VC and music buff Fred blogs about the wonders of listening to music via Sonos and Rhapsody and sees a streaming world in our future.
A quick spot check of Rhapsody for composer Lou Harrison only reveals five albums of his music. While it's an increasing pain to have to play database administrator with my 23,000 MP3s (and with even more recordings still to rip), I don't know if I can live with easier access to less.
It's intriguing to hear Alsop speak about the necessity of providing
experiential education for young conductors. I wish she had an equally
wide-ranging vision for the music she programs at Cabrillo. Young
composers like Mason Bates and Kevin Puts, and idiosyncratic
established composers like Philip Glass and Lou Harrison, have appeared
on Cabrillo's programs, but there is a remarkable lack of truly
adventurous programming, especially in recent years. Alsop is in a
position to change that, and she has the charisma to do so effectively.
He goes on to offer some concrete suggestions on how to accomplish this.
As a former Cabrillo festival subscriber who used to thoroughly enjoy the experience, I have to think through why I stopped going. Certainly, for a time in the nineties I lost interest in contemporary music but that has come roaring back this decade. It's also clearly inconvenient to drive "over the hill" to Santa Cruz so much although once there, the experience was always good even if the facilities weren't top-notch. It's also possible I've truly lost my taste for orchestral music. I'll know about that one better after my plan to listen this month to as much Bruckner as I can. Finally, I'm awash in recorded music and the means to listen to it wherever I am. While live performance may be closer to the "truth," it does compete for my attention with all those new tracks I'm eager to explore.
Despite all that, I do have to wonder if somehow, for me anyway, that the sense of musical adventure Cabrillo represented has been lost. I read the Ojai Music Festival brochure and it sounds truly exciting ("Percussion music! Ligeti's metronomes! Pierre-Laurent Aimard! Pierre-Laurent Aimard playing Ives!"; I read the Cabrillo brochure and it only sounds interesting, not compelling, even if it does have more contemporary music.
We can, however, assure you of a happening when five world premieres, one U.S. premiere, six west coast premieres and ten composers-in-residence come together with you, our audiences, July 30 through August 12. You can expect music that reflects the world around us––complete with emotion, intellect, angst and unbridled joy! Don’t miss a beat!
I still like the music of Lou Harrison, though. Maybe his presence at Cabrillo was a source of fun and importance leading to the adventurous...
On Harrison's Piano Concerto: Given the invitation to write a concerto for the noted jazz and classical composer Keith Jarrett (who, like Harrison, has crossed musical boundaries throughout his career), Harrison suggested a work in which the piano would be "mistuned" to an earlier, pre-compromise system. "[This] Concerto," writes Harrison, "is an exploration of the many beauties of...this astonishing tuning."
I'm listening to Lou Harrison's Canticle #3 for ocarina (or flute), guitar, pipes, woodblocks, brake drums, xylophone,
dragon's mouths, maracas, elephants bells, tam-tam, cowbells, and drums. The percussion and guitar here are not particularly attractive but the timbre of the ocarina is striking. Raymond Tuttle in a review calls it "plaintive." I think of the ocarina as an annoying kid's toy but apparently not. And leave it to New Sounds to have a program entitled "What Is an Ocarina?
Classical guitar can sound drearily monochromatic. In Lou Harrison's Harp Suite (via an Art of the States Real stream, page here), the addition of percussion gives the music character and even emphasizes the guitar-only movements. Of course, you can't go wrong with the ever talented David Tanenbaum and William Winant.
David Tannenbaum also performed the work's last movement A Waltz for Evelyn Henrichsen at the 2002 Other Minds Festival (stream via the Internet Archive) and in 1995 at the same venue.
Don Gillespie of publisher C.F. Peters writes of Lou Harrison (via NewMusicBox).