– New music choir The Crossing offers three performances of Kile Smith’s Vespers, collaborating with Piffaro, The Renaissance Band. I don’t know a better contemporary piece for old instruments – for that alone the work is a remarkable achievement. But instrumentation aside, this is exceptionally beautiful music. January 7 and 8 in Philadelphia, January 9 in New York, details here.
– Eric Chasalow’s new horn concerto will be heard at the Southwest Horn Conference in Phoenix on January 14, and in Boston at a BMOP concert, January 27. Eric is perhaps best known as a master of the electronic medium, but his acoustic music is just as superb.
– There will be an evening of music by Hayes Biggs at Manhattan School, January 15. I earlier wrote about the Avalon Quartet’s recording of Hayes’s touching O Sapientia/Steal Away here. Update: more info about the concert here. Susan Narucki and Christopher Oldfather will offer a new song cycle.
– The seventh and final volume of George Crumb’s American Songbook will be premiered by Orchestra 2001 on January 28 and 29 in Philadelphia.
Jim Ricci at Deconstructing Jim has an interesting post regarding Don Martino and Schoenberg, including excerpts from Martino e-mails such as the following unexpected comment: “S’s music is to my ear (after Pierrot) uniformly ugly and pedantic with the countenance of stale and heavy German pastry.” I was startled to learn from this post that there is an unperformed Martino Concerto for Orchestra resting in a desk drawer – Gil Rose and BMOP, we need you.
Emmanuel Music will sing my Cummings motet, Spiralling Ecstatically this coming Sunday, March 7. The piece will be heard at a 10:00 Morning Prayer service at Emmanuel Church on Newbury St. in Boston, as well as at the 3:00 installation service for Emmanuel’s new rector, Rev. Pamela L. Werntz. The afternoon service will include the celebration of the Eucharist. Bach cantata #163, Nur jedem das Seine!, will also be heard at the morning service. If you don’t know about Emmanuel, this is a place where a Bach cantata is heard every week in its proper liturgical context, a practice begun under the leadership of the late conductor Craig Smith that has continued now for decades. (It is Craig who conducts Emmanuel on Lorraine Hunt Lieberson’s sublime CD of Bach solo cantatas.) Emmanuel is a lively and welcoming worshipping community that has an unusual commitment to the highest musical standards. I am very happy to be, in a small way, a part of that community through the motets I have written for Emmanuel over the years. You can hear one of those motets here (scroll down to “choral”), and see a sample of a score for that piece here. I will be there for both services, and also for the BMOP concert on Saturday night – Ball, Wheeler, Hartke, Babbitt, Olivero, Bartók. (At left: the “Pilgrim’s Progress” window at Emmanuel Church.)