Some more pictures at the New Yorker website.
“I tell you, humanity has no idea what it is doing. In nature, one sees the order and justice of the eternal divine intelligence. Not so in the work of humans, where the reason that enlightens them seems to make them descend ever deeper into the abyss of darkness.”
— Rubén Darío, "Thus Spake Ahasuerus"
October 30, 2012 | Permalink
Tomorrow the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as part of Carolina Performing Arts's season-long Rite of Spring at One Hundred program, launches a four-day academic conference on the subject of Stravinsky's masterpiece. Richard Taruskin gives the keynote address; dozens of papers and panels ensue. Be sure to keep up with the Reflections on the Rite blog, hosted by Noise friend Will Robin.... A few years ago, an avid 78-RPM record collector named Guy Walker made a remarkable discovery at an estate sale in Manhattan: an acetate of Kurt Weill's 1939 World's Fair project Railroads on Parade, which was long thought to have gone unrecorded. A CD is about to be released; it's a fabulously odd artifact of its time, and a telling, if uneven, document of Weill's musical metamorphosis in America.... I've been reading with great sadness of the travails of the Minnesota Orchestra, whose musicians have been locked out after refusing to take a drastic cut. The blogger Song of the Lark has a riveting description of a concert that the musicians organized on their own, in league with their former music director Stanisław Skrowaczewski.... The Brooklyn Philharmonic opens its new season tomorrow with a concert that includes a reprise of Tim Fite's Copycat, a highlight of last season's mold-breaking programs. Here's a video excerpt.... The Seattle Symphony, hardly less innovative, presents a Sonic Evolution concert Friday night, with world premières by Alexandra Gardner, Arlene Sierra, and Kenneth Hesketh. Having just come from Donaueschingen, where just two of thirty-one featured composers were female, I'm happy to see the balance tilted in the opposite direction in Seattle.... Some other notable NYC events in the next few days: Phil Kline's Zippo Songs and Out Cold at BAM; Gabriel Kahane at Carnegie Hall; the American Composers Orchestra's season opener; the Argento Chamber Ensemble's presentation of Mozart's Requiem, with Georg Friedrich Haas interludes; Bunita Marcus's 60th birthday at Roulette; the New York New Music Ensemble playing Jonathan Harvey; Stockhausen's Cosmic Pulses at White Light; and, of course, The Tempest.
October 24, 2012 | Permalink
October 21, 2012 | Permalink
A dramatic protest against cutbacks in Southwest German Radio funding greeted the opening last night of the Donaueschinger Musiktage, the venerable new-music festival. The Southwest Radio Symphony Orchestra had gathered in the Baar-Sporthalle and was about to play a program of works by Martin Smolka, Arnulf Herrmann, and Helmut Oehring. After an announcer introduced the Smolka live on the air, the composer Johannes Kreidler got up from the orchestra, holding a cello and a violin in his hands, and grabbed the microphone. After noisily strapping the violin and the cello together — this was symbolic of the proposed "fusion" of the radio orchestras of Stuttgart and Baden-Baden / Freiburg — Kreidler denounced the merger and smashed the instruments onstage. (They were fake, one assumes.) Armin Köhler, the director of the festival, spoke briefly in response, asking that the performance not be disrupted further. There were many boos and a few cries of "Abtreten!" ("Resign!") from the audience. I'm not quite sure what the radio audience heard, but there were no more announcements in the hall. A lively start!
October 20, 2012 | Permalink
I thought that the Pima Air & Space Musuem, in Tucson, Arizona, might offer a respite from Wagnerism, but to no avail: the Valkyries scene from Apocalypse Now was playing on video loop next to a Huey. I came to Tucson for the intensely happy wedding of two dear and dazzling friends, Alex Abramovich and Lucy Raven. The groom is no longer waiting at the altar.
October 14, 2012 | Permalink
With the assistance of a front-page story in the New York Times, the Met has announced that James Levine is expected to return to the podium in May, for a Met Orchestra concert at Carnegie Hall. Next season he is slated to conduct Falstaff, Così fan tutte, and Wozzeck. Some major news about Levine's medical history emerges in the press release, which follows after the jump; he has, as has long been rumored, been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and since a fall last year he has been suffering from paralysis of the legs. In the photographs accompanying Dan Wakin's piece, Levine does look healthier than he has in some years, despite the fact that for the time being he is confined to a wheelchair. Whether he will be able to resume his full duties remains to be seen. But those who love the art of opera certainly wish this great musician all the best as he works to recover. The Met seems lost without him.
October 12, 2012 | Permalink
Uspenski Cathedral, Helsinki.
Happily, the mystic modernism of Jonathan Harvey has of late been more in evidence in these parts. The composer was featured at Mostly Mozart over the summer; tonight, Signal plays an all-Harvey program at Miller Theatre, and the New York New Music Ensemble will make a similar gesture later in the month.... I couldn't make it out to Montclair to see David T. Little's Dog Days, but I heard nothing but good things. See rave reviews by Steve Smith and Heidi Waleson. I've been following Little since 2004, when I encountered him on the student-composer beat.... The Britten 100 website has been officially launched.... In the wake of an acclaimed recording of Winter Words, tenor Nicholas Phan has made a second all-Britten album, featuring the cycle The Heart of the Matter (with narration by Alan Cumming). There's a celebratory concert at (Le) Poisson Rouge on Oct. 15.... Doyle Armbrust, new-music activist in Chicago, has started an Unfamiliar Music Series at the Empty Bottle. The adventurous wind quintet City of Tomorrow will play there on Oct 24.... On Oct. 16, the brilliant Mann and Wagner scholar Hans Rudolf Vaget, currently in residence at the American Academy in Berlin, will lecture in Stuttgart on the until now overlooked link between Mann and Roger Sessions.... I'm happy to see that the Ellen Willis collection Out of the Vinyl Deeps has won an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. Much other fine work is being honored.
October 11, 2012 | Permalink