Blogger Updates

RSS Christian Carey

RSS Jay C. Batzner

RSS Lawrence Dillon

CD Reviews


Cast and Crew

Editor:
Steve Layton

Managing Editor

Christian Carey

Contributing Editors:
Galen H. Brown

Chris Becker
Armando Bayolo
Garrett Schumann
Wes Flinn
Rob Deemer
Paul Bailey
Polly Moller
Ilona Oltuski
Elliot Cole
Ed Lawes
Scott Unrein
Iván Sparrow
James Holt
Lanier Sammons
Rodney Lister
Jerry Zinser

Zookeeper:   
Jerry Bowles
(212) 582-3791

Founding Publisher:
Duane Harper Grant

Send Review CDs to:
Chrisitan Carey
218 Augusta Street
South Amboy NJ 08879




Featured Release


BRIDGE
3 Disks
For Christian Wolff
Morton Feldman
California Ear Unit

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

Music Blogs

.............................


Listen Online:

RSS Scott Unrein’s Nonpop Podcast


Kalvos & Damian!
& Noizepunk and Das Krooner

The longest-running New & Nonpop music program on the web.

Counterstream Radio
Streaming radio from New Music USA.

Q2 Music - WQXR
New York-based online station devoted to the music of living composers.

Admin

Tanglewood Highlights 3: Humoresque and Homages

Fred Ho's Fanfare. Photo: Hilary Scott.

Fred Ho, Fanfare for the Creeping Meatball: This brief yet buoyant brass fanfare got played at the beginning of every FCM concert. But its jazz noir ambience, jocular rhythms, and even its campy “B-movie scream” (which, on Sunday night, caused unsuspecting Tanglewood fellows assembling onstage to leap out of their seats!) never wore out their welcome. New music gatherings tend to take on a somber demeanor and earnest programming needs to be leavened with a bit of humor. Ho’s piece fit the bill perfectly.

________

Milton Babbitt, It Takes Twelve to Tango and No Longer Very Clear: During the Festival of Contemporary Music, Tanglewood celebrated recently deceased composer Milton Babbitt (1916-2011) with several performances in his honor. Alas, we arrived too late in the week to get to hear Fred Sherry’s rendition of the late cello composition More Melismata. But judging by Babbitt memorials earlier in 2011 at which Sherry has shared the work, we would have gladly heard it again.

It Takes Twelve to Tango (1984) was Babbitt’s contribution to Yvar Mikhashof’s tango collection. Pianist Ursula Oppens included it on her FCM solo recital on August 7th. The piece is more explicitly referential of a regular dance rhythm than is Babbitt’s usual wont; even more so than the veiled references to swing era jazz that sporadically occur throughout his catalog. Still, the piece provides plenty of twists and turns that upend the usual tango form in favor of bustling counterpoint and playful misdirection. And yes, true to the punning title’s promise, Babbitt doesn’t dispense with dodecaphony, allowing his rigorous approach to commingle with a bit of witty humor in this occasional work.

At the morning concert on Sunday, August 7th, Soprano Adrienne Pardee and a small ensemble led by conductor Stefan Asbury performed Babbitt’s No Longer Very Clear (1994), a setting of a poem by John Ashbery. This piece isn’t heard as much as some of Babbitt’s other vocal pieces: a pity, as it a thoughtful and nuanced treatment of an intriguing poem, with shimmering instrumental textures and a delicately spun vocal line. Pardee, a TCM fellow, demonstrated a lovely tone, impressive control, and rapt attention to the score’s myriad details: wide-ranging dynamics, tricky rhythms, varied articulations, and abundant chromaticism.  Both she and the instrumentalists did so well that Asbury, remarking that it was, after all, a short piece, asked them to repeat it; which they did, making the work’s charms even more abundantly clear.

Comments

Comment from Garrett Schumann
Time: August 19, 2011, 5:25 pm

I didn’t know about the tradition of having brass quintet fanfare open every concert at Tanglewood, and I find it interesting because they do something similar here at the Aspen Music Festival.

The big differences are:

1. the quintet plays before the second half of a large orchestra concert only (so, during intermission)
2. they play whatever they want, a liberal policy which yielded a performance of “The Final Countdown” a couple evenings ago