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  October 25-November 1, 2004

Pamela Z's 'Voci'
Debuts at Kitchen
Pamela Z, the San Francisco-based composer/performer and audio artist, makes a rare Right Coast visit this week when Voci (Voices), her full-evening, multimedia performance work exploring the sonic, cultural, physical, and artistic worlds of the voice, opens a three-night stand on Thursday evening at the Kitchen

In addition to Pamela Z's dramatic performance work with voice and live electronic processing, Voci features vivid, tall video projections designed by filmmakers Jeanne Finley and John Muse and lighting design by Elaine Buckholtz. 

Written, composed, and performed by Pamela Z, Voci consists of layered, dynamically varied segments incorporating live electroacoustic vocal work with real-time digital processing, vocal samples (triggered with light and gesture controllers), and video (projected and on monitors). The stage is alive with unexpected visual and auditory transformations, and from time to time, Z performs "virtual duets" with some surprise guests who appear in the form of video samples. 

These segments approach voice as anatomy, as character, as identifier, and communicator. Weaving together stories about voice with arias, non-verbal utterances, cries and whispers, choruses of "real" and synthetic voices, and fragments of scientific information,  Z builds a kind of polyphonic mono-opera. 

 Z  works primarily with voice, live electronic processing, and sampling technology. She creates solo works combining operatic bel canto and experimental extended vocal techniques with found percussion objects, spoken word, "MAX MSP" on a PowerBook, and sampled concrête sounds triggered with a MIDI controller called The BodySynth™ which allows her to manipulate sound with physical gestures. Her performances range in scale from small concerts in galleries to large-scale multi-media works in proscenium halls and flexible black-box venues. 

Z has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. She has performed in numerous festivals including Bang On A Can at Lincoln Center in New York, the Interlink Festival in Japan, Other Minds in San Francisco, the Pina Bausch Tanztheater's 25 Jahre Fest in Wuppertal, Germany, and La Biennale di Venezia in Venice, Italy. She has composed, recorded and performed original scores for choreographers and for film and video artists, and has done vocal work for other composers (including Charles Amirkhanian, and Henry Brant). Her large-scale, multi-media performance works, Parts of Speech , Gaijin, and Voci, have been presented at Theater Artaud and ODC Theatre in San Francisco, and her audio works have been included in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Z has composed commissioned works for new music chamber ensembles the Bang On A Can Allstars, the California E.A.R. Unit, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and St. Luke's Chamber Orchestra. 

Since 1986 she has been producing "Z Programs", an ongoing series of interdisciplinary events in which her own work has been featured along with that of other artists.  She is a member of the electroacoustic ensemble sensorChip (with Miya Masaoka and Donald Swearingen) and the interdisciplinary performance ensemble The Qube Chix. She has done several concerts and experimental theater pieces with Zakros New Music Theatre (including their John Cage festivals), and has performed with The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. She is the recipient of numerous awards including a 2004 Guggenheim Fellowship, the CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts, the ASCAP Music Award, and the NEA and Japan/US Friendship Commission Fellowship. She holds a music degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. 

A Delay Is Better
Composer:  Pamela Z 

October 29th and 30th, 8PM 

Roberto Sierra
Hartford Symphony Orchestra
James Carter, Soloist
William H. Mortensen Hall – The Bushnell, Hartford, NJ

November 17, 8:00PM


The legendary Italian contrabass virtuoso and composer Stefano Scodanibbio will perform the New York premiere of Luciano Berio’s Sequenza XIV for double-bass along with music by Jacob Druckman and Mr. Scodanibbio on Wednesday, November 17, 2004 at 8:00 PM in the Teatro of Columbia University’s Italian Academy for Advanced Studies.  Admission is $12 for the general public, $5 for students and seniors. Call 212 854 1623 or email rw2115@columbia.edu for reservations or information. The Italian Academy’s Teatro in Casa Italiana is located at 1161 Amsterdam Avenue between 116th and 118th Streets.

Send announcements to the Editors 

Crookall Named CEO of
            Indianapolis Symphony
Simon Crookall, of Glasgow, Scotland, has been selected as  President and CEO of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra effective January 1, 2005.  As principal executive, Crookall joins artistic leaders Music Director Mario Venzago and Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly in leading the state’s largest performing arts institution.

Simon Crookall is currently Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), where he has been employed since 1995.  The RSNO is renowned throughout the world for its many award-winning recordings of music by Sergei Prokofiev, Richard Strauss, Samuel Barber, and film soundtracks.  In his nine years with the Orchestra, Crookall has supervised an acclaimed cycle of Dimitri Shostakovich symphonies under Principal Conductor, Alexander 
Lazarev, a ground-breaking education and outreach program, and high-profile performances at the Edinburgh International Festival and the BBC London Proms.  He has also taken the orchestra on several highly successful European tours.  During his tenure the RSNO has established a reputation for innovation combined with fiscal prudence. 

Winter Music 
John Luther Adams
Composes the North
John Luther Adams has long been among the most thoughtful of composers.  From his little corner of the world--a boreal forest near Fairbanks, Alaska--he has produced  contemporary 
music of great chrystalline beauty that captures the sounds and the silence, the darkness and light, that defines life on the edge of the Arctic Circle.
Fortunately, he has also been keeping some kind of record (to borrow a phrase fromLeonard Cohen).  His essays, journal entries, and writings about "that region between place and culture, between environment and imagination" have  just been 
published as Winter Music:  Composing the North by Wesleyan University Press (which also  published John Cage's epic Silence, a fitting association since the title "Winter Music" is from a Cage piece.)

 Adams writes like a poet; his words evocating the same spare landscape that he captures in his music:

It is well past midnight.  I stand at the edge of the Arctic Ocean looking north across a thousand miles of ice toward the Pole, and south across fifth windswept miles to the crest of the Brooks Range.  Pastel slopes rise to shimmering, ghostlike peaks.  A cold, damp wind blows off the pack ice.  The low Arctic sunbathes everything in warm, saturated light. 

East to west, parallel to the coastline, run miles upon miles of color, stone and shadow.  Ranges emerge in the distance, then dissolve in my eyes.  A geography of illusions, Arctic mirages.

Ultimately," Kyle Gann writes in the introduction, "Adams music is most of allayearning for trancendence, for which his obsession with color and light are a musician's visual metaphors.  This yearning pervades his texts.  You get the feeling, not that he discovered transcendence in Alaska, but the went there in search of it."

For all the spirituality evident in his work, Adams clearly has secular concerns that he cares about passionately.  Most pronounced of these is the protection of the fragile environment of the North from man and the ravages of global warming.

Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams puts it like this:  “John Adam's reflections on his music—where it comes from conceptually and geographically, and on the history and nature of his commitment to musical composition—show an unusual awareness of the contemporary world. His thinking is as instructive as it is informative, and his seasoned voice rings here with the sort of integrity and devotion to vision most young artists set their sights on. He sees art as invigorating, resonant, relevant, and—a welcome surprise—civic.” 

 Adams  has released 11 recordings and worked with many prominent performers. He has taught at the University of Alaska, Bennington College, and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. His writings have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies, including The Best Spiritual Writing (2002) and The Book of Music and Nature (Wesleyan, 2000). The book also includes a CD of Adams work, including Roar from The Mathematics of Resonant Bodies, Velocities Crossing in Phase-Space from Strange and Sacred Noise, and Red Arc/Blue Veil. 

Old Stuff
An Interview with Tobias Picker
Handmaid Tale's Debuts in English
Rautavaara Joins B&G 
Who's Afraid of Julia Wolfe
Derek Bermel's Soul Garden
 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

The Piano Concertos,
Paganini Rhapsody
Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
Stephen Hough (piano),
Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Litton

You can find better individual performances of each of Rachmaninov's four  piano concertos (Leif Ove Ondnes's No, 3, for example) but this 2-disk set is hard to beat as a one-stop listening experience.  Cobbled together from 11 live performances over an 18-day period, the power chord, big sound,  sweeping Rachmaninov romanticism has never sounded, well, bigger or more romantic.   Littton is a Rocky Romantic Show specialist and it shows in the orchestra's splendid melding with Hough's oversized playing.  Highly recommended, even if you already have them all.

The Concerto Project 1
Composer: Philip Glass
Cello Concerto, 
Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists
and Orchestra
Julian Lloyd Webber (cello),
Evelyn Glennie (timpani),
Jonathan Haas (timpani),
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,
Gerard Schwarz
Orange Mountain 

Every shard of Glass seems to finding its way onto a CD nowadays and it's getting harder to tell the major Glass from the--forgive me--half Glass.  This is major Glass.  The Cello Concerto is a real beauty, played with real passion by Lloyd Webber and the RLP.  The timpani concerto is great, too, once you get past the thought that maybe Phil borrowed the opening from Lalo Schifrin.  This is the first of a series of four CDs that Philip Glass and Orange
Mountain Music have planned entitled The Concerto Project, No. I-IV Each
disc contains two concerti.

Mass - A Theatre Piece for
Singers, Players & Dancers
Composer:  Leonard Bernstein
Jerry Hadley (tenor),
Rundfunkchor Berlin,
Paci. c Mozart Ensemble,
Staats-und Domchor Berlin,
Deutsches Symphonie-
Orchester Berlin, Kent Nagano
harmonia mundi

What's a nice Jewish boy like Leonard Bernstein doing writing a Mass?  In this case, he was invited to do so by Jacqueline Kennedy for the opening of Kennedy Center in 1971.  This is Lennie at his most flamboyant, employing a big theatrical cast, mixed chorus, children’s choir, dancers and a rock band.  The libretto for Mass intersperses texts written by Bernstein and Stephen Schwartz (lyricist for Godspell) into the Roman Mass. The work explores the mass from the point of view of the Celebrant (sung by Jerry Hadley), who is experiencing a crisis of faith. The Celebrant’s faith is simple and pure at first, yet that faith gradually becomes unsustainable under the weight of human misery, corruption, and the trappings of human power. In the end, the Celebrant, on the verge of renouncing
his faith,  finds that the loneliness of his doubt is no match for the joy of gathering together with other believers
in praise. 

Composer:  Guiseppe Verdi
Michele Pertusi (bass),
Carlos Alvarez (tenor), Ana Ibarra (soprano), Marina Domashenko (mezzo-soprano), Jane Henschel (mezzo-soprano), Maria Josè Moreno (mezzo-soprano), Bülent Bezdüz (tenor),
London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus,
Sir Colin Davis
LSO Live

Hot on the heels of their highly  acclaimed recording of Britten’s Peter Grimes, Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra are joined by a magnificent cast led by Michele Pertusi for a spectacular performance of Verdi’s comic masterpiece, Falstaff.
Recorded during the LSO’s centenary celebrations in 2004, this new recording of Falstaff is one of the LSO Live’s finest performance to date.  Who needs major  record labels


Philadelphia Stories / UFO
Composer: Michael Daugherty
Performers: Evelyn Glennie, percussion / Colorado Symphony Orchestra / Marin Alsop, conductor 

Something of a coup for Naxos’ American Classics series matching world famous percussionist Evelyn Glennie with Gramophone Artist of the Year Marin Alsop and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra with one of America's most intriquing composers.  Daugherty has the uncanny ability to be all things to all listeners without seeming to comprise either seriousness or an enjoyable listening experience. 
Commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2001, Philadelphia Stories is an orchestral travelogue of the sounds and rhythms of Philadelphia past and present.  UFO, written in 1999 for Evelyn Glennie, is inspired by unidentified flying objects and sounds, beginning with Traveling Music where the percussion soloist, in the guise of an alien from outer space, mysteriously enters the concert hall playing a waterphone and mechanical siren.

Orchestral Works
Composer: Harry Partch
Performer: Johnston, Pippin, et al.
 New World Records 

These works span the first six years of what American maverick composer Harry Partch (1901–1974) called the "third period" of his creative life. They show him moving away from the obsession with "the intrinsic music of spoken words" that had characterized his earlier output (the vocal works of 1930–33 and 1941–45) and towards an instrumental idiom, predominantly percussive in nature.  The Eleven Intrusions are among the most compelling and beautiful of Partch’s works. The individual pieces were composed at various times between August 1949 and December 1950, and only later gathered together as a cycle. Nonetheless they form a unified whole, with a nucleus of eight songs framed by two instrumental preludes and an essentially instrumental postlude.

Busoni the Visionary, Volume II
Jeni Slotchiver, piano

No one plays Busoni's piano music with greater clarity or depth of understanding than Jeni Slotchiver.  As she demonstrated in Volume I of this series, this is music she clearly loves and understands both intellectually and intuitively.  There is no finer, or more committed,  advocate for this greatly underrated composer  working today.  See Slotchiver's notes on Busoni the Visionary here.

Chamber Works
Composer: Dan Locklair 
Albany Records

Dan Locklair is an organist by trade and although he has written a wide body of works--his prolific output includes symphonic works, a ballet, an opera and numerous solo, chamber, vocal and choral compositions--one may be forgiven for identifying him first with that glorious instrument.  These chamber works show that Locklair's command of musical language is  far broader and deeper than a single instrument.   These fresh and engaging works are musically challenging and yet a real treat for the ear. 



Music in Fifths/Two Pages
Composer: Phillip Glass
Performer: Bang on a Can

These are transcriptions of two early Glass works ("Fifths," originally performed and recorded by Philip Glass with Jon Gibson and Dickie Landry in the original version for saxophones and electric organ)  and ("Two Pages", originally  done by Philip Glass on electric organ and Michael Riesman on piano). 

As always the Bang on a Can All Stars do a... well... bang up job and bring a fresh perspective to  two of the seminal works of Glass' early career. 


Orchestral Works
Composer:  Herman D. Koppel 
Nina Kavtaradze (piano) 
Aalborg Symphony Orchestra/Moshe Atzmon 

This is the third volume of the symphonies of the Danish composer Herman D Koppel who lived from 1908 to 1998 and wrote seven symphonies between 1930 and 1961.  Born in Copenhagen the son of Polish Jewish immigrants, Koppel fled to Sweden during World War II and his Symphony No. 3, written there, is an intensely personal work that mirrors the fears and anxieties of that period.  No. 5 is more hopeful and steady but lacks the raw energy of the 3rd. 

Guernica, Symphony no 4, Zapata 
Composer: Leonardo Balada 
Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra/Salvador Mas Conde 

Balada’s Guernica, completed in 1966, during the height of the Viet Nam War, was  inspired by Picasso’s large-scale mural of 1937, which has come to represent a  protest piece against all wars.  Balada writes in a personal modern idiom, although there are traces of his apprenticeships with Dello Joio and Aaron Copland.  Neither a serialist nor neo-classisist Balada is modern in ways that are highly individual and sometimes hard to follow.  But, he's an original and a little patience from the listener is well worth the effort. 

Symphonies Nos: 4, 5, 6
Composer: Josef  Tal 
NDR RadioPhilharmonie/Israel Yinon 

German-born Israeli composer Josef Tal, whose work I had never heard from this CD, is said to have  derived his musical style from the second Viennese school and has remained an unrepentant modernist. He has also been an innovator and pioneer, one of the first to combine a live instrument with a studio-generated tape recording; he founded the Israel Center for Electronic Music and imported the first Moog Synthesizer into his adopted country. These three symphonies reveal a composer with a strong personal voice working at the height of his powers.  Very powerful. 


 Baltic Voices 2
 Performer(s): Estonian Phil Chamber Choir, Paul Hillier
Harmonia Mundi 

The second volume of Paul Hillier's exploration of the choral treasures of the Baltic Sea countries features sacred music from composers representing all three branches of Christianity that are practiced in the Baltic region: Orthodox (Schnittke, Grigorjeva), Catholic (Sisask, Tulev), and Protestant (Nørgård).  The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is in superb form and Hillier's choice of material is impeccable.

Music from The Hours
Composer:  Philip Glass 
Michael Riesman (piano)
Orange Mountain Music

Piano Transcriptions of music composed by Glass for the Virginia Wolfe-inspired film played by longtime collaborator Michael Riesman.  Glass writes great music for the piano as demonstrated by his wonderful Etudes for Piano but stripped of orchestration these pieces seem slight and unfinished.  Still, for us fanatics, no scrap of  Glass is unwelcome. 


Symphony No. 3 'Liturgique' 
Pacific 231 
Mouvement Symphonique No. 3 
Pastorale d’été 
Composer:  Arthur Honegger
 New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/Takuo Yuasa 

Five of the best pieces by one of the 20th Century's most underrated composers, played handsomely by the New Zealand Symphony.  There may be better versions of all these pieces around but at this price you can't go wrong.  Essential listening for anyone who is serious about modern music.

The Sea
Composer: Frank Bridge 
Enter Spring, Summer, Two Poems , The Sea 
 New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/James Judd 

Another underrated composer represented by some of his very best work.  Young Benjamin Britten once said that upon hearing The Sea he was “knocked sideways”.  And, indeed, it is a brilliant piece, filled with the mood of crashing waves and great expanses of open water.  Indispensible.


 Peter Grimes, Op.33
Composer: Benjamin Britten
 London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Sir Colin Davis 
LSO Live

This is Sir Colin's third recording of Peter Grimes and his experience is clearly reflected in the extraordinary performance by the London Symphony, especially in the famous Interludes that frame Britten's tragic story.  This is not the best cast Davis has ever recorded the opera with but the singing is very good, even excellent, in places.  (Hard to top Peter Pears and Jon Vickers).  But, the orchestra shines in this recording and makes it a must-have for Britten fans. 

Canticle of the Sun, Preludes for Cello Solo, In Croce
Composer:  Sofia Gubaidulina 
Pieter Wispelwey (cello),
Collegium Vocale Gent, Daniel Reuss
Channel Classics

Gubaidulina’s Christian mysticism, born of her Russian Orthodox heritage, pervades most of her work but expecially in  The Canticle of the Sun, which is based on a text by St. Francis of Assisi.  The vocal part is restrained and reverent, with the text often presented in a coloristic and fragmentary manner. Wispelway plumbs the emotional depth of the music as he navigates  music that requires not requires a staggering technique but a keen  spiritual intensity. Also featured on the disc are Gubaidulina’s solo cello Preludes and In Croce for cello and bajan (Russian chromatic button accordion).

Two American Classics
Ives:  Concord Sonata
Barber:  Piano Sonata
Marc-André Hamelin (piano)

The two best piano sonatas ever written by Americans played by the best piano player alive.  Period.  This is Hamelin's  second recording of the Ives Concord Sonata, a piece he has played for over 20 years in performances that have often been regarded as definitive. Now, we have a new definitive recording. 

Mystery System
Composer: Lukas Ligeti

With a name like Ligeti  you'd better be good and Lukas, son of  György, demonstrates that he is more than just a chip off the old block  in this clever blending of  traditional music from places as diverse as Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Florida, Egypt, and the Ivory Coast with the latest techniques in computer and electronic work from  Stanford University's computer music lab.  Haunting, original and compelling musical ideas that point toward a bright future for contemporary music.

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Publisher:  Duane Harper Grant  (212) 582-4153
Editors:    Jerry & Suzanne Bowles   (212) 582-3791
Contributing Editors: Deborah Kravetz, David Salvage
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