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

Jerry Bowles
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Managing Editor:
David Salvage

Contributing Editors:

Galen H. Brown
Evan Johnson
Ian Moss
Lanier Sammons
Deborah Kravetz
Eric C. Reda
Christian Hertzog
(San Diego)
Jerry Zinser
(Los Angeles)

Web & Wiki Master:
Jeff Harrington

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, September 02, 2006
Attention Sequenza21 Shoppers

In our continuing efforts to turn Sequenza21 into a full-service musical community (and to lift our annual income from above that crucial $200 a year mark), we have taken advantage of Amazon's new aStore concept and created The Sequenza21 Shop. This is a great little idea that allows people who run web sites to try to tailor the content specifically to the tastes of its readers. It's not yet as flexible as I would like but I think I have managed to get some stuff I like in and filter out Andrea Fucking Bocelli (hat tip to whoever said that in the comments recently). Take a look and let me know your thoughts for improvement.
The Moment You've All Been Waiting For

The Sequenza21 Concert Committee is pleased to announce the program for the inaugural Sequenza21 concert at CUNY's Elebash Hall on Monday, November 20 at 7:30pm:

Galen Brown, Systems of Preference or Restraint
Anthony Cornicello, The Gloved One
Lawrence Dillon, Singing Silver
Jeff Harrington, Preludes for piano
Mary Jane Leach, Xantippe’s Rebuke
Ian Moss, Three Miniatures for Marimba and Violin
Tom Myron, Quasi una cadenza, Merian Etude
Frank Oteri, Manapulacao
David Salvage, Pause Button Excerpt
David Toub, Objects
Samuel Vriezen, The Weather Riots
Judith Lang Zaimont, Wizards: Three Magic Masters

A star-studded cast of performers will be participating as well, including Thomas Meglioranza, Hugh Sung, Daniel Beliavsky, David Starobin, and our own Anthony Cornicello. Thanks to everybody who submitted pieces. We're excited to be organizing this event, and we hope to feature those of you whose music wasn't selected in a future concert.

S21 Concert Committee
Jerry Bowles
Galen Brown
Jeff Harrington
Ian Moss
David Salvage
David Toub

P.S. We're still going through phases in which minor changes to the program could occur.
New music flourishes as festivals finish

The end of the BBC Proms and the other high profile European music festivals doesn’t mean we say goodbye to compelling music making. In fact there is a strong case for saying that the real music making is actually happening away from the ‘auto-pilot’ performances that typify the ‘London today, Edinburgh tomorrow’ itineraries of the big name, big ticket, touring orchestras.

Two upcoming concerts really illustrate the exciting things that are happening away from the festival scene, and these performances are also enduring evidence of my recent theme of music beyond borders. American composer, and Harvard alumni, Vanessa Lann (left) has been quietly building a growing reputation from her base in the Netherlands. Refreshingly that reputation is being built by questioning, rather than reinforcing, performance stereotypes, and her high profile premiere with the Residentie Orchestre of the Hague on September 16 underlines this individual approach to composition.

In The Flames of Quietude Lann has not created completely new musical material, but instead places recognizable sounds and gestures (from everyday sources, as well as from well-known works by composers such as Bach and Beethoven) in new contexts and juxtapositions. She uses extensive repetition in all of her works, as well as structures based on mathematical ratios and patterns. These create a sense of expectation, ritual, theatre and even comedy, as part of the shared concert experience. This new work tackles the fundamental questions of how we listen, how we come to understand musical material, and when a performance itself actually "begins". And this is not some dry, academic excercise. Vanessa Lann will pragmatically blur the boundaries of "performance" by playing the orchestral piano part of The Flames of Quietude herself - not only with the orchestra during the orchestral concert, but also as an infinitely repeating solo work. This will be played in the foyer for an hour prior to the orchestral concert, and will form a background as the concert goers enter and are focused on other things. This Eastern-influenced questioning of the perception of ambient sound, and the repetition of continuous background events in music, as well as in daily life, is part of Lann's aesthetic.

The questioning theme continues with a new commission from Chamber Orchestra Anglia for another exciting young female composer, Joyce Koh. The commission is for the opening concert of the BA Festival of Science in Norwich on September 3, the concert uses live performances and discussion to explore the many links between music and mathematics. Singapore born Joyce Koh (right) studied under the husband and wife team of David Lumsdaine and Nicola Le Fanu, undertook postgraduate studies at IRCAM (Institute for Research and Co-ordination of Acoustics and Music) in Paris, and is currently composer-in-residence at the Ecole Nationale de Musique Montbéliard in France. As well as the Joyce Koh commission Chamber Orchestra Anglia’s innovative programme ranges from Bach to Bartok.

* Vanessa Lann’s The Flames of Quietude is being performed on September 16 at 3.00pm in the Dr Anton Philips Hall in the Hague, The Netherlands. The orchestra is the Residentie Orchestra of the Hague conducted by Etienne Siebens, and the rest of the programme is noteworthy; ‘Tango Waltz’ (2003) by Diderik Wagenaar, and ‘Dame Blanche’ (1995) for recorder, orchestra and electronics by Cornelis de Bondt.
* The Maths of Music is given by the Chamber Orchestra Anglia conducted by Sharon Choa at the John Innes Centre, Norwich at 7.00pm on September 3. The programme is Mozart Overture from Die Zauberflote, Bartok Game of Pairs, JS Bach Chaconne, Joyce Koh new commission, and Beethoven Symphony No 5.

Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk
Disappearing Structure

I don't have a photo of Aaron Cassidy communing with the kelp but Aaron's the latest composer to play 15 questions with tokafi, the online music magazine. They begin by quoting Wolfgang Schurig, who curates the yearly "Bludenzer Tage Zeitgemäßer Musik", as saying that Aaron is a composer "whose works are so over-structured, that all structure dissolves and can not be recognised any more." He apparently meant it as a compliment.

Speaking of kelp, Philip Blackburn, director of the American Composers Forum label, Innova Recordings, has begun a new podcast series titled "Measure for Measure: New Music, New Thoughts," and Alex Shapiro's chat with him has been posted as the inaugural interview.

Sorry for the late start. I took the day off and went to the U.S. Open. So there.
Go Montclair State!

For reasons unknown to me (perhaps some of you know), Montclair State University has become a hotbed of exciting new music concerts, leading off the fall season on September 14 with a chamber opera by David Lang written orginally for the Kronos Quartet called The Difficulty of Crossing a Field. Based on one of those weird folk tales by Ambrose Bierce, the opera revolves around a mystery surrounding a confounding event on a plantation in the post-Civil War South. Mac Wellman did the libretto and Bob McGrath (Michael Gordon's Decasia, John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer, and Harry Partch's Oedipus-- at Montclair last year) is the director. Tickets and details here.

And while you're there, take a look at the rest of the schedule for the season. Some fabulous stuff. Kind of thing that almost makes me regret my "just say no to New Jersey" pledge.
A Few More Proms

On August 22 H K Gruber, the BBC Singers, and the BBC Symphony did a late night Prom featuring music by Gruber, Eisler, and Weill. The concert opened with a Gruber piece , Hidden Agenda, which had received its first performance two days earlier on a concert by the same people in Switzerland. Hidden Agenda is based on the famous "twelve tone row" from the development section of the Mozart g minor Symphony. It has the feel of being some sort of chaconne in that there seems to be a regular periodicity about it. At the same time it gradually and inexorably gets faster and louder (presumably through some kind of isorhythmic process), going right to the very end, without any kind of pauses, cadences, or other punctuation along the way. In fact every musical component is deployed in the service of the furtherance of that design. One always has the sense of moving towards somewhere, but the instant that one gets there, everything's over. The effect is compelling, but ultimately not completely satisfying, however appealing and skillful everything is every step of the way.

Five of the six short pieces by Eisler and Weill dated from right around 1930 and were products of their collaboration with Bertold Brecht, although none of them were theater pieces. All of them were extremely well done and suitably rousing in various ways. I found Uber Das Toten, Op. 21, No. 2, Eisler's setting of Brecht's commentary on the idea of a war to end war, to be the most effective. These five were preceeded by Weill's Kiddush, which was commissioned in 1946 by the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York. Its Hebrew text was set in Weill's best Broadway style.

The concert ended with a performance of Gruber's Frankenstein!!, in a version for full orchestra rather than the smaller instrumentation, which is the only one I knew existed, and with Gruber as both conductor and chansonnier. The larger version seems to me to be much more colorfully orchestrated and much more effective than the other version--at least in other performances that I'd heard. It may just be that Gruber makes any performance which involves him vivid and lively. In any case conducting and performing the voice part simulataneously was an impressive feat. As entertaining as Frankenstein!! is, even in this performance, I would be happy if there were about ten minutes less of it.

Mark Anthony Turnage's A Relic of Memory is an expanded version of Calmo, a short piece for chorus, desk bells, and organ which he wrote in 2004 in memory of Sue Knussen. This piece sets parts of Shakespeare's Sonnet 71 and tiny bit of the Dies Irae (the words "Lacrimosa dies illa") in addition to the text of Calmo, which is the words "give us peace" in a number of languages. The music that was Calmo is, in fact, the end of this piece; it is now preceded by an a cappella setting of the Shakespeare with orchestral outbursts, and an increasingly thicker and louder texture leading up to it, the whole lasting about 17 minutes. I can't say that it made much of an impression on me. The Bells by Rakmaninov, which ended the concert, made a fiarly negative one, though; I would be very happy never to hear it again. I guess I wouldn't mind hearing the Prokofiev Second Piano Concerto, which was between them, again--just not for a good long while.

Sculpture, by Magnus Lindberg is a really wonderful piece. One the works commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to celebrate the opening of Walt Disney Hall, it received its first UK performance on August 25 from Jukka-Pekka Sarasate and the BBC Symphony. The most immediately noticeable aspect of the piece is the richness and fullness of its sonority; this is partially a function of aspects of the scoring of the piece: no violins, and pairs of pianos, harps, bass clarinets, and contrabassoons, but it's really mainly a result of Lindberg's mastery of orchestration and his ability to write gratefully for instruments and get the most beautiful possible sounds from them. In the third section of the piece, a mosiac of bits of music for various smaller ensembles, the virtuosity of the writing (and the orchestra's playing) is focused on the indidual rather than the aggregate. Apparently Lindberg was participating as pianist and conductor in performances of Les noces while he was writing Sculpture, and the influence of Stravinsky is clear. It's an invigorating and, one might say, thrilling piece.

That afternoon, a short performer portrait concert, Lindberg played his Piano Jubilees and Sarah Thurlow and Sarah Suckling, from the Contemporary Consort of the Royal College of Music, played Steamboat Bill, Jr. a frenetically active piece for clarinet and 'cello. They were both high grade pieces, but neither quite on the level of Sculpture.

All of this can be heard for a while on the Proms website:
Happy Birthday to On an Overgrown Path

Our friend and sometime contributor/poacher Bob Shingleton, aka Pliable, is celebrating the second birthday of On an Overgrown Path with a fireworks display on the blog linked by the theme of Music beyond Borders.

"But instead of letting off pyrotechnics a shower of posts are going up over the next few days, everything from crackers to rockets, and hopefully not too many damp squibs," Bob says. You'll want to check in frequently to see what's up.

This morning, Bob is promising a naked Leonard Bernstein. Hide the kiddies.

And, oh yes, congratulations from the S21 gang for a magnificent job.
James Tenney, 72

James Tenney, a maverick composer and a true American original, has died of lung cancer. Kyle knew him well and has details and an appreciation. He was in town for a series of concerts back in the winter, I think, but I wasn't able to make any of them, which was one more thing to regret. If anyone has special insights and wants to write a longer appreciation, send it to me and I'll post it here on the front page.


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