"Deh, ti piega, deh, consenti," from Vivaldi's La fida ninfa, with Topi Lehtipuu as Narete and Jean-Christophe Spinosi conducting the Ensemble Matheus; Naïve 30410.
Sources at Boosey & Hawkes say that Steve Reich's Double Sextet is scheduled to be heard on tonight's edition of The Colbert Report. If the host stays true to form, he may complain that Reich's diddle-daddle music won a Pulitzer while geniuses on the order of Foghat have gone unrecognized.
April 28, 2009 | Permalink
The season of new-music marathons is upon us. The Bang on a Can Marathon falls on May 31 this year; Make Music NY is on June 21; and throughout the month of May the Brooklyn space Galapagos and the New Amsterdam label present Undiscovered Islands, with contributions by the likes of Sarah Kirkland Snider and Missy Mazzoli. This weekend, venturesome Chicagoans will lap up Northwestern University's 26-hour Music Marathon, with proceeds benefiting the People's Music School. The event begins with the Gentlemen of NUCO (the group originated as the male contingent of the Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra) playing songs of Radiohead; a set by dal niente follows. In the dead of the night, saxophonist-musicologist Billy Robin, who's producing the marathon, leads a rendition of In C. And it goes on from there, ending with the Bruckner Fourth Symphony. The entire show will be webcast here.... A mini-festival is ushering in WNYC's new live-performance venue, the Greene Space. On April 30, John Zorn and René Pape will perform back to back.... With music writers disappearing from other publications, it's great to see that Newsweek has hired Seth Colter Walls, an arts writer with a serious interest in the contemporary classical. He conducted an interview with Steve Reich on the occasion of his Pulitzer; the online story includes streaming audio of the entire winning piece, the Double Sextet. Seth also recently had stories on Darcy James Argue and on Bernd Alois Zimmermann, who has made relatively few appearances in American newsweeklies to date.
April 28, 2009 | Permalink
Can it really be true that the Department of Homeland Security has been sponsoring research into what it describes as "Brain Music" — "a form of neurotraining ... that uses music created in advance from listeners’ own brain waves to help them deal with common ailments like insomnia, fatigue, and headaches stemming from stressful environments"? When I first read the story, on AC Douglas's blog, I assumed it was an April Fool's joke that had got lost in the shuffle, but it seems to be the real deal. You can listen to an MP3 of a brain-wave composition that is supposed to engender a state of "alertness," and which a DHS operative describes as having a "Mozart sound." To me, it sounds like something fit for Dick Cheney's torture chamber. Plus, Alvin Lucier did it better in 1965.
April 27, 2009 | Permalink
Adieu. The New Yorker, May 4, 2009.
A Finnish TV crew was following Salonen on the day of his first encounter with the L.A. Philharmonic, in 1984. The footage can be seen on the orchestra's Celebrate Salonen site; click on "Video" and then scroll down to "One Minute, Maestro." I believe you can actually see a couple of veteran players rolling their eyes at the stripey-shirted apparition before them. But he establishes his authority at once. Timothy Mangan has excellent photos from the final concert on his blog: see especially 1, 2, 3.
From 2007: Five essential Salonen CDs.
April 27, 2009 | Permalink
This Friday night, Terry Riley, the Kronos Quartet, Stuart Dempster, Jon Gibson, Katrina Krimsky, Morton Subotnick, Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan, Sidney Chen, Dennis Russell Davies, Loren Kiyoshi Dempster, Bryce Dessner, Dave Douglas, Trevor Dunn, Jacob Garchik, Philip Glass, Osvaldo Golijov, Michael Harrison, Michael Hearst, Scott Johnson, Joan La Barbara, Saskia Lane, Alfred Shabda Owens, Elena Moon Park, Lenny Pickett, Gyan Riley, Aaron Shaw, Judith Sherman, Mark Stewart, Kathleen Supové, Margaret Leng Tan, Jeanne Velonis, Wu Man, Yang Yi, Dan Zanes, Evan Ziporyn, Koto Vortex, Quartet New Generation, So Percussion, members of the GVSU New Music Ensemble, and members of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City — the usual suspects, in other words — will gather in the main room of Carnegie Hall to celebrate the forty-fifth anniversary of Riley's In C. For interviews with various participants, go to Kronos's Facebook page or follow the links at The Standing Room. Justin Davidson has a poetic preview; Steve Hicken has fifty-three thoughts. And keep in mind Robert Carl's book on In C, which Oxford University Press will release this summer. He talks here.
April 23, 2009 | Permalink
April 17, 2009 | Permalink
Via Anne Midgette comes the latest: Pierre Ruhe, formerly the classical critic of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and more recently a multipurpose arts writer for that paper, has accepted a buyout. The paper's visual-art and theater critics have done the same. Pierre is an excellent critic, and I hope he'll still cover Atlanta as a free-lancer.
April 16, 2009 | Permalink
The liveliest contestants on this year's American Idol are Allison Iraheta, a sixteen-year-old with an arrestingly smoky chest voice, and Adam Lambert, a glam twentysomething with an upper register to rival David Daniels's. Well, not quite, but he's the favorite in this household. Who was the first music critic to take notice of America's unlikely new sweetheart? Naturally, Mark Swed of the LA Times, who, back in 2004, heard Lambert in some kind of ungodly Ten Commandments musical and singled him out as a glimmer of hope amid musical catastrophe. This week, on more accustomed turf, Swed sums up the Age of Salonen.
April 13, 2009 | Permalink
A plane carrying most of the St. Louis Symphony landed at LaGuardia at 6:08 last night, many hours later than scheduled and a little over two hours before curtain time at Zankel Hall. HK Gruber, who was to have performed his own work Frankenstein!, never made it. Nonetheless, the concert went ahead as advertised, with David Robertson singing rather than conducting the Gruber. Sarah Bryan Miller reports.
Update: Tony Tommasini on both St. Louis concerts.
April 04, 2009 | Permalink
On April 19, Esa-Pekka Salonen will conduct his final concert as the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, bringing to a close one of the most significant relationships in recent orchestral history. KUSC, the LA classical station, will provide comprehensive coverage. This Sunday at 4PM the station offers a two-hour documentary about the EPS era; it will be streamed live on the KUSC website. An April 11 concert, with Salonen's new Violin Concerto, and the grand finale, with Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex and Symphony of Psalms, will also be broadcast live. Deutsche Grammophon is marking the occasion with a new album, Salonen, containing his Piano Concerto, Helix, and Dichotomie. You can listen to excerpts on DG's e-player. There's also the Celebrate Salonen page at the LA Phil website. If that's not enough, Salonen makes his motion-picture debut in The Soloist, opening April 24. He plays the Conductor.
Update: The KUSC documentary is now available on demand.
April 04, 2009 | Permalink
The MATA Festival this year takes up residence at (Le) Poisson Rouge, everyone's favorite classical-cool hangout. Tonight (Friday) it's the NOW Ensemble and David Moore; tomorrow, SO Percussion. Tickets are $10-15. On Sunday night the same venue hosts Keys to the Future; the minimalist-flavored program includes works of Howard Skempton, Ryan Brown, David Lang, John Adams, Nico Muhly, and Steve Reich. David Robertson and the great St. Louis Symphony — which has so far resisted the downward trends that are roiling the orchestra business — come to town with two contemporary-minded programs: tonight they are joined by composer-chanteur HK Gruber for his classic Frankenstein! (the concert also includes Hindemith, Satie, and Mozart's Musical Joke), and tomorrow night they play Kaija Saariaho's Mirage for soprano, cello, and orchestra, with Karita Mattila and Anssi Karttunen (alongside Wagner's Good Friday Music, Bernd Alois Zimmermann's Canto di speranza, and Sibelius's Luonnotar and Fifth Symphony). Eddie Silva's SLSO blog is always worth reading. The New Juilliard Ensemble gives a free concert tonight, presenting works of Lotta Wennäkoski, Betty Olivero, Stefano Gervasoni, Barrett Ansbach, and Erkki-Sven Tüür. Klangforum Wien arrives at Alice Tully on Saturday; music of Aperghis, Feldman, Schoenberg, and Beat Furrer is paired with films by Man Ray, Bady Minck, Maya Deren, Tim MacMillan, and Pipilotti Rist. Joshua Fineberg's electroacoustic opera Lolita can be seen all weekend at Montclair State in New Jersey, courtesy of the Argento Chamber Ensemble. There's a video preview. The New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival runs at the CUNY Graduate Center. And on Sunday night Philip Glass plays the City Winery with Patti Smith.
April 03, 2009 | Permalink