With 80 to choose from, Garrick Ohlsson will play only one in Boulder

Rachmaninoff First Concerto shares Boulder Phil concert with other Russian works

By Peter Alexander Jan. 17 at 11:30 a.m.

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson has, at last count, at least 80 concertos in his repertoire.

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Garrick Ohlsson. Photo by Dario Acosta.

Yes, eight-zero, 80. “It’s absolutely possible,” Ohlsson says. “It’s probably more by now, but it doesn’t mean that I play them all, all the time.”

He admits that there are fewer than 10 that he could play at the drop of a hat — one of which, Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto, he will perform with the Boulder Philharmonic and conductor Michael Butterman on Saturday (Jan. 19) in Boulder and Sunday (Jan. 20) in Federal Heights. Other works on the all-Russian program will be Alexander Borodin’s In the Steppes of Central Asia and Sergei Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony.

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

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Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, Michael Butterman, conductor
With Garrick Ohlsson, piano

Borodin: In the Steppes of Central Asia
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 1
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan 19, Macky Auditorium, Boulder
2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, Pinnacle Performing Arts Center, Federal Heights

Tickets

 

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LSO’s new executive director: Longmont reminds her of her native Italy

Giorgia Ghizzoni plans for the continued growth and development of the orchestra

By Peter Alexander Jan. 14 at 3:00 p.m.

Italian native Giorgia Ghizzoni, the new executive director of the Longmont Symphony, feels right at home.

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Giorgia Ghizzoni

“There’s such an Italian feel to Longmont in the sense of community,” she says. “We found it so welcoming and inclusive. A few months was enough for us to realize that we would like to call Longmont home.”

Ghizzoni took up her duties Jan. 7, succeeding Kay Lloyd, who retired from the position after 12 years as executive director. Lloyd remains with the orchestra as principal flute and is the orchestra librarian.

“Thank God she will still be there,” Ghizzoni says. “She promised she’s going to be there in case I have questions. She has been such an asset and a value to the organization.”

Ghizzoni has an extensive background in music and business. She received a bachelor’s degree in cello performance in Italy and a bachelor’s degree in economics and business from the Utrecht (Netherlands) School of Economics. She studied arts management in Finland, and has lived in Switzerland, New York, and most recently, Sonoma County, California.

Her professional experience includes work in community outreach and audience development at Carnegie Hall and as an intern at Alliance Artist Management in New York. She also established Experience Classical Music! (ExClaM!), a company focused on artist development.

In a press release, LSO board president Robert Pilkey was quoted saying “She has an impressive musical background, stellar administrative skills, fundraising experience and an abundance of energy. She also has an appreciation for the community’s long-held love affair with its symphony orchestra.”

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LSO with conductor Elliot Moore

Ghizzoni arrives only a year and half after the arrival of the orchestra’s new music director, Elliot Moore. “Giorgia and LSO’s music director Elliot Moore speak the same language and will make a great partnership,” Pilkey wrote.

Now that she has the job, Ghizzoni has lots of ideas for the orchestra. “The Longmont Symphony is an organization full of people with gigantic hearts,” she says. “I think of the LSO as an ambassador and identity of the City of Longmont itself: fast development, new people coming in from all walks, and expansion in a welcoming and inclusive way. And everybody is looking forward to improving themselves and to being more and more meaningful to more and more people, and this is just fantastic.

“The Longmont Symphony used to be a community orchestra. In one and half years it became a semi-professional orchestra, and with this change come a lot of new needs that need to be addressed. Now we need fund raising, major sponsorship, more collaboration, so lots of research to be done. [There are] younger patrons that we would like to touch with the gift of music, so how about being active on social media? All of this is a new definition of what an executive director will do from now on.”

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Giorgia Ghizzoni

Ghizzoni fell into the position almost by accident—a lucky accident, as it turns out. She was living in Longmont and wanted to meet the director of the local orchestra. “I’m an artist developer,” she says. “If some of his orchestra musicians need me in whatever sense, I’m here.” So she and Moore met before she knew that the LSO had a position open.

“We speak for five minutes, and he’s like, ‘I’m confused. I thought you wanted to meet me about the job opening.’ ‘What job opening?’ ‘You don’t know that we just opened our executive director position?’ No, I had no idea.”

To Ghizzoni, becoming the executive director of an orchestra looked like the perfect next step in her career. “I told the search committee on my last interview ‘I was this and I was that, I was an artist developer, but I have never been the executive director of a symphony orchestra. That’s exactly my next level.’”

With all of her past travels—Italy to Finland to Netherlands to Switzerland to the US—Ghizzoni has been a bit of a nomad. How likely is she to stay put in Longmont?

“I will just tell you this much,” she says. “We were here a couple of months and we bought a house.”

Takács Quartet will play “Three Bs” plus one

Beethoven, Bartok, Beach and Barber part of the varied spring concert series

By Peter Alexander Jan. 10 at 11:30 a.m.

The Takács String Quartet is offering music by “Three Bs” for their spring concert series in Boulder — in fact, “Three Bs” plus one.

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Takács Quartet. Photo by Amanda Tipton.

These are not the traditional “Three Bs” of music history, Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. Beethoven is there, but alongside him will be the Hungarian Béla Bartók, the remarkable American composer Amy Beach, and another American, Samuel Barber.

These composers and others will be featured across three different concert programs, performed on Sunday afternoon and Monday evening pairs: Jan. 13–14, Feb. 10–11 and April 28–29. As they often do, the quartet has invited colleagues from the CU College of Music to join them on two of the programs; pianist Jennifer Hayghe in January and baritone Andrew Garland in February.

The guests bring with them pieces from outside the quartet repertoire. With Hayghe the quartet will play the Quintet for piano and strings by Beach in January. With Garland, the February program will feature songs with string quartet by Barber (Dover Beach) and Ned Rorem (Mourning Scene).

Beyond those pieces, the bulk of the music on the three programs will comprise six works from the quartet repertoire, two each by Haydn, Beethoven and Bartók, and the less known Edvard Grieg String Quartet.

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

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Takács String Quartet
All performances in Grusin Music Hall, Imig Music Building

4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13 and 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14

Haydn: String Quartet in G major, op. 76 no. 1
Beethoven: String Quartet in F major, op. 135
Amy Beach: Piano Quintet in F-sharp minor, op. 67
With Jennifer Hayghe, piano

Sold out

4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10 and 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11

Samuel Barber: Dover Beach, op. 3
Ned Rorem: Mourning Scene
With Andrew Garland, baritone
Bartók: String Quartet No. 6
Grieg: String Quartet in G minor, op. 27

Limited seats available

4 p.m. Sunday, April 28 and 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 29

Haydn: String Quartet in C major, op. 33 no. 3
Bartók: String Quartet No. 5
Beethoven: String Quartet in C major, op. 59 no. 3

Limited seats available

Tickets 

CU professor’s book is for musicians, administrators, patrons and board members

Jeffrey Nytch: The Entrepreneurial Muse

By Peter Alexander Jan. 4 at 4:20 p.m.

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Jeffrey Nytch

Jeffrey Nytch is a composer, an associate professor at the CU College of Music, director of the CU Entrepreneurship Center for Music, author of a text book—and sometimes a translator.

What he translates is the language of business. He translates it into language that anyone can easily grasp, and he does it through teaching as well as through his recently published book, The Entrepreneurial Muse: Inspiring Your Career in Classical Music.

“I feel like I’m a translator taking concepts that are well established in business but foreign to people in the arts,” he says. “It’s being able to say, let’s take ‘opportunity recognition.’ Let me explain to you what that means—translate it such that it demystifies it and helps the artist see that it is relevant to what they do.”

Written as a text book for classes such as “Building Your Music Career,” one of the courses he teaches through the College of Music, The Entrepreneurial Muse also aims at a larger audience. “It’s something that we talked a lot about in the conceptual stage of the book,” he says. “Oxford University Press is an academic press. They know how to market to educational institutions, so it’s been a little bit tricky in that regard.”

Nevertheless, he says, “I do think of a broader readership. I tried to write it in a conversational way, [with] the personal stories that are woven into it. Yes it’s a text book, but I wanted it to be a good read too.”

nytch.museMaking it “a good read” starts at the very beginning, with a personal experience we can all understand, what Nytch calls “The Popcorn Epiphany” (Prologue, p. xv; but you’ll have to read it for yourself). Those kinds of informal, accessible anecdotes can be found throughout the book.

Of course, it necessarily reads like a textbook in some chapters. Nytch is careful to lay the groundwork, explain the concepts, define the terms—in other words, translate the business language for his audience of musicians and music administrators.

One thing that makes the book understandable is that lot of what Nytch describes—concepts like latent and inchoate demand, and long-tail markets—are things that musicians and audiences will intuitively recognize, even if they don’t know the vocabulary. And as you move into the book, it becomes more and more fascinating to anyone who is active in the world of music, as a performer, professional administrator, supporter or consumer. Insights abound.

Music entrepreneurship has emerged as an important field over the past 20–30 years. CU created the first entrepreneurship program in the arts in 1999, and Nytch came to CU as head of the program in 2009. “Now, [the field] has really started to take off,” he says.

“In the last 20 years the numbers of [music students] have continued to grow and there are no longer the jobs for all of those students. Performing arts schools in general and music schools in particular began to recognize that we need to prepare our graduates for professional lives beyond just preparing them to be performers.”

Nytch himself came into the field of music entrepreneurship almost accidentally. Before taking the job at CU he had received a doctorate in composition, managed the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and co-founded a non-profit service organization. As he explains it, “I did not recognize that I was laying the groundwork for this new career. I was just trying to figure out how to keep music in my life and make a living.”

ecmmusicThen in 2008 he heard about the job opening at CU. “I’m reading the job description,” he recalls. “I’ve got a DMA in music, I have 15 years as a freelance composer, I’d run a small arts organization and my day job for six years was being the operations director for a small business. Basically, I checked every box that they were looking for. I read that job description, and I knew it was for me.”

The textbook emerged from his experience teaching entrepreneurship. “The educators, my colleagues in the arts entrepreneurship field, need resources for their own teaching,” Nytch says. In addition, “there are music students, there are individual musicians who are out in the world, especially folks that are in the earlier stages of their career.

“Entrepreneurship is also useful for traditional art management programs. A lot of arts organizations, symphony orchestras and opera companies and chamber music societies, they could benefit from learning to think entrepreneurially as well.”

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Jeffrey Nytch teaching at the Entrepreneurship Center for Music

One part of the music world in particular gets Nytch’s attention: the amateurs who support professional organizations, as patrons or contributors or board embers. “Those folks are invested in the future of their organizations, but they may not have the mechanism to think about options in a strategic way.

“A lot of boards end up doing what I call shucking peanuts. They say ‘We ought to do this,’ and ‘Actually, we ought to do this,’ or ‘Maybe we could try this.’ You go around the table and you spend two hours shucking peanuts. Some of those might be good ideas, some of them might be terrible ideas. But if there’s no way to evaluate them, then you’re never going to get any further than shucking peanuts. So thereis an audience who would find [the book] useful.”

In other words: If you are a musician in the early stages of your career, you should read this book; if you know a musician, buy it for them. If you are an arts administrator, you should read this book; if you know an arts administrator, buy it for them. If you are a board member of an arts organization, you should read this book; if you know a board member, buy it for them.

More concisely, I recommend this unique and valuable book to anyone who makes, supports or listens to music. It fills a unique and important space in the music world, and it does it extremely well.

The Entrepreneurial Muse: Inspiring Your Career in Classical Music by Jeffrey Nytch. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. 240 pages. ISBN: 9780190630980 $24.99 (paperback; also available in hardback and E-book formats)

Can also be purchased from Amazon.

Edited 1/5/19 to update top photo of Jeffrey Nytch.

 

 

 

Hail and Farewell

Some of the musicians we lost in 2018

By Peter Alexander Dec. 31 at 4:45 p.m.

May the memories of these great musicians, who have enriched so many lives as performers, teachers and leaders, be a blessing to us all.

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Robert Mann

Jan. 1: Robert Mann, founding first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet, whose robust style helped them achieve international renown, 97

Jan. 7: Maurice Peress, conductor who worked with both Leonard Bernstein and Duke Ellington, and an ardent advocate for the influence of Dvořák on American music, 87

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Hugh Masakela

Jan. 23: Hugh Masekela, South African trumpeter, singer and anti-apartheid activist, 78

March 2: Harvey Schmidt, composer of the long-running (42 years) off-Broadway sensation The Fantasticks, and also 110 in the Shade, 88

March 2: Jesús López Cobos, Spanish conductor, former music director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Cincinnati Symphony, and other orchestras, 78

March 12: Ivan Davis, internationally known American pianist, a protégé of Vladimir Horowitz, 86

March 16: Buell Neidlinger, versatile bassist who played free jazz as well as John Cage and Igor Stravinsky premieres, and recorded with Dolly Parton and the Eagles, 82

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José Abreu

March 24: José Abreu,founder of El Sistema, the Venezuelan free-music program aimed at impoverished children that produced the conductor Gustavo Dudamel and remarkable youth orchestras, 78

Mach 31: Michael Tree, founding member of the Guarneri Quartet and the Marlboro Trio, as well as a much loved teacher at the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and other institutions, 83

April 5: Cecil Taylor, classically-trained jazz pianist, band leader, and sometimes poet, 89

April 10: Yvonne Staples, the baritone voice of the soul group Staples Singers, 80

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Jean-Claude Malgoire

April 14: Jean-Claude Malgoire, energetic French conductor and champion of his nation’s early music repertoire, 77

May 1: Wanda Wilkomirska, a Polish violinist who performed world wide and was also known for her stand in support of the Solidarity movement, 89

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Clarence Fountain

June 3: Clarence Fountain, the last living co-founder of the iconic gospel singing group Blind Boys of Alabama, 88

June 12: Bonaldo Giaiotti, operatic bass who was discovered singing in celebration of his soccer’s team victory in a bar in northern Italy and went on to become a fixture of the Metropolitan Opera, 85

June 16: Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Russian conductor known for performing the works of Alfred Schnittke, Sofia Gubaidulina and other contemporary composers, and for the emotional intensity of his performances, 87 

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Liliane Montevecchi

June 29: Liliane Montevecchi, Tony-Award winning actress, dancer and singer who performed with the Folies Bergère in Las Vegas and Paris, in addition to Broadway and film roles, 85

June 29: Franz Beyer, a German  violist and musicologist who prepared a revised edition of Mozart’s unfinished Requiem in the early 1970s, 96

July 3: Bill Watrous, a widely respected and acclaimed trombonist, bandleader and teacher, known for studio work with artists including Quincy Jones and Frank Sinatra, 79

July 9: Oliver Knussen, British composer and conductor best known for his opera Where the Wild Things Are based on the beloved children’s book by Maurice Sendak, 66

VH1 Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin

Aug. 16: Aretha Franklin, “The Queen of Soul” and one of the most widely loved and revered singers in America with a 100 singles in the Billboard charts and 20 No. 1 R&B hits, 76

Aug. 23: George Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer and teacher at Rutgers and other institutions, whose Lyric for Strings was performed during the 2018 Colorado Music Festival, 96

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Inge Borkh

Aug. 26: Inge Borkh (born Ingeborg Simon), German/Swiss soprano known for her intense performances as Salome, Elektra, and other daunting roles, 97

Aug. 29: Ellie Mannette, a Trinidadian musician who, as a builder, tuner and teacher of steel drums, help create one of the most recognizable and joyful musical sounds, 90

Sept. 6: Claudio Scimone, Italian conductor and founder of I Solisti Veneti, with which he toured internationally and made many recordings, 83

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Tito Capobianco

Sept. 8: Tito Capobianco, operatic stage director at the New York City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera and San Diego Opera, and general director of Pittsburgh Opera for 17 years, later a faculty member at Indiana University, 87

Sept. 18: David DiChiera, founder and director of Michigan Opera Theatre in 1971, who helped bring culture into downtown Detroit and stimulate the downtown revival, 83

Sept. 21: Katherine Hoover, flutist and composer who wrote for her own instrument and for strings, woodwinds, full orchestra, and other media, 80

Oct. 1: Charles Aznavour, celebrated French popular singer, song writer and film star who sold more than 100 millions records, and who was also known for his political support of the Armenian people, 94

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Montserrat Caballé

Oct. 6: Montserrat Caballé, Spanish prima-donna soprano known for the purity of her voice as well as the adulation of her fans, 85

Oct. 31: Wolfgang Zuckerman, developer of the “Z-Box,” the first build-it-yourself harpsichord kit, 96

Nov. 15: Roy Clark, guitar, banjo, mandolin and fiddle virtuoso and country singer who was much more than this TV personality on “Hee-Haw,” a Country Music Hall of Fame inductee in 2009, 85

Dec. 6: Andrew Frierson, groundbreaking African-American bass-baritone who sang at the New York City Opera and other opera stages around the world and at the 1963 March on Washington, was a voice professor at Oberlin and other schools, and co-founded the Independent Black Opera Singers, 94

Dec. 17: Galt MacDermot, Grammy-award winning composer of Hair and Two Gentlemen of Verona, 89 and 364 days

Dec. 29: Aldo Parisot, legendary Brazilian-born cellist and teacher who was the longest-serving faculty member ever at Yale University, 100

 

Starkland’s latest adventurous releases: diverse, fascinating excursions in sound

New works, virtuoso performances

By Peter Alexander Dec. 28 at 12:25 p.m.

With 2018 coming to a close, now is a good time to take note of the past year’s three releases from Boulder’s Starkland Recordings. Specializing in new works, Starkland features performances of the highest quality. And in keeping with the label’s wide-ranging catalogue, the new recordings are very different, but each adventurous and challenging in its own way.

A1AdBe8paYL._SX522_Nakedeye Ensemble: Storylines Crossing. Jonathan Russell: Sextet. Zack Browning: Decade of the Dragon. Richard Belcastro:Smoke n’ Wid. Rusty Banks: Surface Tensions. Randall Woolf: Punching the Clock. Frederic Rzewski: Coming Together, arr. by Belcastro. Starkland ST-228.

The NakedEye Ensemble is a group of eight young musicians based in Lancaster, Penn. Directed by pianist Ju-Ping Song, they have been performing together since at least 2014, and have now released their first recording.

Characterizing themselves as an “electro-acoustic group with classical, rock, and jazz DNA,” their mostly new repertoire reaches back to an arrangement of a work from 1971 by Frederic Rzewski, who remains a touchstone for younger, politically motivated composers. The other five works on the disc all date from the current centurySettings range from a quartet to the full ensemble of eight.

With six such accomplished performances, it seems unfair to single out specific works, but as a child of the 1960s I have to start with Zack Browning’s Decade of the Dragon. Written for NakedEye to mark the 50thanniversary of the beginning of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War—the dominant event of my generation’s younger lives—it refers to two searing, Pulitzer-Prize winning photographs from that struggle, “Saigon Execution” and “Napalm Girl” (the first and third images here).

The jazzy, rock-inflected score incorporates a traditional Vietnamese song, “City of Dragons.” The music is marked by sudden shifts of sound and mood, including suggestions of the ‘60s and even a trace of Hendrix. Decade of the Dragon is too energetically likable to quite evoke the horror of the subject, but it clearly deserves a place among works inspired by the Vietnam War.

In Randall Woolf’s intriguing Punching the Clock, recordings of work songs from around the world are embedded in the musical texture. The episodic score darts from one musical world to another. It is fascinating to follow Woolf’s blues-inspired imagination from scene to scene, even if it doesn’t quite add up to much more than the individual parts.

Two works on the album are sheer fun to hear. Jonathan Russell’s Sextet is a delight, from the “groovy little bass line” (in the composer’s fitting words) that opens the piece to the long, teasing fadeout ending. Richard Belcastro’s Smoke n’ Wid must be the most playful, cheerful piece ever written about cats in a box with catnip.

Another work that grew from the Vietnam War is Rzewski’s Coming Together, the tour de force and culmination of the album. It is based on a letter written by Sam Harris, who was arrested and convicted for eight bombings in New York protesting the war. Incarcerated at the infamous Attica Prison, he died there in the 1971 riots that he helped organize.

Readings from Harris’s letter are underlaid by repeated bass lines and improvised parts that reflect and surround the spoken texts. The effect is cumulative over the 20-minute duration: the combination of Rzewski’s boundless musical creativity and commitment have made this a masterpiece of political music theater.

NakedEye Ensemble plays with virtuosity and verve, demonstrating what a wealth of musical talent there is beyond our experience in Boulder. This meticulously played, fun and varied album has landed near the top of my list of favorite Starkland albums. Adventurous listeners in love with the new should make it a priority.

912LkDwsYHL._SS500_Peter Garland: The Landscape Scrolls. 1. mid-day 2. sunset 3. after dark 4. late 5. early morning. John Lane, percussion. Starkland ST-229.

The Landscape Scrolls feature virtuosity of another dimension. There are five monochromatic movements, each inspired by a time of day and an imagined landscape, and each calling for a single percussion sound.

The tour de force here is clearly for percussionist John Lane, who must in sequential movements perform on a set of eight drums, nine rice bowls, three triangles, the glockenspiel, and tubular bells; and then create an arc and a sense of direction out of a limited sound palate in each movement. That he does so is indeed a virtuosic accomplishment.

The drums of the first movement effectively evoke the subject, “jagged peaks, endless mountains, receding in the distance—early spring.” In the second movement, ringing rice bowls recreate the effect of “peepers”—pond frogs—near the composer’s home. In the third movement, the magical sight of fireflies in the summer is reflected in the sound of triangles. That Lane maintains the effect for 10 minutes is a triumph of concentration as much as musical technique.

My favorite movement is the fourth, which refers to van Gogh’s famous painting “Starry Night” through the sound of the glockenspiel. The reference to a much-loved painting , the greater compass of pitch provided by the instrument and the rhythmic variety make this movement stand out from those that went before.

The longest movement is the last, “early-morning: sea smoke on the river—winter.” Using tubular bells—commonly called chimes—the composer aims create a fog of sound that duplicates aurally the sight of the thick fog that often hovers over cold or frozen water. In this he is successful; whether it is worth of 20 minutes of listening will depend on your interest in pure sound and tolerance for near stasis as a single musical idea is repeated and slowly transformed—just like the fog slowly swirling over the river.

91p1XxsY4+L._SS500_Tim Brady: Music for Large Ensemble. Désir: Concerto for electric guitar and large chamber ensemble; Eight Songs about: Symphony #7. Bradyworks Large Ensemble, Tim Brady, electric guitar and conductor; Cristian Gort, conductor; Sarah Albu, soprano; Vincent Ranallo, baritone. Starkland ST-230.

This disc is Tim Brady’s second appearance on the Starkland label following the strikingly original Instruments of Happiness of 2016. It represents a turn in a different direction from the former recording, which featured an electric guitar quartet.

This time Brady is featured, first as soloist in his Désir: Concerto for electric guitar and large chamber ensemble, and then as conductor in Eight Songs about: Symphony #7. His own Seventh Symphony, this is also a highly original response to the Seventh Symphony of Shostakovich.

The concerto is in the traditional three movements in the order fast-slow-fast. Nothing else about it feels traditional or predictable, however. The first movement, titled “Ecstasy,” is marked by frenetic, driven activity interrupted by sudden stops, then a total change of sound. The frenetic activity returns, as if powered by an internal engine, until it tapers into a cessation of movement at the outset of the second movement, “Beauty.”

In some ways this movement represents a conventional concept of musical beauty—slow moving, more consonant. But it is also uneasy, edgy, unpredictable. This is an uncomfortable beauty that leads into the third movement and a return to frenetic activity. It is titled “Wisdom,” but this is no reflective, contemplative wisdom. It is rather the wisdom of the virtuoso who can make any difficulty seem effortless.

Shostakovich dedicated his Seventh Symphony to the City of Leningrad, where it was performed in 1942, during the German siege of the city. That performance, by a pickup group of Soviet musicians, was broadcast on loudspeakers throughout the city and even to the German troops  outside the city.

Eight Songs about: Symphony #7 is a setting of texts by Douglas Smith, forming a fever dream of that performance as experienced by different people, including a German soldier, a Russian prostitute in the city, musicians in the orchestra and Stalin himself. The texts are sung and declaimed by a soprano and a baritone, accompanied by an ensemble of players who provide what critic Alan Kozinn accurately describes as “ominously opaque musical textures.”

Brady’s music expresses something basic about the despair and brutality of war, and does it in a powerfully original way, but it is not necessarily enjoyable to listen to. The two soloists present vivid characterizations while taking very different approaches to the material: soprano Sarah Albu sounds conversational, almost detached, while baritone Vincent Ranallo gives a more mannered delivery. Brady’s conducting is naturally assured, and the Bradywork’s Large Ensemble performs with commitment.

All Starkland recordings may be purchased through the label’s Webpage.

 

Boulder Chamber Orchestra’s Gift of Music: “An adventure for the listener”

Mozart concerto, Handel, Corelli, and a kinder, gentler Schoenberg

By Peter Alexander

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Pianist David Korevaar

You know it’s an unusual Christmas concert when one of the composers is the fearsome atonal composer Arnold Schoenberg.

But conductor Bahman Saless, who has programmed the Schoenberg Christmas Music for concerts with the Boulder Chamber Orchestra Dec. 21 and 22, assures listeners it is thoroughly enjoyable, not written in the composer’s dissonant and fiercely intellectual style. Instead, it is a gentle fantasia on Praetorius’ familiar carol “Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen” (Lo, how a rose e’er blooming).

“I think in in his spare time he wrote some stuff for fun,” Saless says. “He was probably tired of his own intellect.”

In addition to Schoenberg’s Christmas Music the program will feature Corelli’s Concerto Grosso in B-flat, known as the “Christmas Concerto”; another Concerto Grosso in B-flat by Handel; some regular Christmas carol arrangements; and pianist David Korevaar playing and conducting Mozart’s Piano Concerto in B-flat, K595.

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

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“The Gift of Music”
Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Bahman Saless, conductor
With David Korevaar, piano

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat major
Handel: Concerto Grosso in B-flat major, Op 3 no. 1
Arnold Schoenberg: Christmas Music
Corelli: Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6 no. 8 (“Christmas Concerto”)
Holiday carols

7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, Broomfield Auditorium, 3 Community Park Rd., Broomfield
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, Boulder Adventist Church, 345 Mapleton Ave., Boulder

Tickets