Nightafternight playlist

May. 22nd, 2017 22:37
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Posted by Alex Ross


New and recent releases of interest, in Steve Smith style.

— James Weeks, Mala Punica; Exaudi (Winter & Winter)

BEYOND: Daníel Bjarnason, Qui Tollis; Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Aura; Christopher Cerrone, Memory Palace; Ellen Reid, Fear-Release; Andrew McIntosh, I Hold the Lion's Paw; Los Angeles Percussion Quartet (Sono Luminus)

— Liza Lim, How Forests Think, Aaron Cassidy, The wreck of former boundaries; ELISION Ensemble (Huddersfield Contemporary Records)

— John Luther Adams, Canticles of the Holy Wind; The Crossing (Cantaloupe)

— Pierluigi Billone, ITE KI MI, Equilibrio. Cerchio; Marco Fusi, viola and violin (Kairos)

— Stravaganza d'Amore!: The Birth of Opera at the Medici Court; Raphaël Pichon leading Ensemble Pygmalion (Harmonia Mundi)

— Lou Harrison, Violin Concerto, Grand Duo, Double Music (with Cage); Angel Gil-Ordoñez conducting the PostClassical Ensemble, with Tim Fain, violin, and Michael Boriskin, piano (Naxos)

— Grand Opera: Meyerbeer arias; Diana Damrau, with Emmanuel Villaume conducting the Orchestre et Choeur de l'Opéra National de Lyon (Warner)

— The Inaugural Season: Extraordinary MET Performances 1966-67 (Metropolitan Opera 22-CD set)

Grandparental attention

May. 22nd, 2017 22:26
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Posted by Mary

A cheeky boy gets breakfast in bed

This wasn’t a grandchild-only experience. My parents briefly managed a motel when I was V’s age, including doing the breakfast service with the help of a cook, and a big treat for us was, every few months, being able to “order” breakfast from the room menus. My mother hand drew one for V to select his options. Vegemite toast, porridge, and Ovaltine, what a surprise.

Tea time

May. 21st, 2017 22:20
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Posted by Mary

A likes tea parties for people, and also for bears:

Doll's house

Tea time for bears

All set up

That doll’s house was my sisters and mine, when we were children. My mother hasn’t kept many things, but that is one.

Feburary & March 2017

May. 21st, 2017 11:26
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Posted by Mary

How fortunate I’ve been, to not have had a weekend job in basically my whole life. I worked night fill in my teens, which is a weeknights thing, I tutored university to get through undergrad, and while the jobs I had between undergrad and ending the Ada Initiative were all varying degrees of soft money, they were all weekday jobs, aside from the travel. And even work travel involves weekends where I can lie in a hotel room eating sashimi and trying not to be too sick from jetlag. (Protein, fat, and sheer misery: the bitter diet of the jetsetting class.)

February was the last month without working weekends for a while to come. But they were still parenting weekends, with V having both athletics and swimming on Saturdays. We made a one night trip to see my parents before the end of summer, which was worth it, but the eight hours of driving in two days hurt. Last days in the pool, lots of threatening clouds and not a lot of rain.

March was the brief interregnum between hauling everyone down to King George Oval for athletics on Saturday morning and hauling everyone down to Callan Park Oval for soccer on Saturday morning. Just swimming lessons on Saturdays, luxury. We had Sam and Hannah over for dinner in one of our rare and always nice uses of our outdoor furniture, and we went around to Mark and Tim’s so that V could turn up his nose at all their child-friendly food, but I also kicked off my weekend work for the first time. Rather gently so; I did a secondary oncall, for which I need to be half an hour away from starting work at all times, not primary oncall (five minutes from beginning work). It wasn’t until April that a real trial by oncall fire kicked in at work. Perhaps gentle March is what I should aim to return to sometime soon.

New school year

May. 20th, 2017 21:59
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Posted by Mary

First day of Year 2

Like kindergarten at his old school, and unlike Year 1 at his current school, V often begs to be taken to school as early as is allowed, and runs into the playground without a backward glance.

A Jean Huré moment

May. 20th, 2017 13:05
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Posted by Alex Ross


Alas, no recording seems to exist of this extraordinary music from Huré's La Cathédrale, in which all twelve notes of the chromatic scale sound simultaneously, in advance of Berg's Altenberg Lieder (though not, to be sure, of Jean-Paul-Égide Martini's Sapho). I can find almost no information about the work. Was it based on the Huysmans novel?

Eight days in April

May. 19th, 2017 01:48
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Posted by Alex Ross

This was my itinerary for the last eight days of April — a memorable stretch of concert- and operagoing.

April 23: Chaya Czernowin's Infinite Now at the Opera Vlaanderen in Gent.

April 24: Thomas Adès's The Exterminating Angel at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. I reviewed the Salzburg première last summer; I found Tom Cairns's production quite a bit clearer and more involving at the ROH.

April 25: John Adams conducting the BBC Symphony and various other forces in his own Doctor Atomic, at the Barbican. Gerald Finley gave another absolutely staggering performance as Robert Oppenheimer.

April 26: Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Sol Gabetta in recital at Wigmore Hall. Their limpid, spontaneous account of the Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello came as a welcome respite after three days of operatic apocalypse.

April 27: Kirill Gerstein in recital at the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg.

April 28: Eliahu Inbal leading the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg and various other forces in Mahler's Eighth Symphony, at the Elbphilharmonie.

April 29: Roman Trekel and Oliver Pohl in recital at the Boulez Saal, Berlin.

April 30: Daniel Barenboim conducting the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in the last three symphonies of Mozart, Boulez Saal. Review of the Elbphilharmonie and Boulez Saal here.

[syndicated profile] therestisnoise_feed

Posted by Alex Ross

“Because this year has not brought an improvement in art criticism, I forbid once and for all the continuance of art criticism in its past form, effective as of today. From now on, the reporting of art will take the place of an art criticism which has set itself up as a judge of art – a complete perversion of the concept of 'criticism' which dates from the time of the Jewish domination of art. The critic is to be superseded by the art editor. The reporting of art should not be concerned with values, but should confine itself to description. Such reporting should give the public a chance to make its own judgments, should stimulate it to form an opinion about artistic achievements through its own attitudes and feelings.”

     — Joseph Goebbels, Nov. 27, 1936, as translated in George Mosse's Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich.

Czernowin on CD

May. 9th, 2017 15:10
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Posted by Alex Ross

The music of Chaya Czernowin, whose immensely powerful new opera Infinite Now I review in this week's issue of The New Yorker, is well represented on records. At the center of her discography are four discs on the Mode label: Afatsim, which gathers scores from the earlier part of her career, running from the bass-flute piece Ina of 1988 to the title work of 1996; Shu Hai practices javelin, which presents three settings of poetry of Zohar Eitan from the period 1997 to 2001; Pnima...ins innere, a DVD of her extraordinary first opera, on the theme of the inexpressibility of the trauma of the Holocaust; and MAIM (2002-6), her vast symphonic trilogy on the theme of water, which Tim Rutherford-Johnson rightly describes in Music After the Fall as "one of the most significant orchestral works of the new century." Picking up the chronological narrative is a recent Wergo disc that offers another orchestral trilogy — The Quiet, Zohar Iver, and Esh — alongside the guitar concerto White Wind Waiting and the unearthly beautiful At the Fringe of Our Gaze, written for Daniel Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Also on Wergo is Shifting Gravity, featuring the 2008 chamber cycle of that name. Arriving soon from Kairos is a selection of Czernowin's Wintersongs cycle, based on an ICE performance that I previewed in The New Yorker in 2014. Finally, DG has a DVD of Adama, the theatre piece that Czernowin wrote as an interstitial counterpoint to Mozart's unfinished Zaide. (Next month Theater Freiburg will première a new choral version of Adama.) More can be found on YouTube, including Knights of the Strange, Ayre, and Pilgerfahrten. As for Infinite Now, it travels in coming weeks to the Mannheim National Theatre (May 26 to June 18) and to the Paris Philharmonie (June 14). Czernowin is now looking ahead to her next operatic project – a love story, she says.

As I note in passing in The New Yorker, Czernowin is also an influential teacher of composition — as is her husband, the formidable experimental composer Steven Kazuo Takasugi. (I missed my chance to see his wild Coney Island-inspired spectacle Sideshow live — Zoë Madonna and Mark Swed supplied enticingly perplexing descriptions — but I've been listening to an audio version on his website.) Although she resists the idea of a Czernowin Schule, her pupils at Harvard and elsewhere — Ashley Fure, Stefan Prins, Trevor Bača, Michelle Lou, and Ann Cleare, among others — have plainly learned much from her in the art of deploying advanced techniques toward viscerally expressive ends. (Lou and Bača have both written perceptively about her music.) Many of them were present in Gent for Infinite Now — appropriately so, since the score bears the dedication "To my students."


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