violin concerto – Allan Pettersson http://allanpettersson.org/ Sun, 20 Mar 2022 05:02:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://allanpettersson.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-19-120x120.png violin concerto – Allan Pettersson http://allanpettersson.org/ 32 32 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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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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Violinist, composer and conductor Jaakko Kuusisto has died | News https://allanpettersson.org/violinist-composer-and-conductor-jaakko-kuusisto-has-died-news/ Thu, 24 Feb 2022 10:41:59 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/violinist-composer-and-conductor-jaakko-kuusisto-has-died-news/ Finnish musician Jaakko Kuusisto died on February 23, 2022. Diagnosed with a brain tumor in the summer of 2020, his condition deteriorated earlier this year and he was hospitalized. Kuusisto was born on January 17, 1974 into a family of musicians; his grandfather, Taneli Kuusisto, and his father, Ilkka Kuusisto, working as composers. He and […]]]>

Finnish musician Jaakko Kuusisto died on February 23, 2022. Diagnosed with a brain tumor in the summer of 2020, his condition deteriorated earlier this year and he was hospitalized.

Kuusisto was born on January 17, 1974 into a family of musicians; his grandfather, Taneli Kuusisto, and his father, Ilkka Kuusisto, working as composers. He and his younger brother Pekka started playing the violin at a young age, enjoying national success. Kuusisto won joint first prize at the Kuopio Violin Competition in 1989 and was a finalist at the Sibelius International Violin Competition in 1990.

The family moved to the United States in the early 1990s to allow the boys to study at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University Bloomington, where they studied with Miriam Fried. During a visit to Finland in 1998, Fried said of the siblings: “Pekka plays more instinctively, while Jaakko is more intellectual and exploratory”.

Kuusisto was a finalist in the 1997 Queen Elisabeth Competition, after which conductor Osmo Vänskä offered him the post of concertmaster of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. He remained in the role until 2012, often performing as a soloist with the ensemble, as well as leading the orchestra on several recordings. His recording output includes Uljas Pulkkis’ enchanted garden Violin Concerto with Susanna Mälk and the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, as well as Bach’s Violin Concertos with his brother Pekka and the Tapiola Sinfonietta. He also recorded early chamber works by Sibelius with pianist Folke Gräsbeck.



As a conductor, Kuusisto worked with the Oulu Symphony Orchestra from 2005 to 2009. He was the principal conductor of the Kuopio City Orchestra from 2018. He composed more than 40 works, including his own operas which he conducted at the Savonlinna Opera Festival, the Finnish National Opera and the Ilmajoki Music Festival. His last opera Jää created in 2019 and later revised for smaller forces due to the pandemic. Kuusisto was also artistic director of the Tuusulanjärvi Chamber Music Festival with his brother from 1999 to 2006 and of the Oulu Music Festival from 2013 to 2021.



A man of varied interests, he has also worked as a local politician, having been elected to the city council representing the Greens party in 2021. Together with his wife Maija Kuusisto they established a water taxi service in Savonlinna, where they transported guests attending the Savonlinna Opera Festival, while educating passengers about the opera they were about to see.

He is survived by his wife and two children from a previous marriage.

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Violinist Fedor Rudin on the interpretation and direction of post-classical violin concertos | Blogs https://allanpettersson.org/violinist-fedor-rudin-on-the-interpretation-and-direction-of-post-classical-violin-concertos-blogs/ Mon, 31 Jan 2022 08:00:00 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/violinist-fedor-rudin-on-the-interpretation-and-direction-of-post-classical-violin-concertos-blogs/ “Play and Conduct” is a term you hear and read more and more often in gig brochures these days. However, the procedure itself is much older than the profession of conducting. In the past, like orchestral pieces, many instrumental concerto premieres were performed without a conductor, coordinated between solo violin and soloist. Performing Prokofiev’s Violin […]]]>

“Play and Conduct” is a term you hear and read more and more often in gig brochures these days. However, the procedure itself is much older than the profession of conducting. In the past, like orchestral pieces, many instrumental concerto premieres were performed without a conductor, coordinated between solo violin and soloist. Performing Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in this way with the Orquestra Petrobras in Rio de Janeiro was an exciting experience for me. The general tasks were often similar to Mozart’s or Beethoven’s concertos, but as a soloist in a concert of such a piece you still face completely different challenges than you face in music from the classical period.

Other post-classical concertos I’ve played without a conductor include Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Khachaturian – concertos that are actually not that difficult to “lead” in concert, due to changes in tempo and instrumentation quite clear and of the role almost always “main”. of the solo violin.

But the sudden changes in tempo and meter, the polyrhythm, the disappearance of reference points and harmonic and rhythmic bases, and the completely different treatment of wind instruments and percussion are particularly demanding for concerts of a repertoire such as Prokofiev’s First Violin Concerto. found in the classical period, which also plays a certain acoustic role for a soloist surrounded by strings.

In fact, I prepared in the same way as for an orchestra project where you work only as a conductor, and I spent a rehearsal working with the orchestra without the soloist part. Playing orchestral music and chamber music are of course very similar tasks, but the former often comes even closer to the latter when there is no conductor on the podium. Although I had already played the concerto, I went back to analyzing the score and immediately focused on understanding which instrument or group of instruments would have a leading role at which time. In such a case, you process the part in much more detail than usual. Not that for a performance with a conductor, you don’t need to have a clue what the other 80 musicians in the orchestra are playing, but by creating a rehearsal plan and having to organize certain parts for a concert performance, you then simply know the score better and can feel even more controlled and relaxed while playing the solo part.

There are three interesting body language problems for conducting while holding a violin and bow. First of all, it is difficult to go directly from the soloist part to the “direction” for a very simple technical reason: each note and/or sound of a stringed instrument needs an “end”, where you really shouldn’t pull the string bow too quickly, and certainly not do it to drive. Unfortunately, the strings do not have a right pedal that one could easily press at these specific times. There is therefore always a small lapse of time between the end of a solo and the resumption of the direction in concert, which requires for example a different method in the event of sudden change of tempo: a combination of a light voice and precise use of the body language of the soloist already in the upbeat rhythm or even earlier, combined with a conscious action of a particular group of instruments responsible for the change of tempo in the orchestra.

Second, a bow is not a steering stick. It is also a long piece of wood, but it does not have the qualities at all to reinforce the point of synchronization information with the point like a stick, being constructed completely differently, having a center of gravity and a distribution of different masses, it does more harm to the conduct of information than it helps. Therefore, it is in fact desirable, as far as possible, to take the bow with the violin in the left hand in order to conduct only with the right hand.

Last but not least, a soloist often has to deal with demanding and complicated passages and must also be able to move the orchestra with emotion, maintaining both tension and a certain level of control. In those moments, when a soloist needs well-organized multitasking, it is important that everything relating to purely “mechanical” instrumental playing happens completely automatically, so that one can concentrate on d other musical elements or instrumental inputs. This does not necessarily apply to fast and virtuosic passages, but to passages which at first glance seem very simple instrumentally, but are much more difficult to achieve in combination with other tasks. At times like these, you really need to be able to put the solo on “autopilot”. One last aspect: orchestras sometimes tend to drag on long notes, especially if there is no conductor. For us, this means only one thing: to be on the safe side in concert, always save as much bow as possible!

The album of Fedor Rudin and Boris Kusnezow ‘Heritage’, featuring works for violin and piano by Denisov, Debussy, Shostakovich and Prokofiev is available now on Orchid Classics.

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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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    Leroy Anderson, American Composer and More https://allanpettersson.org/leroy-anderson-american-composer-and-more/ Thu, 27 Jan 2022 14:11:07 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/leroy-anderson-american-composer-and-more/ Michael J. Fox arrives on the red carpet for an award ceremony in Berlin, February 5, 2011. (Thomas Peter/Reuters) My Impromptus today begins with cussin’ – not that I do it myself (in this column). I cite others from our recent political past: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, George HW Bush, Al Haig, Jimmy Carter, […]]]>

    Michael J. Fox arrives on the red carpet for an award ceremony in Berlin, February 5, 2011. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

    My Impromptus today begins with cussin’ – not that I do it myself (in this column). I cite others from our recent political past: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, George HW Bush, Al Haig, Jimmy Carter, et al. The topic was sparked by Joe Biden and Anthony Fauci and their recent “pledges”. Nothing like a “hot-mic moment” to spice up our lives.

    What else in Impromptus? Well, there’s Michael J. Fox – who’s on the cover of AARP magazine. Already? Alex P. Keaton and Marty McFly, a poster boy for AARP? Yeah. I call it “a sip moment.” One reader writes, “Mary Lou Retton advertises menopause medicine.” Drink again. On the internet, I found this ad: “Mary Lou Retton Gives Amberen a Perfect 10!”

    There are also other subjects in Impromptus, of course. If you’re in the mood for music – at least some writing about it – here is a review of Maxim Vengerov, the Russian-Israeli violinist, and Simon Trpčeski, the Macedonian pianist, in recital at Carnegie Hall last week. And here is the last episode of Music for a whilemy music podcast.

    This episode includes one movement from a new piece — a violin concerto — by Scott Wheeler, an American composer. He’s a friend of mine, I’m happy to say. (I’m not criticizing Scott or any other friends, but I’m allowed to say, “Hey, go ahead and listen for yourself!”). It also includes a Leroy Anderson classic: Bugler’s Vacation.

    Leroy Anderson was loaded with talent and he lived a very interesting life. Born in Cambridge, Mass., in 1908 to Swedish parents. I went to Harvard. Served in military intelligence (he was a master of languages, among other things). Wrote enduring “lightweight classics”, including blue tango and The typewriteroutraged Bugler’s Vacation.

    And don’t forget this Christmas favourite, Sleigh ride.

    Scott Wheeler is calling Bugler’s Vacation “brilliant.” He continues, “What always amazes me is how inventive and surprising the middle section is.” He adds: “I wrote a rave review of an Anderson compilation CD, probably in the 90s, which prompted Anderson’s widow to write to me. At his request, I wrote a letter supporting the effort to have the post office issue a Leroy Anderson stamp. I don’t think that ever happened, but it should have.

    Hear hear.

    Stay on the music for a minute. In response to my “Nashville Journal” of a few weeks ago, my friend Glen writes,

    Your photos bring back memories.

    As an entrepreneur in nearby Fort Campbell, I spent a few weekends on Broadway. I remember the World Famous Orchid Lounge in Tootsie, where I sat one night watching the bands spin.

    The bands, I was told, were all Music Row live performers, playing for tips. (Tips were collected in large jars of mayonnaise, which may be a tradition). They toured for two hour sets. The best, for me, was a band that announced, “We don’t have a playlist. You name it, we can play it. And for two hours they did.

    Another memory sits in another living room on a Sunday afternoon in fall. A solo guitarist was doing his set. He stopped because a young woman came in crying. When asked what was wrong, she announced out loud, “I was supposed to debut at X across the street. But this owner said there weren’t enough customers, because everyone was at the football game, so he canceled my set. And my mom came just to hear me!

    “Well, honey, come over here,” the guitarist said. To classify.

    I’ve had a few notes on New England accents lately. Here is another, from my friend Joseph:

    In college, I had a biochemistry professor with a heavy Greater Boston accent. He was trying to refer to an iron ion, and he stumbled a bit as he said the words.

    He smiled. “‘Iron’, ‘ion’ – until I was in college I thought it was the same word.”

    Great stuff. Thank’s everyone.

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    Finnish composer Paavo Heininen has died https://allanpettersson.org/finnish-composer-paavo-heininen-has-died/ Wed, 19 Jan 2022 14:35:24 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/finnish-composer-paavo-heininen-has-died/ The “most uncompromising Finnish composer of his generation” was born on January 13, 1938 and died on January 18, 2021 Composer Paavo Heininen has died. In the February 2021 issue of Gramophone, Andrew Mellor gave the following insight into the composer’s life and music, which we are reposting as a tribute. Contemporary composer: Paavo Heininen […]]]>

    The “most uncompromising Finnish composer of his generation” was born on January 13, 1938 and died on January 18, 2021

    Composer Paavo Heininen has died. In the February 2021 issue of Gramophone, Andrew Mellor gave the following insight into the composer’s life and music, which we are reposting as a tribute.

    Contemporary composer: Paavo Heininen

    Swedish composer Anders Eliasson has told a well-worn story of the day in 1993 when he showed up at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, as a visiting professor. The Academy’s composition chair welcomed him with an outstretched hand: “I am Paavo Heininen, modernist.

    Schools and “isms” were already on the way out in the 90s, but even if Heininen knew that, he didn’t care. He is the most uncompromising Finnish composer of his generation and perhaps of the last 70 years (“the most gifted modernist in Finland”, for Gramophone‘s Guy Rickards) – a creator and pedagogue who clings to his serialist ways even when he seems to conceal them.

    Heininen was Aarre Merikanto’s last pupil and reconstructed a number of his former teacher’s self-vandalized or unfinished pieces. In 1993, for example, he wrote a concept piece in his memory: Tuuminki- “An idea…of what might have been Aarre Merikanto’s 3rd Violin Concerto” (a work that Merikanto had destroyed). Anxious to be at the heart of the avant-garde despite Finland’s peripheral geography, Heininen traveled to Cologne to study with Rudolf Petzold and BA Zimmermann before enrolling at the Juilliard School in New York, where he was mainly Persichetti’s pupil. He would later study privately with Lutosawski.

    Sibelius was still breathing when Heininen’s first significant work was introduced in 1957, the neoclassical Piano Sonatina. A watershed moment would come the following year. Continuing a distinguished line, the first performance of Heininen’s Symphony No. 1 was a calamity. The orchestra which gave its premiere refused to play the middle section of the work and only the first and last movements were played.

    The event proved pivotal – traumatic enough for Heininen to contemplate his future, and newsworthy enough for his name to be etched in the consciousness of the new Nordic music scene as that of a enfant terrible. But Heininen would not change direction – as such. On the contrary, he realized that in some works the full implementation of his serial ideas would be more viable and even possible than in others. Two trends of equal importance emerged in his work. In one, he indulged his musical imagination fully and with a rigor that many found abrasive; in the other, he put his technique at the service of chiselled, distilled music, which was appreciated as a simple and beautiful expression of the same rigorous principles.

    The composer’s symphonies perfectly illustrate the difference, oscillating between the two strands. After the appalling inauguration of Symphony No. 1, its 1962 successor aims to please. It was written for a light orchestra, is subtitled Little joyful symphony and has nuances of Martin≤’s wit and Berg’s lyricism (it recalls the latter also in its instrumentation, especially its use of a saxophone). In truth, it probably owes more to Heininen’s time with Persichetti in New York.

    Symphony No 3 (1969, rev 1977) was a rigorously disciplined attempt to force potentially bulky material into simple, tight forms – a challenge for a composer known for his abundance of detail per unit time. In a sense, it embodies the central paradox of Heininen’s entire compositional project: the fertility of his material and the concentration of his spirit. Again, this proved to be technically overwhelming. Only part of the score could have been presented when it was created, and debate still rages as to how many movements even the complete score has. Symphony No. 4 (1971) reacts once again, becoming thinner and simpler. Its two movements bear the title “Sinfonietta” and contain elements of both random technique and sonata form.

    It took Heininen three decades to return to the symphony, but No. 5 (2002) is truly off-putting, as if he had spent all that time trying to get out of it. Its successor, No 6 (2013-15), premiered in 2015, is perhaps the composer’s best attempt to date to invest serial techniques with symphonic momentum. Despite the task at hand, it is not without playfulness.

    If the even-numbered symphonies are full of stress and tension, they tell of Heininen struggling with the challenge of his own self-imposed discipline. Some think its restraints deliver cold, empty music arguing in the corners; GramophoneBoth the deans of Nordic music David Fanning and the late Robert Layton have expressed reservations in these pages about the major works of the composer’s pen. Time and the march of postmodernism have revealed qualities that have long been overlooked. One of them is this very sense of tension, heard most clearly in the Mahlerian edifice for strings Arioso (1967). This piece is a good starting point for newcomers to Heininen and leads naturally to the impressive Adagio … concerto for orchestra in forma di variazioni (1963, rev 1966) – a set of monumental variations in which a huge orchestra plays like a chamber ensemble, a testament to the composer’s meticulous instrumentation.

    The same quality is found in music that is altogether more piquant but with the same chronology (with origins prior to the composer’s 30th birthday), that of the sextet summer music (1963, rev. 1967). Kimmo Korhonen described the play as Heininen’s “closest approach to serialist constructivism” while drawing a helpful comparison to its direct predecessor, Soggetto (1963) for chamber orchestra, in which sound fields and random elements are used (the latter piece was among the composer’s widely acclaimed early successes). Both devices are also in the Adagio and the first piano concerto (1964).

    For a period in the 1970s, serialism in the Nordic countries was frowned upon – seen as going against the goals it had set for itself while going against social democratic principles of inclusiveness and of public value. Heininen’s response was to look into other uncompromising expressions of modernism that could be better understood, using spatial elements, separate sets, and echoing space-time techniques propagated by his kindred spirit Erik Bergman , especially in Tritopos (1977). Not that this completely prevented Heininen from using twelve-tone techniques. In a large assemblage of scores from 1974-75 collected as opus number 32, he included the sprawling piano sonata Sparkling and incandescent poetry, a string quartet and two shorter piano pieces. All, Heininen insisted, were “the same music” (that is, they were built on the same row of notes).

    In the 1980s, Heininen would embrace computer-aided methods and follow his edgy, windswept Piano Concerto No. cello (1983 and 1985 respectively). He will also turn to musical theatre. Silkkirumpu (‘The Damask Drum’, subtitled ‘Concerto for Singers, Players, Words, Images and Movements’; 1981-83) is based on the symbolism of an ancient Japanese Noh piece and is holistically designed as a grand crescendo musical and dramatic; it was followed by the more dramatically conventional and musically typical Veitsi (“The Knife”, 1985-88). The latter won the competition for the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland in 1988 and was performed the following year to celebrate the city’s 350th anniversary.

    Heininen joined the faculty of the Sibelius Academy as a part-time lecturer in 1966; he was appointed full professor in 1993 and remained in the post until 2001. In these two positions he trained a golden generation of Finnish composers, including Jouni Kaipainen, Magnus Lindberg, Veli-Matti Puumala, Kaija Saariaho and Jukka Tiensuu. The individual paths followed by these characters bear witness to the principle that, however rigorously Heininen observed his own rules, he avoided imposing them on others. And yet, he did not abandon them: his last recorded work, the Boston Violin Sonatas (2016), suggests that his dodecaphonic method is fresher than ever.

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    The Miller Theater presents a portrait of composer by Italian LUCA FRANCESCONI in February https://allanpettersson.org/the-miller-theater-presents-a-portrait-of-composer-by-italian-luca-francesconi-in-february/ Fri, 17 Dec 2021 10:48:04 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/the-miller-theater-presents-a-portrait-of-composer-by-italian-luca-francesconi-in-february/ [ad_1] The Miller Theater at Columbia University School of the Arts continues its 2021-22 Portrait of Composers series with Luca Francesconi. The Signal Ensemble, in their first live ensemble concert since COVID, presents two full-scale premieres by the Italian composer whose work Brad Lubman has conducted many times in Europe. The event will take place […]]]>


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    The Miller Theater at Columbia University School of the Arts continues its 2021-22 Portrait of Composers series with Luca Francesconi. The Signal Ensemble, in their first live ensemble concert since COVID, presents two full-scale premieres by the Italian composer whose work Brad Lubman has conducted many times in Europe.

    The event will take place on Thursday, February 3 at 8:00 p.m. at the Miller Theater (2960 Broadway, 116th Street).

    Tickets start at $ 20 ($ 10 for students with valid ID).

    Luca Francesconi, born in Milan, studied piano at the Milan Conservatory and composition with Azio Corghi, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Luciano Berio. He also spent a period in Boston studying jazz. He was Berio’s assistant from 1981 to 1984. In 1990 he founded Agon Acustica Informatica Musica, a center for music research and production in Milan.

    Francesconi has written over a hundred works – ranging from solo to large orchestral pieces, from opera to multimedia – and commissioned and performed around the world. He regularly collaborates with leading conductors, soloists and ensembles. He has composed five radio operas and several musical theater works including Ballata (La Monnaie, Brussels); Gesualdo considered a murderer for the Holland Festival; Quartet (2011) based on a play by Heiner Müller, commissioned by Teatro alla Scala / Wiener Festwochen (directed by Àlex Ollé / Fura dels Baus, conducted by Susanna Mälkki). Quartett has been performed over 80 times since its inception all over the world. His most recent opera is Trompe-la-Mort (after Balzac). It was staged at the Opéra National de Paris in 2017 (directed by Guy Cassiers, conducted by Susanna Mällki).

    Works in its extensive catalog include: Etymo for soprano, live electronics and chamber orchestra (CD Kairos with the Ensemble intercontemporain and Barbara Hannigan); Wanderer for large orchestra commissioned by Filarmonica della Scala and conducted by Riccardo Muti; Cobalt, Scarlet commissioned by Mariss Jansson for the Oslo Philharmonic and performed frequently by orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Orchester philharmonique de Radio France, the Göteborgs Symfoniker, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; Hard Pace, a trumpet concerto for HÃ¥kan Hardenberger commissioned by the Orchester dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under the direction of Antonio Pappano, with ZaterdagMatinee Concertgebouw, Göteborgs Symfoniker, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and MITO SettembreMusica; Unexpected End of Formula, a cello concerto commissioned and performed by the Musikfabrik Ensemble in Cologne and dedicated to Helmut Lachenmann.

    In recent years Francesconi has written: Duende, The Dark Notes (2013), a violin concerto for Leila Josefowicz commissioned by the Swedish Radio Orchestra, the BBC Proms, the RAI National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Susanna Mällki ; Piano Concerto (2013) for Nicolas Hodges commissioned by Casa da Música (Porto); Dentro non ha tempo (2014), a piece for orchestra commissioned by the Teatro alla Scala and performed by Esa-Pekka Salonen; Vertical Invader (2015) written for the reed quintet Calefax and the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest and premiered at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; Macchine in echo (2015), a concerto for GrauSchumacher Piano Duo commissioned by WDR, Musica and the Wiener Konzerthaus / Ernst von Siemens Foundation, and premiered in Cologne; and Bread, Water and Salt (2015) for choir and orchestra inspired by Nelson Mandela, co-commissioned by the Accademia di Santa Cecilia and Radio France and premiered in Rome under the direction of Antonio Pappano. Daedalus (2017) for flute and ensemble was commissioned by the Daniel Barenboim Foundation with a world premiere (Boulez Saal, Berlin) performed by Emmanuel Pahud and the Ensemble Boulez under the direction of Daniel Barenboim (January 2018). Das Ding singt, a concerto for cello and orchestra, was commissioned by the Lucerne Festival and written for Jay Campbell under the direction of Matthias Pintcher (2017). We Wept, for mezzo-soprano and ensemble, was written for the London Sinfonietta conducted by George Benjamin (2018). Trauma Études was written for Ensemble Signal and premiered in Washington DC under the direction of Brad Lubman (2019). Zero Formula, his recent work for electric guitar and orchestra premiered by the Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa in Lisbon (2019), with conductor Pedro Amaral and soloist Ruben Mattia Santorsa. Future projects include Timon of Athens, an opera for the Bayerische Staatsoper and a violin concerto for Patricia Kopatchinskaja.

    Francesconi is also an active conductor and has taught master classes and at conservatories around the world for 30 years. He was musical director of the Venice Biennale (2008-2011) and artistic director of the Ultima Oslo Contemporary Festival (2011). In 2012, he was professor in residence at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and professor in residence and featured composer at the new IRCAM event in Paris, acanthes @ ircam. In 2013, he was composer in residence at the Casa da Música in Porto.

    In 2018, Francesconi received two grand prizes: the Antonio Feltrinelli Prize for Musical Composition and the Italics Prize for the opera Trompe-la-Mort.

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    The subversive power of encore according to violinist Pekka Kuusisto | News https://allanpettersson.org/the-subversive-power-of-encore-according-to-violinist-pekka-kuusisto-news/ Tue, 07 Dec 2021 08:00:00 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/the-subversive-power-of-encore-according-to-violinist-pekka-kuusisto-news/ The following excerpt is from the May issue of The Strad on soloists’ changing approach to encores. To read it in its entirety, click here to subscribe and log in. The month of May 2021 digital magazine and print edition are on sale now Kuusisto’s most famous encore came at the 2016 BBC Prom with […]]]>

    The following excerpt is from the May issue of The Strad on soloists’ changing approach to encores. To read it in its entirety, click here to subscribe and log in. The month of May 2021 digital magazine and print edition are on sale now

    Kuusisto’s most famous encore came at the 2016 BBC Prom with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, when he caused a stir by playing and singing a Finnish folk song as a duet with concertmaster Laura Samuel and enlisting the whole crowd. audience of the Proms as singers. “I think an orchestra and a conductor will always be happy if the soloist chooses an encore that becomes part of the whole concert,” he begins. “The 2016 encore got a little larger than life, but its original context was tied to Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto I had just played, the finale of which contains elements of traditional Russian music. Tchaikovsky spent quite a bit of time in Saint Petersburg, which is the main Russian city closest to Finland. So the folk song I chose comes from Karelia, a border region between Finland and Russia. Then, after the intermission, the orchestra played Petrushka by Stravinsky, which is of course a mish-mash of traditional Russian music and other traditional music.

    Read Encores: Time to Shine

    Reading Bach should only be played as an encore in special circumstances, says violinist Arabella Steinbacher

    Read ‘There is a musical skill that dies during difficult passages’ – Joshua Bell

    Indeed, one of the joys of folk songs for Kuusisto is that there is one for any contemporary situation. “I hesitate to travel to mainland China because I have been really shocked many times by the Chinese government’s position on a number of issues,” he continues. ‘But I was booked to go back a few years ago when Falun Gong people were being persecuted. It turns out that Falun is also a city in Sweden with a strong folk music tradition. A Swedish word for marching is gång, and there’s a style of traditional song in marching tempo they call it – and, coincidentally, Falun has a lot of those, so I was all set to go to China and to play Falun gånglåt as an encore and be thrown in jail, or at least out of the country! But the trip was canceled.

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    Virtuoso violinist commands the stage with marvelous artistry on WSO debut https://allanpettersson.org/virtuoso-violinist-commands-the-stage-with-marvelous-artistry-on-wso-debut/ Sun, 05 Dec 2021 08:00:00 +0000 https://allanpettersson.org/virtuoso-violinist-commands-the-stage-with-marvelous-artistry-on-wso-debut/ [ad_1] Local music fans fell head over heels for Canadian violinist Blake Pouliot on his debut with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on Saturday night and judging by the palpable connection between the Toronto-born, Los Angeles-based artist and his 932 listeners, it became love at first sight. WSO’s last (B) eyond Classics concert conducted by Daniel […]]]>


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    Local music fans fell head over heels for Canadian violinist Blake Pouliot on his debut with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on Saturday night and judging by the palpable connection between the Toronto-born, Los Angeles-based artist and his 932 listeners, it became love at first sight.

    WSO’s last (B) eyond Classics concert conducted by Daniel Raiskin featured the 27-year-old dynamo in Samuel Barber’s sole Violin Concerto, heard for the last time on this stage in 2017 and also notably marking Pouliot’s first visit to our beautiful province.

    Hailed as “one of those special talents that only comes once in a lifetime” (Toronto Star), the Juno-nominated musician and alumnus of the prestigious Colburn School in Los Angeles who made his orchestral debut at the age of 11 has carved out an impressive solo career, notably with performances with greats orchestras in North America and Europe.

    In addition to his virtuoso technique, the soloist’s total freedom and ease often evoke the fascinating artistry of a young Joshua Bell; underpinning his musical creation with fierce conviction and a completely authentic artistic voice. His passion has allowed him to leave nothing on stage, including delivering a captivating game at full throttle. Presto on a perpetual motorbike finale driven by lightning-fast triplets and played like a flaming banshee on his 1729 Guarneri del Gesu violin, on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank.

    Beyond his dazzling pyrotechnics, Pouliot also demonstrated his artistic mastery during the first two movements, knowing exactly what he meant during the opening “Allegro” with its long arch, its carefully sculpted thematic material, delivered with delight, a perfectly mastered and resonant bow. He then projected his mid-range melodic lines during the more introspective “Andante” as the beating heart of the contemporary work – and notably only his second performance of the work with orchestra since his first performance with the Symphony Orchestra. of Quebec in September 2020.

    As expected, the crowd sprang to their feet with a request for three encore for the beaming fiddler, leading to a recall of his own Celtic-inspired arrangement of The last rose of summer, written during a quarantine created by COVID that hinted at more original works to come from this rising international star. We hope he will return at this point – and soon.

    This season has already featured several lesser-known works reflecting today’s push for more inclusive and culturally diverse programming, and this latest bill was no exception. British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s WSO debut Overture of the Song of Hiawatha offered an unabashedly romantic crowd pleaser written by the late 19th-century artist often hailed as the “Black Mahler,” teeming with radical lyricism and remarkable cinematic sensibility light years before the advent of the movie.

    The evening ended with Czech composer Dvorak Symphony No.9, From the New World, written in 1892 during the composer’s stay in the United States, premiered by the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall in December 1893, and last heard on that stage in 2014.

    Kudos to Principal English Horn Robin MacMillan for his soul-stirring plaintive solo, which nevertheless could have had more time to breathe during the “Largo”; its lyrical melody later turned into a spiritual song Go home by one of Dvorak’s students continuing to inspire and console generations through the ages.

    Despite Raiskin’s sensitive and often very lively direction, the overall performance was admittedly patchy, from an oddly hesitant initial opening by the bass strings during the “Adagio” section of the first movement – which thankfully finally found its place – with some rogue horn notes. askew. The brass, sometimes too zealous during the same movement, redeemed themselves later with their loud and proud “Scherzo” theme, now larger, before a fiery finale “Allegro con fuoco” led to the second ovation of the night for this ever-popular original bohemian rhapsody.

    For more information, including tickets to the show online, visit wso.ca

    holly.harris@shaw.ca

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