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Jerry Bowles
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Contributing Editors:

Galen H. Brown
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Deborah Kravetz
Eric C. Reda
Christian Hertzog
(San Diego)
Jerry Zinser
(Los Angeles)

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Latest Posts

Love and Cow Bells
Sorceress of the New Piano
Well, That Was Fun
Naxos Dreaming
Reich@70: Let the Celebrations Begin
The Bi-Coastal Jefferson Friedman
Violins Invade Indianapolis
John Cage (born Los Angeles, 5 September 1912; died New York, 12 August 1992).
The People United Will Never Be Divided
Attention Sequenza21 Shoppers


Record companies, artists and publicists are invited to submit CDs to be considered for review. Send to: Jerry Bowles, Editor, Sequenza 21, 340 W. 57th Street, 12B, New York, NY 10019

Saturday, October 15, 2005
Server Down

Remember the good old days when your server is down meant your waiter had slipped on a potato peel? Sorry if you tried to visit earlier and found nobody home but the problem appears to be fixed now. We may be revisiting the matter of switching service providers again soon. Would have done it already but it's such a pain to shift all the files.

Anyway, come on in. Dave Thomas is back at work, as a clarinetist with the Columbus Symphony and as a blogger...And Tom Myron reports that music is getting louder.
Wet Ink at Tenri

For the past few years the Tenri Cultural Institute has been creeping into the limelight of the New York music scene. Its beautiful galleries have proven to be an ideal setting for new music concerts, and last night Tenri played host to Wet Ink, a new music collective/ensemble/thingy. Wet Ink in turn produced a concert featuring the ensembles �Flexible Music� and �Z�s.� Flexible Music dedicates itself to expanding the repertoire for saxophone, guitar, piano, and percussion � the instruments its four members play; Z�s � which consists of two drummers, two electric guitar players, and two saxophonists � dedicates itself to �avant-rock� and new music. The results were mixed.

Flexible Music went first and opened with Ryan Streber�s �Closing Time.� Streber and his music are unknown to me, but his work was in many ways the strongest on the program. A spiky, polyphonic piece, �Closing Time� is rich in dynamic and timbrel contrast and utilizes the ensemble with flair and imagination. Following Streber were two world premieres: Reiko Fueting�s �red wall� and Vineet Shende�s �Throw Down or Shut Up!� With its obstinate tutti attacks and quick echoes, Fueting�s strange work brings to mind the premature flattening of rippling concentric circles in water; Shende�s breathless and goofy homage to James Brown went over better with the audience, and its jaunty syncopations and tonal riffs were refreshing. Flexible Music closed their half with Louis Andriessen�s dreamy four-part unison canon �Hout.�

The second half was all Z�s. The aptly named group presented four pieces: �Bump,� �Balk,� �Four Systems,� and �Mimesis.� The first two works are arrived at by the entire group, the third is by Earle Brown (sort of), and the last is by Alex Mincek, who plays saxophone in the group and is one of the folks behind Wet Ink. While �Mimesis� does make some efforts toward form and gesture, the other works are content to run their numbing minimalist ruts while finding no other use of the ensemble than the pairing of drums, pairing of guitars, and pairing of saxes. (Why not a duet for sax and drum set?) The music, while boasting the odd moment of rhythmic and timbrel interest, is claustrophobic in every respect.

However, excepting the Andriessen, the same problem to a greater or lesser extent troubled every piece on Wet Ink�s program: no composer moved between sections of music convincingly. Every piece moved in fits and starts and lurches and twitches. Transitions were often very awkward. Now there�s nothing �wrong� with abrupt musical changes and lurching and what not, but it�s hard to keep energy flowing when the music starts and stops so frequently. As a result, endings fell flat (or flat-ish) all evening in spite of good ideas and good performances: both Flexible Music and Z�s are, when all is said and done, tight groups with great musical chops. With some different rep, they�re both worth hearing again.

P.S. A word on Z�s realization of the Earle Brown in �comments.�
Messiaen stars in early music festival

The early music festivals at the King of Hearts, Norwich, UK have always been noted for their breadth of repertoire. And the 2005 Festival, which closes tonight, explored new extremes with a concert of 20th century music for flute and piano. Last night (Friday 14th Oct) pianist Peter Hill and flautist Sarah O'Flynn gave an outstanding performance of an adventurous programme including Frank Martin's Ballade, the flute sonatas of Poulenc and Prokofiev, and Debussy's Syrinx.

But the highlight of each half of the concert was a work by Messiaen. In the first half Peter Hill played the Premi�re Communion de la Vierge from the Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-J�sus, and in the second half he was joined by Sarah O'Flynn for one of only two chamber works that Messiaen composed. Le Merle noir (the blackbird) for piano and flute, composed in 1952, is important as it is the composer's first free-standing 'birdsong' work, and was the start of a ten year period of composition inspired by birdsong.

Flautist Sarah O'Flynn has worked with many leading UK orchestras, but is best known for her work with new music group Chroma. Their recent projects have included working with John Woolrich and Robin Holloway in London, and on The Memory of Colour by Ed Hughes for ensemble, tape and live electronics written in response to an art installation by Teruyoshi Yoshida, and a new work by the leading contemporary Czech composer Pavel Novak.

Pianist Peter Hill studied both with Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen. He recorded, with the composer's help and guidance, all the piano works of Messiaen in a 7 CD set. His other recordings include the complete piano music of Berg, Schoenberg and Webern for Naxos. He is also a noted interpreter of Xenakis, Pousseur and Crumb. Next week Yale University Press publish his new book, co-authored with Nigel Simeone, titled Messiaen. The authors were granted unprecedented access to Messiaen's private archives by his widow, Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen. Research uncovered considerable new information, including that, after release from a prisoner of war camp in France, Messiaen worked for twelve weeks for a cultural organisation under the Nazi puppet Vichy government. During that short period he contributed to a patriotic cantata for performance by schoolchildren, the score of which is lost. The new book also debunks the myth that the Quartet for the End of Time was given its premiere in front of 5000 prisoners. In fact records showed that the first performance was in camp hut holding less than three hundred.

The venue for this concert of Messiaen and other 20th century composers, The King of Hearts, is an illuminating study in how a 'niche' performance venue can consistently attract both international calibre performers, and a loyal audience. The conversion of the city centre Tudor (16th century) building into a superb performance space was the brainchild of the Director & Artistic Manager Aude Gotto, ably assisted by her husband, and master-builder of superb harpsichords, Alan Gotto. The ancient building was converted from a derelict state fifteen years ago, and is run as a charitable (not for profit) community centre for both the visual and musical arts. (The painting above is Evelyn Williams' Mother and Child, and the scuplture is Jiggilipuff by Vanessa Pooley, both from the Gallery's collection). Such is the reputation of the venue and the appeal of the performing space, that top international musicians regularly accept reduced fees to perform there, and return frequently. Among the performers in the 2005 season are Andrew Manze, Richard Egarr, and James Bowman.

The last concert in the 2005 autumn festival is tonight (Saturday 15th October). And for it the King of Hearts returns to its roots with American harpsichordist Mitzi Meyerson playing a programme by French clavecinistes. An extended version of this article including more details of the 2005 festival is On An Overgrown Path.
And I thought the height of operatic catfights was The Jealousy Duet from Threepenny Opera...

Librettist Elizabeth Searle and composer Abigal Al Doory are writing an opera about Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding:

I'd like to see Renee Fleming as Kerrigan, Cecilia Bartoli as Harding, and John Duykers as Jeff Gilhooley!
They're Trying to Wash Us Away

Corey Dargel explains why there is no music theory book out there with examples from pop songs. As I should have guessed in my quest-for-a-singing-nun post below, it's all about money. Being an innovative guy, though, Corey has a solution.

Not all music publishers are greedy thieves, though. A gentleman with the somewhat unlikely name of Sean Murphy Ortega is offering a free CD of Jack Riley's music to any reader of S21 or On An Overgrown Path who requests one. See the details in the comments under Pliable's Jack Riley post.

I'm not a paranoid person but this is the eighth day of rain in a row. Two, three, three and a half inches a day. Time to send the rescue choppers.
Beam me up, Stocky

Follow this link for an excellent, and rare, interview with Karlheinz Stockhausen in today's Guardian. (Well actually it's done by email, but don't let that put you off.) He is playing a concert in London on October 22nd, his first since 2001. The works are Kontakte (1960), and Oktophonie (1991).

Image credit:
Brain Drip

You know what we need around here? I'll tell you. We need somebody like that weird little nun on PBS to explain classical--and especially new classical--music to readers who don't know a cadenza from a credenza but know what they like and might become customers of adventuresome new music if there weren't so intimidated by the jargon. We've got a lot of very knowledgeable people contributing so the technical front is well-covered. What we're missing is somebody who can write "You know that part in 'Born to Run' where the music builds and builds and then Bruce yells 'One, two, three,' and all the musicians go crazy? Well, that's called a ____ and if you look at Sibelius Second Symphony, you'll see______. A lot of classical music critics view this kind of easy emotional release as a cheap tactic but it is almost always effective." Not exactly classical music for dummies but basic and related to music that the average person knows already. There's a book in there somewhere for somebody who could do it well.
The other Dr. Atomic

Do you suppose there were DEA undercover agents in the audience at San Francisco Opera? I googled "Dr. Atomic" and look what came up as no. 2 on the hits:

apparently inspired by this popular book, still in print:

which itself utilized this underground comic character:
Mr. Postman

Just found this soggy communication from Jenny Lin on the front porch:
Hi everyone,

This heavy rain won't stop (backstage was flooded during our tech yesterday), so kayak to my show tonight at 7:30 pm at Symphony Space Thalia Music! One hour show without intermission joined by Jim Pugliese and Chris Nappi.

On the program will be Ligeti's Etudes, Claude Vivier's Shiraz, Randy Nordschow's Detail of Beethoven�s Hair, James Tenney's Chromatic Canon for piano and tape, Donnacha Dennehy's pAt for piano and tape and Jim Pugliese's Enjym for piano and percussion.

Hope to see you!
Blah. Blah. Blah.

Still raining here in the Center of the Universe but considering all the natural and man-made disasters going on out there in the real world I suppose I shouldn't complain. Woke up this morning with this thought: One of the best things about getting older is that it forces you to focus on what�s important. I�m now going through all the projects I meant to finish but never did and the ones I never started in the first place and narrowing them down to the ones I want to spend the rest of my life not starting or never finishing. It�s a liberating process.

Where are our bloggers? At least, the Composers Forum is going full tilt...Mr. Reliable, Lawrence Dillon, says that on the basis of two sold-out concerts two Saturdays in a row he's beginning to think there might be a market for new music after all.

Here's today's question, sent to me by a Mr. Richard Feder of Ft. Lee, New Jersey:
I own "Book of Days" and think it's amazing. What I've heard of Meredith Monk elsewhere, mostly in snippets of movements, I also think is amazing. My question: is she really as good as I think she is? and if so, why are people I know whose musical sophistication is far more advanced than mine and whose taste I usually agree with so totally oblivious when I say, Meredith Monk?
The question really comes from a friend whose tastes are pure indie--approached from the rock/punk/prog side.
Philadelphia Sounds: Network for New Music's Flying Solo

The Network for New Music's "Flying Solo" program was built around pieces selected by the soloists themselves for the concert, so the styles and choices were eclectic and varied widely in style. The program included two world premieres.

Hirono Oka opened the program with two short pieces for violin by Augusta Read Thomas, Pulsar (2003) and Incantation (1995). Passion is the word Thomas uses to describe her work, and Pulsar has plenty, although at times it seemed on the verge of out-of-control. Incantation, on the other hand, is controlled commentary on a violinist�s struggle with cancer, with a more continuous line and logical arc in its ABA form.

Vincent Persichetti�s 1973 Parable XV for English horn, performed by Elizabeth Masoudnia, briefly explored the instrument�s range and tones. Snake (1990) by Michael Berkeley did the same in three movements that are improvisatory, dance-like, and highly technical, with a sense of motion from slides, leaps and dynamic contrasts.

Rachel Ku, viola, played Stratis Minakakis� Sonata for Viola(2004) in three movements based on geometric proportion, perpetuum mobile, and Greek dirges.

Halfway There (2002) by Adam Unsworth, which he performed on horn, follows a jazz structure of statement, improvisation and re-statement, and uses the half-valve technique for a compressed sound, with bluesy slides and fades. Think 1950�s film noir with a spice of New Orleans rhythm.

Dave Hollinden�s 1992 Of Wind and Water reflects the movement of wind on water through the marimba played by Angela Zator Nelson. The tones were mellow and soothing, even when dramatically dynamic.

Ohad Bar-David explored similarities and differences in his Intercultural Journeys for cello, blending Arab and Jewish themes of other composers.

Luceat eis (1984), a flute piece by A. John Felice performed by Edward Schultz, explores both singing and playing in delicate lines with sharp high pitches and vocalization through the instrument.

Ranaan Meyer knows how to make the double bass swing, and Harold Robinson can make it real. Jean Ray Sty Liszt (2005) combined blues, bluegrass, gypsy and jazz styles in a solo piece just as Meyer does for the Time for Three ensemble. It starts with a folk-like theme, adds a little Bach and variations, for a blast of fun.

Richard Belcastro wrote Caution, Rip Current (2005) for the entire ensemble, commemorating a sailing trip, alternating an ordinary, everyday business theme, with turbulent dynamics, and calm again, conducted by Jan Krzywicki. Flutes and violin add sprightliness, while cello and bass represent portent, and all come out even. (Reposted from Penn Sounds 10/12/05.)
The View from Ararat

The ark is coming along nicely and I'm looking for a mate for my cat as it hasn't stopped raining in New York for four or five days. I took yesterday off from blogging out of respect for the Yankees and went instead to a small press luncheon for an upcoming Japanese opera that a friend of mine is singing in (more about which later). Sat next to a feisty 80-year-old former Met diva named Lucine Amara who told some hysterical and out-of-school stories about Pavarotti and demonstrated (on my face) how she was once singing Mimi with him in La Boheme and how, in a tender love scene in which he was supposed to caress her cheek, he suddenly started slapping her hard with both hands on both cheeks like a seal appauding after catching a fish. Funny story and remind me not to get in the ring with this lady.

Speaking of love scenes, this from the Composers Forum:
I�ve voraciously re-read many sections from Jeppesen�s �Counterpoint� and slammed my way through �The Palestrina Style and the Dissoance� while riding the subway. I�ve combed my way through the Pope Marcellus Mass with awe and excitement: the elegance and fluidity with which Palestrina handles six polyphonic lines � never exceeding, from bass to soprano, the space of two-octaves-and-a-fifth, the serene motion of his melodic energy, the refinement of his rhythm, the naturalness with which he glides through dissonance � all this takes my breath away.
Don't you love it when David talks dirty?

UPDATE: Anthony Cornicello has checked in and is looking for suggestions for four or five easy pieces.
Atomic is no Klinghoffer, and far from another Nixon

After Sunday's performance of Dr. Atomic, my wife and I had dinner with three other composers who were at the show. All of us are in our early 40s or late 30s, and, with the exception of my wife, a civilian who likes opera, none of us would object to being called "postmodern" or even "postminimal" composers. We all enjoy other Johns Adams works. All 5 of us disliked Dr. Atomic.

While leaving the hall, I told my friend A, "That's the first time I've ever been disappointed by the San Francisco Opera." A replied, "Well, I saw St. Francois." I'd forgotten about Messiaen's gargantuan work, which I'd seen there as well. I said, "Well, at least there was a lot more in St. Francois to take away with you."

Earlier at intermission, B was furious. He hated the entire first act. A was digging it. I had real trouble with the heavy use of scientific jargon and papers for the libretto; in its distant humanity, the first scene really didn't work for me. But from Kitty Oppenheimer's bedroom aria, to Robert Oppenheimer's closing aria in the first act (both of which used poems for their texts), I was enthralled. (Except for the general's aria about his diet, which we all agreed was unnecessary).

But the second act? My wife hated the atomic bomb hanging over the baby's crib for half an hour. I hated the patchwork quilt aspect of it. None of us understood why Oppenheimer's Indian maid was a character; she seemed unnecessary. The staging was confusing; my wife and I had to stifle our laughter when the maid slowly crossed the stage singing her melody, while raising and lowering what looked like giant green feather dusters from our balcony seats. Binoculars revealed the "feather dusters" to actually be some kind of pine branches (although I read in Alex Ross's article after the fact that she was doing a corn dance). The whole timing of the second act, all four composers agreed, was terribly askew. I wondered why they couldn't present the different characters views simultaneously in a sextet, instead of stretching them out one by one. (For my money, the sextet at the end of Nixon in China is the greatest operatic sextet since Lulu, so Adams is certainly capable of delivering in that area).

We all agreed that the libretto was probably responsible for a lot of the problems. (Damn, why didn't Alice Goodman sign on to this project?) None of us liked Lucinda Childs' choreography. The abstract, geometric dances didn't mesh very well with the realistic motions of the actors. (The one dance I did like was when the dancers circled around Kitty in Act I as if they were 6 electrons dancing around a carbon nucleus.)

C hated the soprano's wobbly vibrato for Kitty Oppenheimer (although I wasn't bothered with it). Too bad Lorraine Hunt Leiberson didn't do the part, as originally planned.

After bitching about what didn't work, we came to a consensus on what we all liked: the bold blocks of brilliant color in the lighting design; the set design; Adams' orchestration. But that whole second act is a real impediment.

As I got on the BART for the train and plane ride back to San Diego, I thought of all the great operatic experiences I'd had with SFO. Rake's Progress, Lulu, The Mother of Us All, Grande Macabre, about 50% of St. Francois. It was a nice streak while it lasted.
Finding NWEAMO

Based on this preview in last Friday's San Diego Union-Tribune (our sole major daily paper, and an unusually conservative one at that), looks like I picked the wrong night to attend the San Diego leg of the New West Electro-Acoustic Music Organization tour. None of these pieces were on Friday's concert. I didn't read George Varga's preview, because I was too busy writing my review of Thursday night's concert by the Orquesta de Baja California. Of note is that George Varga is the "pop music critic" for the U-T. Seems like whenever there's something experimental, George Varga handles it. Nice enough to get any publicity, but I wonder how many of his readers actually get off their butts and go to the concerts he recommends?

Whoda thunk I'd come away from Friday's concert most impressed by an angst-ridden musical scream by a contemporary German composer (most of whom, at least the disciples of Lachenmann and Huber, I cannot stand)?

The highlight of the evening was a work for piccolo and tape by Gerald Eckert, a surprise to me as I had dismissed Eckert, based on the recordings I had heard, as a purveyor of the strain of supremely ugly, pulseless music that so many German composers are writing these days (and true to post-Adorno form, insisting that anything else is rubbish). However, Eckert's Klangr�ume 2 was a ferocious sonic assault that grabbed you and didn't let go. Loud, fat synthesizer tones (at least they sounded synthesized to me) slowly descend, over and over, in thick clusters on the tape part. In the midst of this, the piccolo fires off a fortissimo fusillade of accented staccato notes. If you're familiar with Brian Ferneyhough's Superscriptio, a nonstop hysterical rant for solo piccolo, then imagine that accompanied by a loud chorus of electronic glissandi, and you'll have some idea of what Klangr�ume 2 sounded like. Eckert kept the piccolo and electronic part at a consistently high level of intensity for what seemed to me like five minutes. It was performed brilliantly, as near as I can tell without being familiar with the piece, by Beatrix Wagner, who came all the way from Germany.
A nice piece from Andrew Stoltz:

Andrew Stoltz's Eftah was the one work on the program that seemed to fufill the NWEAMO mission of uniting the avant garde with popular music. Jeremy Bleich nimbly performed a series of Ralph-Towner-esque licks on the oud (the Arabian predecessor to the lute and the guitar), which were processed and accompanied by Stoltz's laptop, at times laying down a thick modal carpet of sustained tones, at others gentle ripplings of processed notes.

My entire review of the Friday night NWEAMO concert here. They could use some more submissions by talented computer music composers/performers. If you can travel to San Diego and/or Portland next year, and supply the performers for your work, you should apply.

I had to miss the Saturday show, because I was up in San Francisco to hear Dr. Atomic. More on that major disappointment soon.

P.S. There are some contemporary German composers I admire. Henze. Some of Stockhausen. Rihm. Killmayer. Um, now I can't think of any more. Think I'll go listen to some Danish composers instead. (I'm on a Rasmussen kick these days).

Viva Mexico!

After hearing the Orquesta de Baja California (it's really more of a chamber symphony, a little bigger than the London Sinfonietta) play an all Mexican composer concert at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido (about 30 miles north of downtown San Diego), I realized that when it comes to North and South American music from the 1920s to the 1940s, I've heard more orchestral works from that period by Mexicans than by U.S. composers. I don't know how much Mexican music you hear in symphony concert halls outside of Southern California, but we hear a lot, especially in San Diego.

Sure, we get the Copland ballet scores, and a Barber composition from the period every couple of years, and I'm not counting Gershwin. But the other American symphonists? Where are they? Sessions, Piston, Schuman, Harris, Thomson. I can't think of a single performance of their orchestral music in the past five years (some of them I've never heard in San Diego--for instance, Harris, Piston, or Thomson--and I've lived here 20 years). And as might be imagined, don't wait around for any Varese, Riegger, Ruggles, Seeger. (Hey, that rhymes!) Oddly enough, Cowell's more consonant scores get performed here, although again, not as much as Chavez or Revueltas.

It always infuriated me that American orchestras didn't play American repertory. The typical American conductor's response (and the typical conductor in the U.S. was not born and raised here) is, "I program the best music, regardless of nationality." Come down off your high dead German horse, Fritz! You're in the U.S. now--play some American composers!

I don't think anyone in Orquesta de Baja California is going to argue that Chavez or Revueltas are greater composers than Mozart or Beethoven or Bach, or even Stravinsky and Schoenberg to use examples from the last century. But they're a Mexican orchestra, so they take pride in playing Mexican composers. It's part of their cultural heritage. Why can't American orchestras feel the same way???

Heard on the concert was a killer piece by Leo Brouwer, unfortunately not recorded. Here's what I had to say about it:

The other discovery of the evening was Cancion de Gesta, by the Cuban Leo Brouwer. Brouwer is probably the most revered living composer for classical guitar. His other music, though, rarely appears in San Diego. Cancion de Gesta was originally written for a wind quartet, piano, harp and five percussionists. You wouldn�t have guessed its origins, though, as the writing was completely idiomatic for chamber orchestra.

Brouwer�s reputation in the U.S. as a composer may well have been hurt by his Cuban origins, and from being pigeonholed (at least by American academics) as a reactionary tonal composer. How else to explain the neglect of this amazing work? Written in 1978, Brouwer used the repetitive melodic patterns of minimalism, but cast them in a form where sudden shifts of tempo and emotion interrupt the static processes. If I didn�t know anything about this work, I�d guess it was composed this year by an American or Danish composer in his or her 30s or 40s. To put Brouwer�s innovative use of minimalism in context, in 1978, America�s greatest postminimal composer, John Adams, finished Shaker Loops, which was hailed as a breakthrough work for demonstrating a way to meld the repetitive materials of minimalism with a more traditional sense of large-scale form.

There's probably more Revueltas played in Southern California than anywhere else in the country. In addition to the ubiquitous Sensemaya (I swear, it gets performed more than Appalachian Spring here), there was also the lesser-known, but delightful, Alcancias. Alcancias translates as "Piggy banks." Anyone know why Revueltas gave it this title? Post an answer!

The thing that's great about writing for the internet (as opposed to a newspaper) is that I get to say things like: "If Varese, Ives, and Stravinsky had a four-way with Frida Kahlo, the offspring might have been Revueltas," and it doesn't end up censored.

Fantastic compositions. Read my whole review here.

Brilliant Corners

Jacob Sudol wants to wish everyone a Happy Canadian Thanksgiving and a Happy Monk Day.
Last Night in L.A. - Lindberg and the Master

There�s always a special feeling about the first Philharmonic concert of the season: the music is back! No matter what else is happening in the world, we still have our music. In its third season, going to Walt Disney Concert Hall (to use the official, and officially preferred name) remains a special and distinct pleasure, for the sight as well as for the sound. And the seats were almost filled, once again, and no vacancy remained in the least expensive seating, behind the orchestra.

This season Esa-Pekka Salonen decided he wanted to do a complete survey of the Beethoven symphonies. The Phil�s schedule for the year was set up to offer a non-subscription series of the symphonies by themselves, Beethoven unadorned. For the subscription series Salonen wanted to bring out his feeling for Beethoven as a radical breaker of convention and tradition; the subscription concerts combine Beethoven symphonies with strong, distinctive works by contemporary composers. These are not those nice, short, overture-length works which are used so often to open concerts of traditional music, allowing management to praise themselves for recognizing living composers, while allowing those with tender ears to wait in the lobby until the real part of the concert was to begin. No, these are major contemporary works, placed in the �concerto� position in a standard three-work program, works by Ligeti, Knussen, Lutoslawski, Dutilleux, and premieres by Hillborg and, yesterday, Magnus Lindberg.

Lindberg�s new work, Sculpture, was paired with Beethoven�s Eroica and it more than held its own. It�s a 25-minute work in one movement (with four parts) for a non-traditional orchestra. Lindberg used no violins (have you seen the violist acting as concertmaster before?), and Lindberg supplemented the orchestra by doubling the contrabassoons, the bass clarinets, tubas, pianos, and harps, while adding alto flute, Wagner tubas, and � for some marvelous rumblings at the close-- the organ. All of the lower notes were heard, wonderfully clear in the Disney�s acoustic; the work wouldn�t be nearly as fascinating in a hall, like our Music Center Pavilion, that absorbs the bass. Lindberg has a reputation for taking time to work and re-work his compositions, and Sculpture was initially intended for last season, but was delayed by the composer because he didn�t feel the work was ready.

Salonen has become comfortable talking to the audience prior to the start of a concert when he wants to communicate something about a new work. Yesterday, he brought Lindberg on stage to discuss Sculpture and to dedicate the piece to Frank Gehry, sitting in the orchestra section rather than in his usual seat on the side above the violins.

As might be expected, Salonen�s Eroica was great music-making. I usually have the luxury of writing my comments before Mark Swed has published his comments in the Los Angeles Times but this time he beat me; Mark wrote that he felt that Salonen might be inventing �postmodern Beethoven�. Whatever. It was an awfully good concert.
Paging Arnie's Army

Our "resident curmudgeon, and compositional non-minimalist, non-atonalist old-liner" Arnold Rosner is having a 60th birthday concert at Merkin Hall on November 8 and he's set aside 40 free tickets for readers of Sequenza21. See the details in Arnold's blog.
Journey with Jack Reilly

is the story On An Overgrown Path of a contemporary composer and musician who can effortlessly cross boundaries. From jazz to classical, to Eastern harmonies, and back. From composer to live performer, to recording artist, to teacher, to author, through to musical and spiritual evangelist.

Jack Reilly has some pretty sound classical credentials (photo right). He graduated from Manhattan School of Music, and served on several faculties including the New School for Social Research. In 1969 he was commissioned to write his Mass of Involvement, an original setting which uses vocal and instrumental improvisation. He has also written a Jazz Requiem (1968), which uses Mozart's Requiem as its model. His Lament takes the Vietnam war as its theme, and his oratorio The Light of the Soul is based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, while in 2001 his concerto for piano, jazz trio and symphony orchestra Orbitals was premiered.

But that is only half the story.

For fifty years Jack Reilly has been pursuing a parallel, and overlapping, career in jazz. This has included studying with the legendary Lennie Tristano as well as with contemporary composer Ludmila Ulehla, and Indian classical musician Ali Akbar Khan.

He has worked with many jazz big names, including saxophonist Ben Webster (who was a Duke Ellington sideman) and vocalist Sheila Jordan, and was influenced by the piano technique of Bill Evans. His work as an author include The Harmony of Bill Evans, and the three volume Species Blue which takes the student pianist on a journey from elementary improvisation to full-on free form playing.

He has has recorded widely, including two volumes of piano improvisations based on the Tarot (right), several albums of jazz piano improvisations, and some outstanding trio sets.

Journey with Jack Reilly tells how one musician has managed to cross practically every musical boundary. In today's world of categorisation, specialisation and tunnel vision that is a very remarkable achievement - read the full story On An Overgrown Path.
Shoot the Piano Player

The line between sanity and the streets is a finer one then most of us realize. L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez takes a homeless street violinist with Juilliard credentials to Disney Hall. A sad and touching tale about the limits of good deeds and the need to keep trying anyway...Today's New York Times has a lengthy article by Daniel Wakin about Marin Alsop's rude welcome to Baltimore.

Elodie Lauten takes a look at the music calendar and concludes that there's way too much straight old classical music being performed and not nearly enough music by local composers and women...Lawrence Dillon checks out the debut of the Open Dream Ensemble, or ODE, a new multidisciplinary art project sponsored by the Kenan Institute for the Arts, and conceived by Rebecca Nussbaum, his wife...Ever get the feeling that the Britney Spears' song "Oops, I Did It Again" sounded awfully familiar. Alan Theisen explains why.


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