New CD: Scott Pender’s “In the Time Before”

New CD:  Scott Pender’s “In the Time Before”
Scott Pender is a Washington DC-based composer and occasional contributor to this site.  His chamber piece “In the Time Before” was just released on Navona Records. “Post-minimalist” is an entirely accurate description for the piece.  As Scott explains in his program note, he was inspired to sit down and write it after hearing Steve Reich’s Double Sextet in a performance by the Bang on a Can...
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Two afternoons of string quartets at South Mountain in The Berkshires

Two afternoons of string quartets at South Mountain in The Berkshires
The fall concert season kicks into high gear during the month of October but it’s the South Mountain Concerts in Pittsfield that always get things going a bit sooner.   The entirety of South Mountain Concerts’ annual line-up runs for only four or five weeks every autumn.  Bridging that time between the busier summer and fall schedules, it gives music lovers something to savor when little else is on the calendar.  But...
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Emerson String Quartet plays Thomas Ades’ “The Four Quarters” (concert review)

Emerson String Quartet plays Thomas Ades’ “The Four Quarters” (concert review)
As part of its 29th appearance in the Union College Concert Series in Schenectady on Sunday afternoon (4/1/12), the Emerson String Quartet brought a recent work by the acclaimed British composer Thomas Ades. “The Four Quarters” was written in 2010 for the Emerson and commissioned by Carnegie Hall, during Ades’ tenure as its composer in residence. Get used to Ades’ name, if you don’t already know it.  Next fall,...
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“The Eleanor Hovda Collection” on Innova

“The Eleanor Hovda Collection” on Innova
Two years ago I interviewed conductor Jeannine Wager and subsequently wrote on this site what seems to still be the only complete account of the last years of composer Eleanor Hovda (1940-2009).  During our conversation Wager, her companion of 20 years, was forthcoming but obviously still grieving. She told me that she would soon be leaving their Arkansas home and was planning to begin archiving Hovda’s studio in New...
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Cello music by Jorge Martin new on CD, “Before Night Falls” heads to Miami

Cello music by Jorge Martin new on CD, “Before Night Falls” heads to Miami
Close Encounters with Music, the chamber series in the Berkshires, is in the midst of its 20th anniversary season and has six more concerts between now and the early summer. The line-up of programs is typically thoughtful and varied with a healthy sampling of mainstream classics from the Romantic era performed by the ensemble members, plus a guest appearance by the fine young Dedaelus Quartet on May 19. There are also several...
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Orchestral reviews: Orpheus and Albany Symphony

Orchestral reviews: Orpheus and Albany Symphony
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Thursday April 28, 2011 Troy Savings Bank Music Hall There was magic to be heard, but little slight of hand to watch on Thursday night at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.  The occasion was a concert of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, in a return presentation by the Troy Chromatics. With up to 33 players onstage but no official leader, one expected to see more demonstrative gestures — nods of the...
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Weekend concert reviews: Jennifer Koh and Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

Weekend concert reviews:  Jennifer Koh and Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Jennifer Koh, violin, & Shai Wosner, piano presented by the Friends of Chamber Music, Troy NY Saturday February 5, 2011 Most of the titles down the list of works read “Sonata.” But that hardly indicated the broad range of styles, colors and flavors that come from the fine violinist Jennifer Koh on Saturday night. Her recital with pianist Shai Wosner was presented by the Friends of Chamber Music at Emma Willard School. The...
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CD review: Nico Muhly’s “A Good Understanding” and “I Drink the Air Before Me”

CD review: Nico Muhly’s “A Good Understanding” and “I Drink the Air Before Me”
Nico Muhly “A Good Understanding,” Los Angeles Master Chorale, Grant Gershon conductor (Decca) “I Drink The Air Before Me” (Decca/Bedroom Community) New music’s Boy Wonder Nico Muhly. It’s not enough that he landed a commission from the Metropolitan Opera while still in his 20s (Two Boys, premieres in London in June at the English National Opera and shows up in New York in the 2013-14 season), but now he’s...
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A creepy fun chat with violinist Lara St. John

A creepy fun chat with violinist Lara St. John
Don’t be fooled by the pictures of Lara St. John, the violinist who’s giving a recital Sunday afternoon at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in a presentation by the Troy Chromatics.  With shoulder-length hair and a fresh open face, she appears to be about 17 years old. In fact, she’s just one year shy of turning 40. Middle age may be encroaching but a disarming spontaneity and playful sense of humor came through in...
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Saratoga overview: Farewell season for Dutoit and Juillet

Saratoga overview: Farewell season for Dutoit and Juillet
Philadelphia Orchestra Saratoga Performing Arts Center August 4-21, 2010 After the Philadelphia Orchestra abruptly parted ways in 2008 with its seventh music director, Christopher Eschenbach, it turned to Charles Dutoit to fill in as chief conductor.  It’s a mighty long interim status for Dutoit, who will depart in 2012 with the arrival of Yannick Nezet-Seguin. The connection that made the Dutoit-Philly alliance a natural...
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