classical music – Allan Pettersson http://allanpettersson.org/ Sun, 20 Mar 2022 21:26:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://allanpettersson.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-19-120x120.png classical music – Allan Pettersson http://allanpettersson.org/ 32 32 At ‘Hope in the Night’, PostClassical Ensemble gives black composer William Levi Dawson an expected spotlight https://allanpettersson.org/at-hope-in-the-night-postclassical-ensemble-gives-black-composer-william-levi-dawson-an-expected-spotlight/ Sun, 20 Mar 2022 17:53:52 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/at-hope-in-the-night-postclassical-ensemble-gives-black-composer-william-levi-dawson-an-expected-spotlight/ But Friday’s program also served as an evening prep session on composer William Levi Dawson (1899-1990). A skilled arranger of spirituals and longtime conductor of the Tuskegee Institute Choir, Dawson was also an exquisitely talented composer whose voice fills a remarkable silence in the history of modern American music. (On that note, PostClassical executive producer […]]]>

But Friday’s program also served as an evening prep session on composer William Levi Dawson (1899-1990). A skilled arranger of spirituals and longtime conductor of the Tuskegee Institute Choir, Dawson was also an exquisitely talented composer whose voice fills a remarkable silence in the history of modern American music. (On that note, PostClassical executive producer Joseph Horowitz recently penned an illuminating study of these divergent traditions in “Dvorak’s Prophecy.”)

In addition to a spotlight on Dawson, the evening also featured an appearance and conversation with another towering figure in classical music, no subset required: George Shirley, the first black tenor to take the stage at the Metropolitan. Opera. A recording of his 1961 debut as Ferrando in Mozart’s ‘Così fan tutte’ greeted the audience as we took our seats.

Before the concert, Shirley, 87, talked about growing up in a home more steeped in the Grand Ole Opry than opera, learning music in Detroit public schools, becoming the first black man to join the choir of the United States Army and to honor the mentors and teachers who led him to the most prestigious stages in the world. (Shirley also wrote the foreword to Horowitz’s book.)

“That’s how it works,” he said. “Doors that have been closed are always opened by someone inside who realizes that the person outside belongs inside.”

After the lecture, Shirley joined a loud (and audibly popular) Ellington School chorus – conducted with finesse and careful attention by Monique Spells – through the deftly tinged arrangement of “There’s Balm in Gilead ” from Dawson, who gave the spiritual a new glow. Shirley still has a voice that hits the back of the room, its fine gravel traces like the fluted edge of a medal.

From there, PCE musical director Angel Gil-Ordóñez and his 58-piece cast immersed themselves in Dawson: the world premiere of the composer’s “Negro Work Song,” as well as the DC premiere of his unsung 1934 landmark. , “Negro Folk Symphony”.

From start to finish, PostClassical proved to be an orchestra in fighting form, with compelling storytellers in its ranks. Notably Gil-Ordóñez, who gave the “Work Song” a living, breathing vitality, with the weight and permanence of a monument you regularly pass but barely notice. With his solitary opening trumpet he gathers and wins; a cello roars and the orchestra responds. eight or more the minutes that follow – their harmonic surprises and melodic memories, their soaring strings and sagging horns – had time capsule magic in their unfolding.

The Philadelphia Orchestra premiered “Negro Folk Symphony” in 1934. (It was adored by Leopold Stokowski.) Significantly, a performance was also broadcast on CBS radio, reaching ears far beyond the walls of the concert hall. A New York Times review of the premiere noted a stubbornly upright audience “remaining to applaud long and vigorously, and to call Mr. Dawson back to the stage several times”.

After Friday’s performance, it’s easy to see why. The “Folk Symphony”, divided into three movements, weaves samples of folk music into a vibrant tapestry of vernacular languages. Spirituals such as “Oh M’ Lit’l Soul Gwine-A-Shine” and “Hallelujah, Lord, I Been Down Into the Sea” emerge, reconfigure and reinvent themselves as the work develops.

Its haunting second movement, from which the program takes its title, is one of the most emotionally powerful pieces of music I’ve heard this year – its “Trinity” of gongs, its towering harmonic overhangs and its extended – a bed of strings rising and singing like a breath, fading away to the rhythm of a setting sun.

The evening concluded with an experience of sorts: a spirited run through Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s “La nuit des tropiques” performed by a stack of members of the PostClassical Ensemble and the talented (and amply endowed) student orchestra DESA, with Gil-Ordóñez and DESA conductor Isaac Daniel, splits the duties on the podium. (Daniel also serves as assistant principal, a remarkably effective way to control his orchestra.)

Gottschalk’s piano chops, natural stage direction, and omnivorous musical appetite (informed by the New Orleans-born composer’s Creole heritage, as well as his extensive travels to Cuba and South America) have earned him a international fame in the middle of the 19th century. Gottschalk was also something of a maximalist, staging “monster” concerts – a “Tannhäuser” for 14 pianos, for example, or a “William Tell” overture for over 20 pianos.

So this mini-monster – which maxed out the DESA stage capacity at 86 – felt like a fitting homage to the explosive performance of the complete work in 1860 Havana, for which Gottschalk collected nearly 900 musicians and singers.

But it also felt like a fitting reminder of why we’re tackling music we’ve never heard in the first place. It helps us reconstruct the past, of course; but ideally it helps us narrow down the future.

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Highly sought-after composer Reena Esmail launches new piece with the Seattle Symphony https://allanpettersson.org/highly-sought-after-composer-reena-esmail-launches-new-piece-with-the-seattle-symphony/ Fri, 18 Mar 2022 13:00:00 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/highly-sought-after-composer-reena-esmail-launches-new-piece-with-the-seattle-symphony/ For its opening concert last September, when the Seattle Symphony returned for its first full season since the pandemic hit, it was the music of Reena Esmail that kicked off the program. She continues her role as composer-in-residence with the world premiere of a newly commissioned violin concerto for SSO’s 14th annual Celebrate Asia concert […]]]>

For its opening concert last September, when the Seattle Symphony returned for its first full season since the pandemic hit, it was the music of Reena Esmail that kicked off the program. She continues her role as composer-in-residence with the world premiere of a newly commissioned violin concerto for SSO’s 14th annual Celebrate Asia concert on March 20.

Also available for streaming, the concert, conducted by Kahchun Wong, additionally features the US premiere of “Three Muses in Video Game,” a trombone concerto by Tan Dun co-commissioned by the SSO, as well as music by Toshio Hosokawa. and Claude Debussy.

The phrase “highly sought-after composer” may sound like hype, but it’s no exaggeration in the case of Los Angeles-based Esmail. Its schedule for 2022 alone includes 11 world premieres of compositions ranging from a solo cello piece to a major choral work commemorating 100 years of women’s suffrage.

The new violin concerto in the Celebrate Asia program belongs to this harvest of new works. Created in close collaboration with renowned Indian classical violinist Kala Ramnath, the concerto exemplifies Esmail’s signature practice of bringing Western and Indian classical musical traditions into mutually enriching dialogue.

As part of the Celebrate Asia commitment, Esmail, 39, will also host a program on Indian classical music with Ramnath and the orchestra members on March 18 at 8 p.m. at SSO’s Espace Octave 9. Esmail spoke about the new concerto she created with Ramnath – and what it means for different cultures to listen to each other. (This conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.)

It was originally announced as part of Thomas Dausgaard’s inaugural season that you would create a concerto for sitar virtuoso Guarav Mazumdar to commemorate the centenary of Ravi Shankar’s birth. After the pandemic shutdown made that impossible, how did the project turn into your collaboration with Kala Ramnath and an Indian classical violin concerto?

I still wanted to find a way to work with an Indian musician with whom I had a close relationship. Kala Ramnath, who lives in the Bay Area, is the outstanding Hindustani violinist in the world today and has a major following in the Diaspora community. She is deeply rooted in the classical Indian tradition but also has a way of communicating outside of it. The first time I collaborated with Kala was in 2016 to arrange music she had composed for the Kronos Quartet. To understand how the Hindustani violin works, I watched his videos, stopping frame by frame. You can imagine how thrilled I was when Kala called me and asked me to collaborate on a project involving the theme of climate change and how it can be represented in music. It then became the cornerstone of my residency at the Seattle Symphony.

What can we expect from the new concerto? How did you and Kala Ramnath work together to compose it?

It’s in five movements, with a little postlude, and each movement explores one of the classic Indian elements — the five elements that are used in Ayurvedic medicine, for example: space, air, fire, water and land.

As a rule, I work like a Western composer and invent everything myself. In this case, a lot of the raw material comes from Kala, and I work with these melodies in the orchestra. She played me snippets of ideas in some ragas [in Indian classical music, the framework in which certain types of melodies can be improvised]. We would then have conversations about how each of us heard a particular element of the melody – through my Western lens and through his Hindustani lens. I tried to surround what Kala plays with something that would be Western counterpoint but still allow her to play it and hear it in her own way.

Are the melodies provided by Kala Ramnath original inventions or are they part of the traditional ragas?

A combination of both. They clearly belong to very specific ragas that any Indian classical musician would recognize. But the way the melody works to represent a certain thing is his invention. For example, she uses a raga called Deepak, which is for fire – in fact, it may even be considered dangerous to sing this raga, as people are afraid that it will cause things to burn. Kala then brings in the raga for the water to neutralize the fire.

What distinguishes the Hindustani fiddle from its Western counterpart?

It’s essentially the same physical instrument, with a bow. But the strings are tuned much lower, so there is a little less tension, and the instrument sounds completely different – and is also micro. You will see Kala playing it while seated on the floor, holding the roll of the violin in her lap.

What type of audience do you both have in mind?

There’s an incredibly intricate tapestry of what it means to be South Asian in America right now. This includes people from India as well as people like me who grew up here but have parents from the diaspora. It’s exciting to see how all of these diverse communities come together for an event like this.

I tried to make the orchestra as classical as possible, because Kala wants to be able to play the piece with other orchestras wherever she goes. And also because I try in my music in general to make each group of musicians feel as comfortable as possible in what they have to do so that they can focus on the collaborative aspect listening to each other, building the space between their traditions instead of necessarily trying to penetrate it.

Seattle Symphony – Celebrating Asia Concert

4 p.m. March 20; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $33 to $105; 206-215-4747, seattlesymphony.org

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“Grace” Composer Nolan Williams Jr.’s Dream Day in DC https://allanpettersson.org/grace-composer-nolan-williams-jr-s-dream-day-in-dc/ Mon, 14 Mar 2022 11:04:34 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/grace-composer-nolan-williams-jr-s-dream-day-in-dc/ “When I started reading this story, the only way to describe it is that the story started singing to me,” says Williams, 53, to whom the books were gifted by the late arts administrator and of the museum, Steven Newsome. “I’m not really a foodie, but I’m a history buff, and what I’ve discovered in […]]]>

“When I started reading this story, the only way to describe it is that the story started singing to me,” says Williams, 53, to whom the books were gifted by the late arts administrator and of the museum, Steven Newsome. “I’m not really a foodie, but I’m a history buff, and what I’ve discovered in the process is how these food traditions capture history in such an interesting way. Before I knew it, I was writing music.

These songs eventually became the score for “Grace», a musical whose world premiere will take place from March 19 to May 14 at Ford’s Theatre. The Robert Barry Fleming-led show, which features jazz, R&B, classical music and spirituals, centers on a Philadelphia family as they mourn the loss of their matriarch and contemplate the future of their restaurant family. In addition to composing the music and lyrics, Williams co-wrote the musical’s book with Pulitzer Prize-winning Nikkole Salter.

Northwest resident Williams stays in the spirit of ‘Grace’ on her ideal day in DC, enjoying the cooking of a pair of elite chefs before taking the stage to bring her own artistry to the public.

My dream day would start with pancakes. I’ve spent years organizing pancakes in the area and believe it or not the best pancakes were at Hyatt Regency on New Jersey Avenue NW. I really curse the pandemic because they removed pancakes there when covid hit. So on my perfect day, the Hyatt Regency restaurant would be restored and they would serve me my favorite pancakes.

Then I was going with some of my best friends to my favorite museum, which is the Hirschhorn. Of course, I would go see the Mark Bradford exhibit for, like, the 10th time. I might even have a private tour of the Yayoi Kusama exhibit and be able to spend hours there, because there is something about it that is not only aesthetically beautiful but deeply meditative. And you should go to Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden. I’m not trying to say anything derogatory about the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, but, for me, the Hirshhorn is my favorite, hands down.

For lunch, I met chef Carla Hall, who is the culinary ambassador of “Grace”. She lives less than 10 minutes from me, and she’s a really dear friend and she’s amazing in the kitchen. So maybe I’ll go over to Carla’s and we hang out – she’s up to something, there’s a few people around and it’s just good conversation.

After lunch I would like to go to Port of Washington. It’s a place I’ve always gone to just to think and reflect. So it would be amazing to have an empty pier with the waterfall and the ability to take a water taxi around the Potomac. And if it’s my dream day, Kwame Onwuachi would be back here in DC and I’d have a private chef’s table experience to dine with him at Friends/relatives [which closed in 2020].

Then I would go to Kennedy Center for a concert. And you know what an ideal concert would be? If I conducted Nova Y. Payton, Rayshun LaMarr and the cast of “Grace” with the National Symphony Orchestra. It would be this really amazing mix of artists and art forms, and the music would be very eclectic. We’ll have the after-party on Washington Hotel on the roof, then end the day by going down to Salamander Resort and Spa spend the night at [“Grace” hospitality ambassador] Property of Sheila C. Johnson.

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Cardiff Philharmonic’s decision not to play Russian composer ‘a terrible mistake’, says classical music critic https://allanpettersson.org/cardiff-philharmonics-decision-not-to-play-russian-composer-a-terrible-mistake-says-classical-music-critic/ Fri, 11 Mar 2022 13:20:46 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/cardiff-philharmonics-decision-not-to-play-russian-composer-a-terrible-mistake-says-classical-music-critic/ //= do_shortcode(‘[in-content-square]’) ?> Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Photo by Emile Reutlinger The Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra’s decision to drop Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky from its upcoming program due to the conflict in Ukraine has been called a “terrible mistake” by a classical music critic. Ivan Hewett said the decision showed “how quickly common sense can be set […]]]>
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Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Photo by Emile Reutlinger

The Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra’s decision to drop Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky from its upcoming program due to the conflict in Ukraine has been called a “terrible mistake” by a classical music critic.

Ivan Hewett said the decision showed “how quickly common sense can be set aside, when passions are inflamed by conflict” and that all of Russian culture now faces a boycott “just because” of ” a man” who decided to invade Ukraine.

“The question may seem trivial, when set alongside the immense human suffering unleashed in Ukraine right now,” Ivan Hewett said in an op-ed for the newspaper. Telegraph newspaper.

“But this cancellation is only a sign of a broader cultural boycott currently being discussed. All over the world, musical or operatic events involving Russia or Russians are being questioned, or revised to eliminate any Russian participation.

“There is something desperately sad about this decision. Music, more than any other art form, has the potential to cross political divides and find our common humanity.

He added: “There is another aspect to the issue of banning specifically Russian music that we need to bear in mind. Banning a nation’s music has very damaging effects that go beyond the mere loss of a particular symphony or opera.

“A great musical tradition, as the Russian undoubtedly is, embodies a whole way of thinking and feeling. At the end of the 19th century, when composers such as Debussy, Ravel and Respighi were looking for a way to escape the stifling domination of the Austrian-German tradition, it was to Russian music that many of them turned. .

‘Unique’

Martin May, the director of the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra, explained the background to this decision.

In a statement, he said: “A member of the orchestra has family directly involved in the situation in Ukraine and we are trying to respect this situation in the immediate term. There were also two military-themed pieces as part of of the program that we felt was particularly inappropriate at that time.

“We were also informed at the time that the title ‘Little Russian’ from Symphony No. 2 was considered offensive to Ukrainians. If it is not planned to repeat the Tchaikovsky concert at the moment, we do not plan to modify our summer and autumn programs which contain pieces by Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Rimsky-Korsakof.

“So this is a one-off decision made with the best of intentions and there is no intention to exclude Tchaikovsky in particular. He is one of my favorite composers. We are aware that, whatever the whatever decision we make, it won’t go well, so we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

A statement on the St David’s Hall website said: “In light of the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra, with the concurrence of St David’s Hall, believes that the previously announced programme, including the 1812 overture, is inappropriate at this time. The orchestra hopes that you will continue to support them and enjoy the revised program.


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Gara Garayev – world famous Azerbaijani composer, whose music is rooted in the traditions of Azerbaijani folk – AZERTAC https://allanpettersson.org/gara-garayev-world-famous-azerbaijani-composer-whose-music-is-rooted-in-the-traditions-of-azerbaijani-folk-azertac/ Wed, 09 Mar 2022 14:12:00 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/gara-garayev-world-famous-azerbaijani-composer-whose-music-is-rooted-in-the-traditions-of-azerbaijani-folk-azertac/ Baku, March 9, AZERTAC The world famous Azerbaijani composer, Gara Garayev left a deep imprint on the musical culture not only of Azerbaijan, but of the whole world. His compositional art received wide recognition, both in Azerbaijan and far beyond its borders and achieved worldwide fame. Garayev was a pupil of Shostakovich, considered one of […]]]>

Baku, March 9, AZERTAC

The world famous Azerbaijani composer, Gara Garayev left a deep imprint on the musical culture not only of Azerbaijan, but of the whole world.

His compositional art received wide recognition, both in Azerbaijan and far beyond its borders and achieved worldwide fame.

Garayev was a pupil of Shostakovich, considered one of the major composers of the 20th century and whose music is heavily indebted to the music of his native Azerbaijan.

Garayev’s impact on Azerbaijani national symphonic, chamber instrumental and vocal genres, film music, opera and ballet was enormous.

His music is rooted in the traditions of Azerbaijani folk. The impact of folk music studies with the eminent Uzeyir Hajibayli, founder of classical music in Azerbaijan is clear.

He wrote ballets, including Seven Beauties (1952) and The Path of Thunder (1957); an opera Motherland (co-written with J. Hajiyev (1945); three symphonies (1943, 1946, 1964); a symphonic poem, Leyli and Majnun (1947); Albanian Rhapsody (1952); Don Quixote Symphonic Engravings (1960); 24 Preludes for piano (1951-1963); a Violin Concerto (1967); incidental film music, The Fires of Baku (1951), The Conqueror of the Sea (1965) and many other works.

Garayev’s symphonic pieces are part of the repertoire of the greatest orchestras in the world. After having toured in many countries, “Seven Beauties” was finally staged in 2014 in San Diego (California), for the first time in the United States.

Gara Garayev became a groundbreaking modern composer of the 20th century, whose works have appeared in many concert halls around the world, including the countries of the former Soviet Union, Europe and the United States.

Between 1949 and 1953, Garayev served as dean of the Azerbaijan State Conservatory, and from 1965 to 1982 as president of the Union of Composers of Azerbaijan, as well as secretary of the Union of Composers of the USSR.

The distinct architecture of Garayev’s works, the beauty of his melodies, and the innovative harmonic and orchestral language of his music are striking.

AZERTAG.AZ :Gara Garayev – world famous Azerbaijani composer, whose music is rooted in the traditions of Azerbaijani folk

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Composer traveling Route 66 to set the highway to music | national news https://allanpettersson.org/composer-traveling-route-66-to-set-the-highway-to-music-national-news/ Sun, 06 Mar 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/composer-traveling-route-66-to-set-the-highway-to-music-national-news/ KINGMAN, Ariz. – If US Route 66 was a symphony orchestra, what would it look like? It’s a question that Dr. Nolan Stolz, a South Carolina music teacher and classical music composer, answers as he explores the historic route, capturing the essence of the highway so he can set it to music. The composition for […]]]>

KINGMAN, Ariz. – If US Route 66 was a symphony orchestra, what would it look like?

It’s a question that Dr. Nolan Stolz, a South Carolina music teacher and classical music composer, answers as he explores the historic route, capturing the essence of the highway so he can set it to music.

The composition for symphony orchestras, which will be performed during the 2025-26 season to celebrate the highway’s centenary in 2026, will contain eight movements and will be called “Route 66 Suite”.






Music teacher and composer Nolan Stolz poses next to the Route 66 Kingman sign outside the Powerhouse Visitors Center in Kingman, Arizona, February 18, 2022. He walks the length of the route from end to end and returns again and again in search of inspiration for his composition Route 66 Suite for symphony orchestras, which will be performed during the 2025-26 season to celebrate the highway’s centenary in 2026, will contain eight movements and will be titled ” Route 66 Continued”.




But first, he must do his research.

Stolz, 41, who teaches at the University of South Carolina near Spartanburg, is taking a 15-month sabbatical and spending 13 months traveling back and forth along the Mother Road between Chicago and Los Angeles.

He was on his third westbound trip when he was interviewed at Kingman in February. “It’s a different experience every ride,” he told The Miner.

Stolz stops and talks to locals and business owners, often backtracking. He searches for old buildings that existed when the highway was founded and looks for old sections of Route 66 from before it was tarred. He stays in old-fashioned hotels and motels like El Trovatore in Kingman.

“I really soak in as much as I can,” he said.

And he’s shooting videos, taking photos and taking notes that will jog his memory when he sits down this year to put musical notes on paper in August.

The Kingman area in northwestern Arizona is one of his favorite sections of the old highway.

After spending a night in Peach Springs on his current crossing, he said he was struck by the sounds of heavy rail traffic.

Noting that the freeway is often near train tracks, he said “I’m definitely going to incorporate train sound.”

Hailing from Las Vegas where he earned his undergraduate degree, Stolz is no stranger to Kingman, or the high desert. He said he often traveled through Kingman decades ago en route to Lake Havasu to play gigs as a drummer in Chuck E. Bumps and the Crocodiles, a band that still performs to this day. “We played the Route 66 song many times,” laughed Stolz, referencing the rhythm and blues classic.

He said he never failed to stop at Kingman. “I feel like I have a local connection to this place.”

From now on, he mixes pleasure and work. The plan is to complete the Suite by 2024, so that it can be incorporated into the performance schedules of symphony orchestras and concert bands, during the 2025-26 musical season.

He hopes to complete his work well before the 100th anniversary of the Mother Road in 2026. He will compose a different version for wind bands in colleges and community groups, which are running out of wood.

While he hasn’t written a note yet, the composition is slowly falling into place. “I have the basic concept and structure and some things I want to think about,” he said.

The opening move of Route 66 Suite will be titled “AD 1926”. It will capture the feel of the freeway in its early days, when pavement and services were scarce.

He also researched ghost towns along the route for the “66 Ghost Towns” movement and researched the locations of 26 former gas stations – pictured in Ed Ruscha’s 1964 art book “Twentysix Gasoline Stations” – for yet another move. .

He said he was particularly keen to write the “Neon Dreams” movement, which will document the neon signs that dominated the road in its heyday, and which are still abundant today along the remnants of the old road. .

Stolz said the neon movement will feature light-up sounds and rhythms that echo the cadence of flashing neon signs. But don’t think of circus music.

“I want the play to be serious; entertaining but not kitschy,” Stolz explained.

The concept and the research are not entirely unique. Stolz also composed a symphony on US Route 30 – the Lincoln Highway – when she turned 100 in 2013.

There was no doubt what would be next.

“Route 66 is the obvious choice,” Stolz said. “It’s the most famous highway in the world. A whole culture has developed around it.”

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A Conversation with Pianist, Composer and Conductor Adam Burnette https://allanpettersson.org/a-conversation-with-pianist-composer-and-conductor-adam-burnette/ Fri, 04 Mar 2022 13:00:53 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/a-conversation-with-pianist-composer-and-conductor-adam-burnette/ Adam Burnette is a pianist, bandleader and composer from Chatsworth, Georgia. He has worked across the United States, from the Kennedy Center to Indiana State University, and in Europe. His work was recently featured in NewMusicShelf Anthology of New Music: Trans and Nonbinary Voices, the very first volume of songs written by and/or for transgender […]]]>

Adam Burnette is a pianist, bandleader and composer from Chatsworth, Georgia. He has worked across the United States, from the Kennedy Center to Indiana State University, and in Europe. His work was recently featured in NewMusicShelf Anthology of New Music: Trans and Nonbinary Voices, the very first volume of songs written by and/or for transgender and non-binary people.

Quotes have been edited for clarity. Content Warning: Suicide.

How and when did you first get into music?

I think I was always destined to be a musician. I started playing the piano when I was three, and I think I was just a little obsessed with it. There was a teenage girl playing, and I was just in love with what she was doing and the sound, my parents never really encouraged her, so I kind of found that on my own. I started playing when I was very young, I took a year of lessons when I was five years old. In sixth grade, I took a year of lessons with this lady who taught classical music. But I couldn’t read music, so I imitated what she was doing, and after six or seven weeks, I learned a piece [of music]. My teacher would just throw music at me, and that’s how I learned to read it. It was a sort of trial by fire. In second, I started taking classes again with a teacher who offered me a full scholarship. The first year it was one lesson per week, then we started doing two lessons per week.

I auditioned at Indiana University and got in. I started choir conducting, then opera conducting and orchestra conducting and I made my debut at the age of 25 at the Kennedy Center with the National Symphony Orchestra.

Have you ever found music to be a comfort or a type of therapy during difficult times in life?

I was probably playing six hours a day and luckily my family never told me to stop. I woke up in the morning and played before taking a shower, and at night I still played before going to bed. I think it’s something about the vibration of the string hitting the fingerboard that’s therapeutic, and I understood that at a very young age. [Music] is my identity.

Have you noticed that the world of classical/contemporary music includes musicians who are not straight and/or who are not cis? Is it a diverse career field in that regard?

Yes, in the world of opera, that’s not a problem, and it’s fantastic. We are all here for the music. If it’s good music, it’s good music, whoever wrote it. I think the music world is very inclusive… I’ve played with musicians from all over, Russia, China, Korea, Tunisia, South Africa, Australia, and they’re all fun! There’s a certain universality that we all have, it’s all about music.

One of your upcoming projects is included in an anthology of trans and non-binary music. How important do you think this is for the world of classical music?

I think it’s much more important than the classical world. I think that’s fine, but I think that’s a much broader statement than the classical world. It’s important that people see that.

What about the anthology that made you want to submit your work?

I had this childhood friend named Mark, and he was so genuine, and I absolutely loved that. I knew I was gay at four [years old], and I never told anyone about it. But in 7th grade I met Mark, and in 8th grade he was the first person I talked to.

I didn’t see him for 20 years, but one day I heard he was in town and we saw each other again. I could tell that he had lived 20 very troubled years, that he had really struggled. He had always been in between, which is why I think he was non-binary. We had a great day that day, we had climbed the mountain and jumped off the rocks and had a great time. Then I found out that I had gone to bed and he had committed suicide. The next day I sat down at the piano and wrote a piece. There were no erasures, it just came out. The last line [of the piece] says the birds are dead, the flowers won’t bloom, everything green is dead, and now he can cry. I don’t know, it really spoke to me. I just wish Mark’s mother died two years ago and she couldn’t see this play written for her son.

If you can tell me, I would like to know what is or could be your next project? Would you like to stay in the classic genre or would you consider branching out one day?

I’ve always composed, it’s always been kind of a hobby. Last year, I had four articles published. I was always a little nervous to send my music, rejection is pretty hard and also because the compositions are like your kids, and if people don’t like your kids, that’s not a great feeling, you know? I finally worked up the courage to send some stuff, and it ended up being pretty successful. And I hope that will remain the case and that the trend will continue.

Finally, who is your favorite composer and why?

Bach, all the way. He did it all, man!

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Clarinetist, composer returns to share the music https://allanpettersson.org/clarinetist-composer-returns-to-share-the-music/ Tue, 01 Mar 2022 09:30:00 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/clarinetist-composer-returns-to-share-the-music/ Clarinetist, composer returns to share the music A South Whidbey alum prepares for her first show at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. A South Whidbey alum prepares for her first show at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. Clarinetist and songwriter Angelique Poteat will be joined by four other Pacific Northwest musicians […]]]>

Clarinetist, composer returns to share the music

A South Whidbey alum prepares for her first show at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.

A South Whidbey alum prepares for her first show at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.

Clarinetist and songwriter Angelique Poteat will be joined by four other Pacific Northwest musicians at her upcoming WICA show, “Angelique Poteat and Friends,” from 7:30-9 p.m. on Friday, March 4.

“I haven’t hosted my own concert at WICA yet, so it’s kind of like coming home to be able to share this music,” Poteat said.

Poteat graduated from South Whidbey High School in 2004. She has been playing clarinet for 25 years and writing music for 27.

“It definitely became kind of the center of my life,” she said of the music. “My family moved to Whidbey when I was in college. The school programs in South Whidbey were so stimulating when it came to the arts.

Although she currently lives on the mainland, many of Poteat’s family members still live on the island and she hopes to eventually return.

She plays with the Saratoga Orchestra and the Seattle Symphony. Musicians from the latter group will join her as a quintet on her next show: Eduardo Rios and Libby Phelps on violin, Kayliegh Miller on viola and Emily Hu on cello.

The event will be a mix of standard repertoire pieces from the late 1800s to this century, as well as original compositions. Poteat’s work has been performed and recorded around the world, including Australia, Germany, Lithuania, Hungary, Japan, Italy and Norway.

“My music is definitely more traveled than me, at least internationally,” she said, adding that before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, one of the last things she done was to go on tour with the American Festival Orchestra. in China.

The performances of Poteat and the entire music industry came to a halt at the start of the pandemic. It’s now starting to see a return to normal, and many bands still have a backlog of performances that were scheduled to take place from March 2020 to July 2021.

“There’s nothing quite like going to a live concert and feeling that energy of live music,” she said. “I’m so relieved that we’re starting to venture into these shared concert experiences again.”

Some of his notable pieces include “Beyond Much Difference”, “Much Difference”, “Roots of Variegation”, “Reflections on a Summer”, and “A Perspective”.

“I hope a lot of people will come and listen to great classical music,” she said of her show WICA. “I think there is something for everyone.”

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit wicaonline.org.

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The legendary video game composer talks about his work and his process https://allanpettersson.org/the-legendary-video-game-composer-talks-about-his-work-and-his-process/ Fri, 11 Feb 2022 11:53:28 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/the-legendary-video-game-composer-talks-about-his-work-and-his-process/ Inon Zur is one of, otherwise the most, prolific composers working in the gaming industry today. With a massive backlog of iconic sheet music to his name, chances are any gamer worth his salt has had his songs stuck in his head at one point or another. The Israeli-American melodist is known for his work […]]]>

Inon Zur is one of, otherwise the most, prolific composers working in the gaming industry today. With a massive backlog of iconic sheet music to his name, chances are any gamer worth his salt has had his songs stuck in his head at one point or another.

The Israeli-American melodist is known for his work on artists like Dragon Age: Origins, Prince of Persia, Fall 3, 4 and New Vegas, Crysisthe next star field and many others. We sat down with Zur to discuss his work on the new game Syberia: the world before, which comes out on March 18 alongside the vinyl release of the soundtrack.

Before we begin, see Zur in action performing the main theme of Fallout 4.

Our conversation with Zur winds through a number of topics, including its creative process, how to really nail the tone of a video game through its music, and what the inside of a Fallout Vault looks like.

GAME Bible: Tell us about your process – how do you prepare to write a play? Are you often given carte blanche on what you want to do? Or do you have certain ideas and motives that are fed to you?

Inon Zur: Well, at the start of every project, but especially if it’s a new project, I’m always involved. I like to know as much as possible about the project first. If I can come to the studio and meet the people behind the game, watch the footage, the gameplay. If the game is in further development, I would really like to play the game. I really feel like it, before I even think about it [the music].

Then we get into the most creative meeting, which is the type of music the developers envision. So I have the three Ws, don’t I? ‘Where’, ‘what’ and ‘why’. And the “why” is actually the most important. Because I want to know: what motivates the characters in the game? What drives the plot? And I want to know how to drive the player himself.

So let me give you an example. When I worked on Fallout 4, (Head of Bethesda Game Studios) Todd Howard told me the story of the game, and it was a very intimate story about you looking for your son. So I said, how about the piano? Because the piano, for me, brings intimacy.

Fallout 4 / Credit: Bethesda

GB: It is interesting that you say how the piano came to be used as an expression of your son’s search. Does that feeling come often, when someone describes the game, or you play the game, and you hear the music you want to make for it?

IZ: Yes quite. Consider the “when” and the “where”, and take Syberia: The World Before, for example. We’re talking about pre-WWII, we’re talking about Europe – that already takes us to a very specific place in time. So I’m going to think of music that will bring the player into this era. One of the characters is a classical piano performer and obviously we want to feature the piano to support his character. So these things almost automatically scream for me to write them down.

GB: I was reading an interview where you said that you often want to talk to the sound designers of a game to get an idea of ​​what’s going on in a scene. The example you used was that if there is an engine running in a game scene, you will find out what key an engine is running in and write to that key. Can you explain your thought process behind this?

IZ: The best way to express music in games, I always say, is that you don’t really hear it, you feel it – it creates emotion, but you don’t really notice it. There are many techniques to do this, but one is to really consider other noises and background sounds. Now the player will be unaware, but something will feel right, or something will feel wrong and they will never really know why. But we know. So, for example, in the case of the engine purring in the key of E, if I wrote in F, which is a semitone above E, it would sound strained, weird, and uncomfortable, and I might well want create that feeling.

The problem is that it is about awareness. The music is a completely separate part of the soundtrack, as we have dialogue and sound effects, and more. If the music works with those things, it creates a wholesome experience. But if it draws too much attention to itself, it actually distracts the player from what’s going on, and that’s the last thing we want to do.

GB: So with games like Fallout and Prince of Persia, they’re based on fantasy and things that don’t necessarily exist. How do you incorporate that into the process?

IZ: That’s an excellent question. Let’s take Fallout as an example. We know that we are inside a parallel universe where, in the 1950s, the world [as we know it] just ceased to exist – but now we’re in the 2100s or whatever. A whole new reality has arisen. For that, I think the last music we knew was from the 50s, right? Now, from the 1950s, there has been a sort of diversion; an extraction of this [music], and he went to a very unknown place. Everything that was played by the violin, for example, will be improvised by a primitive instrument. Suppose all violins, including all dear Stradivariuses, cease to exist. Now we have to play, I don’t know, the kitchen sink or something that was left around here. Now, in Fallout specifically, I’ve created instruments that were born into this alternate reality. We help the player to be inside this universe by creating these sounds that are played on an instrument that literally does not exist.

GB: So what does the inside of a safe look like to you? Taking into account that you are bringing together instruments that you have created to create this ambient sound.

IZ: This is a very interesting question because the Vault is a stuffy place, but mostly the Vault is very metallic, there are a lot of metallic items there. Now here’s the trick – I can write a lot of music with metallic elements, but then what? It will merge with the real sound effects which are also metallic and it will cause confusion. Metallic sounds are usually very high pitched, so we create pads that are electronic but will have a metallic feel. They won’t have the attack or the punchy sound of the sound effects. It’ll sound a bit technological, it’ll sound a bit metallic, but it won’t be the real metal hits.

Fallout 4 / Credit: Bethesda
Fallout 4 / Credit: Bethesda

GB: So what Syberia sounds like, using this same example?

IZ: Imagine Berlin in 1937. People are walking around, and somewhere in the distance there is a lone violinist, playing and collecting coins from nice people. There’s people singing along in a church, the music that people know. I will create music that basically complements [these early 20th century sounds]. And the way to do that is to write something that will sound classic. When the player walks around Berlin, he will hear classical music, this will put him exactly where I want him to be. Of course, classical music can be happy, it can be sad and it can be scary; but again, the elements – orchestral elements, solos, classical soloists – that’s what really puts us in this world. With Syberia: The World Before, it’s so beautiful and amazing that I wouldn’t even call it a game. It’s an experience because the story is so captivating and I had to stay in a very realistic place. When I wrote [the soundtrack] I really took notes from Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Stravinsky, composers that we think these people from this milieu knew.

GB: When choosing a project, is it important to take into consideration the personal gratification you will get from it?

IZ: Of course. Since I was young, my parents listened to classical music. I was introduced to other types of music like jazz and rock and other styles much later in my life, but I’m most in touch with classical music. So, to compose the music for Syberia: The World Before was truly a dream come true. Because that led me to write classical music – that’s what I learned, that’s what I studied in Israel and here in the United States, and that’s what I like to do. I’m not saying I don’t like doing other styles. I’m very excited, for example, about the combination of electronic music and symphonic music in star field, which I can’t really talk about much. But it is also something that is very much like a discovery for me. Or Riderswhich came last year and was very, very hard and electronic – almost like a dubstep orchestra, shall we say!

GB: Do you find it hard to turn off, for example, when you go out to dinner, and you hear a pattern that you really like, do you think, ‘Oh, I wonder if I can just change the pitch or change the note slightly? .’

IZ: This happens a lot and I find myself singing on my cell phone and recording myself! Even sometimes, just by driving and thinking about stuff, I suddenly have a piece that’s with me for 24 hours, even when I’m sleeping! Today I dreamed, for example, that I was playing guitar and singing. Now I can barely play guitar and I’m definitely not a singer. But still, music is part of my life now. That said, my time in the studio is very concise. My daily routine is almost rigid, and that’s important to me. So I’ll start at eight o’clock and finish at five o’clock, and if it’s not really necessary, I won’t go back to the studio. I’m going to spend time with my family, but that doesn’t mean the music is going away.

GB: It’s surprising. Surely you have times when you are in the middle of inspiration and you have to go all the way?

IZ: I have to admit that sometimes, especially when I’m working on main themes, which are like the biggest challenge and obstacle, I spend a bit more time in the studio. But again, on a regular basis, I was really limiting myself to a maximum of nine hours in the studio and that was it. I think it’s very important for every songwriter to know when to stop – when to get out, when to do something else. Who are inspiring and also contribute to who you are.

GB: Yeah, that’s a good point, I imagine a lot of your inspiration comes from life. If you’re doing something and you’re going through something, do you kind of write your own music about what you’re doing in your head?

IZ: No, but I have to say that earworms are my way of life. There is always an earworm if I jog, walk or cycle. There is always a rhythm in what I do. It’s not pleasant, I must say. But it is what it is.

Syberia: The World Before will be released for Windows on March 18 with console versions coming later in the year. The digital version of the soundtrack has also already been released, and a vinyl copy will be available on March 18 alongside the game.

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Best Works by Brahms: Top 10 Pieces by the Romantic Composer https://allanpettersson.org/best-works-by-brahms-top-10-pieces-by-the-romantic-composer/ Fri, 28 Jan 2022 17:54:00 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/best-works-by-brahms-top-10-pieces-by-the-romantic-composer/ From the Cradle Song to his Third Symphony, you’ve probably heard more Brahms in everyday life than you thought. Spending most of his time in Vienna, he evolved among part of the musical elite of the mid-Romantic era, befriending Robert and Clara Schumann, as well as the violinist Joseph Joachim and the conductor of orchestra […]]]>

From the Cradle Song to his Third Symphony, you’ve probably heard more Brahms in everyday life than you thought.

Spending most of his time in Vienna, he evolved among part of the musical elite of the mid-Romantic era, befriending Robert and Clara Schumann, as well as the violinist Joseph Joachim and the conductor of orchestra Hans von Bülow.

While many of his contemporaries experimented with programmatic or descriptive music, Brahms gained a reputation for being more conservative, preferring to stick to “absolute music”. Its harmonies and orchestration are, however, deeply rooted in the romantic tradition and allow for truly sublime listening. Here are ten of his finest moments that are definitely worth listening to.

  • Hungarian Dances (1869–1880)

    Brahms was introduced to “gypsy” music by the Hungarian violinist Ede Reményi, whom he met in 1850. His 21 Hungarian dances were originally written for piano four hands, where two pianists play on the same keyboard, but are now best known in their orchestral arrangements.

    They were immensely popular throughout Brahms’ life and were probably his most profitable works. Today our 1 and 5 remain popular, the latter being based on the Hungarian dance style of the czardas with its snappy character, oom-pah bassline and stunning string melodies.

  • Opening of the academic festival (1880)

    The Academic Festival Overture was composed in the summer of 1880 as a tribute to the University of Breslau, after Brahms discovered he was to receive an honorary doctorate.

    Although quite uninspiring at first glance, the title of the piece is truly an example of the composer’s wry sense of humor and love for a good joke. Throughout its almost ten minutes, the piece references melodies used as drinking songs by students of the time, with a masterful application of compositional techniques to satisfy the “academic” part of its audience.

    The piece is truly one of Brahms’ finest orchestral works, requiring one of the largest ensembles of any of his compositions. He directed the premiere himself during the graduation ceremony, where his humorous credentials did not go unnoticed!

  • German Requiem (1865–1868)

    by Brahms german requiem (or, to give it its full title, A German Requiem, on words from the Holy Scriptures) is a large-scale work for choir, orchestra and solo soprano and baritone. It opens with a sublimely chilling chorale motif, setting the scene beautifully for the next 70 minutes.

    Brahms suffered the loss of his mother in 1865, and his friend and mentor Robert Schumann nine years before, who it has been speculated may have inspired this piece. He put the text together himself, drawing on Luther’s German Bible, and conspired with Clara Schumann, whom he was very fond of, on the title.

    Where the traditional Requiem Mass in Roman Catholicism begins with a prayer for the dead, A german requiem is a mass for the living.

  • Violin Concerto (1878)

    Brahms wrote only one violin concerto, dedicating it to his close friend and nearly lifelong collaborator, Joseph Joachim. The composer leaned heavily on the 19th-century violin virtuoso for support and guidance when composing, noting that he had no patience for slurs that indicated slant rather than phrasing.

    Despite Joachim’s willingness to help, not all of his recommendations were taken into account. The concerto is technically challenging and musically brilliant, and although audiences greeted the piece with enthusiastic applause, many violinists and critics of the time had less flattering things to say. Hans von Bülow and Joseph Hellmesberger are both credited with saying that the concerto was as much “against the violin” as it was for him, Henryk Wieniawski called it “unplayable”, and Pablo de Sarasate s complained that the oboe had the only melody in the second movement and refused to play it.

    Joachim gave the premiere in Leipzig in 1879 and Brahms, who had a reputation for being difficult, complained about the interpreter’s decision to preface his new piece with Beethoven’s Violin Concerto: “it was a lot of D major – and not much else on the program”.

    Read more: 10 of the best romantic composers in the history of classical music

  • Wiegenlied (1869)

    Wiegen-boundbetter known today as lullaby Where cradle songis arguably the most well-known play ever written by Brahms, having pervaded popular culture everywhere.

    Lied (German song) for voice and piano, Brahms dedicated his composition to his friend Bertha Faber to congratulate her on the birth of her second son. The hapless songwriter in love had had a soft spot for Faber in their youth, and he disguised a song she used to sing to him as a counter-melody woven into the lines of the piece.

  • Symphony No. 4 (1884)

    In the early 1880s, Brahms was invited by conductor Hans von Bülow to collaborate with the Meiningen Court Orchestra. This was the start of a fruitful relationship, which saw the premiere of Brahms’ last two symphonies, Nos. 3 and 4.

    Von Bülow was such a fan of Brahms that he listed him among the “Three Bs” alongside Bach and Beethoven in a letter to his wife – a distinction that remains very much tied to the composer’s legacy today.

    Brahms is known to be a more conservative composer than many of his romantic contemporaries, and this symphony has been compared by many to the great work of Beethoven himself.

  • Variations on a theme by Haydn (1873)

    Also known as Saint Anthony Variations, by Brahms Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn is a theme with eight variations and a finale, originally written for two pianos but much better known in its orchestral version.

    The piece is derived from a theme entitled “Chorale St Antoni”, which Brahms discovered in a work for wind ensemble attributed to Haydn. More recently scholars and scholars have disputed that it was written by Haydn, suggesting that 19th-century publishers may have sold it under his name to make it more profitable.

    The theme begins with a series of unusual five-bar phrases, which certainly caught Brahms’ attention since he structured each variation around it. Each of the eight variations has its own distinctive character, and the piece culminates in a beautiful finale that consists of a theme and variations in itself. The compositional complexity demonstrated by Brahms here is unmatched in the Romantic era and translates into approximately 20 minutes of absolute musical glory for the listener.

    Read more: Brahms: 15 facts about the great composer

  • Piano Concerto No. 1 (1858)

    Brahms’ First Piano Concerto is the work that truly cemented his name in the compositional pantheon, both in his day and in the history books. Premiered by the composer himself in Hanover in 1859, it was the first of his orchestral works to receive great public acclaim – and who can blame them?

    From its inception, the full force of the mid-19th century orchestra performs a sonic introductory slap, complete with timpani rolls, string tremolos, wind trills and the sound of orchestral sections struggling to supremacy.

    With the middle movement described as “exquisite” and “beautiful” by Clara Schumann, Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 deserves its place in the top ten.

  • Quintet with piano (1865)

    Brahms’ Piano Quintet is truly the the best of the best when it comes to his bedroom work. Dedicated to Princess Anna of Hesse, it is written for the typical piano quintet composition: piano, two violins, viola and cello.

    Known for its more classical leanings, the quintet is one of Brahms’ more romantic undertakings, with more interesting harmonic experimentation, especially in the first and fourth movements.

    The quintet has a predominantly somber mood throughout, toned down somewhat by the quiet second movement, but pushed in its finale to a burst of stormy intensity.

  • Symphony No. 3 (1883)

    Brahms’ Third Symphony was written nearly six years after its predecessor, Symphony No. 2. At around 40 minutes in length, it is the shortest of Brahms’ symphonic productions but by no means the poorest. .

    The young Richard Strauss, who at the time was working as an assistant to Hans von Bülow, had hitherto been undecided about Brahms and his music, but he was convinced of his genius by the third symphony and shamelessly complimented the fourth.

    The third movement of Symphony No. 3 is the most famous, having been widely adapted in music, film and television from the 1940s to the present day, appearing in a song by Frank Sinatra, Fawlty Towersa video game and as part of a gymnastics routine at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

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