Posts Tagged: composer

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Also on this weekend's program: Lutosławski's Piano Concerto. 

There are plenty of things you can say about this piece, but there’s the coolest thing I learned: there are sections of this and other work by Lutosławski that he refers to as “chance”— they are not conducted, and each musician “performs his part as if playing alone and not coordinated with the other performers.” 

According to the composer, “This gives quite specific results, ‘flexible’ textures of rich, wayward rhythms, impossible to achieve in any other way.” 

Cool.

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Goodbye, Maurice Sendak. 

"When Mozart is playing in my room, I am in conjunction with something I can’t explain. […] I don’t need to. I know that if there’s a purpose for life, it was for me to hear Mozart." —Sendak

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Piano Concerto for the Left Hand (Ravel) - Wikipedia

Okay, this is fascinating!

Taj, one of our marketing interns— who is studying at CCM— just pointed me toward this piece by Ravel, written for an Austrian pianist who lost his right arm during World War I. 

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INTERN: What are you listening to? 
ME: Guh. I’m not sure.
INTERN: It sounds so familiar!
ME: I’m just streaming random pieces that we’re performing next season.
INTERN: I just can’t place it…
ME: I’m not sure what this is, let me check. Uh… looks like it’s… Britten? 
INTERN: Oh, of course. The Britten. 

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  1. Though Respighi died in 1936, which seems normal to me… his wife Elsa died in 1996, which weirds me out. 
  2. Respighi composed a “sinister picture of a snake research institute" that he visited. 
  3. Dude was friends with Enrico Fermi.
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I met Philip Glass tonight, but that was only the icing on the awesomecake of the evening. 

The CSO had a world premiere of a cello concerto by Glass, based on a film score he’d previously created. The piece was simply wonderful, and I fell some kind of in love with cellist Matt Haimovitz

But this blog will never be my deeply artistic thoughts about a program. I leave that to greater ears than mine. What impressed me most tonight was Glass himself. He spent an hour at an open reception after his premiere (paired with Bruckner 6), and I stood there for most of that time watching him interact with our patrons. 

What a genuine, compassionate, patient, giving man. Glass, 75 years old and the most well-known living composer in the world, has the kind of clout that would allow you to phone it in. Right? Would anybody stop him if he left after 10 minutes? Who would be surprised if he were a bit of a diva, didn’t want to take photos, wouldn’t personalize autographs? 

But I watched him for an hour. Standing the entire time, he greeted each person by name, spent a few minutes really talking with them and giving them his attention. Signing things, snapping pictures. Some of my friends approached him— one, an elementary school teacher, requested a video greeting that she could show her classroom. He graciously acquiesced. 

I should also mention that he’s here for a residency, which is definitely a more in-depth engagement than we get with many artists. Glass is the CSO’s Creative Director for the Boundless series this season, and so we have more access to him than we might have otherwise. 

Glass seemed pleased (naturally) that there were so many young people in attendance, and so many people from out of town. (One of my friends had driven ~4 hours for this performance, before she even knew she was going to get to meet him.)

Still… I walked away respecting Philip Glass as a person, outside of being an amazing composer and visionary. I hope he was completely exhausted by the positive attention he received tonight— that he felt respected, adored, revered. How he has stayed so down-to-earth and approachable is beyond me!

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Last night I attended an event at the Carnegie: The Mind and Music of Beethoven. Here are a few things I jotted down: 

  • A lock of Beethoven’s hair has recently been authenticated and tested— they found lead at 100x the normal level
     
  • Much of Beethoven’s later music “makes no sense on the piano of his time”— due to his imagination (and his growing deafness), the music that we love today (on modern pianos) transcended the limitations of his instrument 
     
  • Beethoven’s last words are believed to have been, “Applaud, my friends— the comedy is over