Archive for the “Classical Music” Category
One of my two favorite young conductors, Brad Lubman (the other is Alan Pearson) is leading the large ensemble Signal in the American premier of The Corridor by Sir Harrison Birtwistle, one of the most prominent figures in European contemporary music, at Merkin on May 27. A 40-minute scena, The Corridor is scored for two voices, soprano and tenor, and an ensemble of flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, and a harp functioning as an Orphic lyre.
The highlight of the evening, however, is apparently the world premiere of Stabat Mater by the seemingly inevitable Nico Muhly.
Which leads to this week’s rude question: is Nico Muhly a) the dreams and prayers of a grateful music world or b) not so much? Discuss.
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For those who think that DG’s days of deluxe packaging are over, one only need check out one of today’s releases, Osvaldo Golijov’s La Pasión segun San Marcos to realize that, given the right project, the imprint is up for going all out. The box includes the debut 2xCD studio recording of a revised edition of the work alongside a handsomely filmed semi-staged version on DVD. (A trailer for the film is below).
Premiered in 2000 (a live recording was released by Haenssler), La Pasión is an ebulliently eclectic composition. Golijov blends a number of styles: Latin American, Afro-Cuban, and postmodern contemporary classical. Catholic iconography, liturgical dance, and Yoruba rituals all play a role in the work’s visual and aural melange.
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Composer Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900, of Gilbert & Sullivan fame) happened to be one of the earliest voices captured, in 1888, by Thomas Edison’s then-new wax-cylinder recording machine. Invited to dinner at Edison’s London outpost, Little Menlo, Sullivan recorded this small but prescient speech (which you can hear thanks to the Thomas Edison National Historical Park):
” . . . For myself, I can only say that I am astonished and somewhat terrified at the results of this evening’s experiment — astonished at the wonderful power you have developed, and terrified at the thought that so much hideous and bad music may be put on record forever. ”
[Thanks to wonderful pianist Seda Röder for the tip. The complete Edison archive can be found here.]
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Our own Lawrence Dillon’s The Infinite Sphere will be given its World Premiere performances by the Daedalus Quartet tonight, Friday, January 15 – 8 PM as part of the Discovery Series at The Barns at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia and on Saturday, 7:30 PM at Watson Chamber Music Hall of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.
Commissioned by the Daedalus Quartet in conjunction with the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts, Dillon’s fourth quartet takes Pascal’s reference to “an infinite sphere, whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere” as the inspiration for a virtuosic wheels-within-wheels journey.
The fourth quartet in Dillon’s Invisible Cities String Quartet Cycle — a set of six quartets that explore connections between Classical forms and contemporary experience — The Infinite Sphere not only takes the form of a Classical rondo, it also adopts the rondo spirit, using popular dance music as material.
Winner of the 2007 Guarneri String Quartet Award from Chamber Music America, the Daedalus String Quartet is the resident quartet for the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.
Lawrence is Composer in Residence at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and currently has commissions from the Emerson String Quartet, the Mansfield Symphony, the Boise Philharmonic, the Salt Lake City Symphony, the Daedalus String Quartet, the University of Utah Philharmonia and the Idyllwild Symphony Orchestra.
hilary hahn @petervidor
There are a lot of older men–myself included–who have had a crush on Hilary Hahn for an unwholesome length of time so I was not surprised when a couple of my best friends–professional photographers who normally wouldn’t pick up a camera unless there was money involved–volunteered to run down to the Village Gate…ur, Le Poisson Rouge for those of you with no respect for history–and shoot some pictures for free at her Bach Party last night. The occasion was the release of Hilary’s newest album, Bach: Violin and Voice on Deutsche Grammophon.
“Ms. Hahn is even more enchanting in person than foretold,” Peter Vidor gushed in an e-mail to me today. “Her every line and her every move bespeak surpassing eloquence and grace, and in speaking of her I feel like a stricken schoolboy.”
I haven’t heard from my other friend, Tomas Sennett. He must have been too stricken to remember to snap a picture.
A couple of more photos after the break. Read the rest of this entry »
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It’s hard enough delivering an orchestra commission when you’re hale and hearty; but despite losing most of his vision during the course of its lengthy gestation (2001-06) York Höller managed to complete his work Sphären. His efforts amidst considerable adversity have garnered him the 2010 Grawemeyer Award.
Although now almost completely blind, Höller continues to compose. Abetted by assistants, samplers, and a new software called Jaws, he is soldiering on. One hopes that the Grawemeyer’s $200,000 prize will assist in this endeavor.
So, composers, next time you’re planning to tell your commissioner why the piece isn’t done, you’ll need a pretty good excuse: Höller has upped the ante!
Hear Sphären at Boosey’s website.
…I hope not! They’re the last thing you need for this nine-part quest.
If you’re coming from a previous clue, you know just what’s up; if you’re clueless, heading here might make things a bit more clear. Either way, good luck! Now my friend, question the third:
Handel’s famous aria “Ombra mai fù” from his opera Serse was written for which of Porpora’s famous students?
And so on to four, just past this door…
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On those longer, cooler, grayer days, stuck inside with a little time on our hands, one of the nicer pastimes for the music buff is to wander through the Flickr music photo pools. Two especially for the contemporary musician: the Classical Music pool and the Experimental Music pool. Between them, with some thousands of amateur-to-pro photographers clicking away in all corners of the world, you can get a feel for the people, activities and concerns that make our music live and breathe today. Often, a striking image will mention a name or two that will get me started googling (or is that “binging” now?), and lead me to some wonderful composer, performer or event that I might otherwise have never encountered. But more than anything it’s just that glimpse of all the people in that bigger world, who have our same shared passion and work at it every day, that puts a little smile on my lips while browsing.
Received a blurb from the LA Phil the other day, which in all caps proudly declares “LA PHIL LAUNCHES MICROSITE CELEBRATING INCOMING MUSIC DIRECTOR GUSTAVO DUDAMEL“ … Kaboom!… Here’s the relevant bit (my bolds):
On September 24, 2009, the LA Phil launched a microsite celebrating the arrival of incoming Music Director Gustavo Dudamel. Introducing audiences worldwide to Gustavo in new and engaging ways, the comprehensive microsite, located at http://www.laphil.com/gustavo, features videos such as Gustavo’s first rehearsal with the YOLA Expo Center Youth Orchestra, the LA Phil’s video tribute “Welcome Gustavo,” and the press conferences unveiling Gustavo’s inaugural season and appointment as 11th Music Director of the LA Phil. Visitors can also take a multimedia journey through Gustavo’s life with tiling photographs, video and biographical text. The latest Gustavo-related news and newly recorded audio and video content will be added to the microsite as Gustavo’s exciting inaugural season progresses.
The Gustavo microsite prominently features a brand-new interactive online game and iPhone application, Bravo Gustavo, designed by Hello Design to simulate the experience of conducting an orchestra. The Bravo Gustavo online game invites users to interact with Gustavo and the LA Phil performing Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique (music courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon). The Bravo Gustavo iPhone application adapts the mobile device into a conducting baton, utilizing the accelerometer to directly affect the overall tempo and note duration of the music – just like a real conductor.
Wow, conductor as new “my best friend forever”, and it seems like the only thing missing from the package is the action figure. I suppose if the classical world had been cool enough to do a “Bravo Herbert” or “Welcome Antal” back in the day, the crowds would never have left.
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The New York Times Arts Beat has details about a $10 million dollar gift the New York Philharmonic recently received from equity manager Henry Kravis. A gift earmarked for new music, the money will underwrite composer residencies and commissions for the orchestra.
For those disheartened by the NYPO’s sometimes tepid commitment to new music during the 90s and 00s, this is a welcome sign that things may be changing for the better under the tenure of their new Music Director Alan Gilbert.
Magnus Lindberg will be the orchestra’s Composer-in-residence for the ’09-’10 and ’10-’11 seasons. New York audiences will get to hear four Lindberg works, including two commissioned by the Philharmonic, this season alone.
The question today for Sequenza21 readers: who would you like to see as the Philharmonic’s next Composer-in-residence? In addition, which composers should the orchestra plan to commission in coming years?
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