Performances Reviews

You Won’t Find These Poisson Rouge Performers in the 45s Section


At the early concert, Rachel Grimes, a pianist and composer who writes in a charming if lightweight Impressionistic style, played the 14 vignettes from her recent “Book of Leaves” disc on a split bill with the new-music pianist Sarah Cahill. Ms. Cahill performed selections from “A Sweeter Music,” a series that brings together new works about war and peace and will no doubt become a recording.

The late show was a collaboration between the cellist Matt Haimovitz and the composer Du Yun. They played most of Mr. Haimovitz’s new recording, “Figment,” a challenging collection of harmonically and rhythmically complex works by Elliott Carter, Ana Sokolovic, Luna Pearl Woolf, Steven Stucky, Gilles Tremblay and Ms. Du, linked here by quirky improvisations in which Ms. Du provided electronic sound and spoken texts.

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New Work by a Speedy Elliott Carter discusses a recent interview with Elliott Carter about his new compositions.

Now that hardly a month goes by without a new work by Elliott Carter, a listener could easily forget that in former times Mr. Carter spent years writing each piece. If he had been this prolific four decades ago, when he was 60, his catalog would probably rival that of Liszt or Villa-Lobos.

With his 101st birthday approaching in December, Mr. Carter still has projects in mind. In a freewheeling interview with the cellist Fred Sherry during a Works & Process concert at the Guggenheim Museum on Monday evening, he discussed his current one: a woodwind quintet in which all the parts are written with instrumental doublings, so that the five musicians will play 10 instruments.

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Performances Releases Reviews

DMG Newsletter August 28th, 2009

From DMG:

Two Takanayagi DVDs! Midorikawa/Togashi/Takayanagi/Sato 2 CD set! The Wildflowers Sessions 3 CD Set! The Creative Music Studio Jams! Herb Robertson & Mark Solborg! Wayne Krantz Trio! Gordon Grdina String Qt! Gary Peacock & Marc Copland! 2 from Elaine Radigue! Elliott Carter! Wolfgang Rihm! More Merzbow..


Downtown Music Gallery FREE In-Store Performance Schedule Continues with:

Sunday, August 30th at 6pm:
PIERRE YVES MARTEL – Viola da Gamba!

Sunday, September 6th at 6pm:
JACAM MANRICKS CD Celebration Set!
Gifted Saxist & Composer Will Perform Music from His Debut CD!

Sunday, Septembr 13th at 6pm:
Amazing Free/Jazz Sax & Contrabass Duo!

Sunday, September 20th at 6pm:
Two Colossal Bass Clarinetists in a Rare Duet!

Sunday, September 27th Double Header!
A Fine New Drums/Trumpet/Cello Trio!
Wow! Powerful Trombone & Tenor/Soprano sax Duo!

Tuesday, September 29th at 6pm:
Slam Recording Artist Performs a Rare Tuesday Set at DMG!

Sunday, October 4th at 6pm:
The Amazing Alto Sax & Drums Duo Returns to DMG!

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Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music – Ambition Abounds in an Exultation Over Contemporary Works reviews this recent festival.

A stray orchestral work, Helen Grime’s Clarinet Concerto (2009), opened the Sunday evening concert, which was otherwise devoted to chamber music. Ms. Grime, an English composer born in 1981, seems drawn to melody and textural luxuriance, but she also has an ear for counterpoint and rhythmic complexity that gives her music an appealing edge. The concerto’s most entrancing section is a clarinet cadenza in which a combination of trills and sustained tones creates the illusion of several clarinet lines intertwined. Brent Besner was the superb soloist.

Ms. Grime’s work was a world premiere, as was Elliott Carter’s “Poems of Louis Zukofsky” (2009), on the same program. Lucy Shelton, the soprano, and Thomas Martin, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s associate principal clarinetist, are sufficiently expert in Mr. Carter’s music to round off its difficulties, but this one needed little help: its soprano line, though chromatic, is warm-hued and melodic, and the clarinet writing darts around it in a way that brings out the humor in some of Zukofsky’s quirky, aphoristic texts.

Also on Sunday evening the guitarist Oren Fader presided over a lively account of Mario Davidovsky’s invitingly pointillistic “Festino” (1991), and Ryan McAdams conducted a suitably brash, pulsing performance of Tansy Davies’s “neon” (2007), a septet rooted in a Zappaesque raucousness.

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Performances Reviews

Elliott Carter’s Admirers Resume Celebrations

You can never have too much Elliott Carter, and the Times reviews some recents performances.

The Elliott Carter centenary celebrations had a brief respite after Mr. Carter’s birthday in December, leaving a few weeks to commemorate the 200th anniversaries of Mendelssohn’s birth and Haydn’s death. But Mr. Carter’s admirers have gotten a second wind, and on Tuesday and Wednesday the 92nd Street Y brought that composer back into the spotlight by way of two concerts (three, if you count a preconcert recital on Wednesday).

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Yvonne Lee in Seattle


8:00 PM; $5-$15 sliding scale donation at the door (WCF members attend one concert in the Transport series free). Presented by Washington Composers Forum, Nonsequitur, and Jack Straw Productions. WCF’s Transport Series is sponsored by 4Culture.

Pianist Yvonne Lee performs music by modern masters: Anton Webern‘s Variations, Opus 27; Elliott Carter‘s Retrouvailles and 90 ; Morton Feldman‘s Palais de Mari; and Helmut Lachenmann’s Ein Kinderspiel and Serynade. Also, Unsound Grounds by young composer Trevor Gureckis.

Yvonne Lee is a Boston-based pianist and composer. She has recently appeared at the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Germany, JD Robb Composers’ Symposium in New Mexico, Banff Centre, Music Academy of the West, Boston’s WGBH studio and Jordan Hall, and the REDCAT space in Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles. As a pianist, Yvonne has been hailed as “particularly forceful” by the San Diego Tribune and “enrapturing” by the Boston Music Intelligencer. Recent collaborations include a recording with violinist János Négyesy of the complete Mozart Violin and Piano Sonatas and performances of Messiaen’s Visions de L’Amen and Stockhausen’s Mantra. Yvonne’s compositions will next be featured in April as part of the SWAN festival in Boston.

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CSO’s MusicNOW series gets another boost

Pierre Boulez in 2004
Image via Wikipedia

Pierre Boulez garners praise in Chicago.

Pierre Boulez is a shot in the arm for both the players on the stage and the large audience in the house. Despite the efforts of MusicNOW principal conductor Cliff Colnot, programming of the series under current CSO composers-in-residence Osvaldo Golijov and Mark-Anthony Turnage has not always been the most challenging, sometimes even veering into new-music easy listening.

Just as he does at Orchestra Hall with the big band, Boulez, who turns 84 this month, reminds us that serious need not be morose. Far from it. The concert he curated and led Monday night, featuring an essential 1975 score by Elliott Carter and recent works by French and German Boulez proteges, showed that rigor, discipline and edginess captivate much more than endless loops and post-modern noodling.

Despite his name and ancestry, Bruno Montovani, 34, is French to the core, and his 2005, 15-minute “Streets” for 10 players is a brilliant update on Edgard Varese’s pioneering works inspired by sounds of the big city. Tightly wound and carefully composed, Montovani’s music is rhythmically propulsive and laced with surprising turns.

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RIP Lukas Foss

Composer Lukas Foss has passed on.

Lukas Foss, a prolific and versatile composer who was also a respected pianist and conductor, died at his home in Manhattan on Sunday. He was 86, and also had a home in Bridgehampton, N.Y. His wife, Cornelia, announced his death.

Although he was a German émigré, Mr. Foss was, from the start of his composing career, considered an important voice in the burgeoning world of American composition, along with Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Elliott Carter and Leonard Bernstein. And like Bernstein, he enthusiastically championed the works of his colleagues. But where Bernstein, in his compositions, melded jazz and theater music with a lush symphonic neo-Romanticism — or wrote theater music outright — Mr. Foss preferred to explore the byways of the avant-garde, focusing at different times on techniques from serialism and electronic music to Minimalism and improvisation.

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Monday Evening Concerts – American Originals

Monday Evening Concerts features American Originals on January 12.

Monday, January 12, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.
Zipper Concert Hall at the Colburn School

American Originals
Morton Feldman The Viola in My Life II
Alvin Curran Schtyx L.A. premiere
Frederic Rzewski 96 L.A. premiere
Frederic Rzewski Pocket Symphony L.A. premiere

Donald Crockett, conductor
Vicki Ray, piano
David Johnson, percussion
Movses Pogossian, violin
Sarah Thornblade, violin
Kazi Pitelka, viola
Roger Lebow, cello
Phil O’Connor, clarinet
Gary Woodward, flute

“Schtyx are charts, bones, professions, shades, numbers, glues, hypes, acts, devils, organgrindings, wood implements, jugglers, chance operations, performance art, the Yiddish underground,” writes composer Alvin Curran. His wonderfully irreverent and lyrical music blends an array of compositional practices into a singular musical language. Two recent chamber works by Curran’s longtime friend Frederic Rzewski—a 4-minute canon dedicated to Elliott Carter, and the witty and improvisatory Pocket Symphony—share the program with Feldman’s hypnotic The Viola in My Life II.

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Free Music

Free Music of the Soni Ventorum Wind Quintet

The Soni Ventorum Wind Quintet recorded quite a few pieces from major composers, and now many of these have been posted for free download on their web site. Of particular interest are two works of Elliott Carter.

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