Archives for the Month of February 2008 on Jeffrey Quick's Blog

Kyle Gann's Longyear lecture

One night in New York City after a concert I was having a drink with my fellow composer Larry Polansky. He was talking about the musicological and restorative work he was doing on music by Johanna Beyer and Harry Partch, I spoke of my analytical writings on the music of Conlon Nancarrow and Mikel Rouse. Finally, Larry said, "Composers are now doing the work that musicologists used to do, while the musicologists are all off doing gender studies."

It just gets better from there: some very perceptive comments about the relationship between modern composers and musicologists.

Cleveland Composers Guild Sunday 2/24

We interrupt our regularly scheduled discussion of dead Italian-American male composers to bring you this special announcement about a live composer event.

Sunday, February 24, 2008, 3PM
Pilgrim Congregational Church, 2592 W. 14th St., Tremont (Cleveland)

Auerbach-Brown: Album I (fl,cl,vl,vc,perc,synth)
Rollin: Seascapes (ob, trp)
Chobanian: Divertimento (6 vc.)
Lissauer: Portrait, Op. 33 "New York in September"
Houghton: In the Dunes (piano)
O'Connell: The Beautiful Changes and A Song (soprano, fl, hp, vibraphone, vc)

Performed by All Kinds of Extremely Competent Local Freelancers.

Be there or be square.

Flagello, revisited

Awhile ago, I made a offhand comment about the music of Nicolas Flagello, saying that what I'd heard had been "pug ugly." John McLaughlin Williams (conductor of the recording under consideration) posted a comment. John is too much the gentleman to say, "Quick, you're full of crap", but in fact I was full of crap, and he challenged me to listen again. That's understandable; John has done as much for Flagello's music as anyone since Paul Kapp (which is not to slight David Amos or others, but an objective evaluation), so such a dismissal could be taken personally as "Why are you wasting time with this guy?" (No, I don't believe John took it that way.)

Continue reading "Flagello, revisited"

New stuff

That cello piece for Eden Raiz on 4/27 is done. Seeker Variations is 4:20 long. I've also made a version for euphonium, a half step higher.

Over the weekend I finished my setting of Super flumina Babylonis, in 4 parts (3 men, 1 women...or take it up a little with altos on the 2nd line). It's in 2 partes (breaking after "highest joy") and is 5:00 long. It's in Phrygian with flatward tendencies. If Josquin had been a student of Gesualdo, it would sound a little like this. For a motet, it's a good madrigal.

Arnold Rosner on Naxos

I checked the new releases on Naxos Music Online this morning and was very pleased to see that they have released a recording of Arnold Rosner's Symphony No. 5, Op. 57, "Missa sine Cantoribus super Salve Regina", performed by the Ukraine National Radio Symphony Orchestra with Cleveland's own John McLaughlin Williams conducting. I only had a chance to hear half of it before opening the library, but first impression was that it was the best performance of a Rosner orchestral work that I've heard. The Altoona and Owensboro orchestras, appreciated as their efforts are, are no match for the UNRS, and I've long been an admirer of John's work. It's a gorgeous work, all Rosner. For those who don't know what that is, in this case I'd describe it as the intersection of Edmund Rubbra and Alan Hovhaness. I'll probably have more to say about this when I have my own copy and can give it the attention it deserves. Meanwhile, my congratulations to Arnold.

The fillup is Nicolas Flagello's Missa Sinfonica, which I haven't heard yet. There's been a movement to canonize Flagello as a martyr for the neoromantic cause (the instrument of martyrdom being alcohol). The problem here is that even though Flagello's rhetoric is romantic, the music I've heard is pug ugly. I would expect an orchestral "Missa" to be far less so, so I'm looking forward to giving the guy another chance.

UPDATE 2/4: I congratulated Arnold, and he says HE'S the fill-up. And the Flagello is NOT pug-ugly; it's pretty damn good. I must have heard some late stuff.