Mozart died penniless and dejected. Don’t make his mistake! The semester is still young!
If you have a spare 30 minutes (because in this day and age 30 minutes of extra time is easy to come by), you may want to check out this concerto for cello, by Michel van der Aa, a dutch composer who was the recipient of the 2013 University of Louisville Grawemeyer award. Titled ‘Up Close’, this piece could be considered more of a film opera than a concerto. That being said, it is imperative that you watch the accompanying video along with listening to the music.
Feel free to share your comments below. Maybe we can get an interesting discussion going!
Q2 Music, the contemporary music radio station associated with New York Public Radio, is celebrating the 61st birthday of John Zorn with a 24-hour marathon of his music tomorrow (Friday, September 5). This is actually a rebroadcast of their 60th birthday celebration from last September, but in case you’d like to listen to some great music and support a wonderful radio station, check out the website where you can stream it here:
Zorn is the host, so you will also get to hear commentary from the composer about his works!
Our new album, Statements, featuring all music of MSU composers, is now available online and in print. The first run of 1,000 copies is circulating among members of the studio, and can be obtained free of charge. Special thanks to Mark Sullivan for the photographs, Philip Rice for the jacket design, and Justin Rito for heading up the whole operation. The full album can be heard online and downloaded for free via Bandcamp.
The Forty Part Motet (2001), a sound installation by Janet Cardiff (Canadian, born 1957), was the first presentation of contemporary art at The Cloisters. Regarded as the artist’s masterwork, and consisting of forty high-fidelity speakers positioned on stands in a large oval configuration throughout the Fuentidueña Chapel, the fourteen-minute work, with a three-minute spoken interlude, continuously played an eleven-minute reworking of the forty-part motet Spem in alium numquam habui (1556?/1573?) by Tudor composer Thomas Tallis (ca. 1505–1585). Spem in alium, which translates as “In No Other Is My Hope,” is perhaps Tallis’s most famous composition. Visitors were encouraged to walk among the loudspeakers and hear the individual unaccompanied voices—bass, baritone, alto, tenor, and child soprano—one part per speaker—as well as the polyphonic choral effect of the combined singers in an immersive experience. The Forty Part Motet is most often presented in a neutral gallery setting, but in this case the setting was the Cloisters’ Fuentidueña Chapel, which features the late twelfth-century apse from the church of San Martín at Fuentidueña, near Segovia, Spain, on permanent loan from the Spanish Government. Set within a churchlike gallery space, and with superb acoustics, it has for more than fifty years proved a fine venue for concerts of early music.
Of the work, Cardiff says,
“While listening to a concert you are normally seated in front of the choir, in traditional audience position. With this piece I want the audience to be able to experience a piece of music from the viewpoint of the singers. Every performer hears a unique mix of the piece of music. Enabling the audience to move throughout the space allows them to be intimately connected with the voices. It also reveals the piece of music as a changing construct. As well I am interested in how sound may physically construct a space in a sculptural way and how a viewer may choose a path through this physical yet virtual space. I placed the speakers around the room in an oval so that the listener would be able to really feel the sculptural construction of the piece by Tallis. You can hear the sound move from one choir to another, jumping back and forth, echoing each other and then experience the overwhelming feeling as the sound waves hit you when all of the singers are singing.”