Friday, January 1, 2010

Walt Whitman's A Jubilant Song describes "the joy of my spirit - it is uncaged - it darts like lightning!", and Norman Dello Joio's 1945 setting of this text for chorus and piano furnishes an exciting and challenging outing for any chorus. With its frequent time changes, syncopations, and pantonal harmonies the work is an excellent exponent of the mid-century Americana style. Watch a performance by The Festival Singers of Florida directed by Dr. Kevin Fenton . . . one of this week's FEATURED NEW MUSIC VIDEOS.

Ann Southam is one of Canada's first prominent women composers. When she came of age as a composer, in the 1960s, it was comparatively uncommon for women to be recognized in the field of music composition. She was on the vanguard of a generation that profoundly and positively changed the landscape and social mechanics of contemporary Canadian music. Southam, an avowed feminist, proudly - and even provocatively - incorporated this change in her music. Eve Egoyan and Gayle Young observe that for Southam, ". . . there is a close connection between composing for or playing the piano and other forms of work done by hand, such as weaving, that reflect the nature of traditional women's work - repetitive, life-sustaining, requiring time and patience. But through it all, runs a thread of questioning." Hear the composer talk about her life and work as part of the Canadian Music Centre's The Composer's Chair series . . . this week's COMPOSER PORTRAIT.

In our current Pytheas THOUGHT & IDEA composer Tan Dun and Brett Campbell (of discuss the importance of ritual and theater in musical performance -- and just how H2O became central to his work. Have a read at Tan Dun Talks on Water.

Krzysztof Penderecki's style has changed over the years and in many ways his later works appear more conventional. An overview of his choral works reveals three distinct periods: the earliest works embody a style of tone clusters, sighs and whispers. The material is all evanescence, textures and hints of motifs. Works from the 1980s (a second period) all seem to emphasise the importance of texture and contrast, but a neo-renaissance polyphony takes the place of the sighs and whispers, though clusters remain important. This neo-renaissance style takes polyphonic outlines but mixes them with a more modern harmonic language, making the pieces more angular and less comfortable. Finally, in his most recent works, Penderecki's style approaches the most conventional, having traditional outlines and sounding like a folk-song arrangement. His Credo (1998) fits this last period. Hear a performance FROM THE PYTHEAS ARCHIVES by Student´s Choir of Licenciatura en Dirección Coral of Universidad de los Andes directed by Hector Moy.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment