Friday, January 15, 2010

Earl Kim's song cycle Now and Then (1981), for soprano, flute, harp and viola, is a terse meditation on the fragility of life. The composer writes: "The texts - by Beckett, Chekhov, and Yeats - which I finally settled on cover a range of poetic images dealing with the death of friends, the innocence and vulnerability of daffodils, the loneliness of one's final moment, and Chekhov's prophetic image of an earth which for thousands of years has borne no living creature." Hear a performance of Roundelay from Now and Then ... this week's Pytheas Earful.

David Hurwitz of Classics Today writes, "In case you haven't heard, Nikolai Kapustin writes jazz in classical forms. In other words it's all notated, but stylistically it's also the real deal. He has completely internalized the idiom in the same way that Bartók did Eastern European folk music, and the result betrays no trace of "hybridism" or incompatibility of structure and content. This shouldn't really come as a surprise. Kapustin was trained in the great Russian piano tradition, and the American jazz line is really the only other independent school of equally virtuosic keyboard playing/composition that has arisen since. Whether we're talking about Art Tatum or Scriabin, Medtner or Oscar Peterson, Rachmaninov or Gershwin, Kapustin knows them all and his own music shows it." ... check it out at our FEATURED RECORDING at Pytheas.

"The success of Jane Austen on the silver screen has led to a sudden outpouring of movies based on classic literature. The flood includes new features from the works of William Shakespeare, Henry James, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and Henry James. Suddenly, all the novels we were forced to read in high school and college English classes are being filmed. In "Portrait of a Lady", the first motion picture adaptation of James' beloved classic, director Jane Campion presents a stark contrast to the light-and-sunny Jane Austen movies. Although it examines some of the same issues as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma, the perspective is much darker. Those expecting a light romance from Portrait of a Lady are in for a rude awakening". (James Berardinelli, Reel Reviews). Renowned film composer Wojciech Kilar has scored the film with brooding and luscious music. Hear and watch and excerpt entitled The Kiss (our apologies for the Italian dialog dubbing!) . . . this week's PYTHEAS SIGHTING.

Deborah Lohse's dance piece Monogrammed (2008) (with music by David Lang) features 14 dancers in a three-part work that deals with materialism, grief and lots of flour. Monogrammed asks the question, "What would you give up in order to bring back the one you love?", and contrasts rapid-fire text with movement that suspends time. In this week's FROM THE PYTHEAS ARCHIVES, the ad hoc Ballet company continues its exploration of the evocative place where classical dance collides with the avant-garde.

Explore, Listen and Enjoy!
Vinny Fuerst
Pytheas Center for Contemporary Music

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