Composer David Smooke’s “nonopera” Criminal Element will be performed in Brooklyn on Thursday and Saturday at JACK (ticket info here).
Apparently, the Thursday performance is already sold out (there’s a waiting list for tickets). Smooke is a wonderful composer and Rhymes with Opera has a devoted following – Add the presence of puppets, and you’ve got the recipe for an avant opera sellout!
SAMUEL ADLER: String Quartet No. 9 (2010)- Movement II (by AlbanyRecordsUSA)
Samuel Adler is such a fine craftsman.
Last week, I learned that I have been elected to the Board of Directors of the League of Composers – ISCM. I am honored and excited to be working with this organization. Thus, what follows is some cheering for the “home team.”
On Monday, June 17, the League’s finishes its 90th season with an orchestra concert at Miller Theatre. The program includes premieres of two works commissioned by the organization. Keith Fitch’s In Memory is written in memory of Frederick Fox, with whom Fitch studied at Indiana University. Wang Jie’s Oboe Concerto for the Genuine Heats of Sadness, which is co-commissioned by the Koussevitsky Foundation and Aspen Festival, is written for the extraordinary oboist Liang Wang. This past year, I’ve heard Wang assay the stratospheric tessitura of Poul Ruders’ concerto and the beautiful Oboe Quartet by Sean Shepherd; I’m eager to hear what he does with Wang Jie’s work. Recent pieces by Eve Beglarian and Bruce Adolphe will also be performed.
Commemorating longtime League member Elliott Carter, who passed away last year, the concert includes his brief fanfare Call. Highlighting the work of another recently deceased elder statesman, the concert will conclude with Leon Kirchner’s Suite from Lily. There will be an onstage discussion of Kirchner’s life and work.
Having just recently finished editing the entry on Kirchner for the forthcoming new edition of Grove’s Dictionary of American Music, I am particularly keen to hear this work live!
League of Composers Season Finale
Monday, June 17 at 8 PM
Hosted by John Schaefer, WNYC
Orchestra of the League of Composers
James Baker, Louis Karchin, conductors; Liang Wang, oboe;
Sharon Harms, soprano
Bruce Adolphe Crossing Broadway (2007)
Eve Beglarian Waiting for Billy Floyd (2010)
Wang Jie * Oboe Concerto for the Genuine Hearts of Sadness (2013)
Elliott Carter Call (2003)
Keith Fitch* In Memory (2013)
Leon Kirchner Lily, version for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble (1978)
* World premiere, League-ISCM commission
Tomorrow at the Art Museum In Racine, Wisconsin: Megan Ihnen is performing a piece of mine for alto and viola as part of the Fresh Inc. Festival. If you haven’t seen Megan’s blog entries about the festival, you should check ‘em out here.
Friday, June 14, 2013, 5:30-7:00pm
Racine Art Museum
441 Main Street
Racine, Wisconsin 53403
Walking Shadows, saxophonist Joshua Redman’s new Nonesuch CD, is a real pleasure to hear. The core quartet of Redman, pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Brian Blade are abetted by a chamber orchestra, which is given lush and spacious arrangements by Redman, Mehldau, Patrick Zimmerli, and Dan Coleman.
The recording features a number of standards, both old (“Easy Living,” “Lush Life,” and “The Folks Who Live on the Hill”), and new (John Mayer’s “Stop that Train”). When interpreting pop in a jazz orchestral context, there’s always the danger of “gilding the lily,” over-adorning the charts or the solos. Of course, it is impossible with tunes by Hammerstein and Kern, or by Lennon and McCartney (“Let it Be”), not to have their iconic stature and myriad interpretations set the bar very high for a new take on an old chestnut. Happily, this is that relatively uncommon recent release that leaves you enjoying what Redman and company have wrought, rather than immediately comparing it to the original.
The originals here, contributed by Redman and Mehldau, don’t pale in comparison to the “hit tunes” either. Mehldau is a known quantity as a persuasive musical creator; his “Last Glimpse of Gotham,” given supple strings and chiming pitched percussion backing, is, from an arranging standpoint, a standout track. It also contains one of Redman’s most potent ballad solos, arcing skyward and plumbing poignantly chromatic passageways in a contemplative cadenza. Redman’s own compositional language has become quite distinctive as well. His “Final Hour,” featuring a limpidly undulating accompaniment from Mehldau and the saxophonist unfurling one seamless legato line after another, is my favorite of his tunes to date. The album closer, Redman’s “Let Me Down Easy,” a ruminative minor key excursion with a haunting melody and impassioned solo playing from both Redman and Mehldau, is a memorable tune that is begging for a vocal rendition.
Final Hour is a compelling addition to the saxophonist’s discography.
On Tuesday June 11, a most welcome situation: I get to hear my music twice in one day!
C4 Ensemble sings “My Kiss is a Journey…” at St. Peter’s Church in NYC at 8 PM.
If you are free for either event, I hope you will join us!
On Thursday, June 6th, soprano Sara Noble premieres a new art song I’ve written for her at Montclair Art Museum.
Sara and Carl Patrick Bolleia (pictured above) both served with me as jurors to select the other works on the concert from submissions by NJ middle school, high school, and college composers. The works by these students are quite impressive!
Free concert at 7 PM. Sponsored by the museum and by NJ Arts Collective.
Marco Stroppa is one of the featured composers at this year’s Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood. I will be contributing program notes for the four works of his programmed on FCM concerts.