At LA’s Union Station last Sunday, I saw composer Christopher Cerrone’s opera based on Calvino’s novel, also called Invisible Cities. The production managed to be at once extravagant and subtle, with the audience listening to the live performance on wireless headphones while wandering freely through an actual, historically scenic train station.
Boston Musica Viva, the city’s oldest new music group, might have been tempted to, say, recapitulate its first program from February 1970. Instead, the year’s concerts are filled with relatively recent music, with a premiere for each—the kind of inner effort, one might say, by which new music stays new.
After four decades, Kronos is still a new music group that takes its citizenship in the new music community seriously: show me another ensemble that has given more composers both the opportunity and the benefit of a meticulous, passionate performance. The music they cultivate might be geared to what they do well, but what they do well, they do better than anyone.
Rosner was one of the true maverick composers of his generation. His music was predicated on the modal polyphony of the Renaissance and early Baroque, as well as on the pre-tonal harmony of late Medieval dance music, and the free triadicism and rhythmic phraseology of that music underlay his entire output, regardless of how far from those sources he ventured.
Ten x Ten: 2013 is a collaborative venture between ten Chicago visual artists and ten composers. Working in pairs, they crafted joint “statements of intent” and created pieces of music and art which speak to each other. Andrew Tham and Edie Fake speak here about their journey from collaborative “blind date” to finished piece.
Described as a “spatial symphony” composed and directed by Lisa Bielawa, Crissy Broadcast involved hundreds of musicians drawn from a dozen or so local ensembles, including middle school and high school bands and orchestras, adult amateur musicians, two choruses, a traditional Chinese instrument orchestra, and a gaggle of electric guitarists with portable battery-powered speakers slung over their shoulders.
New York Festival of Song visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Calderwood Hall with a program celebrating Ned Rorem’s 90th birthday. The frame—the tonality, the lyricism, the elegant hedonism—is obvious; but what’s contained within the frame, what is and isn’t there, is something considerably more elusive.
Like the stories of all great artists, most of the Lou Reed story is built on a mountain of crucial untruth—a wispy chunk of magical thinking, a campfire story of how “downtown” got that way. We like our myths, our legends, and we fight hard to keep them. Lou, as I called him, wandered into this stacked self-presentation so completely that I believe he had to believe it.