I was in NYC on Monday for the BMI Student Awards reception. Thank you to Deirdre Chadwick, BMI’s Executive Director for Classical Music, and her colleagues for a lovely gathering marking an important program, and of course congrats to the winners (sorry, I don’t seem to be able to find a list of winners online at the moment…)
By a happy coincidence, the New York New Music Ensemble was playing at Merkin Hall that evening, so I caught a program of works by Mathew Rosenblum and the late Lee Hyla. There were three chamber works by Lee, all very strong, full of energy, wit, visceral intensity and musical intelligence. Polish Folk Songs (2007) was especially striking for its keening clarinets played by Jean Kopperud and Meighan Stoops. Mathew’s big piece for soprano, sextet and fixed media, Falling (2013) took up the second half. It’s a rich, strange amalgam, including a recording of James Dickey reading his poem about the accidental death of a stewardess, haunting phrases from soprano Jamie Jordan, and microtones woven into dream-like instrumental textures. As Mathew noted in his program note, the piece’s reflections on mortality took on “a special meaning… as we approach the one year anniversary of Lee Hyla’s passing.” It was a pleasure to observe the elegant virtuosity of both NYNME regulars (Jean Kopperud, clarinets; Linda Quan, violin; Christopher Finckel, cello; Daniel Druckman, percussion; and Stephen Gosling, piano) and their guests (James Baker, conductor; Jamie Jordan, soprano; Kelli Kathman, flute; Lois Martin, viola; Meghan Stoops, clarinet; with composer Mathew Rosenblum assisting with the electronic component of his piece).
With a little time to spare before the BMI party started, I sat in the southeast corner of Central Park, checking out some architecture, landscape, and ducks of New York.