Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sofia Gubaidulina's Viola Concerto (1996) is the Featured New Music Video this week at Pytheas. Raymond Tuttle writes, "Gubaidulina is the greatest Russian composer at work today – the greatest since Shostakovich. Any new work from her is a major event, and the Viola Concerto is not a disappointment. The concerto's opening, with the soloist's insistence on the notes D and Eb, almost literally invokes the name of Dmitri Shostakovich, a formative influence on Gubaidulina. The violist and the orchestra share the concerto's sound-world with a string quartet, tuned a quarter-tone lower; a darker "second dimension" in the words of the composer. Here again, the violist travels between and mediates for the two ensembles. The concerto's tone is dark and oppressive, but Gubaidulina's need to communicate with her listeners is unmistakable. She demands their uttermost concentration, but those who make the effort are rewarded by being taken on an emotional journey whose aftereffects are long-lasting and deep".

Pulitzer Prize winning composer Paul Moravec has written more than a hundred orchestral, chamber, choral, lyric, film, and operatic works. His music has earned numerous other distinctions, including the Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome, as well as many prestigious commissions. In many ways, Moravec's work builds upon "The Great Tradition" of Western Europe, reconfiguring some of its bedrock gestures into an aesthetic that is thoroughly of our day. Dubbed a New Tonalist by critic Terry Teachout, Moravec writes with depth but does so with a light touch. He draws on craftsmanship so virtuosic it seems easy. All this adds up to a composer who is simultaneously learned and accessible, tradition-based and imaginative, profound and a heck of a lot of fun. In an era when pundits worry over the fate of the concert world as a whole, Moravec's music-and its deep-down integrity-speak of confidence and hope. Listen to Moravec talk about his life and music in this week's Composer Portrait.

This week's Pytheas Earful brings us music from Massachusetts based composer Dean Rosenthal. Featured are his Songs from the Japanese (2000) for soprano and violin.

FROM THE PYTHEAS ARCHIVES brings Julian Bream's soulful and compelling performance of Manuel de Falla's Homage: The Tomb of Debussy (1920).

Explore, Listen and Enjoy!
Vinny Fuerst

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