Photo by Greg Grudt / Matthew Imaging.
One day after the end of the Ojai Festival, I saw David T. Little's Dog Days at LA Opera — or, more precisely, at the REDCAT space under Disney Hall, in a Beth Morrison Projects production presented by LA Opera. Although I'd seen the work on video, I was still unprepared for the visceral, clobbering impact of this apocalyptic family drama, which Steve Smith memorably reviewed in the New York Times in 2012. Against an endless parade of quaint literary adaptations, Dog Days is furiously, frighteningly contemporary. I had originally planned to append a short review to my Ojai column, but I couldn't do it justice in limited space. Fortunately, there will be occasion to revisit the piece in New York next winter, and Little's next opera, JFK, will have its premiere in Fort Worth in April 2016.
June 30, 2015 | Permalink
John Luther Adams listens to his Sila at Ojai.
Outsiders. The New Yorker, July 6, 2015.
More: Streams of most Ojai concerts are archived here. Two obvious highlights: Steve Schick's solo turn (Friday 8pm); and Gloria Cheng and Vicki Ray's authoritative Visions de l'Amen, paired with a blend of Boulez and Ravel's Mallarmé settings, in a remarkable performance by Mellissa Hughes (Sat. 11am). But four of the most striking events—Sila, ICE in the park, Anna Thorvaldsdottir's In the Light of Air, and For Philip Guston—were not recorded.
June 29, 2015 | Permalink
The Berlin Philharmonic, recovering from last month's confusion, has chosen Kirill Petrenko as its next chief conductor. I was less impressed by his 2013 Bayreuth Ring than were many of my colleagues, but I admired his work in Ariadne and Khovanshchina at the Met, and a Digital Concert Hall stream of his most recent Berlin outing, in 2012, suggests a strong chemistry with the orchestra. So far, his involvement in new music seems limited, though he will lead Miroslav Srnka's South Pole in Munich next season. Benjamin Ivry has an interesting commentary, emphasizing Petrenko's Jewishness.... Harry Lawrence Freeman's long-lost opera Voodoo is revived in New York this weekend, in a joint effort by Morningside Opera, Harlem Opera Theater, and the Harlem Chamber Players. The Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia will mark the occasion with a two-day conference.... Tonight at NYC's River to River Festival, Roomful of Teeth presents Caroline Shaw's music, film, and theatre installation Ritornello.... Read Allan Kozinn on June in Buffalo.... Kyle Gann speaks on Nancarrow at the Whitney today, as part of the museum's Nancarrow Festival.... Tanglewood, on the occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Tanglewood Music Center, is offering streaming audio from its archives. No fewer than thirty-four celebratory commissions will be presented this summer or in future seasons... Spectrum NYC is hosting a three-concert festival devoted to the restlessly inventive English composer Richard Barrett. It begins tonight and ends on June 30.... At the Luminato Festival in Toronto this weekend, close to a thousand musicians will perform R. Murray Schafer's gigantic oratorio Apocalypsis — a project possibly inspired by Adrian Leverkühn's Apocalypsis cum figuris, that most influential of nonexistent works. Colin Eatock has a preview at Classical Voice North America. The CBC will provide a live broadcast on June 28.... For Music and Literature, Doyle Armbrust has written a discerning introduction to Anna Thorvaldsdottir, whose tremendous piece In the Light of Air appears this summer on the Sono Luminus label. Also coming soon from that source is a Nordic Affect disc called Clockworking, featuring works of Anna, Hildur Gudnadóttir, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, Hafdís Bjarnadóttir, and Thurídur Jónsdóttir.
A happy eightieth birthday to Terry Riley. Just out on Nonesuch is a Kronos Quartet disc of Cadenza on the Night Plain and other pieces, combining older recordings with fresh takes. The Kronos will further celebrate Riley at a three-day festival in San Francisco this week, culminating in a complete performance of Salome Dances for Peace.
A great force in American music is gone.
His memorable credo, in "Third Stream Revisited": "Third Steam is a way of composing, improvising, and performing that brings musics together rather than segregating them. It is a way of making music which holds that all musics are created equal, coexisting in a beautiful brotherhood/sisterhood of musics that complement and fructify each other. It is a global concept which allows the world's musics— written, improvised, handed-down, traditional, experimental— to come together, to learn from one another, to reflect human diversity and pluralism. It is the music of rapprochement, of entente—not of competition and confrontation. And it is the logical outcome of the American melting pot: E pluribus unum."
June 21, 2015 | Permalink
Footnote 159 of Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato Si', quoting the Sufi mystic Ali al-Khawas: "Prejudice should not have us criticize those who seek ecstasy in music or poetry. There is a subtle mystery in each of the movements and sounds of this world. The initiate will capture what is being said when the wind blows, the trees sway, water flows, flies buzz, doors creak, birds sing, or in the sound of strings or flutes, the sighs of the sick, the groans of the afflicted...”
June 18, 2015 | Permalink