Wednesday Morning Miscellany

– fellow Columbia alum David Froom talks with New Music Box here. David quotes Roger Sessions as saying music should be “inevitable without being predictable” – that puts the task before us clearly and succinctly, doesn’t it?

– David Patrick Stearns writes about how CDs get funded, and has this to say:

Thus, the quality of recent discs is consistently high. The Mendelssohn Club has never sounded better than on its new Metamorphosis disc with works by Philadelphia composers [Andrea] Clearfield, Jennifer Higdon, and James Primosch.

More about the disc here.

– SongFusion’s “States of Mind” concert is coming up next Tuesday, May 8, in NYC and will include my song “Every Day is a God” from the cycle Holy the Firm.

– recent reading: the prose in Sabine Feisst’s Schoenberg’s New World is less than scintillating, but she still creates an interesting mosaic picture of Schoenberg’s life and work during his years in the United States. Feisst’s premise is that during his time in the US, Schoenberg was neither neglected, nor a sell out. Her research was incredibly thorough (there are 81 pages of end notes for a text of 248 pages), and she can be maddeningly methodical as she moves through lists of, say, performers of Schoenberg’s music. But there are insights here you won’t find elsewhere, as well as some great anecdotes. Schoenberg student Dika Newlin on Schoenberg’s outfit for a class in 1939:

It consisted of a peach-colored shirt, a green tie with white polka-dots, a knit belt of the most vivid purple with a large and ostentatious gold buckle, and an unbelievably loud gray suit with lots of black and brown stripes.

A companion website for the book is here (you’ll need the password found in the book).

Dolce Suono, Mahler, and Schoenberg

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.

LC listings

The phrase “LC listings” usually refers to library holdings that are categorized according to the standard classifications of the Library of Congress, but in this case, I want to call your attention to the listings of webcasts that the Library of Congress offers. Among the musical items that caught my eye are these:

– Steven Swayne on William Schuman’s Seventh Symphony

– Walter Frisch on early Schoenberg

– Judith Tick on Ruth Crawford Seeger

– interviews with Jim Hall and Fred Hersch.

I haven’t yet had time to look at the above myself, so I make no claims for how interesting they might turn out to be. But the topics are certainly of interest.

(photo: the reading room in the Library of Congress)