Radio Catskill

Listen Now!

Posted on Monday, October 25, 2004

25 October 2004, Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, Monday, Noon to 2:00PM, Streaming on Line @ www.wjffradio.org
Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf
Monday, 25 October 04
041025
Good Afternoon, Lovers of Fine Music, and welcome to Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, where we will hear the best of 20th and 21st century classical music as well as interviews with occasional guests. Before we begin our program, let’s hear what Liberty Green has to tell us on her weekly Arts and Culture Calendar.
As always, Liberty, we all thank you for the time and effort you have put into producing the WJFF Arts and Culture calendar.
We welcome composer and pianist Gary Noland http://home.earthlink.net/~folia/ss/gary.html to Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf today. Gary, who lives in Eugene, Oregon, will talk with us from Berkeley, California, where he is visiting family. Gary, welcome to WJFF’s Monday Afternoon Classics.
Gary, the list of your compositions is not only impressively long, it also reveals an incredibly wide-range of musical and literary interests that indicate a very fertile imagination and, as our listeners will soon be able to judge for themselves, a wicked sense of humor. Let’s begin the process of deconstructing the enfant méchant that operates your mind by asking you to tell us something about your background. Where did you grow up and where did you go to school?
How did you develop an interest in music that was sufficiently intense to become your life’s work? Who influenced you along the way?
When you began to compose, did you follow the somewhat traditional path of writing music that was heavily influenced by your musical predecessors, or did you immediately find composition an inevitable outlet for your sense of humor which, the great composer, pianist, and conductor Lucas Foss has labeled "awesome? (Website)
Well, perhaps the best way to let our listeners in on what we’ve been talking about is to let them hear selections from your CD entitled Selected Music from Venge Art, produced in 2002 by North Pacific Music www.NorthPacificMusic.com NPM LD 012.
First of all, exactly what does the phrase "Venge Art Mean?" And what exactly is this multi-media "event" which, according to your website, has "a projected duration of over 150 hours?"
When did you write the pieces that appear in Venge Art? (1971- 2000?)
It seems to me that the selected music that appears on Venge Art will provide our listeners with a reasonably inclusive idea of the kinds of music you have written as well as both your serious side and your irrepressible sense of humor. Indeed, your comedic sense frequently cannot resist intruding into your apparently serious music, almost as if to chastise it lest it begin to take itself to seriously. (Of course, writing music that is humorous strikes me as being every bit as difficult as, if not more difficult than, writing so-called serious music.)
Let’s begin with the first piece on the album, "Fantasy in E Minor, Op. 24." In your lovely liner notes, worth the price of admission all by themselves, you write that you composed this piece during your "’Strauss’ phase." Take it from there, please, Gary, and tell us what’s going on in this fantasy.
Let’s listen to the first cut on our guest, Gary Noland’s Venge Art: Fantasy in E Minor for ‘cello and piano (Op. 24), 1981-1984, revised 1992. Hamilton Cheifetz, ‘cello; Victor Steinhardt, piano.
Band 1: Fantasy in E Minor 13’34
We have just heard Gary Noland’s "Fantasy in e Minor" performed by ‘cellist Hamilton Cheifetz and pianist Victor Steinhardt.
A reminder that our guest today on Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf is composer and pianist Gary Noland. (Station break).
Gary, the piece we just aired, "Fantasy in E Minor," is a pretty serious piece, at least until the piano suddenly strikes some bombastic chords about 4 ½ minutes into the piece, literally scaring the ‘cello into a shivering frenzy. From then on, the piano tries to insert its impish attitude into the proceedings, while the ‘cello plays on. As you are a concert pianist and, as we have noticed, have a puckish sense of humor, I imagine you smirking as you do your best to upset the more conservative sensibilities of the ‘cello, occasionally, I must add, tricking the ‘cello into participating in your pranks! I guess that’s what you mean by calling the fantasy an "overblowmantic work!" In the end, the contest of what seems to me to be a kind of semi-comic, retro-tone poem, seems in doubt, and the piano and ‘cello come together in the final chords for quite different reasons.
Well, Gary, let’s go on with the cuts from Venge Art, you "chamber novel" that the liner notes (who wrote them?) suggest "is the offspring of [your] Herculean efforts to find a happy reconciliation between [your] musical pursuits as a composer, [your] visual artistic pursuits as an abstract artist and cartoonist, and [your] literary pursuits as a novelist." (Liner Notes, 1) Tell us about "Humoresque for piano," which owes its existence, in part at least, to your reaction to composition during the 1980s, when you in fact composed it.
Let’s listen to Gary Noland’s "Humoresque for piano," Op. 3, performed by pianist Randall Hodgkinson.
Band 2: Humoresque 05’57
Running time of music: 19’31
We’ve just heard our guest Gary Noland’s "Humoresque for piano," Op. 3, performed by Randall Hodgkinson. Once again, we are featuring music composed by Gary that appears on his CD Selected Music from Venge Art, North Pacific Music NPM LD 012.
Break
Gary, the next piece is the first of three selections on this CD entitled "Pornomusik [with a "k"] Do-It Yourself-Improvisation-Kit for any combination of instruments, No. 1" (Op. 48, No. 1) (1971-2000). Your liner notes include this warning: "parental indiscretion is ill-advised." Before our listeners make a dash for their ear-muffs, tell us what this piece is all about.
Let’s listen to the third cut on our guest, Gary Noland’s CD Venge Art, "Pornomusik: Do-It-Yourself-Improvisation-Kit" for any combination of instruments. The composer supplies both the piano playing and the vocals.
Band 3: Pornomusik 02’25
Running time of music 21’56
Let’s go right into the next cut, a short piece you call "Amerikan Bozo Dance" for string quartet. You indicate that this piece "is about as close as [you’ve] ever come to composing ‘slop’ music." What is "slop music?" and what are you up to here?
Let’s listen to Gary Noland’s "Amerikan Bozo Dance," performed by the Onyx String Quartet, Anna Presler and Phyllis Kamrin, violins; Kurt Rohde, viola; Leighton Fong, ‘cello.
Band 4: American Bozo Dance 01’55
Running time of music 23’51
Gary Noland’s "Amerikan Bozo Dance" was performed by the Onyx String Quartet.
The "Russell Street Rag" for piano, Op. 5, which you composed in 1974 and revised in 1986, testifies to your enthusiasm for Rag Time music, Gary. Talk to us about both the piece and the attraction Rag Time has for you, please.
Let’s listen to pianist Randall Hodgkinson perform Gary Noland’s "Russell Street Rag."
Band 5: Russell Street Rag 03’31
Running time of music 27’22
We’ve just heard "Russell Street rag," the 5th cut on composer Gary Noland’s CD Venge Art.
Station Break
Gary, this seems like a good time to talk about the Seventh Species New Music Series http://home.earthlink.net/~folia/ss/intro.html , which you founded in San Francisco in 1990. What is it? Is it still in existence? What have you tried to accomplish with it?
A reminder that our guest today on Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf is composer and pianist Gary Noland. Gary lives in Eugene, Oregon, but is speaking with us today from Berkeley, California. Gary, I want to continue discussing and airing cuts from your CD Venge Art, because I think that they provide our listeners with a rather nice introduction to the wide range of your musical interests and accomplishments. I can see that we are going to need another show to do real justice to your music, and I’m hoping to entice you to return either next week or in the near future to allow us to visit with you and become even more familiar with your works.
Gary, your "Septet for Clarinet," provides a wonderful example, I think, of your ability acknowledge in various ways a whole panoply of composers from Johann Sebastian Bach to what you refer to as "other venerable composers of yore." Now the question of referring in one way or another to compositions by other composers is always an interesting one, and you have included in your website a line by Ira Braus, Professor of Music at the Hartt School, which reads as follows: "Composer Gary Noland is possessed of a rich musical imagination, whose technique distills the achievements of Reger, Strauss, and Schoenberg, but also refracts their post-romantic/expressionist tendencies through the lens of twenty-first century post-modernism, American style. Moreover, he fits Stravinsky’s definition of a great composer: one who doesn’t merely steal, but knows what to steal. This Noland does with wit and aplomb unique to the music of our time." So talk with us, Gary, about your "Septet for Clarinet" in the context of references, influences, and, occasionally, I suppose, outright theft.
Let’s listen to Gary Noland’s "Septet for Clarinet, Alto Sax, French Horn, Two violins, Double Bass, and Piano," performed by Clare Robe; clarinetist, Tom Bergeron on the alto sax; Ellen Campbell; playing the French horn; Tasana Nagavajara and Anthony Dyer, violinists; Forrest Moyer on the double bass; and Art Maddox, playing the piano. The group is conducted by Guy Taylor. You challenge the listeners to see how many accessed tunes they can identify.
Band 6: Septet 21’02
Running time of music 48’24
Gary Noland’s "Septet for Clarinet." Gary, to your knowledge, have any composers (besides yourself) ever copied parts of your own works? We’ve discussed the fact that I keep hearing a 4 note sequence from Verdi’s Forza, which you say is accidental. I’ll listen again!!
Gary, I hate to end this visit. There is so much left to talk about; for example, I’d really like to get into some of your other achievements as an abstract artist, cartoonist, novelist, et al. I know that we’ve touched upon them earlier, but I think we have more to discuss here. Also, I’d like to air more of Venge Art and your interludes and postludes. I hope you’ll be willing to return very soon so that we can do this.
Meanwhile, thanks so much, Gary Noland, for taking the time to be with us today. Our very best wishes for your Mom’s complete and quick recovery.
We have come to the end of today’s Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf. Our guest has been composer and pianist Gary Noland; we have also heard the first 6 cuts of his CD Venge Art, and we hope to hear more from him and more of his music. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed today’s program and that you will tune in next week for more great 20th and 21st century classical music. Until then, this is Gandalf, thanking you for listening and wishing you all the joy of New Music.









:: :: ::

Posted on Sunday, October 17, 2004

18 October 2004, Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, Monday, Noon to 2:00PM, Streaming online at www.wjffradio.org
Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf
Monday, 18 October 04
041018
Good Afternoon, Lovers of Fine Music, and welcome to Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, where we will hear the best of 20th and 21st century music as well as interviews with occasional guests. Before we begin our program, let’s hear what Liberty Green has to tell us on her weekly Arts and Culture Calendar.
As always, Liberty, we all thank you for the time and effort you have put into producing the WJFF Arts and Culture calendar.
CD 1: Bands 8-13: Karel Husa (*1921, Prague) http://www.schirmer.com/composers/husa_bio.html: Recollections (1982) Quintet of the Americas http://www.quintet.org : Sato Moughalian, flute; Matthew Sullivan, oboe; Edward R. Gilmore, clarinet; Barbara Oldham, horn; Laura Koepke bassoon; with David Oei, piano. Karel Husa – Recollections: New World Records 80571-2 http://www.newworldrecords.org/ .
Many of our listeners are familiar with at least two members of the Quintet of the Americas, whose recent CD, Karel Husa – Recollections, I have been fortunate enough to obtain. I’m referring to bassoonist Laura Koepke and oboist Matt Sullivan, both top notch performers with international reputations, and both frequent performers with Judith Pearce’s Weekend of Chamber Music http://www.wcmconcerts.org/ In addition, I have also had the great pleasure of both interviewing and spending some time with an individual whom I consider one of the premier composers of our time, Karel Husa.
Thus, it is no surprise that I am delighted to have been able to get hold of a copy of Karel Husa’s latest release, Recollections, performed by the Quintet of the Americas with guest performer, pianist David Oei.
Karl Husa, professor emeritus at Cornell University and Ithaca College, composed Recollections for the Dutch-American Bicentennial Celebration in 1982, according to Keith Powers Liner Notes (7ff). Powers continues, "The six movements explore unusual sonorities and demand virtuosic technique. Some measures are given imprecise rhythmic notation, allowing one or more of its players to undermine its regularity. A sheet of paper under the pedal dampers of the low strings prepares the piano in some sections."
Time: 8. Largo 04’56
9. Andante 04’12
10. Adagio 02’56
11. Moderato 02’15
12. Vivace 04’25
13. Moderato molto 01’46
Total time: 19’40
CD 2: Bands 3-7: Ennio Morricone (*1928, Rome) http://www.enniomorricone.it/CNI/enniobio1ing.htm : Giuseppe Tornatore Suite (Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra, Ennio Morricone, conductor; Gilda Butta piano; Yo-Yo Ma, ‘cello http://www.yo-yoma.com/ Sony Classical SK 93456 http://www.sonyclassical.com/ .
For reasons that I will explain more fully a bit later on in our program, I’m in a movie music mood today, and, it just so happens, I have recently received a very recent Sony Classical CD that contains movie music that the superb composer Ennio Morricone has reconfigured from several of his movies and made into a series of suites for recording by Yo-Yo Ma. I’ve selected a five movement suite he calls Giuseppe Tornatore Suite, which contains music from The Legend of 1900: "Playing Love"; Cinema Paradiso ("Nostalgia"); Cinema Paradiso ("Looking for You"); Malena, (Main Theme)’ and A Pure Formality (Main Theme). I am not familiar with all these movies, but I have long been a wild fan of Cinema Paradiso, as anyone who was in one of my English classes during the first half of the 1990s knows. Here’s what David Foil’s liner notes tell us: "In creating orchestrations for this recording, Ennio Morricone sought to keep his music within its original context, while weaving in a meaningful solo role for Ma’s ‘cello. Morricone frequently uses instrumental and wordless vocal solos in his scores, and his fascinating melodies – instantly memorable but highly original in their form – lend themselves to Ma’s expressive artistry."
Time: 3. The Legend of 1900 01’49
4. Cinema Paradiso 01’58
5. Cinema Paradiso 01’43
6. Malena 04’22
7. A Pure Formality 03’49
Total time: 13’41
Running time: 33’21
CD 3: Bands 3,4,5: Lee Hoiby (*1926, Madison, WI) http://www.leehoiby.com/ : Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 17 (1958). The Polish National Radio Orchestra, Jan Krenz, conductor; John Atkins, piano. Citadel Records Corporation CTD 88118.
The name Lee Hoiby is certainly a familiar one to our listeners. Lee has lived in our community for many years and has been a well known composer on the international concert stage for even more. Widely and deservedly acclaimed for his unfailingly fresh approach to composition, Lee completed his 1958 Piano Concerto No. 1 in 1958 while he was living in Rome. The piece was first performed in concert with John Atkins, whom we hear today, and the festival Orchestra of New York, conducted by Thomas Dunn at Philharmonic Hall.
Time: 3. Allegro 10’15
4. Lento 08’35
5. Allegro vivo 06’16
Total time: 25’06
Running time: 58’37
CD 4: Bands 2-7: Tan Dun (*1957, Sia Mao, China) http://www.schirmer.com/composers/tan_bio.html: Eight Colors for String Quartet (1986-8): The Arditti String Quartet: Irvine Arditti and David Alberman, violins; Garth Knox, viola; Rohan de Saram, ‘cello http://www.ardittiquartet.com/ . Tan Dun – Snow in June: Cri CD 655°
° no longer in existence, alas!
A bit earlier, I mentioned that I had movie music on my mind today. Here’s why. This past weekend, I decided to make one of my rare forays into a movie house and to see a Chinese movie entitled Hero. I was pleased with my choice because the movie combined martial arts with ballet in ways that I had never imagined; because the color cinematography was absolutely magnificent, in my opinion; and, perhaps most of all, because the score was composed by the inimitable Chinese composer, Tan Dun, who composed the score in what is a contemporary, classical version of traditional Chinese music. I loved every second of it, and enjoyed the fact that it continued until the very end of the credits. When I rose to leave the theater, however, I discovered that aside from four other people who had remained to hear the score in its entirety, I was alone in the theater. I tried to understand why everyone else had left, and I wondered if they would also have left five minutes before the end of, say, Aida. Well, let’s listen to a piece Tan Dun composed between 1986 and 1988, Eight Colors for String Quartet, performed by the Arditti String quartet on a Cri label, a company no longer in business. Eight Colors for String Quartet is a soft, gentle piece, which, as Mary Lou Humphrey aptly points out in her liner notes, is influenced by both John Cage and Taoist philosophy: in other words, Tan makes use of silence as well as sound, and his music requires some attention if the listener is to truly savor its glories.
Time: 2. Peking Opera 02’13
3. Shadows 01’05
4. Pink Actress 02’07
5. Black Dance 01’42
6. Zen 03’53
7. Drum and Gong 00’54
8. Cloudiness 02’22
9. Red Sona 01’21
Total time: 15’37
Running time: 74’14

CD 5: Band 14: Francis Poulenc (1899, Paris – 1963, Paris) http://www.kadar.net/Dictionary/poulenc.html : Aubade for Piano and 18 Instruments (1929), Harmonie Ensemble (New York), Steven Richman, conductor; Ralph Votapek, pianist. Salute to France Music & Arts CD 649.
Some time ago, I was fortunate enough to interview conductor Steven Richman whose Harmonie Ensemble of New York has made quite a name for itself since Richman founded it in 1979. Today’s offering, Aubade for Piano and 18 Instruments, appears on a Music & Arts CD entitled Salute to France, "Rarely heard masterpieces of the early 20th century by Reynaldo Hahn, Darius Milhaud, Jacques Ibert, and Francis Poulenc." The Liner Notes reveal that the Aubade, or morning song (as opposed to a serenade, which is an evening song) is unusual in that it is a ballet which, as the composer puts it, gave ‘prominence and value simultaneously to a dance and pianist.’"
Time: 14. Aubade 19’15
Total running time: 93’29
We have come to the end of another Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf. Today we have heard Karel Husa’s Reflections; Ennio Morricone’s Giuseppe Tornatore Suite; Lee Hoiby’s Piano Concerto No. 1; Tan Dun’s Eight Colors for String Quartet; and Francis Poulenc’s Aubade for Piano and 18 Instruments. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed today’s selections and that you will tune in next week, when we will welcome by telephone composer Gary Noland from Eugene Oregon. Until then, this is Gandalf, thanking you for listening and wishing you all the joy of New Music!



:: :: ::
Autumn Notes, 041017
October 28, 29, and 3o, at 8:30PM.


"The Satin Cloak," a chamber opera in two acts, music and libretto by Martin Halpern, will be produced by Downtown Music Productions, Mimi Stern-Wolfe Artistic Director, at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater at Symphony Space.

A modern re-telling of a parable by the 18th-Century Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, "The Satin Cloak" dramatizes the development, over seven years, of its four principal characters: the humble cobbler Tameem; his devoted wife Akara; their worldly friend Aruhm; and a Messenger sent by the mysterious Sovereign of the land to appoint Tameem governor of his province. Like the original parable, the opera explores timeless questions about the relation between the human and the divine, but in a way that clearly reflects contemporary moral and philosophical thought.

The production is staged by Mr. Halpern with Ms. Stern-Wolfe as music director and conductor, Tom Lee as set and lighting designer, and Carol Ann Pelletier as costume designer. The cast includes tenor Darren Chase as Tameem, mezzo-soprano September Bigelow as Akara, bass-baritone Samuel Smith as Aruhm, baritone William Amory as the Narrator and the Messenger, and a Chorus of Townspeople. The orchestra consists of flute, clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, and timpani/percussion.


Thursday, November 18 at Queens College Lefrak Auditorium, 12:15 PM, is a concert of the Long Island Composers Alliance (LICA). Elizabeth Farnum will be performing Frank Retzel’s "Summer Songs" cycle.


Also on the concert is a work by Marty Halpern."The Satin Cloak." , Mimi Stern-Wolfe Artistic Director, at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater at Symphony Space, October 28, cf. above.
:: :: ::

Posted on Saturday, October 09, 2004

11 October 2004, Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, Monday, Noon to 2:00PM, streaming online at www.wjffradio.org
Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf
Monday, 11 October 04
041011
Good Afternoon, Lovers of Fine Music, and welcome to Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, where we will hear the best of 20th and 21st century music as well as interviews with occasional guests. Before we begin our program, let’s hear what Liberty Green has to tell us on her weekly Arts and Culture Calendar.
As always, Liberty, we all thank you for the time and effort you have put into producing the WJFF Arts and Culture calendar.
CD 1: Bands 1-4: Eugène Ysaÿe (1858, Liège – 1931, Brussels) http://www.naxos.com/composer/btm.asp?fullname=ysaye%20eugene Sonata No. 1 in G, Minor for Joseph Szigeti, Op. 27 (1923). Thomas Zehetmair, violin. ECM New Series 1835 CD B0003038-02. http://www.ecmrecords.com/
Eugène Ysaÿe achieved great fame as a violinist and conductor. His compositional output was relatively small, but a recent release by ECM New Series suggests that his works are definitely worth listening to and becoming familiar with. The Belgian musician wrote a cycle of six violin sonatas during the years 1923-24. The first of these, which we’ll hear presently, he dedicated to the great Hungarian violinist Joseph Szigeti (1892, Budapest – 1973, Lucerne), who himself championed the works of "many 20th century composers, including Stravinsky, Bartók, Ravel, Prokofiev, Honegger, Bloch, and Martin." (Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians, 1353." In his liner notes, Paul Griffiths suggests that Ysaÿe had the three violin sonatas and three partitas of Bach and the twenty-four caprices of Paganini in mind when he wrote his six violin sonatas. It is not difficult to discover the influence of both composers on Ysaÿe here. Thomas Zehetmair performs Ÿsaÿe’s Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Minor on an ECM New Series CD.
Time: 1. grave 04’28
2. fugato 04’12
3. allegretto poco scherzoso 04’46
4. finale con brio 02’55
Total time: 16’21
CD 2: Bands 2-15: Alfred Schnittke (1934, Engels, USSR – 1998, Moscow) www.schirmer.com/composers/schnittke_bio.html: Requiem from the music to Schiller’s drama Don Carlos (ca. 1975): Russian state Symphonic Capella; Russian state symphony Orchestra, Valeri Polyansky, conductor. Chandos Schnittke CD Chan 9564. http://classicaldirectory.redanonline.biz/chandos.htmOne of the mostly unsung glories of 20th century liturgical music is, in my opinion, Alfred Schnittke’s Requiem from the music to Schiller’s drama Don Carlos, which the great, late composer wrote sometime in the mid-1970s. Originally scheduled to be staged at the Moscow Mossovet Theatre in 1975 as incidental music to Schiller’s play Don Carlosi, Schnittke’s Requiem did not have its first performance until 1977, when the Kodály Chorus performed it in Budapest. I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that the only time I have ever heard this work performed live was probably 7 or 8 years ago in a small church in Peekskill, NY. The appreciative audience gave it a standing ovation that shook the rafters. I can’t quite figure out why more regional groups don’t produce and perform this great work, which was written in 14 movements for chorus and "a small instrumental ensemble which includes percussion, guitar, bass buitar, keyboard instruments and also a trumpet and trombone (which appear only in the Tuba mirum and the credo. The organ plays a very important part, compensating for the lack of an orchestra.
Time: 2. Requiem 04’09
3. Kyrie 02’57
4. Dies Irae 01’21
5. Tuba mirum 03’20
6. Rex tremendae 01’08
7. Recordare 03’04
8. Lacrymosa 02’44
9. Domine Jesu 02’15
10. Hostias 01’18
11. Sanctus 04’50
12. Benedictus 02’53
13. Agnus Dei 03’10
14. Credo 04’09
15. Requiem 04’13
Total time: 40’36
Running time: 56’57
CD 3: Band 2: Joan Tower (*1938, New Rochelle) http://www.schirmer.com/composers/tower_bio.html : Flute Concerto (ca. 1989): Carol Wincenc, flute http://www.milkenarchive.org/artists/artists.taf?artistd=163
; The Louisville Orchestra, Max Bragado-Darman, conductor. d’Note Classics, Joan Towers Concertos, CD DND1016.

It’s been quite a few years since I had the pleasure of interviewing Joan Tower, who is a professor of music at Bard College, on Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf. I have been fortunate enough to hear quite a few of her pieces performed live since then, and thought we might continue this afternoon with her 1989? Flute Concerto which, according to flutist Carol Wincenc, received a "screaming ovation" when it premiered in 1989 at Carnegie Recital Hall. (Liner Notes, 5). Wincenc notes that Tower’s music is "hard to play," but adds, "While Joan’s concertos all call for incredible playing, they’re all so different from each other; each has its own individuality [3]. Wincenc continues, "The beauty of Joan as a composer is that she’s always open to the performer’s suggestions." The canon of flute concerti is relatively small; hearing this, one wishes for many more of the same caliber. We’ll hear Carol Wincec performing Joan Tower’s Flute Concerto on a d’Note Classics, Joan Towers Concertos, CD DND1016.
Time: 2. Flute Concerto 15’24
Running time: 72’19
CD 4: Bands 4-10: John Anthony Lennon (*? Mill Valley, CA): Seven Translations (1988) http://www.sai-national.org/phil/composers/jalennon.html : Continuum: Rachel Rosales, soprano; David Krakauer, clarinet; Mia Wu, violin; Joel Sachs, piano. CRi John Anthony Lennon CD 599.
John Anthony Lennon, who is a professor of music at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, wrote the song cycle Seven Translations in 1988. Janice McNeeley tells us in her liner notes that the cycle combines translations of Japanese and ancient Latin texts that render images from the sentimental to the absurd. It focuses on experiences common to both cultures, and views them through a 20th century framework. Using scalar manipulation, the last piece of the set, "In Praise of Wine," is dedicated to the memory of Paul Fromm.
Time: 4. On the grass 00’40
5. Lament for Hathimoda, abbess of Gandesheim 01’55
6. Star and dead leaves 00’47
7. Since worms and dust must be your fate 02’15
8. Rain on Castle Island 01’24
9. Come, make an end 03’31
10. In Praise of Wine 00’58
Total time: 11’46
Running time: 84’05
CD 5: Band 2: Fela Sowande (1905, Lagos – 1987,?) http://hierographics.org/felasowandephilosophyandopinions.html : Yoruba Lament (1955). Lucius Weatherby, organist. Albany Records, Spiritual Fantasy, Troy 440. http://www.albanyrecords.com/
The liner notes tell us that "Fela Sowande is considered the father of modern Nigerian Art Music and is perhaps the most internationally known African composerof works in the European classical idiom. He was born in Lagos and developed into first-rate organist after a London career that included a performance as the solo pianist in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and a gig as a duo-pianist with Fats-Waller. Sowande also became a fellow of the Royal Collete of Organists in 1943, obtained his degree at the University of London, and became a fellow of Trinity College of Music. This is a gentle, soothing piece, I think, with which to end our program today.
Time: 2. 07’53
Total running time: 92’58
We have come to the end of another Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf. Today we have heard Eugène We have come to the end of another Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf. Today we have heard Eugène Ysaÿe’s Violin Sonata No. 1; Alfred Schnittke’s Requiem; Joan Tower’s Flute Concerto; John Anthony Lennon’s Seven Translations; and Fela Sowande’s Yoruba Lament. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed today’s selections and that you tune in next week for more great 20th and 21st century "classical" music. Until then, this is Gandalf thanking you for listening and wishing you all the joy of New Music!

:: :: ::

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2004

04 October 2004, Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, Monday, Noon to 2:00PM, streaming online at www.wjffradio.org
Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf
Monday, 04 October 04
041004
Good Afternoon, Lovers of Fine Music, and welcome to Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, where we will hear the best of 20th and 21st century music as well as interviews with occasional guests. Before we begin our program, let’s hear what Liberty Green has to tell us on her weekly Arts and Culture Calendar.
As always, Liberty, we all thank you for the time and effort you have put into producing the WJFF Arts and Culture calendar.
CD 1: Bands 1-6: Joseph Bertolozzi (*1959, Poughkeepsie): Suite Poughkeepsie (1999). Seattle Music, conducted by Joel Eric Suben Blue Wings Press The Contemplation of Bravery CD BWP8806. (bluewingspress@aol.com)
Among the recent CD acquisitions I’ve made, a disc entitled Contemplation of Bravery containing three pieces by Joseph Bertolozzi, courtesy of Crossover Media http://crossovermedia.net/ , captured by fancy both because it is musically interesting and because the composer is a native of Poughkeepsie. He wrote the piece we’ll lead off with today, Suite Poughkeepsie, to mark the 1999 Bicentennial of the city. The six movement suite, commissioned by Margaret L. and David E. Engle, is dedicated to Lillian Rauth Engel, who graduated with the Vassar class of 1910.
The composer writes, [In Suite Poughkeepsie, I felt that] "the best way to celebrate musically was to write a fun piece . . . Suite Poughkeepsie is intended as an evocation of characteristic local scenes, impressions of my own experiences growing up there, things which will be familiar to its present inhabitants. It is not an overview of the of the municipality’s rich history; perhaps that may be another work!" (Liner notes). Having spent the first 21 summers of my life across the river from Poughkeepsie, the composition holds special interest for me. The piece is divided into six sections as follows:
Time: 1. A Night at the Bardavon 02’54
2. The Pioneers vs. The Warriors 03’44
3. The Soldier’s Memorial Fountain 03’13
4. A Feast at the Italian Center 03’34
5. A Wedding from Vassar Chapel 01’41
6. Between the bridges at Sunset 02’39
Total time: 17’46
CD2: Bands 1-4: Samuel Barber http://www.schirmer.com/composers/barber_bio.html (1910, West Chester, PA – 1981, NY): Sonata for Piano (1949). Diane Walsh, piano. Bridge Records Sonatas and Preludes, CD 9151 http://www.bridgerecords.com/
Another new acquisition, thanks to Bridge Records, features a piano sonata written by Samuel Barber in 1949. The pianist, Diane Walsh, writes in the liner notes: [Barber] wrote his Sonata for Piano after he completed his military service in the Air Force at the end of World War II. [It] displays a rigorous classicism and confident grasp of compositional techniques and has become a twentieth-century classic of the piano literature from the moment of its premiere in Havana on December 9, 1949, by Vladimir Horowitz. I was not aware until I did a bit of research on Samuel Barber that he had studied to be a singer early in his career, and there is, evidently, a recording of Barber singing twelve of his songs while accompanying himself on the piano. I will try to get hold of that recording. We’ll hear Diane Walsh perform Samuel Barber’s Sonata for Piano.
Time: 1. Allegro energico 06’59
2. Allegro vivace e leggero 02’21
3. Adagio mesto 04’46
4. Fuga. Allegro con spirito 04’59
Total time: 19’21
Running time: 37’07
CD 3: Bands 1,2,3: Joseph Kosma http://www.shrout.co.uk/yahooJK.htm (1905, Budapest – 1969, near Paris): Three Songs: "Les feuilles mortes," "Si tu t’imagine," "Rue des Blancs-Manteaux": François Le Roux, baritone; Members of the Matrix Ensemble: Levine Andrade, violin; Gustav Clarkjson, viola, Julia desbruslais, ‘cello; Karen Street, accordian, Jeff Cohen, piano. Decca: Chansons - Les Feuilles Mortes CD 460-050-2. http://www.universalclassics.com/
We turn next to three songs by Joseph Kosma, who was born in Budapest, and whose music, eventually, was among that labeled Entartete Musik by the Nazis. The first piece, which I am sure will be familiar to many, if not all of you, was originally heard in fragmentary form in a film by the French filmmaker Marcel Carné called Les Portes de la nuit – The Doors of Night. Titled "Les feuilles mortes," most of us probably know it as "Autumn Leaves." Kosma wrote the second song we’ll hear, "Si tu t’imagines," or "If You Imagine," to the words of a poem by Raymond Queneau. He wrote it for Juliette Gréco, who, according to the liner notes, "made a great success of it." The third song we’ll listen to is called "Rue des Blancs-Manteaux," Which is about a street where hangings took place. I have no information about this piece nor, in fact, can I find dates for any of them. The baritone is François Le Roux.
Time: 1. Les Feuilles mortes 04’38
2. Si tu t’imagines 02’25
3. Rue des Blancs-Manteaux 01’24
Total time: 08’27
Running time: 45’34
CD 4: Bands 4,5,6: Steve Reich http://www.stevereich.com/ (*1936, NY): Electric Counterpoint for guitar and tape) (1987. Pat Metheny, guitar. Elektra/Nonesuch CD Steve Reich Different Trains – Electric Counterpoint CD 9 79176-2.
Steve Reich composed Electric Counterpoint for guitar and tape in 1987 in three movements – fast, slow, fast – played without pause. In the liner notes, Reich tells us that "the soloist pre-records as many as ten guitars and two electric bass parts and then plays the final 11th guitar part live against the tape. K. Robert Schwarz, in his book Minimalists, discusses Reich’s so-called "counterpoint series" that although they do not employ phasing, they are entirely consumed by the gradual construction of interlocking, constantly repeated canons. And the multiples of identical instruments, along with the dynamic and harmonic stasis, make the contrapuntal processes easy to perceive." (Phaidon Press, Ltd., London, 1996, pp. 93-4)
Time: 4. Fast 06’51
5. Slow 03’21
6. Fast 04’29
Total time: 14’41
Running time: 60’15
CD 5: (3rd CD in Boxed Set): Bands 1-3: Dmitri Shostakovich http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/cmp/shostakovich.html (1906, St. Petersburg – 1975, Moscow). String Quartet No. 5 in B flat major, op. 92. Brodsky Quartet http://www.brodskyquartet.co.uk/Michael Thomas and Ian Belton, violins; Paul Cassidy, viola; Jacqueline Thomas, ‘cello. Teldec Boxed Set, Dmitri Shostakovich – The String Quartets. 9031-71702-2.
Let’s finish our program today with Dmitri Shostakovich’s superb String Quartet No. 5 in B flat major, op. 92, which, according to Dorothea Redepenning’s liner notes, may be seen as "a preliminary study for [his] Tenth Symphony (op. 93), which was conceived as an endeavour to come to terms in music with Stalin and the Stalinist period." There are three movements in this quartet, the first one, according to my ears, bounces us right into the piece. Shostakovich’s quartets never cease to delight me, and his 5th is no exception.
Time: 1. Allegro no troppo 10’48
2. Andante 10’50
3. Moderato 10’15
Total time: 32’03
Total running time: 92’18
We have come to the end of another Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf. Today we have heard Suite Poughkeepsie, by Joseph Bertolozzi; Sonata for Piano, by Samuel Barber; three songs by Joseph Kosma; Electric Counterpoint, by Steve Reich; and Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 5. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed today’s selections and that you will tune in next week for more great 20th and 21st century classical music. Until then, this is Gandalf thanking you for listening and wishing you all the joy of New Music.













:: :: ::

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?