2/24 and 2/26: Darkness and Profundity – G. F. Haas in New York

 

Georg Friedrich Haas
Georg Friedrich Haas

This week in New York, Austrian Cultural Forum celebrates the music of Georg Friedrich HaasHaas, currently MacDowell Professor of Music at Columbia, is a thoughtful and innovative composer. The two programs curated by ACFNY, both free (with reservations), are excellent opportunities to hear two different facets of his creativity.

JACK
JACK Quartet

On Wednesday February 24th at 7:30 PM at the ACF, JACK Quartet performs String Quartet No. 3 In iij. Noct., a piece that occurs in total darkness.

Talea Ensemble
Talea Ensemble

On February 26 at 8 PM at Bohemian National Hall (321 East 73rd Street), the Talea Ensemble presents the following program of large ensemble and chamber works: La profondeur (2009), for lower instruments, I can’t breathe (2015), a US Premiere that commemorates Eric Garner, played by trumpeter Gareth Flowerstria ex uno (2001), and …wie stille brannte das Licht (2009), featuring vocal soloist Tony Arnold. James Baker conducts.

 

2/23 Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra

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Tom Cunningham

On February 23rd at Queens College, the  Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Tom Cunningham, will be performing an excerpt from my Gilgamesh Suite. I am very grateful to Tom for programming the piece while I am feeling “under the weather:” very thoughtful.

2/23 9×9 Concert – Free | 7:30 PM, LeFrak Concert Hall | Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College |

ECCE Ensemble Premieres “Switch”

johnandlaine
by Faremis Visuals

On February 12-14 and February 19-20, ECCE Ensemble premieres Switch, a new opera by my friend and colleague composer John Aylward. Directed by Laine Rettmer and conducted by Jean-Phillipe Wurtz, the piece features two vocalists: soprano Amanda DeBoer Bartlett and bass-baritone Mikhail Smigelsk.  The project is part of ECCE’s year-long residence at Le Laboratoire, a new multimedia space in Cambridge that combines visual arts, music, the sciences, and even olfactory stimulating exhibits.

To whet your appetite, below is a video of Aylward’s Ephemera.

 

WHAT: World premiere of the contemporary opera Switch
WHEN:February 12-14+ February 19-20 at 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Le Laboratoire, 650 East Kendall Street, Cambridge, MA,
T: Red to Kendall Square
TICKETS: $40/$20 Students.
To purchase, contact Le Laboratoire at
617.945.7515 or visit

 

Martin Brody: Beasts (CD Review)

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Beasts

Music by Martin Brody

Collage New Music, David Hoose, conductor

Albany Records CD Troy 1595

On the Albany CD Beasts, Collage New Music, directed by David Hoose, presents three vocal chamber works by  Wellesley College professor Martin Brody. In his liner notes, Brody says that each of the pieces provide, “imaginative identification with something or someone outside one’s self as a catalyst of self-transformation.”

In the title work, featuring laser beam accuracy from soprano Elizabeth Keusch, the focus is on animals: the spider, the octopus, deer, mice, and a werewolf. Millenium Sightings uses the apocalyptic writings of 12 century monk Joachim of Fiore as its starting point, interweaving these with works by Abraham Abulafia and Miraji. Accompanied by bell-like timbres, mezzo soprano Janice Felty sings these angularly melismatic settings with strong declamation and a refined sense of tonal shadings. The Tree of Life shows Brody at his most expansive, combining texts by Ovid, James Merrill, John Ashbery, Richard Wilbur, and Robert Lowell. Mezzo soprano Pamela Dellal displays an impressive lower register, superb dynamic control, and unflagging stamina in these demanding settings. Throughout, Collage and Hoose are estimable accompanists, providing space for the vocal line while exploring the various interesting textures Brody has provided for them.

One quibble, for the publishers, not for Brody: many didn’t not allow reprints of their texts in the liner notes booklet. It would seem that this would serve both poets and composers by showing off their collaboration. One wishes publishers wouldn’t be so parsimonious with permissions.

Dan Trueman: “Nostalgic Synchronic”

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Nostalgic Synchronic

Music by Dan Trueman

Performed by Adam Sliwinski, bitKlavier

New Amsterdam CD/DL

Nostalgic Synchronic, 8 etudes by Dan Trueman for bitKlavier, a “prepared digital piano,” are the program for Adam Sliwinski’s solo debut. Sliwinski’s regular gig is with So Percussion, but he makes a persuasive advocate here, dealing with the busy, microtonally altered material wrought by Trueman with facility and rhythmic incisiveness.

The recording is out now via New Amsterdam. One can download Trueman’s bitKlavier software on the project’s website.