Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Here, in a nutshell," Carl Nielsen wrote, "is what I demand of all art: opposing forces which meet and glow, appearing one but remaining two, embracing and caressing like rippling water over pebbles, yet never actually touching and breaking the delicate interplay." That is the spirit of his Flute Concerto of 1926. Watch a performance of this often joyous work by flutist Ulla Miilmann . . . one of this week's FEATURED NEW MUSIC VIDEOS.

Stephen Paulus is one of America’s most talented composers, having achieved notable success with performances of operas as well as works for orchestra, chorus, chamber ensembles and piano. As a composer for the stage, he has been most closely associated with the Opera Theater of St. Louis, which commissioned and premiered The Village Singer (1979), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1982, based on James M. Cain’s novel) and The Woodlanders (1985, after Thomas Hardy). He has received commissions from such noted ensembles as the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Cleveland Quartet. He was a co-founder in 1973 of the Minnesota Composers Forum, and is also a member of the Board of Directors of ASCAP and co-founder and a current Board Vice President of the American Composers Forum, the largest composer service organization in the world. Hear him talk about his life and works with Alison Young of Minnesota Public Radio . . . our current COMPOSER PORTRAIT at Pytheas.

German born Hans Zimmer has composed music for over 100 films, including such Hollywood blockbusters as the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Gladiator, The Lion King, The Dark Knight and most recently Sherlock Holmes. Notable in his work is his integration of electronic music sounds with traditional orchestral arrangements. Hear part of his score for director Ron Howard's The Da Vinci Code (2006) . . . this week's PYTHEAS SIGHTING.

According to composer Michael Colgrass, Old Churches (2000) was one of the most challenging pieces he can remember writing. His goal was to create music that was interesting, expressive and demanding, yet playable by students in the early stages of performing on their instruments and who are also unfamiliar with modern music techniques. His solution was to write a work based on Gregorian chant. The chant unfolds through call and response patterns. One instrument intones a musical idea, then the rest of the group responds by playing it back. This musical conversation continues throughout the piece. Hear a performance of Michael Colgrass' Old Churches . . . this week's FROM THE PYTHEAS ARCHIVES.

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

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