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Jerry Bowles
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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, January 21, 2006
New Kid On the Block

Please welcome Jeffrey Sackmann to the S21 bloggerhood. Jeff begins with a review of the Beata Moon-produced "composer=performer" concert at the Thalia in Symphony Space Thursday night, featuring John King, Joan La Barbara, and Todd Reynolds...Blackdogred says if you like William Gaddis, you'll love Donald Harington...In the Composers Forum, David Salvage and the lads (and occasional lassie) are talking dynamics.
The World's Most Famous Unknown Composer

In every field of endeavor, there are people who are famous for being unknown. William Gaddis in literature, for example, or my old friend Steve Lacy in jazz. Still, I wonder if Osvaldo Golijov is really "the best kept secret in contemporary music," as Salon maintains. Blackdogred seeks enlightenment.

The short answer is that Golijov is so unknown that Lincoln Center kicks off a month-long Passion of Golijov festival Sunday afternoon at 3 pm at the Rose Theater with Ainadamar (Fountain of Tears), his opera exploring the female characters in Federico Garcia Lorca's work and life. Here's a review from Alex Ross. Upcoming concerts include Ayre with Dawn Upshaw, the St. Lawrence Quartet playing Yiddishbuk and the Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind, and the incredible St. Mark Passion. A secret? Hardly. As well-known as social flyspeck Paris Hilton? Well, no...

Lawrence Dillon ponders the value of competitions.
On the Town

Here are a couple of dates to consider for your dining and dancing pleasure. The second and final composer=performer: plugged & unplugged concert produced by Beata Moon will take place tonight at Symphony Space at 7:30pm featuring composers John King, Joan La Barbara and Todd Reynolds playing their own music.

The Da Capo Chamber Players will perform music by Eric Moe, Derek Bermel, Michael Gordon, Gene Pritsker, Philippe Hurel, Martin Bresnick and the world premiere of The Day Revisted by Kyle Gann, written especially for Da Capo, next Tuesday night (January 24) at The Knitting Factory, Tap Bar, beginning at 7:30pm. Kyle, himself, will be tickling the ivories--whatever that means.

Jay Batzner has just finished his dissertation but thinks it's too early for the single malt...Tom Myron's music inspires a poem...Lanier Sammons reviews a Jack Reilly CD.

Now Playing: Sonatas for cello and piano, Channel Classics. Pieter Wispelwey and Dejan Lazic play Shostakovich, Britten, Prokofiev. Doesn't get any better than this.
Ghost Stories

Steve Smith reports a terrific piece of news he picked up at last night's Hear & Now concert--the Met is bringing back John Corigliano's The Ghost of Versailles. No details or dates yet but--for those of us who remember the 1991 Met premiere with reverence--it's a cause for celebration...To blog or not to blog? Frank J. Oteri ponders the modern world's most pressing existential question.

Now Playing: North, Naive. The great French a capella choir Accentus, led this time by the Swede Eric Ericson, mine Scandinavia's rich and deep vein of choral music with extraordinarily rewarding results. It's hard to go wrong when you're singing the works of Sibelius, Kuula, Rautavaraa, Jaakko M�ntyj�rvi, and other gifted shamen of the land of the midnight sun. Accentus makes the most of the opportunity.
Last Night in L.A. - 20th Century Masters

Ravel, Stravinsky, Ligeti, Boulez (and the lunar influence of Schoenberg) were the subject of last night�s "Green Umbrella" concert of the Los Angeles Philharmonic�s new music group. The music may not have been "new," but it did present challenges to audience and players. The concert began with Ligeti and ended with Boulez; songs by Stravinsky and Ravel provided the lyrical leavening in the middle.

The Chamber Concerto for 13 instrumentalists (1970) by Ligeti is a bracing way to begin a concert: a cocktail of cold gin. [Clips of all four movements are here. The work has most of the elements of Ligeti�s mature style, especially the sounds of mice scurrying around the granary. The Phil�s Assistant Director Alexander Mickelthwaite is a young conductor on his way up, and he did well with this work. He�ll soon be music director of one of our major orchestras; he�s now at the stage where it seems more a matter of lucky timing and exposure.

Joana Carneiro, conducting fellow of the orchestra, then conducted eight songs for soprano and chamber group by Stravinsky and Ravel. Even while finishing Rite of Spring, Stravinsky was attracted by the group of musicians he heard at a Berlin concert of Schoenberg�s Pierrot Lunaire. Stravinsky rewrote a song for soprano and piano to use the Pierrot ensemble, which he modified to add more color, expanding the ensemble with an additional flute/piccolo, an additional clarinet/bass clarinet, and an additional violin. He liked that, and introduced the approach to his friend Ravel with whom he was working on a project. Ravel liked the approach as well, as did another mutual friend, Maurice Delage; their songs using this combination were premiered in Paris in 1914. Forty years later, Stravinsky came back to the combination one more time, rescoring two additional songs for the combination. In last night�s concert, the group performed Stravinsky�s Two Poems of Balmont (1911/1954), Three Japanese Lyrics (1913), and Ravel�s Three Poems of St�phane Mallarm� (1913). Hila Plitmann, whom we last heard in Salonen�s Wing on Wing, sang. She established a slightly different style for each group of songs, even changing her posture as well as her communication with the audience. Carneiro and Plitmann brought out all of the colors of the music.

After intermission, Mickelthwaite came back to conduct a sextet and a mezzo in Le marteau sans maitre (1955) by Boulez in his own, unique reaction to Pierrot. Is this a great work? I�m sorry, but I still can�t tell, because this work still does not communicate with me and I still fail to understand it. I�ve gotten to the point where I can appreciate some things: the interesting low timbre of the alto flute, mezzo, viola, and guitar; the color provided by the vibraphone, xylorimba, and percussion. But I�m still at the stage that if I play a CD of the work, I find myself doing something other than listening after about 15 minutes; when at a concert, I sit quietly and find myself thinking of something else. My applause was really for the excellent playing of the flute by our long-time principal.
Beating the Donkey, Beating the Bushes

What do we know about Cyro Baptista? Blackdogred wants to know. Jay C. Batzner wants a job. I could use a nap and I've only been up for a couple of hours.

Anthony Tomassini writes in the New York Times that for his money "Ligeti is our greatest living composer."

Ivan Hewett reviews Get Carter! at the Barbican for the Telegraph:
When he's working at white heat (as in the miraculous Symphony of Three Orchestras, which rounded off the weekend) his abstract processes are exhilarating, like witnessing the flickerings of thought itself.

Without that heat, though, you become aware of how ruthless Carter has been in his quest for abstraction - a certain finicky weightlessness creeps into the music.
There's a lively discussion going on in the Composers Forum between those who "get" Carter and those who don't.
A Day for Dreamers

"Ah, music! What a beautiful art! But what a wretched profession," wrote Georges Bizet in 1867. Things haven't changed all that much in the past century plus, but Lawrence Dillon's advice to young composers is this: "...stick with it � and someday your reward will also be your loss. This part of your life can be awfully tough, but some of us, at least, are rooting for you."

Now Playing: Autour de Messiaen, music by Tremblay, Reverdy, Murail, Chen. Ensemble Parall�le, San Francisco New Music Ensemble, Nicole Paiement, conductor. MSR Classics. The enrichment of tonality through the use of "modes of limited transpositions," as the Master put it. Splendid performances of works by four followers of the 20th century composer who came closest to decoding the language of God.
Last Night in L.A. - A Recording Session

Yesterday�s Philharmonic concert was a recording session, the first in Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the first recording for the LA Phil in four years. The recordings began with the Thursday performance of the program; a fifth performance will occur today (without audience) to get any final sound bites for the eventual release by DG. The Los Angeles Philharmonic once had to travel to get good acoustics for recordings, even if the travel was a short trip by freeway to the West Side to UCLA�s Royce Hall. It�s great to have the acoustics in the home auditorium; it�s a joy to have an auditorium able to handle the full range of dynamics, from ppp to fffff. So in 2007 watch for DG to issue a new Philharmonic/Salonen recording of The Rite of Spring, accompanied by Bartok�s Miraculous Mandarin Suite and the Moussorgsky orchestration of Night on Bald Mountain. I�m not sure that the world really needs one more recording of any of these warhorses, but it will be good in the future to have proof of the sheer electricity and power of Salonen�s conducting and the musicians� playing.

The concert itself wasn�t quite what the recording will be. Rather than Bald Mountain, we had a first half of Bartok: the Miraculous Mandarin Suite (1924) followed by the Second Piano Concerto (1931) played by Lang Lang. The pianist showed none of the mannerisms for which he has been so criticized; the only possible comparison with Liberace was the velvet suit, but Lang�s was in black, with not a single rhinestone. The preceding Tuesday night he was also a model of chamber music partnership when playing with members of the Phil in the Chamber series. You get the feeling that in addition to gaining a little more maturity (he�s still only 23) he read some of the negative reviews and decided that he didn�t want to be remembered that way. Lang has all of the technical skills to handle the Bartok, and it�s good to see and hear him expand his repertoire beyond the Romantics. The concerto�s second movement with its duet for piano and tympani was lovely. Considering all of the music surrounding it, not only in the first and third movements but in the first and third works on the program, that second movement was the only opportunity in the whole concert for an audience to just relax and take a deep breath.

And wasn�t it terrific to have the New York Times print such a good review of our little band and its conductor and the fact that our programming includes composers who are still alive and writing, even if their names aren�t "Carter." Actually, to be fair, the programming of the New York Philharmonic isn�t that bad--for 1925, Carter aside.


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