Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Beyond the meaning, inherent rhythm, or accent patterns of the text, for this piece I was interested in the semi-random arrangements of sounds, coming and going, returning or being abandoned for a while, that show up in any text. (In general, I like these semi-random processes, that are the result of systems and mechanisms, but as by-products, not as their main point; think of the random motions inside a typewriter, ... or, for that matter, those inside a piano.)
So, for example, the first line of the poem: Aquel que al verme, has sounds a-k-e-l-k-e-a-l. Only four sounds. "k" always followed by "e", "a" and "l" as appendices. Imagine "a" as an introduction to a statement ("k-e"), after which a rebound ("l") fades out. Then a pause, and according to the text the statement is then re-stated ("que"), and the other motives close off ("al"). A non-trivial unit of discourse!
And then the poem continues, after "verme" (variations on the k-e theme, with the predominance of the "e" motive), with "supuso mi paso". This is a whole new soundworld: the s-p-s interplay takes over, the e has disappeared for a little.
This is the kind of process I wanted for the piece. I had some texts in mind, that I've wanted to set to new works for a while, but somehow they didn't fit this idea as much. They were either too long (imagine a long poem set with every letter being a motive), or too meaningful, so that the references of its meaning would be too weighty to allow my very autonomous handling.
So I called my brother, who knows a lot about poetry. Who, what period, should I look into? As I was trying to explain what I needed, he offered several suggestions, but each had something that didn't appeal to me. Little by little we defined what it was I was looking for, and when he thought he had understood---wanting to confirm---he said: "oh, something like 'aquel que al verme...'"
---Yes, yes, something like that, let me see, let's write it down... Wow, this works, and, here, this is great, wow! What was it? "no supo", or "ignoraba"?
---Oh, it was "ignoraba", but "no supo" makes more sense, with the reference to "supuso"
And so on. After that conversation I knew the piece was coming along.
An update: today I finished the score of the "Festive Fugue" for Ryan Ross. I look forward to this!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I'm writing two pieces for the festival, one each for co-directors Jordan and Ryan. I'll be sharing the instrumentation of the rest of their programs: one of the pieces goes with Le Marteau (wow, I'd be excited even just to get to hear this live!), and therefore I am writing for mezzo, guitar, flute, viola, and three percussionists... the other one is for a larger ensemble, namely the 'orchestra' of Kurt Weil's violin concerto (ditto about hearing this).
So, two pretty different pieces. The chamber wind ensemble (the piece for Ryan) is a 'festive fugue'. Upbeat, fun, a little flashy... I'll be done with it very soon. The other one is one of those things... I have thinking about it for months, and each step is a major effort.
I was just working on it, and made a big step. Feeling a little drained for the day, I decided to start my posts on this blog. First time I do something like this (talk, let alone write, much less blog, about a piece I'm writing), but it adds to the excitement.
So for today I'll leave you guys with the text of the piece. It's by my brother, who has written some wonderful texts in the past (one of them I already set to music). I'll tell you how I (we) got to this text in a future entry. But here it goes:
Aquel que al verme
supuso mi paso muy firme
y al irme
me auguró ventura,
no supo que yo a esas alturas
tornaba y no iba del alba al ocaso
(Nicolás García De Castro, Colombia, 2000)
It's dense in meaning (each word meaning several different things) so it's been hard to translate. This is my current version:
He who in seeing me
took my step for quite firm,
and as I left
bid me good fortune,
did not know, by that point,
that I turned, did not go, from dawn to sunset.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
The Dallas Festival of Modern Music is proud to present, from the University of North Texas College of Music: NOVA, the nationally recognized new music ensemble. This concert will take place in Dallas on Monday, November 8.
Nova is the new music ensemble of the University of North Texas. Nova’s mission is to provide students and audiences with an engaging diversity of musical, aesthetic, and cultural experiences. Repertoire includes classics of the modern era alongside music by younger and less familiar composers. Nova provides students with the opportunity to perform fresh and exciting contemporary works. Collaborations with faculty and guest composers give students insight into the process of creating new music.
Recent performances have included music of Elliott Carter, David Lang, Frederic Rzewski, Steven Stucky, Giacinto Scelsi, Nick Didkovsky, Libby Larsen, Judith Shatin, James Tenney, Isang Yun, Christian Wolff, John Cage, Stefan Wolpe, and Charles Ives. Nova has recently collaborated with guest composers Augusta Read Thomas, Mario Davidovsky, and Dexter Morrill, as well as UNT faculty and student composers.
The ensemble’s instrumentation varies by semester. Projects each term include solo, chamber, and large ensemble works. Faculty and guest performers often join the ensemble, further enhancing students’ understanding of contemporary performance issues.
NOVA is lead by distinguished flutist and interpreter of contemporary music, ensemble director Elizabeth McNutt.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Tickets for the New Yorker Festival are now on sale. I have two events in the mix: an evening of conversation and music with a promising young cellist named Yo-Yo Ma, on Saturday, Oct. 2, at 7PM; and an audio-driven lecture entitled "Chacona, Lamento, Walking Blues," on Sunday, Oct. 3, at 4PM.
Read the rest: http://ow.ly/18X8jP
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Read more at http://ow.ly/2wt27
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Read more at http://ow.ly/2sFRg
Friday, August 20, 2010
For centuries, the most well-known transformations of public space have been massive, expensive architectural interventions. The High Line in Manhattan is just one of the most recent examples. In the 1980’s William Whyte highlighted the success and failures of public spaces in New York in his study, The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. Whyte pointed the way towards a viable, low-cost, high-impact alternative way to revitalize public space that did not rely only on design.
To read more, go to http://ow.ly/2sFPk
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
SAN JUAN BAUTISTA -- The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music wrapped up here Sunday with a formidable program in the historic Mission. The place was redolent of frankincense -- Latin Mass had ended only an hour before the music began -- and the festival orchestra played like a bunch of sharpshooters under the baton of Marin Alsop...
Monday, August 16, 2010
Was there a hint of concern in his statement? Perhaps. For the 21st season of the Bard Music Festival, which started on Friday, Mr. Botstein and his collaborators are focusing on the life and times of the 20th-century Viennese composer Alban Berg.
Read more at http://ow.ly/2qvw1
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Read the rest - NYTimes.com http://ow.ly/2bJmy
Friday, July 16, 2010
Read the rest - http://ow.ly/2cqKb
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Hang on folks, we're only days away from significant changes to the site. If you want a sneak peak, visit us here, but BE WARNED. The site is under massive construction and may have a few things out of place.
To give you a little taste, this upcoming season’s highlights include:
· Ars Nova Dallas performances of Kurt Weill’s Violin Concerto, with violinist John Gilbert, and Boulez’s Le Marteau sans Maître
· World premieres from the pen of Columbian composer Federico Garcia
· Guest artist Jeffrey Vickers
· Thousands of children involved with Musicalive!
Mark your calendars for November 5-14th and check back soon for more details!