The JACK Quartet plays obscured-distorted-redacted by Amadeus Regucera, a young Bay Area composer.
Joel Stein alerts me to this cluster of musical street names in the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Arthur Nikisch conducted the Boston Symphony from 1889 to 1893, before moving on to the Budapest Opera and, well, the Berlin Philharmonic.
May 12, 2015 | Permalink
Wendy Lesser, the editor of The Threepenny Review, notes in a letter to her readers that last year the National Endowment for the Arts withdrew a long-standing grant to the publication, on the grounds that it was "too wedded to print." Anyone who is happily married to the printed word might consider offering support. And the NEA should reconsider its decision.
May 11, 2015 | Permalink
On May 29th, the American Symphony will honor George Perle's recent centennial — in a curious conjunction of unalike personalities, this most lyrical and playful of American modernists was born on the same day as Orson Welles — by playing his Adagio and Transcendental Modulations. Shirley Gabis Perle, his widow, writes: "Central to George’s composing was his enormous enthusiasm for dance; the ballet especially attracted him. The intricacy and wit of Balanchine’s choreography somehow influenced the 'steps' his notes took: he wanted to make them dance. He worked round the clock, stopping every so often for a few hours of sleep. This enabled him to produce the prodigious amount of work for which he has become known."
May 08, 2015 | Permalink
When I wrote about Orson Welles for the New York Times in 1996, I said that The Other Side of the Wind, Welles's unfinished satire of seventies Hollywood, had "returned to friendly hands and should eventually find release." This was optimistic: nearly twenty years on, the film, which Welles more or less completed shooting and edited in part, has yet to see the light of day. (Josh Karp's new book Orson Welles's Last Movie gives a lively account of its fate.) Yet a serious effort is under way to round out a crucial part of Welles's legacy: as Brooks Barnes reports in the Times, a team led by Filip Jan Rymsza, Frank Marshall, and Peter Bodganovich plans to have the film in theaters by the end of the Welles centenary year. Affonso Gonçalves has been hired as editor, and an Indiegogo fundraiser was launched last night, with the goal of raising two million dollars. As a longtime Welles obsessive, I'm uncommonly eager to see what results.
May 07, 2015 | Permalink
The Mercury Theatre's incomparably creepy rendition of Lucille Fletcher's The Hitchhiker, in a version from 1946. Seventeen minutes in, Bernard Herrmann is working out the theme that would become Cape Fear. It was, of course, Welles who launched Herrmann's film-music career, with Kane.
Orson Welles, one of the supreme American artists of the twentieth century, would have been one hundred years old today. He never directed a full-blown opera production, despite numerous invitations to do so (his stagings of Copland's The Second Hurricane and Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock fall into a different category), but he did create what will forever stand as the greatest opera scene in film history: the disastrous première of Salammbô, with Susan Alexander Kane in the title role. (The delicious Massenet-ish aria that Bernard Herrmann composed for the occasion has become a concert item; on YouTube you can find performances by Eileen Farrell, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Venera Gimadieva. The text, by John Houseman, incorporates lines from Racine's Phèdre: "Ah! cruel, tu m'as trop entendue," etc.) Welles was an experienced operagoer, one who even had a bit of music criticism in his past: when he was thirteen, he wrote the "Hitting the High Notes" column for the Highland Park News, reviewing performances at the Ravinia Festival.
Previously: Welles in 1996.
In the past couple of years, two significant Wolff releases have appeared, demonstrating the undiminished vitality of the last surviving member of the New York School quartet. One is Philip Thomas's three-CD survey of the piano music, on Sub Rosa; the other is a two-CD set of the Duos, for percussion plus one, on New World (with superb notes by George Lewis). A Dischi di Angelica CD has also appeared, but I have yet to hear it.
May 03, 2015 | Permalink
The Look and Listen Festival unfolds this weekend in Manhattan and Brooklyn. So Percussion, the Daedalus Quartet, Talujon, and Miranda Cuckson are among the performers; featured composers include Miya Masoka, Anna Weesner, Anna Þorvaldsdóttir, Kaija Saariaho, and Tyshawn Sorey... On the other coast, the Hear Now Festival offers a sweeping survey of LA-based composers, while John Zorn enjoys a day-long tribute that sprawls between LACMA and UCLA's Royce Hall... The American Composers Orchestra's Underwood New Music Readings are scheduled for May 6-7.... The Stefan Wolpe Society's season-long, four-concert survey concludes on May 11.... Coming later in May in Toronto, the Royal Conservatory's 21C Music Festival, with Saariaho as the featured composer.... The New World Symphony has unveiled a lovely, video-stocked website devoted to John Cage.... Kate Soper will be featured in NYC's Music Mondays series on May 11. In June she will appear with the Seattle Modern Orchestra, in a program that also includes Fausto Romitelli and G. F. Haas.... Harry Lawrence Freeman's 1914 opera Voodoo is to be revived by the Morningside Opera, the Harlem Chamber Players, and Harlem Opera Theater, Michael Cooper reports.
May 02, 2015 | Permalink
Mary Norris, one of The New Yorker's staggeringly brilliant copyeditors, has written a book about the art of fine-tuning the English language. No less than any other writer on the staff, I have happily been schooled by Mary, Ann Goldstein, and the rest of the comma squad, going back to The Gould, and I look forward to furthering my education. Congratulations, Mary!
April 23, 2015 | Permalink
Anna Clyne sits for her Portrait Concert at Miller Theatre this Thursday. Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim profiles her in the New York Times.... On the same night in Chicago, Ensemble Dal Niente will devote a program to Rebecca Saunders.... At NewMusicBox, Rob Deemer solicits thoughts on the place of new music in an increasingly clickbait-driven media culture.... Alan Gilbert's Royal Philharmonic Society lecture is worth a read. The NY Phil's London concerts have been winning strong reviews; as Sedge Clark points out, the orchestra's European tour programs are unusually varied. Again one has to wonder why Gilbert is leaving the Phil just as he seems to be hitting his stride.... Tomorrow night at LA's Zipper Hall, the ever-formidable Gloria Cheng gives a recital under the rubric Lyric / Modern, playing works of Ingram Marshall, Karen Tanaka, Eric Nathan, Steven Stucky (the world première of his Sonata), Brett Dean, Unsuk Chin, Boulez, and Jonathan Harvey.... Cheng will also take part in a typically arresting Jacaranda program on April 25, one that serves up late-Soviet-period works of Schnittke, Gubaidulina, and Pärt, with Prokofiev to boot.... The violinist Linus Roth has founded the International Mieczysław Weinberg Society.... The composer and pianist Jessica Krash tells a sad story of drastic cuts to adjunct music teaching at George Washington University, in Washington DC. Replies from the administration, rich in acronyms, platitudes, and euphemisms, fail to banish the impression that GWU is showing needless cruelty.... The invaluable Yale Baroque Opera Project, under the aegis of the scholar Ellen Rosand, will present Cavalli's Erismena next weekend. The singers will employ an English translation that was made in the late seventeenth century.
April 20, 2015 | Permalink