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340 W. 57th Street, 12B, New York, NY 10019

Jerry Bowles
(212) 582-3791

Managing Editor:
David Salvage

Contributing Editors:

Galen H. Brown
Evan Johnson
Ian Moss
Lanier Sammons
Deborah Kravetz
Eric C. Reda
Christian Hertzog
(San Diego)
Jerry Zinser
(Los Angeles)

Web & Wiki Master:
Jeff Harrington

Latest Posts

Love and Cow Bells
Sorceress of the New Piano
Well, That Was Fun
Naxos Dreaming
Reich@70: Let the Celebrations Begin
The Bi-Coastal Jefferson Friedman
Violins Invade Indianapolis
John Cage (born Los Angeles, 5 September 1912; died New York, 12 August 1992).
The People United Will Never Be Divided
Attention Sequenza21 Shoppers


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, October 22, 2005
Oy, Vey

Every few months I write something here about needing CD reviewers and two or three people respond and I go to the post office and mail a batch of ten or so disks by priority mail. Sometimes, I get a review or two back in a couple of weeks and then there are these long periods of silence; once in awhile I never hear from said person again. The lesson, I suppose, is that we all have good intentions and like to get free CDs but we don't put a great priority on what is, after all, a volunteer effort. This is understandable but not really fair to the record companies and individual composers who are nice enough to provide us with CDs. (In a previous life, I was a Jewish mom.)

My point is, I need a couple of volunteer reviewers who will actually write reviews. I'd also like to find some specialists; for example, I have a couple of hot-looking guitar/electronic CDs--Dominic Frasca's Deviations on Cantaloupe and KastingSiefried's Scaler Fields on GreyDisc--that I would like to have reviewed by a composer/guitarist or, maybe, just guitarist. I give most of the piano stuff to David Salvage because he is a pianist but I get all kinds of stuff. If trombone is your thing, or clarinet, or percussion, of whatever, let me know and I'll hook you up with your speciality. But, you actually have to write the review.

And speaking of reviews, see Lawrence Dillon's performance review that is not quite a review.
Zen and the Art of Composing

Those of you of a certain vintage will recall a bestselling book from some years back called Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance. For those who missed it, I'll summarize: there are two kinds of motorcycle enthusists. One is romantics, for whom the value of motocycles is the way they make you feel when you ride them, the thrill of getting the motor running, getting out on the highway, heading for adventure, whatever comes your way. The second group is classical thinkers, for whom the value and fun of motorcycles lies in understanding completely how they work; their maintenance, fine-tuning the engine, calibrating the performance, getting the math right.

This small, but profound, conceit translates rather neatly to composers, it seems to me, and explains a lot about Uptown and Downtown and the kind of composers who write requiems for dead friends and those who don't.
Terry Riley - Requiem for Adam

Thirty-nine years ago today on 21st October 1966 144 people died, 116 of them children, when abnormal rainfall caused a mountain of coal waste to collapse onto a school at Aberfan, near Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. The disaster happened just as pupils of Pantglas Junior School (right) were starting their morning lessons.

The death of a young person is a most tragic and moving event. It is also one of the hardest to express through music. But Terry Riley responded to the challenge beautifully with his Requiem for Adam.

Requiem for Adam is rooted in another tragedy. On Easter Sunday 1995 Adam Harrington died of natural causes while walking with his family on Mount Diablo, near San Francisco. Adam was the sixteen year old son of Kronos leader David Harrington. Terry Riley knew Adam well, and was moved to write a string quartet memorial. The work is in three movements. The two outer ones are for string quartet alone. The middle movement, Cortejo Funebre en el Monte Diablo, combines the quartet with an electronic soundtrack of horns, bells, electronic percussion and gongs in a moving procession of sound. The superb Kronos recording includes a coda in the form of a solo improvisation by Reilly inspired by Pandit Pran Nath.

Requiem for Adam is one of those works we all wish had never been written. It must have been very difficult for Riley to write, and even more difficult for the Kronos to play. Terry Riley says that he composed the Requiem to resolve the sadness shared with Adam's family, and we are privileged to be able to share in that experience on today of all days.

For more on the Aberfan tragedy and Requiem for Adam take An Overgrown Path

Picture credits:
Aberfan - Wilson Almanac
Album sleeve - Musicweb

Keep twiddling the knobs Stocky...........

The Guardian's arts correspondent Charlotte Higgins on the price of tickets for tomorrow's Stockhausen concert in London....

'I was taken aback to be told the price was �35 ($63) per ticket. After all, it's not much more tha an hour of music. And, though he's a living legend and all that, he's only one bloke twiddling some knobs. It's not like there's an orchestra, a choir and five expensive divas to pay for. '

Photo credit: Soeren Stache/EPA via Guardian

There are more stories like this On An Overgrown Path
Breaking News

Charles Ives and Tom Petty were both born on October 20.
Criticism and Mortality

The most notorious response to a music critic ever is probably that of Max Reger who famously wrote to one tin-eared antagonist: "I am sitting in the smallest room in my house. I have your review in front of me. Soon it will be behind me."

Our e-mail pal Ricky Ian Gordon has a different strategy--he has friends check reviews before he does and if they're negative, he doesn't read them. Thus, he was no doubt spared the rather snarky and somewhat incoherent review of Orpheus and Euridice by John Rockwell in the New York Times. But, he definitely must love Peter G. Davis' review in New York magazine as well as Michael Feingold and Deborah Jowitt in the Village Voice.

David Toub has a positive review of a new CD of Steve Reich's music, conducted by Grant Gershon with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and featuring Maya Beiser.

Okay, this is a little morbid but when you're over 60 you're allowed. What piece of music would you like played at your memorial service? I'm torn between Shostakovich's Eighth String Quartet and Janacek's Piano Sonata 1. X. 1905...with a little bluegrass for the wine and cheese reception afterwards.

Oh, nice article in today's Times about the Saw Lady. Did you know that Marlene Dietrich also played the saw?
Operation Sweet Dreams

Check this out: a musical pillow to help troops in Iraq sleep well.
What Becomes a Legend Most?

An accordian, of course. Corey Dargel has details on a rare Pauline Oliveros appearance in these environs tomorrow night and there's a discount for Sequenza21 readers...Which reminds me that Arnold Rosner has some free tickets to his 60th birthday concert at Merkin for those of you who ply these waters and Sean Ortega Murphy would like to give you a free CD of Jack Reilly playing the piano. Next week, we start our Green Stamps program.

Elodie Lauten revisted her hometown last week and reports that Parisian chefs have abandoned nouvelle cuisine and are once more horrifying vegetarians with meats and heavy sauces. Personally, I find this news immensely gratifying.

And, by the way, I hate accordians. Well, actually, there was this jazz player named Art Van Damme a long time ago who wasn't bad but nobody but me would remember him.
Xenakis and alternatives to the internet

'The internet is transforming our relationship with recorded music and with musicians. The virtual world of the internet shatters the record as an object into sound files of poor quality, ignoring the attractions of a stimulating editorial approach: the high quality of sound recording and its digital mastering, richly informative booklets, original paintings.'

These may be the words of French record producer Franck Jaffr�s (below), but he is certainly not a technophobe trying to block the inevitable march of technology. With co-founder Sylvie Br�lyhe he has created one of the most exciting new record labels for years - Zig-Zag Territoires. And their innovative musical approach coupled with superb engineering and beautiful packaging is winning them a lot of supporters - and sales. They aren't denying the existence of the internet, their own website is comprehensive, and offers sample MP3 files. But they are concentrating on the established media of CD and DVD to deliver their product, and to showcase their core values of musical, technical and design excellence.

Zig-Zag Territoires' release schedule certainly isn't cautious. For instance they have a hybrid CD/DVD release that couples an audio recording of Xenakis' Okho, Psappha and Rebonds A & B played by the young Portugese percussionist Pedro Carneiro (lead picture) with video interviews featuring the musicologist Makis Solomos and Makhi Xenakis. (The composer�s daughter is an exciting artist in her own right - check that link). They also have a new CD release of quartets from Webern, Arnold Schoenberg (n�2), and Alban Berg (op.3) played by the Quatuor Manfred. The wide-ranging catalogue of Zig-Zag Territoires combines 20th century works with a particular strength in baroque music.

We need more companies like Zig-Zag Territoires who refuse to blindly dance to the two remorseless rythms of reducing prices and internet downloads. Franck Jaffr�s and his colleagues are causing quite a stir in the classical recording industry with their refreshing alternative approach. On An Overgrown Path has the full story, and an audio file from another of their exciting projects, read all about it in Mortal defeat for the mob in Paris.

Image credits:
Pedro Carneiro -
Franck Jaffres - Zig-Zag Territoires

Last Night in L.A. - Beethoven With a Knussen Touch

Yesterday�s Phil concert continued the Salonen mix of contemporary works with the Beethoven symphonies; this program combined the Fourth and Sixth symphonies with Oliver Knussen�s Violin Concerto (2002). We last heard this work in June when the Cleveland came west and traveled to the Ojai Festival where William Preucil played the concerto with Welser-Most conducting.

It�s not fair to compare a performance outdoors, with amplification, by a band near the end of a tour, with a performance by a group at their home hall, where they are now very comfortable and where the sound is great, but I�ll do it anyway. Yesterday�s performance, with Leila Josefowicz on violin, and Salonen conducting (of course), was head and shoulders better, giving the music snap and sparkle and sheer style. Besides being a talented musician, Josefowicz has done some really good work with contemporary music, notably the Adams Violin Concerto and, now, Dharma at Big Sur on the electric violin. Our subscription seats are next to two house seats, and Josefowicz� aide was sitting there (joined by gorgeous Leila herself after intermission); he said that she would be playing the Knussen concerto, with Knussen as conductor, later this season.

The concert began with Beethoven�s Pastoral. It sounded, well, like something 200 years old. After intermission, however, Salonen�s conducting of the Beethoven Fourth brought out how daring, how radical, Beethoven must have seemed to his contemporaries and the work was fresh and exciting.
What Makes It Seem So Exciting?

The sun is out, the server is up, it's an autumn in New York kind of day. Lawrence Dillon has some well-chosen words for Our Leader; Anthony Cornicello comes to praise Apple's customer service for understanding that a guy just doesn't want to be separated from his iPod; and Jacob Sudol has a go at spectralism and all that.

And, now that you're warmed up, check out the Composers Forum. Daniel Goode has conceived, and is field-testing, a solution to THE ORCHESTRA PROBLEM which is one of the regular topics around here. He's still refining the idea and would like your feedback.


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