Tonight at FCM: Copland, Foss, Ives, Bernstein

Lukas Foss

Here is Michael Tilson Thomas, tonight’s guest conductor, with his regular “band,” the San Francisco Symphony, in Aaron Copland’s Orchestral Variations. 

Also on the program, Quintets for Orchestra by my teacher Lukas Foss, Leonard Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs, and Charles Ives’s New England Holidays.

Julian Anderson

At the Festival of Contemporary Music today, we also heard the premiere of Julian Anderson’s Second String Quartet. A fascinating piece filled with alternate tunings and myriad playing effects, it is one that I will be pondering for a long while.

Here’s a video of a piece that I heard recently, Anderson’s Prayer for solo viola. It was played on a Locrian Chamber Players concert in New York.

Tanglewood’s FCM on Monday

Lenox_Ozawa59

On Monday, July 21st at 8 PM, the last concert of Tanglewood’s 2014 Festival of Contemporary Music is a well-stocked program of orchestral works. The centerpiece is Roger Sessions’s Concerto for Orchestra, a work commissioned by the BSO thirty years ago. Steven Mackey’s violin concerto Beautiful Passing will feature as soloist Sarah Silver, one of Tanglewood’s New Fromm Players. Music by John Adams has not in recent memory frequently been featured on FCM programs, but this year his Slonimsky’s Earbox makes an appearance. The sole work by a younger composer, The Sound of Stillness by Charlotte Bray, piqued my interest – it is an impressive piece. (Check out a video about it here.) Thus, this year’s FCM ends the way that many of its seasons are curated: with nods to tradition as well as explorations of new, unfamiliar, and underrepresented corners of contemporary repertoire.