Archive for the “Contemporary Classical” Category
On Saturday, December 15th, 2012 at 7 pm, The Arthur Rubinstein International Music Foundation will present their Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall recital, in honor of the greatest Golden Age pianists – Arthur Rubinstein.
Pianist Roman Rabinovich is one of the two pianists chosen to perform at the event, the other being Anna Fedorova. Each musician possesses special qualities within their craft, and together they will certainly present a memorial worthy of the great master pianist, Arthur Rubinstein.
The evening will also feature a short documentary film about Rubinstein’s historical concert in San Francisco in 1945, and an exhibition of portraits and photographs of Rubinstein, partially from his daughter Eva’s personal collection. The foundation’s music festival in Poland was started 2008 in Lodz, Rubinstein’s birthplace.
Rabinovich, who, as a winner of the 2008 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition (not related to the aforementioned hosting organization)has performed widely in Israel, but also in Europe and the US to much critical acclaim, was given the opportunity to choose a program he is especially fond of. He enthusiastically shared with me that Prokofiev’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (three pieces), and the Ravel/Rabinovich ‘Daphnis and Chloe,’ as well as Stravinsky’s ‘Petrushka’ that will follow his programmed Haydn Sonata in A-flat major, Hob.XVI/46, have captured his mind’s eye for quite some time now. Read the rest of this entry »
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C4. Photo: Keith Goldstein.
For those of us here in New York and New Jersey, the past few weeks have been challenging. In the wake of Storm Sandy, we trust that better days are yet to come, but the present’s outlook is a bit dodgy. Some forward thinking optimism, particularly of the musical variety, is keenly welcome.
This weekend, C4 Ensemble, a collective of composers, conductors, and singers committed to new music (most wearing multiple hats in terms of their respective roles in the group), presents Music for People Who Like the Future.
Spotlighting the North American premiere of Andrew Hamilton’s Music for People Who Love the Future (hmm… I wonder if this title gave them the idea for the name of the show …), the program also features music by Chen Yi, Michael McGlynn, Sven-David Sandström, Phillipe Hersant, and Ted Hearne along with C4’s own Jonathan David, Mario Gullo, David Harris, and Karen Siegel.
Friday, November 16, 2012
The Church of St. Luke in the Fields
487 Hudson Street, NYC 10014
$15 advance / $25 day of event/ 10 $4 “Rush” admissions 30 minutes advance at the door
Closest Subway: 1 to Christopher Street/Sheridan Square
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Mary Flagler Cary Hall at The DiMenna Center
450 W. 37th Street, NYC 10018
$15 advance / $25 day of event / 10 $4 “Rush” admissions 30 minutes advance at the door
Closest Subways: A/C/E to 34th Street/Penn Station
Reception to follow
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Violinist Mari Kimura has built a career fearlessly taking the violin to places still little-explored. from her work with sub-harmonics (using precise but difficult bowing techniques to obtain notes up to an octave below the normal violin range), to the integration of all manner of digital and electronic interweavings, to playing everything from from the ferociously difficult to the frenzied soaring to the freely improvised, Mari has made her violin sing like few others in our generation.
Likewise for Elliott Sharp and his exploration of the guitar in all its many shape-shifting forms. Elliott has become such a New York institution as to give the Statue of Liberty a run for her money (though to be fair, Lady Liberty doesn’t do too many new-music concerts). Edgy and restless, Sharp’s work attacks a lot of our notions of what a guitar is supposed to do, while always still reminding us of the roots it and we come out of.
These two wonderfully complex performers and creators will be found together on the same bill this Friday, Nov. 16 at 8pm, at Glenn Cornett’s intimate Spectrum concert space on Manhattan’s Lower East Side (121 Ludlow, 2nd Floor, tickets $15 suggested donation).
Mari Kimura will present her recent works using Augmented Violin, IRCAM’s bowing motion sensor technology. Kimura’s Meteo-Hahn is a new work in collaboration with data visualization specialist Bruce Hahn, and is an interactive audio/visual work using weather patterns and data. Her other premiere is Poly-Monologue, a work-in-progress version of her large-scale multimedia project “ONE” which will tour in 2013. In Poly-Monologue Kimura collaborates with singer Kyoko Kitamura; the trilingual (English, French, Japanese) texts and Kitamura’s vocalization interact with Kimura’s Augmented Violin. Kimura will also perform works by François Sarhan, an intriguing European composer/theater director/encyclopedist: Un Chevalier (2007) and Oublée (Forgotten, 2012) for solo violin. The works are based on the text by Russian poet Daniil Harms (1905-1942), expressing the pressure on intellectualism during Stalinism.
Elliott Sharp will present Octal, a collection of pieces for the Koll 8-string guitar-bass built exclusively for Sharp. These pieces function somewhere between etudes and jumping-off points for improvised explorations. Not academic, these performances are filled with free-jazz energy and burning bluesy extemporizations using Sharp’s signature extended techniques.
Extra bonus — Kimura and Sharp will also improvise together during the concert. There’s going to be a lot of magic on this bill, and Spectrum is a wonderfully homey and intimate place to catch a concert. So if at all possible head on over and treat yourself to some musical bliss.
An evening of chamber music by Beth Anderson will be presented this Saturday, November 17 – 7:00 PM, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 139 St. John’s Place in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Flute and piano works to be performed are The Bluebird and the Preying Mantis, Dr. Blood’s Mermaid Lullaby, September Swale and Kummi Dance. The program also includes her Eighth Ancestor and Skate Suite for baroque flute, alto recorder, cello and harpsichord.
Performers will be the composer on piano and Brooklyn Baroque – Andrew Bolotowsky, baroque flute, David Bakamijan, cello, Gregory Bynum, alto recorder and Rebecca Pechefsky, harpsichord.
This concert is free and open to the public, however a free will offering will be taken to support the replacement of the church boiler. For directions to St. John’s Church and more information about the concert, call 718-636-6010 or visit http://www.facebook.com/ConcertsOnTheSlope.
The Bluebird and the Preying Mantis is the first piece Ms. Anderson composed for Andrew Bolotowsky, from about 1979. He’s the bluebird. The accompaniment is the mantis. She writes about Dr. Blood’s Mermaid Lullaby, “One night I had a very bad dream about Dr. Blood stealing my blood. I woke up and wrote what felt like the antidote to this dream – a kind of underwater lullaby with mermaids and a music box. Since the imaginary Dr. Blood was the “cause” of the dream, I gave him credit in the title. I felt much better afterwards.”
September Swale (seen above) combines various oriental scales with Satie-like lyricism and was premiered in Ghent, Belgium. Kummi Dance (in this version for flute & piano), was commissioned by String Poet and based on the poem of the same name by Pramila Venkateswaran.
Beth writes, “The Eighth Ancestor is a character that I read about in a zen book entitled Selling Water By The River. This ancestor’s message is that it does no good to be angry. The music, in an attempt to reflect this message, is not angry music. It resembles a lullaby and a hora…Skate Suite was commissioned by Diane Jacobowitz & Dancers. The dance was related to skating in some way and so I used that idea to compose the music.”
Visit Beth’s YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/135east?feature=mhee#g/f. For more information about her, including a bio, list of works, discography and much more, please visit http://www.beand.com.
In the spring of 2003, I was finishing up my undergrad thesis at the University of Southern Mississippi. I’d been studying Elliott Carter’s Quintet for Piano and Winds for months, and trying to make heads and tails of his newly published Harmony Book. When I learned about the premiere of Carter’s Boston Concerto, my wife and I decided we were making a trip. We scraped up the money (some of it might have been funded by a student loan) and flew to Boston. I thought (foolishly looking back now) that this 94 year old composer could not have many world premieres left in him so we should not miss this one.
So early April 2003, we were sitting in Symphony Hall listening to a splendid concert of Ives, Mahler, Bartok and Carter. As the last notes of the Boston Concerto rang out I remember shooting to my feet and applauding. I looked around and I saw one other young person had done the same. As soon as the entire concert was over I pretty much left my wife in her seat and ran out of the hall hoping to catch Mr. Carter. I arrived at the stage doors and one other person was already waiting there. It was the young guy that had also sprung up to applaud. I asked if he’d seen Elliott Carter yet and he said no. I said, “Elliott Carter is old. He can’t move that fast.” We turned and saw Elliott Carter and his entourage moving slowly toward the exit. I told the other guy, “Let’s stand between him and the exit. He’ll have to give us an autograph then.”
I stood there as he signed a program for the other guy. Mr. Carter looked at me. I was holding my copy of his Harmony Book. He exclaimed, “I can’t believe someone bought that thing! It was a hundred dollars!” I told him that I had purchased my copy on sale. As he signed my book I told him that I had come all the way from Mississippi just to hear the world premiere of the Boston Concerto. He said, “Wow! Was it worth it?” I was pretty starstruck and I couldn’t really say much more by this point. All I could do was nod yes.
I was speechless (which is rare for me). Carter’s music has always been an incredible influence on me. When I got the signed copy in my hands I broke down in tears. My wife and I walked to the BSO coat check and the older gentleman working there asked why I was crying. All I could do was point at the signed title page of the Harmony Book. He smiled and patted me on the back.
We then walked down the street to have dinner at Brasserie Jo in the Colonnade. I looked up and saw Carter and his entourage being seated at a table in a corner by themselves.
When asked where we’d like to be seated, I pointed at Elliott Carter and replied, ‘Right next to them!’ My wife yelled at me, “No stalking Elliott Carter!”
The maître d’ said no also. Apparently they’d asked to be seated in the back away from everyone.
My wife still likes to point out to me that the other guy waiting on an autograph was probably the only person to have their program signed by Mr. Carter and that I should have gotten my program signed also. It never really crossed my mind to get my program signed. The book was more than enough.
Another composer interview from our favorite “reporter-at-large-when-she-isn’t-being-a-famed-virtuoso”, Hilary Hahn as part of her “In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores” series. This time it’s a chat with Indian composer/violinist Kala Ramnath, about her encore piece that Hilary will perform in a concert this coming January:
By now, I imagine most everyone in Sequenza21′s audience has learned that Elliott Carter passed away yesterday at the age of 103. Basically every news outlet covering music has already run a retrospective on Carter (except for Sequenza21, ironically). I don’t exactly intend to add to the din of the New York Times‘, Alex Ross‘, or NPR‘s or whomever-your-music-writer-of-choice’s reflections on Carter, but, as a community of composers and thoughtful listeners, whose tastes either align with Carter’s work or the music that was influenced by or reacted against him, we can honor his fresh memory by sharing our experiences with his music and/or person.
Being the youngest of Sequenza21′s contributing editors, I have considered Carter a legendary individual – more a figure of history than flesh and blood – for a long time. But, discovering the news of Carter’s passing last night, I realized that I’ve had many personal and poignant interactions with Carter’s music that make him much more important to me and my experience than I had previously thought.
I saw Carter’s music performed four times, which isn’t all that impressive; yet, the performances are among the most vivid concert memories I have. The most recent was at a recital of Houston-based Fischer Duo in February of this year, where they played Carter’s Cell Sonata from 1948. The Duo’s cellist, Norman Fischer, explained excellently how the work represents the crystallization of Carter’s decisively complex and idiosyncratic musical vocabulary, and I remember thinking how convincingly the piece demonstrated the beauty of Carter’s compositional sensibility.
I had the same reaction to the second Carter concert I attended. This was a performance in Houston by the Pacifica Quartet in 2009 where they did the first and last Carter Quartets. To be honest, I don’t remember much about String Quartet no. 1, but I will never forget how beautiful I thought String Quartet no. 5 was. A couple of years passed before I listened to that piece again and I remember being surprised at how the striking eloquence of the work’s slow sections emerged at no cost to the intensity of the more energetic material in the piece. In other words, it was clear that Carter had not softened at all in his advanced age, something many people have asserted in their recollections of him and his music.
The last two concerts I attended with Carter’s music on the program are memorable because of the people I knew personally who were involved in the event. The first I will discuss was a 2009 performance of Carter’s second quartet by a group led by my good friend from Rice University and a new member of ETHEL, Tema Watstein. Her quartet’s performance was valiant and effective, though the overwhelming challenge of the work was certainly palpable in the recital hall. I remember talking to her as they prepared the piece, possibly helping her tape photocopies of the score to big pieces of cardboard so she could play off the score, and being taken aback by her and her quartet-mates’ dedication to the piece. This belief in the music was a gripping presence during their ultimate performance, and, as a composer, I will always applaud Carter for being able to inspire such dedication in those who perform his music while forcing them to confront so demanding a terrain of musical ideas.
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The critically-acclaimed Palisades Virtuosi presents a very special 10th Anniversary Concert - the first concert of their 2012-2013 season on Friday, November 9 – 8:00 PM at the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, 113 Cottage Place in Ridgewood, New Jersey. The evening will also include a pre-concert composer and performer talk at 7:15.
Flutist Margaret Swinchoski, clarinetist Donald Mokrynski and pianist Ron Levy began their series of concerts in Ridgewood, New Jersey in 2003, when there were relatively few works composed for their instrumentation. So, their “Mission to Commission” was born. 10 seasons later, there are an additional 60 works of concert repertoire for their ensemble as a direct result of their mission. They include a commissioned work in each of their concerts.
Composers who have written for the group include Eric Ewazen, Carlos Franzetti, Paul Moravec, Melinda Wagner, Gwyneth Walker and Lee Hoiby. See the complete list at http://www.palisadesvirtuosi.org/pvcomposers.html.
November 9 concert repertoire will include the World Premiere of composer Jeff Scott’s Poem for a Lost King, commissioned by The Palisades Virtuosi.
Composer Jeff Scott
The composer writes, “Lost King is a musical poem that has been written as a metaphorical homage to the countless African kings, chiefs and village elders expelled and abducted from their homeland during the middle passage.” Visit Jeff Scott at http://www.imaniwinds.com/artist.php?view=bio&bid=1941.
Repertoire will also include Franz Danzi’s Sinfonia Concertante, Maurice Emmanuel’s Sonate and PV’s first commissioned work Lep-i-dop-ter-o-lo-gy  by Aaron Grad.
Tickets for the November 9 concert are $20, $15 for students and seniors and $10 for children age 12 and under. For tickets or more information, call 201-488-4983, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/286276 or email reservation requests to the Palisades Virtuosi at firstname.lastname@example.org. For directions, go to this link.
Volumes One, Two, Three and Four of the Virtuosi’s New American Masters CD series are available from Albany Records.
At an early point in Yaron Zilberman’s new film A Late Quartet, Peter Mitchell (Christopher Walken) the cellist and father figure of a world renowned string quartet, explains Beethoven’s Opus 131 to his students: “It has seven movements and they’re all connected. For us, it means playing without pause; no resting, no tuning. Our instruments must, in time, go out of tune–each in its own quite different way. Was he trying to point some cohesion, some unity, between random acts of life? What are we supposed to do? Stop? Or struggle to continuously adjust to each other until the end?”
It is an apt metaphor for the four musical souls at the heart of this intriguing little film which tries–not always successfully–to balance fidelity to the lives and behavior of real-life, successful classical musicians with the demands of a story that aims to attract a larger audience of people who won’t much care if the actors are holding their instruments correctly or not. The result is a plot that won’t really please musicians or civilians completely and is a bit more melodrama than drama.
While the quartet is preparing to launch its 25th season, the Peter Mitchell character (Walken, playing brilliantly against type) discovers that he has early stage Parkinson’s. He knows his playing days are soon over but he wants to play the first concert of the new season as his farewell and he also wants to pick his successor. As the other members absorb the devastating news, it quickly become clear that Mitchell has been the adult who held the quartet together and all of the simmering rivalries and perceived slights of the other players come rushing to the surface. Robert Gelbart (Philip Seymour Hoffman, second violin) and Juliette Gelbart (Catherine Kenner, viola) are not so happily married–or, at least, she isn’t. She’s still not sure she shouldn’t have married the first violinist Daniel (Mark Ivanir) when they were dating in the early days of the quartet. Robert is also tired of playing second fiddle and wants to rotate the first chair. Daniel is a perfectionist and a pain-in-the-ass. Throw in a subplot about Robert and Juliette’s daughter, Alexandra (Imogen Poots) being a promising young violinist who gets involved with first violinist (We won’t mention the mother-daughter thing here), Robert having a one-night stand with a Latin beauty he runs with in the park, and the ghost of Peter’s wife, Miriam (Anne Sophie von Otter) showing up in his bedroom and singing him to sleep and you can see that maybe there is a little too much extra-musical stuff going on.
What makes the film work as well as it does is solid performances by everyone. Philip Seymour Hoffman is his usual commanding self. Catherine Keener is one of the most underrated actresses working. Ivanir is solid and Christopher Walken, miraculously, comes across as a sweet, gentle man that you’d like to take cello lessons from. This is the kind of film that doesn’t get made that often, about a subject that we all care about. It offers a modestly faithful look into the world of classical music and musicians. It may get a little out of tune along the way but the players deserve our applause for making it to the end.
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…and the results were not good… One of the brightest small labels for new music in the last 4-5 years has been NYC’s New Amsterdam Records. Founded by Judd Greenstein, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and William Brittelle, its catalog is full of some of the best young, fresh composers working today, performed by a bevy of equally fresh & talented players. This label has quickly risen to the forefront in capturing and disseminating the newer American scene.
All of that hard work has unfortunately just gotten a lot harder; Their offices are in the Redhook area of New York City, and weren’t dealt kindly with by Hurricane Sandy. As Sarah Kirkland Snider writes on her Facebook page:
Our new New Amsterdam HQ in Red Hook was totaled by Sandy. The water mark is over 4′. We had moved much of the office to higher ground prior to the storm, and elevated everything else, but we still lost all files/paperwork, a hard drive, some furniture, vintage synthesizers and music gear, and most of our CD stock. Our landlord does not have flooding insurance, and our attempts to acquire it before the storm were denied. There is some talk of FEMA helping uninsured Red Hook businesses, but that seems like a long shot. Stunned and heavy-hearted we are.
Truly a catastrophe for a small company like this… Clean-up and picking through has begun, but they’re certainly going to need a lot of help to get back to a point where they can continue the outstanding service they’ve done to new music listeners, performers and composers alike. Nothing is set yet, but at the very least you can “like” their Facebook page to show your support, and to stay aware of any coming requests for help, donations, or benefits.
New Amsterdam is truly a treasure, and we’re absolutely rooting for a comeback.
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