Latest Blogger Updates

What's New in the Composers Forum

CD Reviews


Latest Podcasts at

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, August 26, 2006
By Popular Demand

We have a new forum page called Sequenza21 Workspace. This is a place to post Calls for Scores and information about scores available for performance.

It is also intended to serve as a resource for information about the Sequenza21 Concert on November 20 at CUNY Graduate Center's Elebash Recital Hall, 34th and Fifth, 8 pm.

You can add other "practical" categories if you need them but I'd prefer to keep the really snappy comments over here at the blogs. You'll need to register to participate but it's simple.

This is your workspace. You asked for it. Keep it clean and tidy. Pick up after yourself. Play nice.

In that spirit, I need a moderately tech-savvy volunteer to serve as administrator/moderator. Duties are to check daily for spam, more than the usual obscenities, rampant sexism, racism, taoism and just plain nastiness and eliminate same and block perpetrators from future incursions. Familiarity with admin buttons a definite plus but the software is pretty simple. Hands?

Elsewhere, NewMusic Box has just published Judith Lang Zaimont's
+ essay The Matter of Style. Writes Judith: "The essay, written last spring, explores the point of view of composers, performers, and listeners, and examines the current safe strategy to 'advance by increment', rather than by giant steps. Among other things, it touches on the Symphony of Psalms, Popeye, Meet The Composer, Neal Hefti, 76 Trombones, American poetry, Marshall McLuhan and a short history of the variable-speed windshield wiper."

Modern Symphony has reprinted Carmen Tellez's article "The American Modern Ensemble Plays Steven Stucky at Tenri Cultural Center."
More Proms

When the Orchestra of St. Luke's and Donald Runnicles were done in by what might be called increased security regulations and were not able do get to the UK to do their Proms concert on August 17, The City of London Sinfonia and Paul Daniel were able to step in. They did the scheduled program: Stravinsky Dumbarton Oaks, Lutoslawski Paroles tissees, Wagner Siegfried Idyll, and Mozart Jupiter Symphony. Dumbarton Oaks got a performance that was, as it should be, both ebullient and incisive. The Lutoslawski, for tenor with an orchestra of strings, piano, harp, and percussion, is a setting of a poem by Jean-Francois Chabrun, written in 1965 for Peter Pears. The title means Woven Words, and is described as Four Tapestries for the Chatelaine of Vergy, the main character of a medieval French romance; the poems literally weaves images back and forth among its four sections. The music doesn't seem to try for the same sort of cross-referencing, but certainly aims at presenting the words and the singer clearly and making them the reference point for the structure of the piece. I had never heard this piece before, and I was pretty completely overwhelmed; as far as I'm concerned it's really a great piece (capital G, capital P). The performance by Ian Bostridge was magisterial.

The concert on August 18 featured the London Symphony conducted by Valery Gergiev. Shostakovich, by virtue of his centennial, is one of the featured composer of the Proms this year, and this concert included a number of excerpts from The Golden Age. I was, for some reason, a little sad that the Polka wasn't one of them. One thing this music makes clear is that a number of the characteristics of Shostakovich's later music which one tends to associate with his reaction to having been badly battered (to say the least) by life and the state were elements of his language to begin with. The Golden Age is extremely accomplished--especially in the entr'acte which is a version of Tea for Two (intellectual property was theft, apparently)--but mostly sort of unpleasant, if not downright repellent. Yuri Bashmet joined them for a performance of the Schnittke Viola Concerto, a big and impressive piece in three relentless movements which do most of the things that Schnittke pieces do, and
do them pretty well. It's almost unbearably dark and desparing, making Shostkovich seem like a smurf by comparison. The performance could hardly have given more of a sense of having been definitive.

Two days later, Gergiev returned (well, he'd really never left, since he also conducted the concert on the 19th), with soloists, the chorus and the orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatrek in tow, to perform the original version of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of the Mtsenk District. The opera, of course, is famous for being the excuse for the first big drubbing that Shostakovich received at the hands of Stalin's government, but it's music is not really terribly well known--by me, anyway; I'd never heard it. It's a big, sprawling, copletely masterly, wildly imaginative, impressive thing--aiming to be a real crowd pleaser, and maybe like The Magic Flute, for instance, to accomplish that by having a little something of everything. It's maybe not surprising, then, that it isn't completely consistently successful (also like the Magic Flute). The first half, particularly the second act is absolutely edge of the seat, nail-biting compelling. The second half is a little slacker dramatically. There's a big sort of Gilbert and Sullivan number with the police, who are presented as Key Stone Cops, but malicious as well as completely incompetent. It's very funny and pretty great, but it's sylistically incongruous and more than a little distracting to the progress of things. Katerina, the Lady Macbeth, has lots and lots of very beautiful music, particularly a big aria in the first act and another, mostly accomplanied only by English Horn, in the last, and Larisa Gogolevskaya made a meal of it, as did everybody else involved, both singers and players.

It can't be said often enough, since it's such a good thing, that all of the Proms can be listened to on line for a week after they're broadcast, so you can check these out at

Yet more to come...
Stacks and Stacks of Letters

Dear Jerry,

I received your email through Ian Moss. Perhaps you could assist me.

I am a conductor living in Toronto, Canada. I am starting a choir of women's voices that will perform works of the 20th and 21st centuries. I am looking for new works to perform. Ian suggested that I post a "Call for Scores" through you and the Sequenza21 site.

Can you tell me how I go about doing this? Should I post something on my
site for you to link to?

Let me know?
thanks very much
Sarah John
Tower Records, R.I.P. or Maybe Not

There's bad news for those of us who have spent hundreds of happy hours drooling over CDs at Tower Records' iconic classical music department at 66th and Broadway. The largest and nearly last of the deep-catalog brick and mortar retailers has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time in two years after being cut off by major suppliers for failing to pay its bills.

MTS Inc., the corporate parent of the 89-store chain said that it planned to keep Tower up and running as a "going concern" while a new owner is sought. If no buyer is found, the stores could be closed for good although surely the Tower brand will live on as an online retailer. Glenn Freeman reminds us that also hard hit by the news are smaller record companies like OgreOgress who will have to take a number behind the big guys to get paid.

And what will happen to all those lonely old men (always men) who lurk around the shelves waiting to ask you what you think of a particular version of Till Eulenspiegels lustige so they can spend the next half hour telling you that the Sawallisch version--which they happened to catch in Vienna in 1971--is the only version worth having but is, sadly, out of print?
Tehran SO Plays ... Zappa?!

Noted in today's New York Times "Arts, Briefly," I had to know more.

This orchestra, beset by all the problems you'd expect from a western orchestra in Iran, still managed to present a concert with three new works out of five. I think that's just incredible. Some foundation should give them a big fat grant. Here's the full AP release.

I don't want to push the previous post too far down the page, so I won't add the details here unless requested.
Coming Attractions

Avian Music is a contemporary music ensemble whose efforts to build bridges between audiences, performers, and composers has occasioned an ongoing series of thematic
concerts on such unlikely notions as birds and music; sports-inspired music performed in a 19th century gymnasium, and a Valentine’s Day concert of songs of love, lust, sex, and jealousy, featuring the burlesque performer Miss Dirty Martini.

Avian Music's next concert, at Tenri Cultural Institute on Friday, September 8, is called Spontaneous Combustion and is built around the vast improvisation skills of uber-pianist Blair McMullen, a modern master of the nearly lost art of musical extemporization. The formal program will include two commissioned world premieres written specifically for this evening: a solo piece by NYC-downtown composer Annie Gosfield and Avian Music founder Peter Flint's perpetual-motion semi-improvised “Microconcerto” for string quartet and piano. Also on the program will be Charles Ives' “3 Improvisations”, CPE Bach's “Eb Major Fantasia” (Wq 58/6), Giacinto Scelsi's tranquil "Un Adieu”, Morton Feldman's graphically-notated, aleatoric “Intersection 3”, two movements from Kyle Gann's jazzy, melancholic “Private Dances”, a New York premiere, and McMillen’s trio arrangement (piano, elec. guitar, double bass) of rock band King Crimson's 1969 ditty “21st-Century Schizoid Man”.

A couple of other great concerts coming up this weekend. Secret Society, an 18-piece band led by composer and S21 regular Darcy James Argue will venture outside its usual downtown haunts for gigs in Queens and Brooklyn.

First, on Saturday, August 26, Darcy and the boysuh, (that's how Lawrence Welk used to say it, for those of you too young to remember) will appear at Flux Factory () in Long Island City, as the house band for the annual party hosted by popular science and culture blog 3 Quarks Daily. Flux Factory is usually located at 38-38 43rd Street, Queens. Doors are at 9:00 PM, and Secret Society goes on at 10:30 PM. Cover is $5.

Then on Sunday, August 27, the band will play Park Slope's newest music venue, Union Hall, a club that has been known for the indoor bocce courts upstairs, patronized by guys with names like Paulie Walnuts, and the indie rock shows downstairs. Union Hall is at 702 Union Street (at 5th Avenue), Brooklyn. Doors are at 7:00 PM, music at 8:00 PM. Cover is $10.

The concerts are notable because they re-unite Darcy with an old NEC classmate and advocate, drummer Richie Barshay, who has spent the last three years touring with Herbie Hancock. Other players new to the Society, but not to Argue's music, include trumpeters Matt Shulman and Jacob Varmus, saxophonists Aaron Irwin and Mark Small, and bassist Ike Sturm.

Our amiga Alex Shapiro was recently interviewed by the online music magazine Tokafi where she answered a few burning questions about contemporary music, composing, and the many uses of cornflakes. "I suppose I like this particular interview because I was mercifully succinct in my responses, as opposed to the usually long-winded air bag so many of you know and put up with," she says. Frankly, I could listen to Alex talk for years. Here's the link to the interview.

Speaking of friends, there's a brand new "social networking" site for classical composers and musicians called Classical Lounge. Looks pretty neat and a lot of S21 regulars are already there. If you're in my address book, you probably got an invitation from me to join. (If you're not in my address book and are interested, send me a note and I'll have them send you an invitation.)

I think these kind of sites are valuable for getting your work out there but if you really want to know what I think of social networking web sites as a proxy for the real world, read my latest at Enterprise Web 2.0.


12/19/2004 - 12/25/2004 12/26/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/02/2005 - 01/08/2005 01/09/2005 - 01/15/2005 01/16/2005 - 01/22/2005 01/23/2005 - 01/29/2005 01/30/2005 - 02/05/2005 02/06/2005 - 02/12/2005 02/13/2005 - 02/19/2005 02/20/2005 - 02/26/2005 02/27/2005 - 03/05/2005 03/06/2005 - 03/12/2005 03/13/2005 - 03/19/2005 03/20/2005 - 03/26/2005 03/27/2005 - 04/02/2005 04/03/2005 - 04/09/2005 04/10/2005 - 04/16/2005 04/17/2005 - 04/23/2005 04/24/2005 - 04/30/2005 05/01/2005 - 05/07/2005 05/08/2005 - 05/14/2005 05/15/2005 - 05/21/2005 05/22/2005 - 05/28/2005 05/29/2005 - 06/04/2005 06/05/2005 - 06/11/2005 06/12/2005 - 06/18/2005 06/19/2005 - 06/25/2005 06/26/2005 - 07/02/2005 07/03/2005 - 07/09/2005 07/10/2005 - 07/16/2005 07/17/2005 - 07/23/2005 07/24/2005 - 07/30/2005 07/31/2005 - 08/06/2005 08/07/2005 - 08/13/2005 08/14/2005 - 08/20/2005 08/21/2005 - 08/27/2005 08/28/2005 - 09/03/2005 09/04/2005 - 09/10/2005 09/11/2005 - 09/17/2005 09/18/2005 - 09/24/2005 09/25/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/02/2005 - 10/08/2005 10/09/2005 - 10/15/2005 10/16/2005 - 10/22/2005 10/23/2005 - 10/29/2005 10/30/2005 - 11/05/2005 11/06/2005 - 11/12/2005 11/13/2005 - 11/19/2005 11/20/2005 - 11/26/2005 11/27/2005 - 12/03/2005 12/04/2005 - 12/10/2005 12/11/2005 - 12/17/2005 12/18/2005 - 12/24/2005 12/25/2005 - 12/31/2005 01/01/2006 - 01/07/2006 01/08/2006 - 01/14/2006 01/15/2006 - 01/21/2006 01/22/2006 - 01/28/2006 01/29/2006 - 02/04/2006 02/05/2006 - 02/11/2006 02/12/2006 - 02/18/2006 02/19/2006 - 02/25/2006 02/26/2006 - 03/04/2006 03/05/2006 - 03/11/2006 03/12/2006 - 03/18/2006 03/19/2006 - 03/25/2006 03/26/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/02/2006 - 04/08/2006 04/09/2006 - 04/15/2006 04/16/2006 - 04/22/2006 04/23/2006 - 04/29/2006 04/30/2006 - 05/06/2006 05/07/2006 - 05/13/2006 05/14/2006 - 05/20/2006 05/21/2006 - 05/27/2006 05/28/2006 - 06/03/2006 06/04/2006 - 06/10/2006 06/11/2006 - 06/17/2006 06/18/2006 - 06/24/2006 06/25/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/02/2006 - 07/08/2006 07/09/2006 - 07/15/2006 07/16/2006 - 07/22/2006 07/23/2006 - 07/29/2006 07/30/2006 - 08/05/2006 08/06/2006 - 08/12/2006 08/13/2006 - 08/19/2006 08/20/2006 - 08/26/2006 08/27/2006 - 09/02/2006 09/03/2006 - 09/09/2006 09/10/2006 - 09/16/2006

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to this feed listing