Browsing: Contemporary

You may have noticed the absence of capitals in his name. This orthographic licence was inspired, he says, by his discovery as a young man of the poetry of e. e. cummings, who was known to eschew writing conventions like punctuation and standard syntax. Certain Bauhaus prints also gave him encouragement. Then, a more pragmatic motivation added to these influences: “At a time when everyone wrote on typewriters, I told myself one day that if capital letters were no longer necessary, typewriters would be smaller and lighter, saving much of the metal used in manufacturing.” And, to conclude this mindful…

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Like Bertolt Brecht and Hanns Eisler, and with equal reluctance, Paul Dessau left McCarthyist America in the late 1940s to settle in the austere and oppressive German Democratic Republic. All three men were tainted by having enjoyed life in the capitalist West. Dessau, the least famous, was attacked by party inquisitors and forced to write propaganda hymns in the requisite Socialist Realism style. In the US he had been reduced to working on a chicken farm before Brecht brought him to Hollywood, helping him get filmscore work while playing off his insecurity against Eisler’s in a sadistic game that continued…

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In a dark moment of isolation, I found myself thinking of Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944) a student of the atonalist Schoenberg and the microtonalist Haba who never really found his voice until darkness descended and he faced segregation and extinction. Before 1939 he’d enjoyed fragments of international attention, with a piano sonata premiered in London at the Wigmore Hall and a few more glimmers of invitation. In 1939, after the Germans occupied Prague, he set about writing a piano concerto for Juliette Aranyi, a fellow-Haba student, knowing it might never get performed. Both composer and soloist were deported in 1942 to…

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In a press release, Kent Nagano offered a homage to the late Krzysztof Penderecki, with whom he and the MSO have had a special relationship. “An entire generation grew up with his music and his works provided vital important musical and social impulses, especially during the mid 1960-70’s as composer, performer, professor and humanist his creative vision remained an essential part of the musical landscape until his untimely passing.”  The MSO also share an interview done with Krzysztof Penderecki and Kent Nagano in 2018 in Salzburg. https://business.facebook.com/OSMconcerts/videos/10155970518144091/ Montreal, March 29, 2020 – It is with deep regret and sadness that we…

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The Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki died on Sunday, March 29 at the age of 86 in his hometown of Krakow. According to media in the country, citing the Ludwig van Beethoven association founded by his wife Elzbieta, the composer and conductor died from a long illness. In a tweet, the Polish Minister of Culture said that he was one of “the greatest Polish musicians, a world authority on classical music”. Enclosed is an interview La Scena conducted with maestro Penderecki in 1998. Krzysztof Penderecki Talks about the Polish Requiem by Philip Anson / April 1, 1998 Version française… Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki [pronounced…

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What can you do with 3 sopranos and 2 altos. Be inventive, that’s what. The all-women quintet Papagena have come up with a range of unaccompanied songs, settings and original commissions that often takes the breath away. Don Macdonald’s Moonset, for instance, does just what the title says: it sinks, gently, bringing hope of a new day, a breath of fresh air. Libby Larsen’s Jack’s Valentine declares ‘I love you’ with just the right degree of equivocation. Sweet Child O’Mine is a Guns N Roses hit reset for a capella voice – magic. Apart from Larsen, David Lang, Tchaikovsky and Gustav Holst, I don’t recognise any…

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More than 100 artists, arts leaders, and professors announce $130,000 New Music Solidarity FundFund to offer $500 emergency grants to performers of music by living composers impacted by COVID-19 cancellations Donate to the New Music Solidarity Fund now Apply to the New Music Solidarity Fund starting on March 31 Watch the announcement video More than 100 artists, arts leaders, and professors in the field have announced the New Music Solidarity Fund, an initiative that aims to grant emergency funding to musicians impacted by COVID-19. At the time of the announcement, more than $130,000 has been pledged. The fund will be administered through New Music USA, and all donations…

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Scientific research and musical creativity will be honored at the next IRCAM Forum Hors les murs, which will be held for the first time in its history in Canada in April. Researchers, composers, performers and music lovers are invited to a series of workshops and concerts that take place in Montreal around the themes of spatialization, orchestration and perception. The forum is organized in partnership with Le Vivier, CIRMMT, the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT), McGill University and the Université de Montréal and will take place in various venues around the city. A veritable high mass of new music,…

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More than 100 musicians and singers will fill the Church of the Gesù on April 26 to perform the latest symphonic work of composer and guitarist Tim Brady. Soberly titled Silence, Symphony No. 10, this new opus adds to the imposing corpus of the Montreal composer whose career spans more than four decades. Cultivating an obvious taste for large-scale music, Brady will on this occasion be accompanied by the musicians of the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and their leader Lorraine Vaillancourt, in addition to the members of his ensemble of electric guitars, Instruments of Happiness. To these musicians will also be…

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Never miss a Quatuor Molinari concert. It might end up being a Prix Opus-winning event. Actually, I had a few reasons turn up at the Conservatoire on the final evening of January. One was an opportunity to hear Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 4 – probably the first in Montreal since this enterprising ensemble played a Schoenberg cycle in 2012. One can understand why the Fourth is a less-than-frequent flyer on the standard chamber circuit. Made of 12 tones and multiple time signatures, it poses considerable technical and intellectual challenges, which the Molinaris managed adroitly in this taut reading. The rigour…

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