Jacob Hale Russell writes in the Wall Street Journal about how orchestras are programming contemporary classical music in a bid to rebuild their audience:
Daniel Kellogg, 29 years old, got what he calls his "big break" with a Philadelphia Orchestra commission commemorating Benjamin Franklin's 300th birthday. The 21-minute piece, "Ben," premiered Nov. 18 with snippets of the founding father's favorite drinking songs and employing the glass armonica, a Franklin invention...
To ease audiences into contemporary works, orchestras often program them alongside pieces by the masters...
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra says the average age of subscribers to its six-year-old MusicNOW series -- devoted to work by living composers -- was five years younger than for its normal subscription series last season.
Aren't the second and third points contradictory?
The sidebar recommends some recordings; note the Joan Tower Naxos release doesn't appear to be available on Amazon.
Re-reading Joshua Kosman's review of Doctor Atomic, I disagree about the gestures but his summation is interesting:
In one late scene, the chorus sings about Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, in music lifted unapologetically from Orff's "Carmina Burana," while Sellars assigns them a series of Simon Says gestures that look peculiarly out of place. And after three hours of waiting for the bomb to drop, the audience is surely entitled to a more emphatic rendering than a quiet rumble and a few desultory lighting cues. But these are quibbles. "Doctor Atomic," whatever its faults, stands as a major addition to the operatic repertory of this new century, the first to be inaugurated with the specter of instant death very much around us.
Via Fred, M., and Lynn. Ok, classical music memes complete with simple html markup don't happen very often so I better jump on this one while I have the chance. Of course, this being aworks, the composer list is skewed -- after all, I don't even care what I think about Havergal Brian...
|Glass||overly prolific but cool|
|Adams||great and/or yawn; love the orchestration|
|Reich||percussion great; vocals mostly annoying (apologies to TSR's cool Tehillim friend)|
|Copland||cliched but great|
|Roy Harris||one great, rest yawn|
|Bernstein||tuneful and unfocused [yawn on that assessment -editor]|
|Nancarrow||better performed by humans (apologies to that noted net music person who emailed me and who probably wouldn't think much of this meme)|
|Corey Dargel||not prolific enough (give this man a recording contract, please)|
|Ives||indescribably awesomely authentically complicated|
|Carter||complex but yawn (again, apologies)|
|Carl Stone||electronically cool|
|Virgil Thomson||writerly cool|
|U of M composers||aiee! (apologies to my fellow native Michiganders; since I previously made an obscure slight of the composer I am thinking of, I've cloaked the name of this post)|
Home today with lots to do so instead I'm blogging...
Night After Night hints of next year:
Corey Dargel - Less Famous Than You (as yet unreleased, but surely the contemporary-classical-smart-pop breakthrough hit of 2006, mark my words...)
November 23, 2005 in dargel, corey, ~200?-202? era :: some yet to be determined crisis | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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Link Wray (1929-2005).
From today's obituary:
The power chord — a thundering sound created by playing fifths (two notes five notes apart, often with the lower note doubled an octave above) — became a favorite among rock players. Wray claimed because he was too slow to be a whiz on the guitar, he had to invent sounds.
Via The Standing Room links, a classic article by Michael Hiltzik in the LA Times mentions two of my favorite things -- Amoeba Records and Frederic Rzewski's Coming Together! The article talks about Amoeba's success in their new LA location; I don't know why but the record collecting community is more extensive down south. The writer also asks an Amoeba buyer about the Hungaraton recording of Rzewski's work:
Indeed, armed with a list of hard-to-find CDs from several genres, I was able to stump the Berkeley floor staff on only one, an obscure Hungarian recording of the ensemble piece "Coming Together/Attica" by composer Frederic Rzewski that I've been trying to replace for years.
Can't have my copy, sorry. And earlier this month, I too was at the Berkeley Amoeba and picked up a CD by Talujon Percussion, including an interesting rendition of Coming Together. It's an accented female voice:
I think the combination of age and a greater coming together is responsible for the speed of the passing time...
but the fast-driving piano line is instead performed on something that sounds like synthesized bass although the liner notes indicate all acoustic percussion except for "amplified cardboard tube." Since the text is repeated ad infinitum, the textual interpretation and style is important else monotony results. Birgit Staudt's recitation may not be definitive; still, the underlying accompaniment is clear, precise, and the diversity of percussion compelling.
And just this week in the NY Times, Allan Kozinn reviews the eighth blackbird recording of Rzewski's music, including Coming Together:
They have, for one thing, quickly identified the thread that runs through Mr. Rzewski's work: an almost organic current of narrative tension that makes this music pure drama.
I don't take my Amoeba trips for granted but if all goes well, I'll be in the Haight tomorrow for the Bitches Brew movie and in SoCal next year for that minimalism jukebox festival.
Sam Melville again:
There are doubtless subtle surprises ahead, but I feel secure and ready...
Dexter Gordon is in the news, or more specifically, his Manhattan Symphonie CD. It's on the list of DRM-ed recordings being recalled. My copy has no license agreement or install software but unfortunately, I don't have a working turntable so I haven't heard it in awhile. Speaking of Gordon, here's today's "Gordons" playlist:
Pitchfork reviews Light Is Calling:
...an accessible work that remains uncompromising in its subtle complexity and is a truly coherent meeting of styles. While the album isn't completely consistent, it achieves at its best moments a totally strange and unheard beauty.