August 9, 2012
LENOX, MA – Enjoyed the first evening of Tanglewood’s 2012 Festival of Contemporary Music. Got to hear Sean Shepherd’s “These Particular Circumstances,” for which I wrote the program notes, again, which was quite fine. Also Elliott Carter’s Double Trio, which has its moments, but is not one of my favorites from his late catalog. Still, if I can still write quarter notes when I’m over a hundred years old, I’ll count myself blessed; so I shouldn’t quibble too much.
Cantus Iambeus by Harrison Birtwistle, another one of his pieces dealing with imperfect synchronizations, was the standout of the evening, both in terms of the performance and the material. Nice orchestrations – some imaginative colors – in a set of songs for soprano and chamber forces from Luke Bedford.
Niccolo Castiglioni is known for writing almost exclusively above middle C. True to form, his “Quickly” is oriented toward altissimo registers and deconstructed sections, most for fragments of the orchestra. Given its propensity for piccolo solos and bristling bell work, it occasionally felt a bit like a dystopian Bolero designed to set hound dogs baying.
Friday’s itinerary includes a piano recital by Gloria Cheng, for which I wrote program notes, followed by an evening in Williamstown for dinner and a play. Lovely to be back in the Berkshires.