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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Cage and Gould in virtual dialogue

Cage and Gould in virtual dialogue
It sounds like a late-night parlor game:  pick two artistic geniuses of the 20th century that you’d like to hear share a conversation in the great beyond. Michael Century had no trouble coming up with a dynamic combination:  experimental composer John Cage and classical pianist Glenn Gould.  He’s paired them up in an unusual concert happening Saturday night at EMPAC and presented by the iEar series. Actually “happening”...
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Hans Werner Henze (1926-2012)

“The connecting thread between this vast array of works in so many disparate genres was politics, a commitment to which never left him, although varying in degree over time. Henze adhered throughout his life to leftwing ideologies, a reaction to his youth in Nazi Germany, which left an indelible mark on his creative psyche. He was not afraid of courting controversy, even as recently as last month: ‘So long as...
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Wuorinen’s “Brokeback” opera slated for 2014

Wuorinen's "Brokeback" opera slated for 2014
One of the many endeavors left in the wake of New York City Opera’s near collapse a few years ago was Charles Wuorinen‘s two-act operatic adaptation of “Brokeback Mountain.”  But the composer has stayed at work on the project, which includes a libretto by Annie Proulx, who wrote the original short story that was turned into the hit film. Teatro Real in Madrid has just announced the premiere will take...
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Martin Hennessy sets Millay’s “Renascence” to song

Martin Hennessy sets Millay's "Renascence" to song
A teenager in Maine spins around, casually establishing her coordinates in the world, when she suddenly becomes contaminated by Infinity. Manic episodes transform into saint-like empathy as she is taken on a journey through self, other, death, re-birth and spiritual awareness.  All in iambic tetrameter no less! This is “Renascence,” the long poem that won a teenage Edna St. Vincent Millay worldwide critical attention...
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“Stonewall,” the latest opera from composer David Conte

"Stonewall," the latest opera from composer David Conte
David Conte‘s most recently completed opera is titled “Stonewall” and it will be developed at the University of North Colorado.  It’s his 11th collaboration and third opera with librettist John Stirling Walker, who died this past May.  Among their previous efforts was “Famous,” based on Ultra Violet’s book “Famous for 15 Minutes,” based on her years with Andy Warhol. Conte...
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“The Man on the Fifth Floor,” a film in development about Gerald Busby

"The Man on the Fifth Floor," a film in development about Gerald Busby
Director Jessica Robinson is working a new film, “The Man on the Fifth Floor,” about the life and work of Gerald Busby, a 76-year old composer and one of the few remaining tenants of the famed Chelsea Hotel. (He’s on the fifth floor.)  Playwright Craig Lucas and choreographer/dancer Richard Daniels are executive producers. The project needs backing and is raising funds through Kickstarter. Previously on...
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Queeries for Mohammed Fairouz

Queeries for Mohammed Fairouz
Composer Mohammed Fairouz, 26, refuses to name a favorite poem but admits to being obsessed with texts.  He’s written 13 song cycles and his first opera, Sumeida’s Song, is due out on Bridge Records soon.  He’s also collaborated with poets Mahmoud Darwish, Wayne Koestenbaum, and Nobel Prize-winner Seamus Heaney.   October will be a landmark month for Fairouz. Besides the CD release, he’ll have...
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“Einstein on the Beach” at BAM

"Einstein on the Beach" at BAM
Maybe it’s because of the legacy of “Rite of Spring,” but when encountering a legendary work that’s said to have changed the course of a genre, one tends to expect an explosive tumult.  Listening to Philip Glass’ “Einstein on the Beach” on disc, there’s certainly a rigid austerity to the chunks of minimalist repetitions.  Yet the opera had an unexpected elegance in the long awaited staged revival that’s...
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Well done, Well-Strung

Well done, Well-Strung
Bach and Vivaldi never sounded so sensual.  Rhiana and Lady Gaga have seldom been so classy. Well-Strung, an all-male string quartet, offered serious masterworks alongside clever arrangements of some current pop hits during an enjoyable and surprisingly well executed program at the Art House in Provincetown.  A team of talented young guys – hunky, cute, flirtatious – they sing as well as play string instruments and seem...
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