Archive for the “Scores” Category

Why did you have to burn your symphony, Jean?

Sketches for an untitled orchestral work dating from the time Sibelius was writing his Eighth Symphony

Big news from Finland: Sketches of what appear to be Sibelius’s Eighth Symphony (long thought destroyed by Sibelius) have emerged. Here’s a clunky Google translation of the Finnish web site announcing this incredible discovery, along with an orchestral reading of those sketches. At the original Finnish link, you can access a video and hear the realization of the sketches. Those of you who don’t speak Finnish will want to jump ahead to ca. 2:00, where the music actually begins. Yes, it sounds like Sibelius, but a more chromatic and fragmented Sibelius than we’re accustomed to.

A more comfortably written article on the discovery and the musicology supporting the claim can be found here.

And a great big Thank You to Sibelius booster Alex Ross, who hipped me to this at his web site.

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We’re pleased to announce details for the 2011 Sequenza 21/MNMP Concert featuring the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME). The following entries from the call for scores have been selected for inclusion in the program:


James Stephenson (UK) – Oracle Night

Robert Thomas (NJ) — Sixteen Lines

Jay Batzner (MI) – Slumber Music

Rob Deemer (NY) – Grand Dragon

Sam Nichols (CA) – Refuge

David Smooke (MD) – Requests

Dale Trumbore (CA) –How it Will Go

Laurie San Martin (CA) – Linea Negra

James Holt  (NY) – Nostos Algea


The concert will be on October 25 at Joe’s Pub at 7 PM. It will be a free event open to the public.

Thank you to all of the composers who sent in scores and recordings for consideration. You made it very difficult to decide on a final program: there were many strong entries by talented creators.

Thanks too to Hayes Biggs and Clarice Jensen, who joined me in judging the competition, and to Justin Monsen of Manhattan New Music Project, who provided invaluable administrative support. And without the generosity and vision of Jerry Bowles, this project would never have gotten off the ground.



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Making the classical aspects of the burgeoning indie classical movement abundantly clear, crossover albums are now crossover marketing musical scores. Via his website, composer Owen Pallett has released a limited edition score for the music on Heartland, his latest Domino recording.

Owen Palletts Heartland

Joined by the Czech Symphony Orchestra and a host of guests (including composer Nico Muhly) Pallette has crafted his most consistently engaging music to date. In some critical circles, indie classical has, rightly or wrongly, been under the microscope for making pop into a ‘longhair’ genre, robbing it of its immediacy in favor of overt sophistication. I’d submit that this vantage point doesn’t give enough credit to indie audiences, who seem to be just fine grappling with orchestral arrangements by Pallett and electronic experiments by Animal Collective alike.

What’s more, recordings like Heartland amply demonstrate that one can, if they’re talented, craft sophisticated music that has just as many catchy hooks as a three-chord, three-minute anthemic single. A case in point is the loop-laden and jaunty “Lewis Takes off his Shirt;” the music, and the video below, suggest that pop can indeed combine sophistication with immediacy, and that its orchestral incarnation can be downright cheeky!



For those of your with a case of ‘artifact avarice,’ the full orchestra score for Heartland is $46 and has been printed in a limited run of 300. In addition to the music it also provides lyrics and a chart of diagrams of patches for the ARP 2600.

Owen Palett’s touring a bunch in support of Heartland. Here are some dates:

04-08 Toronto, Ontario – Queen Elizabeth Theatre
04-10 Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
04-11 Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater
04-12 Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall
04-13 Columbus, OH – Wexner Center
04-14 Pittsburgh, PA – Andy Warhol Museum
04-15 Washington DC – Black Cat
04-18 Indio, CA – Coachella Festival
04-20 Boston, MA – Institute of Contemporary Art
04-22 New York, NY – Webster Hall
04-24 Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery
04-25 Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church
04-27 Atlanta, GA – The Earl
04-29 Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
04-30 Austin, TX – The Mohawk
05-05 San Francisco, CA – The Independent
05-08 Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
05-09 Vancouver, British Columbia – The Vogue Theatre
05-10 Victoria, British Columbia – Alix Goolden Hall
05-11 Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater
05-13 Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
05-14 Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge

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S21 friend Peter Mueller passed along the good news that:

The Library of Congress has completed digitization of another batch of the compositional sketches of Elliott Carter.  These are now available on our web site.  This current release consists of the following material:

Pocahontas (18*)
Symphony No.1 (224)
Piano Sonata (20*)
Minotaur (108)
Emblems (192)
Woodwind Quintet (141)
Eight Etudes and a Fantasy (140)
Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello & Harpsichord (51)
Variations for Orchestra (771)
Double Concerto (161*)

For technical reasons, these are not all complete yet.  Numbers in parens indicate page (image) counts; an asterisk indicates digitization is incomplete (more to come in future releases).

There will be either one or two more releases in the near future to complete this project. Comments are welcome.  Please email these directly to me at

Stephen Soderberg
Senior Specialist for Contemporary Music
Music Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC

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from Notations 21Last year I mentioned seeing an exhibition here in Houston, “Every Sound You Can Imagine“; a compilation of all kinds of newer musical manuscripts and scores.  Then just yesterday I was reading of a show at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, “Notation, calculation and form in the arts“.  All, of course, continuing the tradition of John Cage’s and Alison Knowles’ seminal 1969 book Notations (available complete online right now as a PDF download).

Which seems all the more reason to mention the long-awaited Notations sequel just released: Notations 21, brought together by Theresa Sauer.  Besides the book, the Notations 21 project has its own website with even more information.  Between all these links you can feast, gawk and marvel at snippets of the highest, subtlest, strangest and most elegant musical and extra-musical explorations of the last 50 years.

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NMC Songbook


English imprint NMC is celebrating its twentieth anniversary with a special 4-disc CD boxed set. NMC Songbook features vocal music by a number of the UK’s finest and most prominent contemporary composers: Birtwistle, Davies, Weir, Goehr, Finnissy, Bryars, Harvey, Turnage, and many, many more. These are interspersed with galliards by British Renaissance composer Thomas Morley, arranged for modern forces by Colin Matthews.

For those who’d like to perform some of this repertoire, it’s available for download at  Sheet Music Direct. Featuring both composers associated with vocal music and those for whom song is a comparatively rare venture, the songbook is a treasure trove for musical Anglophiles!  

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According to the FB post of composer Lanie Fefferman, Patelson’s Music Store in NYC is closing as of 4/18. I’m assuming this is not a faux rumor, and if I’m creating a false run on Patelson’s inventory, I apologize. Anyway, many of us grew up in a time where including a trip to Patelson’s, even if just for browsing scores, was de rigeur anytime we were in Manhattan. I’d go there all the time from NJ, and back in the 70’s and early 80’s, it wasn’t too expensive to purchase a score or two, some violin music, some notation paper and even some LPs.

Times change—the last time I was there scores were several times more expensive than anything I bought growing up. And there was very little in the way of contemporary music. Good luck trying to find much of anything by someone from the Downtown scene. Even music by Ginastera, Dallapiccola, Shapey and others usually was elusive. I do recall seeing a (very expensive) score by John Adams there on my last visit. But that’s it in terms of his oeuvre.

So is this a bad thing, the closing of Patelson’s? In many ways it is, since I still have some nostalgic interest in the place. And it’s hard for me to imagine growing up without access to new scores, notation paper, etc. However, in all honesty, Patelson’s hasn’t been on my radar for quite some time. As mentioned, the scores were now far out of my price range (although that’s not Patelson’s fault, but the fault of publishers and intellectual property restrictions), and the inventory wasn’t where my musical interests lay anymore. A lot of things are now available online. For pianists, it’s even very possible to use a computer and wireless pedals (as Hugh Sung is developing and distributing) to load PDFs of scores purchased online and turn pages without a human page turner.

The loss of Patelson’s was inevitable. And I have mixed feelings. What’s your take on this?

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Steve Roden - When Stars Become Words - 2007 My first year in college (1974-5), we were treated to an exhibition of the original score pages selected by John Cage and Alison Knowles for their highly influential 1969 book Notations (currently available as a free PDF download at UbuWeb).

For young composers at the time, these bits and pieces of anything-but-standard notation were eye- and ear-opening, sent us scouring the library stacks for more, and led us all to go a little crazy trying to mimic or out-write what we saw there.

Then as sequel this year, Theresa Sauer carried the idea up to our own time with Notations 21, an updated compendium of all the fruit that’s come from those first flowers.

Wadada Leo Smith- Cosmic Music - 2007 I’m mentioning this because down here in Houston I just received a little whiff of that wonderful déjà vu this afternoon. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston has a show up and running through December 7th, titled Perspectives 163: Every Sound You Can Imagine. It’s kind of a mix of both Cage/Knowles-old and Sauer-new, with a scattering of more traditional scores by some of the recent “big names” (Lou Harrison, Rorem, Glass, Reich, Riley, Dresher, Adams — John and John Luther –, Bryars, Crumb, Nyman, etc.).

The list of old mingling with new is long: Steve Roden (image above right), Wadada Leo Smith (image left), Cage, Brown, Bussotti, Feldman, Ashley, Mumma, Brandt, Stockhausen (dad and son), Xenakis, Wolff, Dick Higgins, Knowles, Yasunao Tone, Subtonick, Cardew, Curran, Per Norgard, Phill Niblock, La Monte Young, Stephen Vitiello, Kaffe Mathews, Maja Ratkje, Nancarrow, Daniel Lentz, Elena Kats-Chernin, Jennifer Walshe, Stephen Scott, Wallace Berman, Marina Rosenfeld, Christian Marclay… etc., etc….  If your travels take you down this way, be sure to make room for a visit.

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Hi everybody. Just a quick reminder that the deadline for score submissions for consideration in the upcoming Sequenza21 concert is fast approaching. All submissions must be postmarked by July 16th. Here‘s a link to the original posting of the guidelines and its comments thread. To submit scores, get David Salvage’s e-mail address from the masthead and send him a message. He’ll give you a mailing address and answer any questions.

As a quick reminder, the performances will be on December 4th at the Walz Astoria Cafe in Queens and on the 5th at the Good Shepherd Church in Manhattan. This concert is a collaborative effort with our friends the fabulous Lost Dog New Music Ensemble.

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Renewable Music‘s long-time American-in-Deutschland, Daniel J. Wolf, had the idea of inviting composers to contribute to an album for piano, simply centered around this moment and season. No publishers, no glitzy “call for works”, just a friendly invitation for any interested. The result is the A Winter Album, twelve piano pieces of quite diverse hues, for each and everyone of us to freely peruse in our gray and inclement hours. The composers may not be known to you, but all the better; they’re a stellar bunch in my book: Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, Jon Brenner, Steed Cowart, Elaine Fine, Hauke Harder, Ben.Harper, Jeff Harrington, Aaron Hynds, Lloyd Rodgers, Jonathan Segel, Charles Shere, and Daniel James Wolf himself. Pianists, warm yourself over these embers; and thanks, Daniel. (photo by Ian Britton)

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