Brilliant musicians who had previously played my music in other contexts separately came together to play my Oboe Quartet at Penn last Friday. Oboist Peggy Pearson, who commissioned the piece, collaborated with members of the Daedalus Quartet, the quartet-in-residence at Penn. The result was superb, richly shaded, strongly shaped. The premiere of an oboe quintet by my Penn colleague Anna Weesner, the intensely strange Janáček first quartet, and a Haydn quartet arranged with oboe substituting for one of the violins rounded out the program. Anna’s piece was wonderfully varied and imaginative. She conjures memorable musical images that sound the way life feels. Peggy’s playing here, as throughout the evening, was extraordinary for her ability to subtly blend with the strings.
I traveled on to Boston the next day and attended the Cantata Singers benefit that evening:
This was held at the Liberty Hotel, which served as a jail until surprisingly recently.
Now some touristy pictures taken while walking from the subway to the benefit. Beacon Hill does look a little like some of the smaller streets in Philadelphia, though the buildings are typically three stories in Philly, not four:
The St. Gaudens memorial to Colonel Shaw and his African-American Civil War regiment:
(“Their monument sticks like a fishbone/in the city’s throat…” – from “For the Union Dead”, Robert Lowell) which is right across from the State House:
The next morning I went to Emmanuel Church, looking in on John Harbison before the service as he rehearsed a Victoria motet and a movement from his own And Mary Stood.
I visited the Museum of Fine Arts Sunday afternoon – this 11th century corpus was a favorite piece:
Then Sunday evening was the first performance of my little contribution to Winsor Music’s “Songs for the Spirit” project, Come Brothers, All; Come Sisters, Too on a text by Georgia Douglas Johnson. Kendra Colton demonstrated the tune, then the audience joined in a reprise, with satisfying energy. Just before the performance:
It was great to have another chance to hear Anna’s quintet, plus the Haydn from Friday. The Winsor program closed with the Brahms Clarinet Quintet, with clarinetist Rane Moore joining the Daedalus in a powerful rendition of this profoundly melancholy piece.
Thank you to all these musicians for your beautiful performances! I look forward to coming back to Boston for a Winsor Music concert next season that will feature a performance of my recently completed Quintet for oboe, violin, viola, cello and piano.