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Jerry Bowles
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Love and Cow Bells
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Well, That Was Fun
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Reich@70: Let the Celebrations Begin
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Violins Invade Indianapolis
John Cage (born Los Angeles, 5 September 1912; died New York, 12 August 1992).
The People United Will Never Be Divided
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Record companies, artists and publicists are invited to submit CDs to be considered for review. Send to: Jerry Bowles, Editor, Sequenza 21, 340 W. 57th Street, 12B, New York, NY 10019

Saturday, July 02, 2005
Lumina String Quartet at Europe/Asia 2005 Festival of Modern Music in Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia - Part 3

Well, talk about cross-cultural posting - this is being sent to you from an Internet cafe in a small valley between the lovely city of Ragusa and the even lovelier village of Ibla in the magnificent southeastern corner of Sicily. Circumstances have dictated that this and the next part of the story will be sent from here, where I'm visiting for the next 10 days as a jury member of the Ibla Grand Prize competition More about this in future introductions.

Anyway, back to the Lumina Quartet in Kazan.

May 26 was the official opening concert of the festival as well as the first performance of The Lumina Quartet for the Europe/Asia 2005 Festival of Modern Music. Of course, they played beautifully, presenting music of New York University's own Dinu Ghezzo - note to NYU - you need a much better picture of Dinu for this webpage) and the world's own Duke Ellington. More about this in a bit.

It had already been an interesting day for me, having delivered a lecture earlier that day at the Union of Composers of the Republic of Tatarstan headquarters on the subject, A Chronological History of American Jazz. I was told I had roughly one hour for the talk. Of course, trying to fit the history of jazz into one hour is like trying to fit a rhinoceros into a doghouse. So, I gave a sort of quick overview (with recorded examples) of Louis Armstrong's Hot Fives and Hot Sevens, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Weather Report, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and Paquito D'Rivera. However, it was a pretty hip audience, who knew most, if not all of the names in question and really seemed to enjoy the discussion. I was also able to leave a nice jazz listening library as well as the companion book to Ken Burns' Jazz documentary series for the permanent collection of the Union of Composers.

Back to the concert that evening. It took place in yet another lovely space for music, the Agro Hall of the Kazan State Agricultural Academy. I must say that this city is blessed with a number of lovely concert spaces.

The first piece we heard was Tapio Tuomela's marvelous Pierrot, Quintet No. 2 for flute, clarinet, piano, violin and cello. I was already a bit familiar with his work (and liked it very much), having listened to him lecture about his new opera right after my gloss on jazz that morning. It also turns out that Tapio is a delightful man who I hope to stay in touch with.

Next up was the already mentioned Rapid Deployment Consort from Belgium. They presented Night, a very snazzy piece for bass clarinet, violin, tabla and tanpur, written by one of their members, Hans Vermeersch. The tabla player Anil Dikshit was superb, and added considerable rhythmic and sonic interest.

Tatarstan's Radik Salimov has created something called Pianophrenia for dancing pianist and electronics. This showcases a piano playing and string-plucking dancer against a background of interesting to odd electronic effects. The dancer was quite good, both as a dancer and pianist, and was called upon to practically undress and perform some exceptionally gymnastic and even semi-erotic things on top of and down the side of the instrument. As she was dressing again (still part of the performance), it occurred to me that the piece was not nearly as out there as the description might sound, but it wasn't as coherent either, especially the wrapping of herself and the keyboard in what appeared to be a huge Ace bandage.

Next was Tso Chenguan's Three Pieces for piano, very capably performed by pianist Mihkail Dubov of the Moscow Ensemble of New Music. The music is a series interesting but not entirely engaging exercises in odd chromatics and Eastern serenity interrupted.

The rest of the first half was given to a series of wonderful songs of Paul Hindemith, performed wonderfully by the Swedish vocal quartet Vox. More about them later.

The second half began with Russian Gyorgy Voronov's intense and substantial I'm Looking At Mountains from A High Shore (Fantasy in Style of Li Bo) for flute, clarinet, piano, violin and cello, presented with consummate style and artistry by the Moscow Ensemble of New Music.

Then, finally, the first festival performance by The Lumina String Quartet - Dinu Ghezzo's Suite for clarinet and string quartet and Duke Ellington's Take the A Train for clarinet and string quartet, arranged by Paul Chihara. Both pieces were wonderfully performed, with the A Train especially grabbing the audience. Great work in the latter piece from clarinetist Philip Bashor and first violin Asya Meshberg who kept things sailing along melodically and cellist Jennifer DeVore who kept things swinging along rhythmically.

The repertoire that the quartet brought with them seemed very much to reflect the programming philosophy of the festival ­ keep it eclectic and keep it interesting. Of course, the quartet routinely constructs programs in this way, but it was wonderful, after so many hidebound Great Master, Great Master, quick piece of obligatory new music, Great Master, Great Master concerts by so many other groups and festivals to be part of these marvelous events.

More in Part 4.
Piano Man Update

The puzzling story of the so-called mute Piano Man musician found wandering on the south coast of England created a lot of attention. Bob Shingleton On An Overgrown Path reports the sad news is that the Piano Man is still in a hospital in England, and has not yet communicated with anyone. There seemed to be a small development this week when the Piano Man responded to a map of Norway, and case workers are now pursuing this as the only productive lead. It is sobering to think that the Piano Man was found on April 7th, and the mainstream media has now lost interest in the story. In the absence of further revelations it appears highly likely that the Piano Man saga is simply yet another tragic story of mental illness. As Bob says, "Perhaps we should reflect that mental illness affects so many people, from Robert Schumann to mere mortals."

Here at the ranch, Alan Theisen discovers that writing a three minute piece with melodies but no themes is harder than you might think and Lou Bunk considers the obvious...Good discussion going on in the Composers Forum about "classical" music's transformation from mainstream to subculture...Long, hot boring weekend underway here in America. Good time to put some stuff into the Wiki.
A Friday in July

Jenece Gerber reports from Brevard that festival participants now have software but, alas, no soft chairs...David H. Thomas explains why he loves playing spritzer music in ratty bandshells for audiences that aren't paying much attention (Hint: it's better than being unemployed)...Lawrence Dillon takes time out from the illuminations festival to go for a stroll and complain that somebody butchered his bio over in the Wiki...Tom Myron is still playing with reptiles...I'm off to Staten Island to visit a sick friend. Play nice and don't forget to Wiki.
Staggering download figures for new free BBC MP3 classical music files

In the week of the US Supreme Court Grokster ruling On An Overgrown Path looks at BBC Radio 3's new free MP3 file download service for classical music. The number of downloads for the BBC MP3 files of Beethoven Symphonies reported On An Overgrown Path are pretty staggering. And they again prompt the question as to whether this type of free service undermines, rather than expands, the 'paid for' market for classical music?
Stay the Course, Light at the End of the Tunnel Wednesday

Lawrence Dillon checks in with a report, and pictures, from Roanoke Island on North Carolina�s Outer Banks, site of the eighth annual illuminations festival. Lawrence is Music Director of the six-week festival which will present 66 performances in the next 40 days...Lou Bunk has joined us as the latest S21 blogger. He looks like he's going to be a lot of fun..Somebody please introduce a new topic over on the Composers Forum page. And, of course, Wiki.
AMC Names Henry Cowell Award Winners

David Behrman, Kristin Norderval, and Larry Polansky are the recipients of the inaugural Henry Cowell Award, presented by the Henry Cowell Estate and the American Music Center (AMC). The Cowell Award supports, encourages, and recognizes composers who exemplify the great American composer Henry Cowell's spirit of innovation and experimentalism in their work. Each composer receives a grant of $5,000 to help provide freedom to pursue his or her work without restriction. Recipients are asked to designate a work created during the award period as being supported in part by the Henry Cowell Estate, administered by the American Music Center.
Wiki fever at On An Overgrown Path

On An Overgrown Path adds to the Wiki fever with a post about 'Wiki' musical works which are the efforts of more than one composer. Examples are the extraordinary 19th century Messa per Rossini written by no less than thirteen Italian composers including Verdi, and the Mont Juic Suite which emerged from a collabaration between Benjamin Britten and Lennox Berkeley in the 1930's. But history has revealed the authorship of the individual movements of both these works. In true collabarative fashion On An Overgrown Path is looking for readers to nominate genuine Wiki works written by more than one composer, and where the authorship of individual movements has never been revealed.
Can the Internet Save New Music?

Would you pay a nominal fee to watch and listen to a performance of the Berlin Philharmonic or a live webcast from Covent Garden? The economics of the Internet make it possible to reach millions of people at a fraction of the cost of traditional broadcasting. Jeffrey Biegel, who performed the first online cyber-recital in 1997, believes webcasting could be the salvation for many orchestras and other struggling music organizations...Things are hopping over in the Wiki. Thanks to Richard Friedman, we've now figured out how to drop photographs in without overloading the S21 server...Still looking for folks who would like to blog here on the front page about summer festivals. Drop me a note if you're interested.
Monday, Monday

Elodie Lauten checks out the American Symphony Orchestra�s 2005-2006 season catalog and finds it like, totally retro, man...Jenece Gerber reports that the heat is on at Brevard...Lawrence Dillon wants to know if you've heard the one about the personal injury lawyer...We're naming scores and scoring names in the Composers Forum...And if you haven't Wiki-ed yet, what are you waiting for?

Elsewhere, who is Tan Dun's publicist? The man took about half of yesterday's New York Times.


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