“Badinerie Squared” on Performance Today

I heard from Fred Child, host of APM’s Performance Today, that my flute duet, Badinerie Squared, will be heard at about 20 minutes into the 2nd hour of the program this Friday, March 3. The performers are Mimi Stillman and Jeffrey Khaner, from a concert in Philadelphia in 2015. Starting Friday morning, go here to stream the program. It will be available online for 30 days.

Mid-October Miscellany

There has been a lack of posting here due to a deadline for my Philadelphia Chamber Music Society commission. But this week I sent the last movement of my new violin and piano to my brilliant editor/computer notation wizard, and I am now catching up on various neglected tasks. I’ll write about the PCMS piece in another post, for now I’ll just say it is called Five Poems – it was originally going to be a Violin Sonata, but the movements feel more like character pieces than something “symphonic” in conception.


The soprano soloist for the New Juilliard Ensemble performance of my From a Book of Hours has been named: Alexandra Razskazoff. There is a brief bio of her here (scroll down) from a press release on a Juilliard performance of Le nozze di Figaro this past spring.


So many events worth your attention this weekend in Philly:

Guthrie Ramsey’s Musiqology at Annenberg
Network for New Music has a panel and a concert for the Persichetti centennial
Bowerbird explores Julius Eastman
The Crossing is at Chestnut Hill Presbyterian with encore performances of several pieces
Kile Smith has a premiere on the first Mendelssohn Club concert under new artistic director Paul Rardin


And if you are in New York City this weekend, Mimi Stillman and Bart Feller will be doing my Badinerie Squared at a New York Flute Club program this coming Sunday.


Recent reading:

Bluets – Maggie Nelson
A Dance of Polar Opposites – George Rochberg


Music is undervalued in more ways than just through insufficient royalty payments for streaming audio – read this essay by Craig Havighurst.

New York Flute Club Interview

 

I am one of the composers interviewed in the October issue of the New York Flute Club Newsletter on the occasion of a recital by flutists Mimi Stillman and Bart Feller and pianist Charles Abramovic in New York on October 18. This is a reprise of a program first given in Philadelphia that includes a number of pieces inspired by Bach that Mimi commissioned, including my Badinerie Squared.

“Badinerie” in NYC

cover-medium_large_fileI just got word that Mimi Stillman and Bart Feller will give the New York City premiere of my Badinerie Squared, the little take-off on the Bach B-minor Suite movement that I wrote for Mimi and Jeffrey Khaner. It’s on a program of the New York Flute Club, to be held at 5:30 pm on October 18th at Engelman Recital Hall in the Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Avenue (entrance on East 25th Street). More info here. You can read about the piece here, and order a copy here.

End-of-January Miscellany

Things have been quiet here at Secret Geometry lately, mostly because I have been concentrating on making progress with the Oboe Quartet I am writing for Peggy Pearson and Winsor Music. But I want to catch up on a few things:

– my Meditation for Candlemas will be heard at this Sunday’s Eucharist at Emmanuel Church, Boston – 10 AM service, Ryan Turner conducts. This was the first piece I wrote for Emmanuel back in 1994; seven more motets have followed. (Check the worklist and audio excerpt links above)

– here are some pictures from the Dolce Suono Ensemble premiere of Badinerie Squared. Flutists Mimi Stillman and Jeffrey Khaner were brilliant in my little duet. Here they are with colleagues Charles Abramovic, harpsichord and Gabriel Cabezas, cello – the four offered works by C. P. E. and J. S. Bach as part of the program.

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Mimi had invited a long list of composers to write short pieces for this program, here’s are most of them, as well as the performers:

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L to R: Jeffrey Khaner, myself, Robert Maggio, Charles Abramovic, Heidi Jacob, Mimi Stilman, Gabriel Cabezas, Jeremy Gill, and Jan Kryzwicki.

– the other concert that I haven’t written about was the “Voice of the Wail!” program at Penn on January 23. Maureen Francis and Matt Bengston did a beautiful job with two songs from my Holy the Firm, as well as Waltzing the Spheres. Here we are after the program:

 

Francis JP Bengston

Penn alum Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon was our guest for the concert, with three impressive short pieces. His piano trio, Jácaras, was especially striking: economical, full of quicksilver gestures. Here he is after the program:

zohn-muldoon

 

– The New York premiere of Waltzing the Spheres will be on the February 10 New York Festival of Song program at OPERA America’s National Opera Center, 330 Seventh Avenue (at 29th Street). I don’t know who the performers are yet, but I do know I have consistently heard strong performances on NYFOS concerts.

OK, time to get back to composing and let the blog get back to napping. I expect to be here more often in a few weeks.

 

Flute to the Power of Two

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.

A Sweet-Sounding Invention

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.