 

Several ensembles from the Netherlands, where Andriessen is a highly influential figure, will perform during the South Bank Centre festival, including the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet, Electra, Ensemble Loos and the Orkest de Volharding (created to perform Andriessen's music in 1972), which performs the composer's film scores against a video backdrop.

The South Bank festival also examines Andriessen's influence in Britain, presenting works by his students Graham Fitkin, Mary Finsterer and Steve Martland, whose Steve Martland Band opens the festival.  Bang On A Can All-Stars, who have long been supported by Andriessen, perform Terry Riley's Minimalist classic In C.

"Passion" will also provide a rare chance to hear Andriessen perform on the piano, when he accompanies singer Greetje Bijma in a late-night program of improvisation. 

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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

WHO NEEDS TASTE IF TASTE DOESN'T MATTER? Those who try to assign the blame for a decline in classical music are usually looking in the wrong places, writes Harvard composer Joshua Fineberg. "The lesson that has been taken from Cage and Duchamp is that if traffic noise and toilet seats are equal to Mozart and Rembrandt then so are Garth Brooks and black-velvet Elvis paintings. This view quickly leads to taste being the only legitimate arbiter. In the cultural realm this rapidly leads to the downward homogenization of taste toward the least common denominator, a phenomenon that makes almost everyone vaguely uncomfortable." Salon 10/02/02

HELP WANTED - INSPIRATION: The English National Opera is looking for a new director. It's a desirable job (if you can overlook the unfortunate demise of the last incumbent) "True, there's a bit of financial sorting-out to do - but we are are pretty confident that we can achieve that. And the company will have a fantastic new home in 2004." So who are the early contenders? Well, almost anyone you can think of... The Guardian (UK) 10/03/02

CD SELLERS SETTLE PRICE-FIXING SUIT: Top American music distributors and retailers have agreed to pay $143 million in cash and CDs to settle charges they cheated consumers by fixing prices. "The settlement brings to a close accusations made by attorneys general of 41 states and commonwealths who accused record companies of conspiring with music distributors to boost the prices of CDs between 1995 and 2000." Nando Times (AP) 10/01/02

REFORM NEEDED FOR MUSIC SCHOOLS: A new report suggests radical reform of England's music schools. "Backed by leading figures from music and the arts, including Sir Simon Rattle, it concludes that a new range of decidedly non-classical skills should be on the curriculum - including business and technology studies and a knowledge of contemporary styles, including jazz and world music. Nine out of 10 professional musicians are self- employed, it says, and most can make a living only by turning to teaching, session work and composition, as well as traditional concert hall performances." The Observer (UK) 09/29/02

THE CHECK'S IN THE MAIL (NOT): When the Washington Chamber Symphony ceased operations earlier this year, many of the folks in charge seemed to vanish into the ether. Months later, subscribers want to know where their ticket refunds are, and the WCS's creditors are wondering when they'll be paid as well. Meantime, the people who seem to have run the orchestra into the ground may be too busy pointing fingers at each other to figure out just how the defunct organization can pay off its debts. Washington Post 10/04/02

A HARD LOOK AT ORPHEUS AS IT TURNS 30: The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is 30 years old, and the musicianship of the conductorless band is often nothing short of breathtaking. But big challenges loom, and some of the orchestra's claims are overblown. "Can Orpheus survive the turnover of personnel in the orchestra? Thirty years is an eternity for a string quartet but not that long for a symphony orchestra. We're somewhere in between." The New York Times 10/06/02

CLEVELAND ORCH CUTS CHAMBER SERIES: Back when the epidemic of orchestra deficits began sweeping North America, many observers assumed that the crisis would be tough on the small and medium-sized orchestras, but would barely cause a ripple among the biggest and richest ensembles. It didn't work out that way, and now, nearly every major American and Canadian orchestra is slashing and burning through the budget, looking for cost-saving measures. The latest victim is the Cleveland Orchestra's chamber music series, which will be suspended as part of a cost-cutting package which also includes a staff wage freeze and pay cuts for the new music director and executive director. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 10/04/02

20 SHORT YEARS WITHOUT GLENN GOULD: "If you're reading this at 11: 30 a.m., it is precisely 20 years since Glenn Gould left this life... Gould must be seen as Canada's greatest contribution to classical music, as his work continues to inspire a seemingly endless stream of books, films, documentaries and miscellaneous other monuments and remembrances in all corners of the world. He once said that be didn't believe anybody would come to his funeral. Three thousand people did, and every day many thousands more continue to pay homage to the man by listening to his music over and over again." Ottawa Citizen 10/04/02

RATTLE'S NEW REGIME: Simon Rattle has only recently taken over as music director of the Berlin Philharmonic. But his presence is changing the very nature of the world's most celebrated orchestra. “It’s amazing that this collection of 130 very disparate and opinionated people is able to smell the changing of the seasons, almost like an animal. Many of us felt that there was no way to stop the clock, or turn it back.” The Times (UK) 10/01/02

 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.


Stefan Wolfe:
The Palestine Years
Compositions for Piano (1920-1952)
Composer: Stefan Wolpe
Performer: David Holzman
Bridge - #9116 

Since his death in 1972, composer Stefan Wolpe has emerged as one of the major figures in new music and the New York avantgarde. His compositional career spanned more than fifty years, starting amid the turmoil of Germany in the ’20s and early ’30s.
    Forced to flee from Nazi Germany in 1933, Wolpe found refuge in Palestine, where he did much to encourage music among the settlers in the kibbutzim and wrote simple songs to Hebrew texts for amateur choirs. Wolpe invented a radical Jewish music during these years, an eloquent, daring integration of the European avant-garde with a newly forming national music. 
    Eventually, Wolpe left Palestine for the United States, where he was discovered by a new generation of composers, and where he continued to compose in his innovative style until his death. Greatly affected by his environment, Wolpe’s work is filled with energy, reflecting the spirit of Dada, the Bauhaus, abstract expressionism and improvisational jazz.
    To celebrate the centenary of Wolpe’s birth (1902–2002), the Kaufman Center and the Stefan Wolpe Society will present an eventful weekend of music and conversation exploring the artist’s life and work—in particular the years he lived and worked in Palestine (mid-1930s). 

GUEST ARTISTS: Tara O'Connor, flute; Gerard Reuter, oboe; Charles Neidich,  Ayako Oshima, clarinet; Peter Kolkay, bassoon; William Purvis, horn/conductor; Eric Ruske, horn; Mark Gould, trumpet; James Pugh, trombone; Stephen Gosling, piano; June Han, harp; Jennifer Frautschi, Anna Lim, Jesse Mills, violin; Brian Chen, Richard O'Neill, viola; Erin Breene, cello; Fred Sherry cello/conductor; Timothy Cobb, bass; Tony Arnold, soprano; Jan Opalach, baritone; Robert Craft, Charles Wuorinen, conductor; David Margulies, actor; and the 20th Century Classics Ensemble 

Saturday, October 12, 2002, at 8 pm
The Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo will perform one of Wolpe's masterpieces created during his years in Palestine,"The Man from Midian," based on the life of Moses. The program begins with a panel discussion led by Fred Sherry.

Sunday, October 13, 2002, at 2 pm and 7 pm
Chamber music concerts will feature guest artists and works by Wolpe and The Wolpe Circle, including Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Morton Feldman, Matthew Greenbaum, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern and Charles Wuorinen. 

Sunday, October 13, 2002, at 4:30 pm 
Master pianist David Holzman will present an All-Wolpe recital, touching on the extremes of Wolpe¹s repertory. The program will include "Sonata," which provoked a riot at its first performance in 1925, and the immense "Battle Piece," Wolpe's response to the Second World War.

The festival will culminate on Sunday, October 13, 2002, at 9 pm in a panel discussion moderated by Wolpe Society President Martin Brody.

Weekend package (best value!): $55
Saturday concert and panel: $25
Single tickets for individual Sunday concerts: $15 Sunday package (includes 9 pm panel): $40  Call 212 501 3330 for tickets. 

Miller Theatre: 
2002-03 Season at a Glance
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


Symphony 11: The Year 1905
Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich 
      Performers: Mstislav Rostropovich,
London Symphony Orchestra
   Lso Live - #30 
How many ways can you spell superb?  From the tortured beginning to the shattering climax, Rostroprovich maintains a sense of rising foreboding and menace that inspires a cold sweat in the careful listener.  This is one of those live performances that concertgoers tell their friends about years later.  Symphony 11 is rarely mentioned in the list of Shostakovich's greatest orchestal works.  This recording may change that.  The LSO has never sounded better or more Russian.  Surefire Gramophone winner. 

String Quartets 11 13 & 15
Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich 
      Performers: St. Petersburg String Quartet
Hyperion - #67157 
More spectacular music from Russia's tormented genius, superbly played. The 11th Quartet breaks from the more traditional four-movement structure, and comprises seven separate short movements  thematically unified by a sequence of phrases introduced at the beginning of the first movement. The 13th is  the only single-movement quartet in Shostakovich's output. 
The 15th Quartet was written in 1974, the year before Shostakovich's death and seems to reflect his state of health and mind.  Stark and brooding, it sounds most like a last will and testament.

Shulamit's Dream; Scenes from Shir ha-Shirim: Biblical Songs
Composer: Mario Davidovsky
Conductor: George Rothman, Anthony Korf Performer: Susan Narucki, Mark Bleeke, et al.
Bridge - #9112 
Commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony in 1993 and given its New York premiere by Susan Narucki and the Riverside Symphony at Tully Hall in 2000, Shulamit's Dream is a suprisingly lyrical,  “quasi-rhapsodic”  setting of The Song of Songs by the Argentine-born Davidovsky, who came to the U.S. about 45 years ago and became a pioneer composer of electornic music.

The Miraculous Mandarin
Composer: Bela Bartok 
Performer(s): Robertson, Orchestre National De Lyon
Harmonia Mundi Franc - #901777 
This is billed as the world premiere
recording of the original score restored in 1999 by Péter Bartók, the son of the composer which contains 30 bars previously missing and also restores dynamics, bowings and other performing
directions from the autograph.  Only those who follow along with the score will know the difference.  Extraordinarily precise and sympathetic reading demonstrating why the young American  David Robertson is   considered one of the best interpretors at modern music by critics and audiences around the world. 

Composer: Franz Lehar
Performer(s): Jurowski
Cpo Records - #999762 6 
Re-working of Kukuschka (1898) - (1905)
(Music by Franz Lehár: Libretto by Felix Falzari and Max Kalbeck)
Though we still think of Franz Lehar as the leading operetta composer of the 20th century, his reputation now largely resides on one work, The Merry Widow (Die Lustige Witwe). The situation was much different during his lifetime, and many of his thirty-nine scores were loved, none more so than the story of  Tatjana, daughter of a Volga fisherman.  The score includes the exhilarating Russian Peasant Dances and the fine tenor aria 'Gedenke mein'.

A Portrait of Langston Hughes
Performer(s): Various Artists
Label: Naxos - #8559136 
Nobody wrote more musical poetry than Langston Hughes, Ellie Steigmeister once declared and perhaps it is so.  From "Lonely House," written with Kurt Weill to the recent "My People"with music by Ricky Ian Gordon, Hughes poems were naturals for settings by some of the 20th century finest songwriters.

Piano Concerto #4
Composer:  Geir Tveitt
Naxos - #8555761 
Thanks to Naxos' extraordinary Tveit series, I am now certain that the Norwegian Geir Tevitt was one of the great overlooked composers of the 20th century.  With easily engaging music, often influenced by the folk music of his native Hardanger region of Norway, the extensive Variations for two pianos is a masterpiece. The duo pianists are used as virtuoso performers and in the role of decorating the orchestral score. If you haven't tried Tveitt, you've missed an eye-opening experience,


Death Valley Suite
Composer:  Ferde Grofe
Naxos - #8559102 
Ferde Grofe is known mostly for his Grand Canyon Suite but he wrote other splendid, atmospheric  pieces as well, including these three suites, one of them ("Hollywood Suite") a premiere recording. Excellent performances of an American composer who may have been too quickly sent to the basket marked "kitsch."

Symphony No. 3
Composer:  Max Bruch
Naxos - #8555985 
Little known works by a composer best-known for his lush violin pieces.  Sumptious tones and a fine romantic arc make this one easy to listen to and to like.

Cello Sonata / Cello Works
Composers: Schumann, Grieg
Performers: Marie Hallynck, Tiberghien
Harmonia Mundi Franc - #911779 
Harmonia mundi's Les Nouveaux Musiciens features the young Belgian/French cellist Marie Hallynck in stunning accounts of Schumann' s "Adagio and Allegro," "Phantasienstke," and "Funf Stucke im Volkston" for cello and piano, as well as Grieg's "Sonate Pour Violoncelle et Piano." Our kind of easy listening. 

Darkness & Light 4
ComposerPerformer(s): Weiner, Starer, Stern, Korngold, Lees, Holt
Albany Music Dist. - #518 

  The latest release from the Chamber Music Series at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is highlighted by the stunningly original "Piano Trio No. 2 "Silent Voices" (1998) by Benjamin Lees. Anguished and almost unbearably intense, Lees crams more drama, passion and empathy into this 14-minute piece than many composers muster in a lifetime.

Chamber Music
Composer: Lawrence Dillon
Cassatt String Quartet, Borromeo String Quartet, Mendelssohn String Quartet

In 1985, Lawrence Dillon became the youngest composer to earn a doctorate at the Juilliard School. He studied privately with Vincent Persichetti, and in classes with Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, David Diamond and Roger Sessions. Upon graduation, he was appointed to the Juilliard faculty. He is currently Assistant Dean at the North Carolina School of the Arts where he is also Composer-in-Residence and conductor of the contemporary music ensemble. The three pieces recorded here might be considered genre-bending in that they attempt to blend elements of post-modernism and older forms like romanticism. 


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 Editor: Deborah Kravetz 
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