Here's a promising concert tomorrow night in San Francisco by Formerly Known as Classical - the San Francisco Bay Area Teenage New Music Ensemble:
My Father Knew Olivier Messiaen - our musical heritage
Clapping Music by Steve Reich
Theme & Variations by Olivier Messiaen
A Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten
Bantu by Andrew York
Shaker Loops by John Adams
The program's title is of course a play on John Adams' My Father Knew Charles Ives and is also some good-natured generational pretending. I suppose if I were a composer, I'd write My Father Knew Cole Porter. But given my current musical interest centers around Terry Riley, Albert Ayler, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, I suspect my honorees might have struggled with my hypothetical piece. I also wonder what Charles Ives would make of John Adams' work.
I'll also claim Shaker Loops was the apex of true minimalism before that aesthetic fragmented into post-modernism like everything else. It's a stretch to make this claim since I haven't heard this piece live since I heard the late Iona Brown lead a performance last century (coupled with Barber's Adagio). Unfortunately, I can't attend tomorrow night, but I'll at least imagine it still has the same impact.
Their next concert A previous concert also has an interesting theme:
Since We've Been Born - a program of music written since 1988.
Hmm, in the past, I've thought of focusing my listening on exactly that, music written in my time. Fortunately or not, my time has more candidate music than their time.
Tim Rutherford-Johnson, although off by one year, has some blogging about this slice of contemporary music. And a quick check shows I need to revise my list of favorite works since then, especially those of the Bill Clinton era. How tastes and preferences change.
Note I'm also grapping with the idea of these musicians not being around when Nixon in China debuted. Why, it seems only yesterday that PBS was showing this on television.
mark swed: john adams is about to turn 60