Pianist Sarah Cahill’s engaging solo recital last Friday included an advance look at a program of music by Henry Cowell she’s planning to perform at San Quentin State Prison next month. Though nearly all of the Music@Menlo’s programming is traditionally in the Bach/Beethoven/Brahms vein, one concert this year’s stood out for its programming of Nancarrow, Cage, Reich, and other 20th-century composers.
Lou Harrison translated the Mahāyāna Buddhist Heart Sūtra into Esperanto for his choral setting, La Koro Sutro—a universal wisdom in a universal language. And then, paradoxically, he set it in a way that guaranteed that performances would be few, far in between, and heavily dependent on where you were.
American operas, apparently, can have the second acts American lives cannot. The concert performance, at Tanglewood on July 11, of John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby—after the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, who famously hypothesized that particular limitation of biographical dramaturgy—was a bid for redemption.
Each year, the Guildhall Leadership course accepts a handful of students from all over the world. The course asks them to improvise, compose, teach, and collaborate with each other and with London artists from many other disciplines. They generate new work, embark on research projects, and actively facilitate creative music-making in London communities that wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.
A work six years in development with a libretto written by the composer, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene is an earnestly personal and thoroughly researched re-examination of the role of the main women in Jesus’s life, as well as an attempt to understand Jesus and his disciple Peter as flawed human beings.