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340 W. 57th Street, 12B, New York, NY 10019

Jerry Bowles
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Ian Moss
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Deborah Kravetz
Eric C. Reda
Christian Hertzog
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Jerry Zinser
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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

Friday, March 10, 2006
Turning a New Page

For many performers the moment of highest anxiety is not the playing part, it's the turning the pages part. Brian Sacawa thinks there may finally be a solution.

Speaking of performers, let's dish. Who do you find annoying on stage? I'll start with obnoxious fiddle players; Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Nigel Kennedy.

And, I don't want to be a sore loser but do you have to draw blood to get a foul called in the Big East? And is it really necessary to have 80 minutes of commercials during 40 minutes of basketball?
Talking Timbuktu

Elodie Lauten wonders why Mark Adamo's Lysistrata is being marketed as a love story, not an anti-war story, and if the shift of emphasis is intentional. Maybe "chik ops" are easier to sell? Blackdogred remembers Ali Farka Toure. Somebody needs to post a new topic for the Composers Forum.
The Most Happy Fella

The well-dressed gentleman to my left kept sneaking peeks at the illuminated BlackBerry under his program during the opening performance of The Most Happy Fella at the New York City Opera last night but not even this self-absorbed display of master-of-the-universe boorishness could cast a chill on Frank Loesser's big, warm-hearted musical/opera about an aging, but lovable Italian immigrant, the mail order bride he lures to his Napa Valley vineyard with a picture of his handsome young foreman, and the complications that inevitably ensue.

To be absolutely fair, the man to my left was one of a large group of tuxedo-clad gentlemen who appeared to have been dragged to a pre-concert gala/merchandising event having something to do with Napa Valley wines by their fashionable, if mostly post-reproductive, wives and had--under some duress--stayed around to see the show. Paul Kellogg appeared to have attended the wine event, himself, judging from his preliminary remarks, getting the name of the female lead character wrong four times before being loudly corrected from the wings by the stage manager and managing to mispronounce Frank Loesser's name twice.

As musical theater, Fella is something of an orphan; neither a true Broadway musical nor an opera in the classic sense. Each character has a distinct musical voice but some require operatic technique and others need only decent, conventional singers. Somehow, Loesser pulls off this unlikely meshing of styles and the whole show feels seamless. As the aging vineyard owner Tony Esposito, who is "not young, not good-looking, and not smart," the veteran stage and screen actor Paul Sorvino reminds us of what of missing in so many operas--good acting of the kind that makes you believe in the character. There are better singers around (although Sorvino's singing is more than adequate) but there are no male pure opera singers that I know of who could have made your eyes well with tears as you share Tony's joy at the finale.

The acting is uniformly good, especially Lisa Vroman as Rosabella, who makes you believe she really has come to love her accidental husband and Leah Hocking, who steals every scene she is in as Rosabella's best friend, Cleo. As Joe, the hunk, Ivan Fernandez is convincing and does a fine job with the show's most beautiful song, "Joey, Joey, Joey." (Leon Bibb did the greatest recording ever of this song if you're lucky enough to find a copy.)

Fella is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year but this production manages to be fresh and lively, summoning from a kinder, gentler period of American history a fairytale that reinforces our need to believe that love, indeed, conquers all. The story of the heart triumphing over simple natural selection is one of the most durable of human narratives and one that has given us many moments of pleasure--from Beauty and the Beast to Phantom of the Opera and King Kong. It's the kind of thing only an asshole with a BlackBerry could resist.
Can't Think of a Headline Tuesday

Roll over, Amadeus (or should I say Amadeus ex machina). This is Dmitri Shostakovich's centennial and Naxos has a new release of some fairly obscure orchestral pieces from Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony. See the Naxos Blog for details. Mark Berry also has a post about a couple of underrated Swedes...Alan Theisen likes boogie-woogie.

Charles Isherwood has a review in today's New York Times of the Shawn brothers'(Wallace, the playwright and actor and Allan, the composer)"play/opera" The Music Teacher which he says is neither a play nor an opera. Our own blogger Jeffrey Sackmann has seen it and believes The Music Teacher has enormous structural implications for the opera form. Don't miss his thoughtful take
Have You Seen This Man?

I have not been micro-managing Daniel Bernard Roumain, musicwise, during the current time frame--to paraphrase a certain spooky former admiral and Iran Contra figure who is the godfather of the Bush administration's domestic spying program although he was specifically told to go away by Congress a couple of years ago--but he (Roumain, not John Poindexter) is beginning to turn up a lot in our e-mails lately which has aroused our suspicion. I need agents in San Francisco to go to Kanbar Hall in the Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St., tonight at 7:30 pm where young Daniel, described as a "charismatic Haitian-American composer and classical violinist" will be performing something called A Civil Rights Reader for Strings, Laptop & DJ in concert with the Del Sol String Quartet and DJ Scientific. The one-night-only concert of Roumain�s string quartets, performed together for the first time, is presented by Other Minds in association with the Eugene and Elinor Friend Center for the Arts and Sozo Media. Tickets ($30 / $26 / $20) are available online at, or by calling the JCCSF Box Office at (415) 292-1233.

If you lose him, we'll have another shot on March 16 when Roumain will be appearing with his controller--who goes by the handle of Philip Glass--at 7:30 p.m. in the Victoria Theater at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The evening features Glass on solo piano performing Etudes for Piano (1994-1999), DBR on piano performing his 24 Bits: Hip-Hop Studies & Etudes inspired by Glass�s �tudes, and additional collaborative works featuring Glass on piano and DBR on violin.

Tickets are available by telephone at 1-888-GO-NJPAC (1-888-466-5722), at the NJPAC Box Office at One Center Street in downtown Newark, or by visiting the NJPAC website at Tickets are supposed to be $37 but if you mention the discount code "ALTERNATE ROUTES 13," you can get in for $13. Keep it down.
Chucky, Chucky, Bo Bucky. Banana Fanna, Fo...

The Contemporary Classical Music Community

The New Classical Music Community

The Postclassic Music Community

The New Concert Music Community

Something else?
In the Mood

Hey, kids, let's do some podcasts. Blackdogred needs some advice on how to go about putting one together. But, why should we stop at one? We'll start a podcast department with links here on the front page. Who wants to be the official S21 podcast coordinator? You'll probably need to write up a brief "how-to," review submissions from our little community, and put the stuff up on our server. (I'll give you a set of keys.) Volunteers?

Robert Carl pays a visit to Lawrence Dillon's classroom... Elodie Lauten is in search of the perfect temperament and Jeffrey Sackmann has some fresh ideas about framing operas.


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