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I sure like the setting for this but would I enjoy the music? Regards, Len
The Philharmonic Takes New Music Beyond Geffen Hall
By Anthony Tommasini
Oct. 9, 2018
Jaap van Zweden, the New York Philharmonic’s new music director, has promised to champion contemporary music. He may have dropped the orchestra’s new music-minded series Contact, but he offered two to replace it: Nightcap and Sound On.
Each is meant to offer intimate immersions into the music, personality and thinking of living composers featured on Philharmonic programs. But how do they differ?
Nightcap kicked off recently with an informal, hourlong program at the Kaplan Penthouse featuring the 24-year-old composer and pianist Conrad Tao, whose ambitious orchestral work “Everything Must Go” had received its premiere by the Philharmonic earlier the previous day. And on Sunday afternoon, the first installment of Sound On — titled “Going Dutch,” part of the Philharmonic’s celebration of the Dutch composer Louis Andriessen — was presented at the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Both share the same mission, but differ in atmosphere: While Nightcap had a cabaret feel, Sound On had the trappings of a jazz club performance.
Three days before Sound On, as part of the Philharmonic’s festival “The Art of Andriessen,” Mr. van Zweden had led the premiere of Mr. Andriessen’s 20-minute, frenetically inventive tone poem “Agamemnon.” The follow-up at the Appel Room presented the orchestra’s musicians playing solo and chamber works by Mr. Andriessen, 79, and by two composers he mentored in the Netherlands.
The program, engagingly hosted by Nadia Sirota, began with the elegant pianist Eric Huebner playing Mr. Andriessen’s “Image de Moreau” for solo piano, music that unfolded with oscillating chords between the left and right hands, producing milky textures and tart harmonies. Mr. Huebner and the violinist Quan Ge then played Martijn Padding’s “Mordants,” an agitated, rhapsodic duo titled for the musical ornament (a three-note squiggle) that this sputtering, skittish piece explores obsessively.
Vanessa Lann’s “The Key to the Fourteenth Vision” for solo violin (also featuring Ms. Ge) was like a percolating, modernist homage to the Paganini caprices. I especially liked Mr. Andriessen’s “Hout” (1991) for electric guitar, tenor saxophone, marimba and piano. During most of this piece, alive with feisty streams of 16th notes, the music is written as an intricate, racing contrapuntal canon.
The program ended with Mr. van Zweden leading 12 Philharmonic string players in Mr. Andriessen’s Symphony for Open Strings (1978), which explores the composer’s fascination with the “open” sound of strings (that is, played with the bow alone, not using left-hand fingers to stop the string and alter the pitch). Here, each instrument is specially tuned so that, together, the ensemble can play all 12 chromatic pitches over a four-octave span. During passages of this mercurial, mostly subdued piece, the music shifted from sustained, focused and elemental sonorities, to passages of swaying rhythmic figures and collective bursts of fidgety lines.
On Monday night, the Andriessen celebration continued at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, where the impressive and courageous violinist Monica Germino gave the American premiere of “Muted,” a 40-minute, musical-theatrical work written for her by four composers: Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe and Mr. Andriessen.
Ms. Germino was a champion of contemporary music, including experimental works with percussion and electronics, when, a few years ago, she was diagnosed with a hearing condition that rendered her extremely sensitive to sound. She must avoid exposure to high volume of any kind.
“Muted” was the response of four composer colleagues. The piece involves very soft sounds played on an array of violins, from traditional to experimental, and used various standard mutes (brass pieces fitted on the bridge of the instrument to muffle sound). During parts of ”Muted,” Ms. Germino also sang or spoke fanciful texts by Don Marquis and moved around a central, light-projecting circular tower of aluminum rings (designed by Floriaan Ganzevoort).
While wistful, the music shifts through moods and styles that alternately suggest tender folk songs, gently swaying dances, bursts of hushed busyness, bluesy melodies, even twangy hints of hoedown. “Muted” may be the quietest piece ever written for violin, but it was riveting in this intimately powerful performance.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/09/arts ... htcap.html
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