Posts Tagged “Summerfest”

Older readers may recall with fondness Edgar Bergen, a very popular American entertainer who poured his comic routines through ventriloquist dummies named Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd. Edgar so loved the performing arts, that he created an annual celebration to showcase classical music, dance, opera, and theater, which continues and thrives to this very day: the Bergen Festival.

Okay, that’s not really what the Bergen Festival is, but after hearing a modern composer with a strong Chinese musical identity—Bright Sheng—prop up Scandinavian folk tunes on his knee, and manipulate them to entertain the public, the spirit of Charlie McCarthy—a bourgeois puppet in top hat and tails, monocle in place, spouting low vaudeville patois—was in the air…

More about the American premiere of Bright Sheng’s Northern Lights and the world premiere of Anthony Newman’s Sonata Populare here.

I am very interested in reading your views on stylistic appropriation. Does it only creep out older dudes like me, or is it an affront to all contemporary composers? Why or why not?

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BOO! Don't be scared, it's just Christopher Rouse.

I’m looking forward to the West Coast premiere of Christopher Rouse’s String Quartet no. 3 by the amazing Calder Quartet. The enthusiastic gentlemen in the Calder Quartet have worked closely with Rouse, having recorded his first 2 quartets and his chamber ensemble work, Compline on this terrific CD.

I know there’s been Rouse-bashing by some visitors here in the past, but I admire some of his music, especially when he’s writing in his Sturm und Drang mode (as he did in the 1st Quartet and the middle movement of the 2nd). The 3rd Quartet promises to be his ultimate ultraviolent work. Here’s a quote from his program notes on the new work:

My overall description of the piece would be something akin to a schizophrenic having a grand mal seizure. This, at least, was the image to which I continually referred as I composed the music. The twenty-minute score is dedicated to the Calder Quartet and, after a slow introduction, follows a standard fast-slow-fast ordering of sections played without pause. The music is staggeringly difficult to play, and I believe this to be my most challenging and uncompromising work to date.

Those of you familiar with the fast movement from Rouse’s 2nd String Quartet have some idea of what he’s talking about when he describes “challenging and uncompromising” music.

Here’s a dirty laundry review of a Summerfest concert from the last time they programmed Rouse in San Diego, along with links to the very performance by red fish blue fish which I reviewed.

Also: More Eric Lyon! That’s what my blog visitors seem to want. So here’s a review of his work Typhoid, the black sheep at a modernist music festival back in 1993 (and the only piece with which I had a clear audio memory today from that festival 17 years ago).  And from a SONOR concert in the early ’90s, a review of Eric Lyon’s Splatter and David Lang’s Dance/Drop.

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