Month: August 2011

Waiting for summer, his pastures to change

Discursive:

The 2011 Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, part 1.
NewMusicBox, August 8, 2011.

Concise:

The 2011 Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, part 2.
Boston Globe, August 9, 2011.

Writing these round-up reviews for the Globe is always a dance between enthusiasm—it’s a great platform for saying things about works that deserve to have things said about them—and frustration: given the space limitations, there’s simply no way you can mention every piece. For a variety of reasons, these pieces were left on the cutting room floor:

  • Eve Belgarian’s Robin Redbreast, which sets a Stanley Kunitz poem in an almost distractingly mannered recitative (here sung by tenor Martin Bakari), but backs it up with a combination of hollow, chirping piccolo (Henrik Heide) and electronically-altered birdsong that was very, very cool;
  • Richard Festinger’s Peripeteia, a running-note divertimento for clarinet (Danny Goldman, who was quite good), violin (Wang Fang Wong), and cello (Marybeth-Brown Plambeck), music that, despite some mid-piece longueurs, was remarkably successful at pinning improvisatory fluidity to the notated page;
  • Jonathan Keren’s Multiscala, combining a mandolin part of familiar-yet-unfamiliar extended strumming techniques (played by Avi Avital) with a string trio (Johanna Gosshans, Daniel Getz, and Jeremy Lamb), running quick-fire variations, like turning some exotic artifact over and over in one’s hands; and
  • Bernard Rands’ Tre Espressioni, the festival’s oldest piece (1960), played by Ursula Oppens on her Sunday recital, and, indeed, expressionistic, aphoristic slabs of demonstrative old-school modernism.

Further reading: Jeremy Eichler, Allan Kozinn (1, 2), Andrew Pincus (1, 2).