Links beyond this blog have been known to expire, sometimes rather quickly. I wish things weren't this way (but they are). I will do what I can to choose wisely (but don't say you weren't warned). Click away!
Even though The Standing Room is "In Hibernation," this blog is still churning new and interesting information via del.icio.us (look under Tasty Miscellany). They even found room for this humble blog amidst their churn - thanks!
What an amazing group eighth blackbird is. They really make new music/contemporary classical music/21st-century music/what-have-you...FUN. They consistently bring out the theater in the compositions they play. And while they play very well, you hardly notice how hard they're working - at least I didn't. I was too busy soaking in the composer's vision, made clear by the fine musicianship...
eighth blackbird in flight: (Left to right) Lisa Kaplan, piano; Matt Albert, violin; Nicholas Photinos, cello; Molly Alicia Barth, flutes; Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets; and Matthew Duvall, percussion (in rear)
Pianist Lisa Kaplan tickles the ivories in camouflage pants
Percussionist Matthew Duvall (left) and Lisa Kaplan (right) introduce the distinctive 65-note pattern around which Frederic Rzewski's Les Moutons de Panurge is built.
(Left to right) Molly Alicia Barth, flutes; Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets; and Matthew Duvall, percussion
blackbirders horizontal for Gordon Fitzell's Lucid
The London Philharmonic came to Symphony Hall and the Celebrity Series on Friday evening. Things had changed since the performance was announced in our season brochure almost a year ago. For those of you in the dark about this, here is the short version: Kurt Masur fell ill and the Boston engagement was conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier. Between Richard Dyer's review in today's Boston Globe and the audience reaction, I think it's safe to say the concert was a success.
Mr. Dyer on Maestro Tortelier:
Tortelier is the son of the great cellist Paul Tortelier, and he must have felt very emotional conducting in Symphony Hall; his father was principal cellist of the BSO in the 1930s. With his aureole of white hair, he was like a conductor from central casting. While his work is not about deep insight, it's musical, experienced, fiery, and theatrical; several times he levitated from the podium.
And here, with apologies to Alfred Stieglitz, are a few photos from the evening:
Nothing against the Akron Beacon Journal, but the Either/Orchestra shouldn't be listed under Classical Music....and by the way, E/O has finally gotten their chance at a live performance with Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed: Schedule (scroll to Paris show).
The program was invariably compelling, beginning with Schubert and ending with Arvo Part. Bela Bartok's First Rhapsodie opened the recital. Here the playing was almost harsh, decisive, propulsive. It moved with
determination yet grace, capturing the composer's flirtation with folk music,
19th-century romanticism and 20th-century modern tastes. It is a remarkable
piece, a staple of the violin literature, and Repin played it as such.
Rob Kapilow had a nice chat with Karen Campbell the other day, the results of which are in today's Boston Globe Calendar. The Q&A style write-up is an excellent, succinct overview of what Rob has been doing in Boston for, well, the last ten years (Happy Anniversary, Rob!) and elsewhere for longer. Here is Rob's take on what he's doing with Family Musik and What Makes It Great?:
"One of my real goals is that in the end, they hear the music differently. Nabokov wrote that a good reader is someone who writes in the margins, who folds down pages, who underlines, who has a conversation with the book. I’m trying to encourage active conversations with music." Full text of the interview.
Something about this reference to Vladimir Nabokov triggered a memory - hadn't I read V.N. somewhere saying something about his own relationship to music? Well, rather than change buses and go straight to the library, I waited until I could get to a computer and click my way to the answer. And with almost no effort on my part, here is the sentiment I remembered, from a book of Playboy Magazine interviews of all things (as I recall, the Miles Davis and Ray Charles interviews in this same volume are terrific, too). The interview took place in 1964, here's V.N.:
"I have no ear for music, a shortcoming I deplore bitterly. When I attend a concert -- which happens about once in five years -- I endeavor gamely to follow the sequence and relationship of sounds but cannot keep it up for more than a few minutes. Visual impressions, reflections of hands in lacquered wood, a diligent bald spot over a fiddle, these take over, and soon I am bored beyond measure by the motions of the musicians. My knowledge of music is very slight; and I have a special reason for finding my ignorance and inability so sad, so unjust: There is a wonderful singer in my family -- my own son. His great gifts, the rare beauty of his bass, and the promise of a splendid career -- all this affects me deeply, and I feel a fool during a technical conversation among musicians. I am perfectly aware of the many parallels between the art forms of music and those of literature, especially in matters of structure, but what can I do if ear and brain refuse to cooperate?"
Boy, Rob sure knows where to go for his analogies. It seems V.N. (that's him in the photo above, with friend) could have really used Rob's help. Lucky for any of you that might feel the same way, youhave access to Rob. In fact, he will be here this weekend, at the Tsai Center with Crossing the Divide (part of Family Musik) and again on June 2 with a program on the songs of Stephen Sondheim (part of What Makes It Great?).
"When I tell people we specialize in contemporary music," says eighth blackbird
pianist Lisa Kaplan, "they think I mean Yanni or Enya. I have to let them know
that I mean classical music from living composers."