Network plays Chamber Concerto

Network for New Music gave an excellent performance last night of my Chamber Concerto. This is not an easy piece – I wrote it for the hyper-virtuosi of Speculum Musicae, with Allen Blustine as clarinet soloist – but the Network ensemble pulled it off in style. Soloist Ben Fingland had full command of the part, not only the rapid flurries of notes, but the most delicate nuances, including some uncannily soft high register tones. The players relished the jazzy parts of the last movement. My one small regret was that I don’t feel I tweaked some of the synthesizer patches quite properly; Linda Reichert covered the part just fine, but if the piece is done again I would make some of the patches a little more resonant, with longer decays and capable of a wider dynamic range. Besides Ben and Linda, the players were Paul Arnold, violin; Tom Kraines, cello; Mary Javian, double bass; Christopher Deviney, percussion; and Charles Abramovic, piano, with Jan Krzywicki conducting.

The other works on the program were performed to the customary high Network standard – Paul Arnold’s violin was alternately dancing and lyrical in Judith Shatin‘s Penelope’s Song; Hirono Oka, Burchard Tang and Thom Kraines were an exceptionally refined string trio in Paul Lansky‘s As If. (It’s odd to realize that I was a tech person for the premiere of the Lansky in 1981 at Columbia University – “tech” only in the sense of being assigned to move speakers around.)  Arne Running gracefully commanded the sleight-of-hand narrative of Mario Davidovsky‘s clarinet Synchronisms.

Network’s Third Space festival continues, with programs at Temple U on Sunday night, at Community College of Philadelphia on Monday, and with a reprise of the Sunday program at Haverford College on Friday. Read more details at the Network website.

In addition to tomorrow’s Network concert, you will want to be present for the premieres of works by Melinda Wagner and Richard Brodhead at Marcantonio Barone’s piano recital this Sunday, sponsored by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and presented at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.

Autumn Miscellany

OK, so this is a little late for the first day of autumn, but it is still miscellaneous:

Davd Patrick Stearns weighs in with a positive spin on the Allen Kozinn re-assignment story.

– season brochures are coming in over the transom thickly now. Boston’s Collage is offering Feldman, Saariaho, Corey Dargel, Yehudi Wyner, and the late George Edwards. They are also presenting Christopher Taylor doing the complete Vingt Regards of Messiaen.

In DC, the 21st Century Consort’s year includes music by David Froom, Stephen Albert (my favorite piece of his, a Joyce setting called To Wake the Dead), Donald Crockett and Derek Bermel. Here’s how the Albert begins:

– go here for the sound of Wallace Stevens reading.

– and go here for George Perle, Paul Lansky, and Virgil Moorefield on three generations of composition teachers.

Celebrating George Perle

The late George Perle will be the focus of a concert by the Da Capo Chamber Players at Merkin Concert Hall in NYC on January 26. Four Perle works will be heard, along with music by Paul Lansky (who worked with Perle on formalizing his theory of twelve-tone tonality), Leo Kraft (a colleague of Perle at Queens College) and Scriabin. Why Scriabin? Perle’s best known theoretical writing is on the Second Viennese School, especially Berg; Bartok; and to a lesser extent, Varese and Stravinsky. But Scriabin also drew his attention because the symmetrical structures in Scriabin’s music point toward the patterns that so fascinated him in those later composers.

If you don’t know Perle’s music, try Michael Boriskin’s disc of the piano music, or the two-disc retrospective on Bridge.  Richard Goode’s recording for Nonesuch is still available as a download. (Would that Richard Goode was still playing new music!)

Update: Allan Kozinn’s review in the Times is here.