1. Kyle Gann recently posted Carolyn Yarnell’s piano piece The Same Sky on his blog. (Click here and scroll down for the link to the recording) He calls it “one of the most fantastic keyboard works anyone’s written in the last 20 years” and I have to agree. Kathleen Supové is the pianist, and she tears it up.
2. Swedish electronic rock duo The Knife was commissioned by a Danish performance company called Hotel Pro Forma to write an opera about Charles Darwin. The result, which was premiered in Copenhagen in September 2009, is called Tomorrow in a Year, and based on the material available on the web it looks extraordinary. Here’s The Knife’s Olof Dreijer talking about the project on the band’s website: “At first it was very difficult as we really didn’t know anything about opera. We’d never been to one. I didn’t even know what the word libretto meant. But after some studying, and just getting used to opera’s essence of pretentious and dramatic gestures, I found that there is a lot to learn and play with. In fact, our ignorance gave us a positive respectless approach to making opera. It took me about a year to become emotionally moved by an opera singer and now I really do. I really like the basic theatrical values of opera and the easy way it brings forward a narrative. We’ve approached this before in The Knife but never in such a clear way.”
Here’s “The Coloring of Pigeons:”
An album of music from the opera is slated for release on March 1st, 2010. I don’t see anything about plans to bring the production to the United States, but a guy can hope.