Yesterday I finished my little flute duet for January 18th’s Dolce Suono concert at Trinity Center here in Philadelphia. Mimi Stillman asked me and a number of colleagues to contribute short pieces inspired by Bach for a program honoring her teacher, Julius Baker. Andrea Clearfield, Richard Danielpour, Daniel Dorff, Jeremy Gill, Heidi Jacob, Jan Krzywicki, Robert Maggio and myself are all writing pieces for the occasion. My piece takes off from the Badinerie, the closing movement of Bach’s orchestral suite in B minor. (A badinerie is a scherzo in duple meter; I don’t know of any examples of the term outside of a few Baroque pieces. I suppose it is related to “badinage” or “banter”.) While the original movement features a single flute with strings and continuo, I have concocted a duet for two flutes alone – hence the name Badinerie Squared. The piece is based on motifs from the Bach but with some playful distortions of the harmony. Here is a snippet of the original:

original bach

And here is the opening of my duet:

jp opening

Other versions of the opening downward arpeggio include these:

jp bach #2

and later there is an inverted form as well.

There is a good bit of harmonic slip-sliding going on in this light-hearted piece that might bring Prokofieff to mind — or, given the character of the motifs, P.D.Q. Bach!

Mimi will be joined for my piece by Jeffrey Khaner, principal flute of the Philadelphia Orchestra and another Julius Baker pupil. Jeff premiered my A Flutist’s Sketchbook not that long ago.

Some concerts of interest in various places, including 2 anniversary events:

- Dolce Suono‘s 10th anniversary concert, Sunday, October 12, 3:00 pm, Field Concert Hall, Curtis Institute, Philadelphia.

- Lee Hyla Memorial Concert, Thursday, October 16, 7:30 pm, Lutkin Hall, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. The late composer of uncommonly intelligent and gutsy works, is honored with a concert of his chamber music. Read about him here.

- Network for New Music celebrates its 30th anniversary, Sunday, October 26, 4:00 pm, Settlement Music School, Queen Street branch in Philadelphia. The special event here is the first performance of an “exquisite corpse” – a new work created by 30 composers (myself included), each of whom contributed 6 measures, with only a tempo marking and the last measure of the preceding composer’s segment as guidance.

- Richard Wernick and George Crumb will be honored in their 80th and 85th birthday years respectively in a Penn Contemporary Music concert in Rose Recital Hall on the Penn campus, Wednesday, November 5 at 8:00 pm. I’ll be playing Crumb’s A Little Suite for Christmas, A.D. 1979. A piano trio by Wernick, and Crumb’s Black Angels will also be heard.

 

Dolce Suono has announced its 2014-15 season – the group’s 10th anniversary –  and I happy to report that I will be participating in their tribute to the legendary flutist Julius Baker next January 18. Along with seven other composers, I’ll be contributing a short invention for two flutes, to be played by Jeffrey Khaner and Mimi Stillman who were both students of Baker. Jeff is the principal flute of the Philadelphia Orchestra and played the premiere of my flute and piano piece earlier this season, while Mimi is the founder of Dolce Suono.

Watch an 11-year old Mimi perform with her teacher here.

After a break for the Easter Triduum, I am back with a few random bits:

- I found this quite moving. I wish more folks who do liturgy showed this kind of sensitivity and imagination.

- Have been listening to this. These are complete versions of the ballets. If you only know the suite, some of the parts you don’t know in Appalachian Spring are unexpectedly edgy. The complete Rodeo is not much different from the Four Episodes, and it is inspired throughout, unlike Billy the Kid, which has some vacant pages. Dance Panels sounds a little dated, unlike the earlier ballets.

-upcoming in Philly:

- Dolce Suono Ensemble presents an intriguing program at Trinity Center this Friday, April 13, including two works by Shulamit Ran. (Go here and scroll down.)

- Network for New Music offers a premiere by Matthew Greenbaum called Rope and Chasm – a work for video and soprano – Sunday, April 15 at 7:30 in Rock Hall at Temple University. A preview:

- Sunday, January 29th, the League of Composers/ISCM celebrates the Cage centennial by presenting Eliza Garth playing the complete Sonatas and Interludes; Merkin Hall at 8:00.

- Dolce Suono offers a Shulamit Ran premiere and Pierrot Lunaire*, with guest Lucy Shelton on February 3 at Haverford College, February 5 at Trinity Center in Center City, Philadelphia, and February 6 at Symphony Space in NYC. Lucy’s Pierrot is the most spirited and colorful interpretation I have ever heard, and I have heard many great ones.

*) It’s also the centennial of Pierrot.

(Photo: Cage at work.)

A great concert tonight in Philly by Dolce Suono with the amazing Eric Owens as soloist in new works by David Ludwig, Stratis Minakakis (both Penn alums), Fang Man, Steve Stucky, and Steve Mackey. (The Steves were absent due to performances in Carnegie Hall (Stucky) and with the LA Phil (Mackey). Ah, to have such problems…) Owens also did the Mahler Songs of a Wayfarer in the Schoenberg arrangement, and the underappreciated pianist Charles Abramovic offered an elegant performance of the Schoenberg Op. 19 piano pieces (with some idiot’s cell phone ringing during the last delicate movement). This is the first concert in a project commemorating the 100th anniversary of Mahler’s death and the 60th anniversary of Schoenberg’s death, and the commissioned works all had threads of connection with those composers.

A new website for violinist extraordinaire Miranda Cuckson – check out the media page for lots of video and audio; and a newly revamped website, now with a blog, for composer extraordinaire Steve Mackey. A Mackey premiere here in Philly at the Dolce Suono concert this coming Wednesday, along with new pieces by Steven Stucky, Fang Man, Stratis Minakakis, and David Ludwig. Eric Owens will be the soloist.

Events: very soon, soon, and not so soon:

-Bowerbird presents Eliane Radigue’s complete Naldjorlak cycle at Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 North American Street in Philadelphia, 8 pm, Friday, September 24.

-Orchestra 2001 offers two works by Osvaldo Golijov, plus Enoch Arden by Richard Strauss, with Marina Sirtis as narrator; September 24 at Trinity Center, September 26 at Swarthmore College.

- Oboe goddess Peggy Pearson plays the Boston premiere of Stephen Jaffe’s Chamber Concerto “Singing Figures” at the first Winsor Music concert of the season. Sunday, October 3 at St. Paul’s Church, Brookline, 7:00 PM. (Check out the fine recording of the piece on Bridge.)

UPDATE: I just received an e-mail reporting that the October 3 Winsor Music  concert is cancelled, due to “an injury to a performer. She will be OK, but could not manage this week’s schedule of rehearsals. We regret any inconvenience caused by this cancellation.”

- Mimi Stillman’s Dolce Suono Ensemble premieres a new Richard Danielpour trio on October 22 at Trinity Center in Philadelphia. Read here (scroll down) about the group’s Mahler/Schoenberg project, coming next spring, and including commissioned works by Steven Stucky, Steven Mackey, Fang Man, David Ludwig, and Stratis Minakakis.

-21st Century Consort offers Barber, Copland, Jon Deak, Jordan Kuspa, and Mark Kuss at its season opener, October 23, Smithsonian American Art Museum in DC.