Tuesday, February 16, 2010

David Amram's Triple Concerto (1970) for woodwinds, brass, jazz quintets and orchestra is a groundbreaking and breathtaking piece of music which incorporates jazz, blues, Latin and Middle Eastern idioms into one cohesive whole. The work allows the classical woodwind and brass quintets to shine right alongside the jazz virtuosos who make up Amram's own quintet, all accompanied accompanied by a symphony orchestra. This critically acclaimed composition brings to exuberant life Amram's philosophy of "music without walls". Watch a performance with David Amram conducting and playing as soloist, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra . . . one of this week's FEATURED NEW MUSIC VIDEOS.

In the words of Carson Cooman, "Gwyneth Walker's work is characterized by a tremendous energy and a strong sense of humor. Even in her most calm and serene pieces, there is a constant undercurrent of energy -- a lifeblood that ties the music together. Many personal stylistic traits appear throughout her work including elements that have often been classified as characteristic of "American music", including the strong rhythmic sense, open sonorities, and influences of rock, jazz, blues, and American folk music. She is strongly in the American tradition of composers such as Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein -- but is a slave to no compositional school or prescribed style. Her music is recognizably her own and thoroughly original". Watch and listen to composer Gwyneth Walker talk about her music and her life . . . our COMPOSER PORTRAIT for the week.

World-renowned Italian composer Nino Rota is best known for his film scores, notably for the films of Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, and the first two films of Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather trilogy. During his long career, Rota was an extraordinarily prolific composer, producing more than 150 scores for Italian and international films. Alongside this great body film work, he composed twelve operas, seven ballets and dozens of other orchestral, choral and chamber works. The gorgeous aria Oh mio tesor (Oh my darling) is from Rota's comic opera La notte di un nevrastenico (The Night of a Neurasthenic) (1950). Hear a performance by baritone Paolo Drigo, soprano Sabrina Testa, and tenor Young-Hoon . . . the current PYTHEAS EARFUL.

Zoltán Kodály set a new standard of virtuosity with his fiendishly difficult Sonata for Solo Cello written in 1915. The great Hungarian cellist Janos Starker performs the Sonata's last movement with stunning ease and power; a thrilling experience you won't long forget . . . this week's FROM THE PYTHEAS ARCHIVES.

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

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