Friday, July 15, 2011

Louis Andriessen: Hoketus: New York Stock Exchange Plaza

It's not everyday you get to experience a classic avant-garde work outdoors at the center of the world's finances. Such was the case when Louis Andriessen's Hoketus was performed at the New York Stock Exchange Plaza during Make Music New York this year. One quintet was on the street, facing the other quintet ensconced in the balcony of the New York Stock Exchange. The exciting performance captivated the crowd, and I've assembled a brief video of the 25-minute work:

Yarn/Wire led the performers: Ian Antonio, Russell Greenberg (congas); Laura Barger, Ning Yu (pianos); Michael Gallope, Jacob Rhodebeck (keyboards); Erin Lesser, Christa Van Alstine (pan flutes); Tony Gedrich, Joe Higgins (electric bass).

Thursday, July 7, 2011

David Lang: "warmth" at BOAC Marathon

David Lang introduces his "warmth" piece, followed by the opening section performed by electric guitarists Taylor Levine and James Moore. From the Bang on a Can 2011 Marathon.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Patrick Zimmerli Premiere: Uniquely Funded by the Colorado Music Festival

The first-of-its-kind CLICK! crowdfunded commissioning project, started last year by the adventurous Colorado Music Festival, reached a culmination with the premiere of Patrick Zimmerli's Festival Overture on June 30.

Last summer, CMF solicited votes (at $10 each) for four possible composers. With sufficient funds raised, the tallied votes favored Zimmerli, who then had about 7 months to create the 12-minute orchestral work.

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Patrick Zimmerli (L) and Michael Christie (R) at a pre-concert talk.

In a pre-concert talk, the personable Zimmerli mentioned he found inspiration by studying some classic works, such as Brahms' Tragic Overture, Beethoven's Leonore overtures, Wagner's Tristan, and even Holiday Overture, an early (1944) Elliott Carter work.

Indeed, this Festival Overture started with a three-note motive presented with an energetic, Brahmsian swagger, followed by quieter, more plaintive materials heard in the woodwinds, followed by development of these two ideas. The piece was solidly tonal, readily accessible, and pleased the enthusiastic audience. I suspect the work will be programmed by others down the road.

While I liked the piece, this conservative music perhaps reflected the standard repertoire a little too diligently. An edgier work, touching more on today's contemporary music possibilities, would have engaged me more.

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Patrick Zimmerli (L) and Tom Steenland (R)

Nevertheless, this well-crafted piece clearly fulfilled its purpose and represents a fine start to the CMF's ambitious CLICK! commissioning program, conceived and implemented by the imaginative Music Director Michael Christie.

Also on the program were Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (in an unusual presentation with the Marcus Roberts Trio), Copland's Prairie Journal (one of his earliest "American" pieces), and Ansel Adams: America, with music by David and Chris Brubeck accompanying projected slides of classic Adams photos.