I am in the between-pieces doldrums—when one big piece is finished, and I have to start another but my head is not there yet. So I have been going to concerts to rejuvenate, and had the great pleasure of hearing Tony Arnold (soprano) and Movses Pogossian (violin) perform György Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments last week (their performance is being released by Bridge Records on a DCD/CD edition that includes a filmed masterclass of Kurtág coaching them—worth checking out).
It was a great evening—I love the fragmentary nature of the piece (it’s in four sections, with brief pieces titled things like “Once I Broke My Leg”, “Nothing of the Kind”, and “Coitus as Punishment”), and the duo had a vibrancy that was riveting throughout, even when they sat in silence. They performed at An die Musik, a spot that is becoming one of Baltimore’s best venues for contemporary music. An die Musik started as a record shop, but has evolved into a combination retail, gallery, and performance space that has become a regular stop for many ensembles passing through Baltimore, as well as for Peabody Institute students and faculty.
I left the evening incredible grateful. The world economic climate has me worried about the arts, which always seem to be one of the first “frills” to cut. Freelance musicians suffer when granting agencies and audiences have less money. But artists continue to produce—the Kurtág performance was truly a gift to me. And imaginative venues like An die Musik make immeasurable contributions to the cultural life of this city. If you are passing through Baltimore, it is worth a visit.
I know New York has lots of great small venues. Are there similar spots in other cities the new music community should know about?