Monday, June 18, 2012

Vivian Fung  Violin Concerto (2011) . . . one of this week's FEATURED NEW MUSIC VIDEOS.

Douglas Lilburn  Fragments of a Poem (1966)  . . . one of our SOUND ART for the week.

Gregory Hall  Water – Two Poems of W.S. Merwin (2005) . . .  it's one of our PYTHEAS EARFULS for the week.

Kazimierz Serocki Segmenti (1960-61) . . . it's this week's FROM THE PYTHEAS ARCHIVES.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Canadian composer Harry Somers describes his artistic development: "Over the years I've worked consistently on three different levels with three different approaches to composition. On one level my approach has been what I call 'community music' or 'music for use': for example music for amateurs and music for school use. On a second level I've created 'functional music,' in the specific sense: music for television, films and theatre, where the composition has to work in company with another medium and serve the demands of that medium. On a third level I have created without consideration for any limitations, sometimes completely experimentally, sometimes extending the line of a particular direction on which I had been working through a series of works. In short, the first two levels relate directly to the environment and society, in the broad sense, in which I live at the moment, and in which I function as a craftsman; the third relates to a more restricted audience (though I'm not convinced it need be so) and my personal development as an artist." Somers came to be one of Canada's most internationally-known composers. His children's opera A Midwinter Night's Dream premiered in Toronto on May 17 1988, with a libretto by Tim Wynne-Jones. Watch a performance of Northern Lights from Harry Somers' A Midwinter Night's Dream sung by the Milwaukee Choral Artists, Sharon Hansen, director . . . one of this week's FEATURED NEW MUSIC VIDEOS.

Composer and percussion artist Emmanuel Séjourné was born in Limoges, France. His music is rhythmic, romantic, energetic, and inspired both by the Western classical tradition and by popular culture (jazz, rock, extra-European). Each year his compositions are played in dozens of countries around the world, and many orchestras include them in their repertoire: the Nagoya Philharmonic, Osaka Philharmonic, Sinfonia Toronto, Croatian Radio Television Symphony, Luxembourg Philharmonic, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Italienne, Camerata de Bourgogne, Orchestre d’Auvergne, de Cannes, Nice, Pau, Bochumer Symphoniker, Wurttembergisches Kammerorchester, among others. Acclaimed by members of the percussion community, his music has been commissioned or recorded by Gary Cook, John Pennington, Ju-Percussion group, Bob Van Sice, Nancy Zeltsman, Marta Klimasara, Katarzyna Mycka, and the Amsterdam Percussion Group. Séjourné has also composed many chamber and choral works, and his fascination  with the relations between various forms of artistic expression has produced music for the stage and television. Watch a performance of Emmanuel Séjourné's Vouz Avez duFeu? (2001) . . . one of our BANG, CLANG & BEAT - New Music for Percussion for the week.

Finnish composer Pertti Jalava has written numerous works for orchestra (including three symphonies and a piano concerto), various ensemble combinations and chorus. He has also composed a considerable amount for big band and his own jazz ensembles, in which he plays drums and keyboards. Jalava's compositions for string orchestra, wind ensemble, chamber ensemble, jazz ensemble and big band have won many prizes in both national and international composition competitions and have been performed by orchestras in both Finland and abroad under many distinguished conductors. Numerous concerts containing over 40 works by Jalava have been recorded and broadcasted by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE). Some upcoming performances include: Two Ways to Leave and Return will be premiered at the New Paths in Music festival, 21 June 2012, Elebash Recital Hall, City University Graduate Center, 5th Ave. & 34th Street in New York City, NY, by the New Paths Ensemble and conductor David Alan Miller; A diptych: Distant / Close Distant Smoke from Behind the Woods and A Close Shave At the Traffic Lights will premiere 22 September 2012 in Orgelpark, Gerard Brandtstraat 26, Amsterdam, Holland by Dirk Luijmes (harmonium) and the String Quartet of Nieuw Amsterdams Peil; and Jalava's Fourth String Quartet has been recently commissioned by Juha-Pekka Vikman, concert master of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. Listen to Pertti Jalava's Pinta Surface (2002) . . . it's one of our PYTHEAS EARFULS for the week.

Writing about her 1985 composition Pennyroyal Swale, American composer Beth Anderson writes: "A swale is a meadow or a marsh where there is nourishment and moisture and therefore, a rich diversity of plant life. My work, since 1984, is made from swatches of newly composed music, rather than found music, which are reminiscent of this diversity. When a horse named Swale won the Kentucky derby several years ago, I discovered the word and have used it extensively since. Dedicated to Mr. James Roy because of his dedication to assisting women composers while running the concert division of BMI, this work is a combination of folk-related vernacular music with 'classically' developed techniques in an open, somewhat repetitive form. Pennyroyal is a member of the mint family and a healing herb with a distinctive odor." Listen to a performance of Beth Anderson's Pennyroyal Swale, played by the Rubio String Quartet . . . it's this week's FROM THE PYTHEAS ARCHIVES.