Thursday, April 11, 2013

The fifth annual Back Cove Contemporary Music Festival takes place this weekend at the Portland Conservatory of Music, located in the Woodfords Congregational Church at 202 Woodford St., Portland, Maine. This year there will be five concerts and a composer's rountable discussion: Friday, April 12th, 7:00pm - The first concert in the Festival features new music by Maine composers Gia Comolli, Beth Wiemann, William Matthews, PCM Assistant Director Mark Tipton, and a work by Mark Piszczek of Peterborough, NH; Saturday, April 13th, 1:00pm Lecture/Performance - Bowdoin College Professor Vineet Shende, Guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan, and the Oratorio Chorale join forces to present a preview of Pravasa: Travels of the Guitar, a new work by Vineet Shende commissioned by the Oratorio Chorale; Saturday, April 13th, 3:00pm Student Concert - PCM students will perform contemporary music by professional composers as well as compositions of their own; Saturday, April 13th, 7:00pm Concert - This concert will highlight the festival’s Featured Composer, John McDonald, performing selections from his recent piano music. Other composers whose work will be presented on this program include: Elliott Schwartz, Joshua DeScherer, Daniel Sonenberg, and Joshua Newton; Sunday, April 14th, 3:00pm Composer's Roundtable - A roundtable discussion will be presented, during which time a representative panel of composers from the festival will discuss their work. Also being discussed will be the topic: The World of Contemporary Music and Musicians in 2013; Sunday, April 14th, 7:00pm Final Concert - Featured Composer John McDonald will be joined by Flautist Elizabeth Erenberg to perform selections from his compositions for flute and piano. This program also features the USM Composer’s Ensemble, and chamber works by composers Peter McLaughlin, Abriel Ferreira, Gay Pearson, and Joshua DeScherer. For more information, please call 775-3356 . . .

Luigi Nono achieved prominence after World War II as an uncompromising modernist seeking to revolutionize music in Europe. Along with fellow Italians Luciano Berio and Bruno Maderna, Nono attended the influential Darmstadt Summer Courses and became associated with other young modernists such as Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen. In many ways, Nono was the most radical of them all, choosing to combine a keen political engagement with a musical orientation that mixes austere beauty with fierce intensity. Watch a performance of Luigi Nono's . . . sofferte onde serene (1976) played by pianist Markus Hinterhäuser . . . it's one of our NEW MUSIC VIDEOS for the week.

Manuel de Falla composed the Fantasia bætica in 1919, at the close of his second Madrid period. It was commissioned by and dedicated to Arthur Rubinstein. The abstract, large-scale work is a celebration of Andalusian culture and history, but not an historical evocation. Its influences draw from Falla's knowledge and experience of the the flamenco culture that evolved in Andalusia. Provinicia Baetica was the old Roman name for Andalusia and so a translation of the title might be "Andalusian Fantasy."  Although the materials used are original with Falla, they strongly evoke the folk music of southern Spain: the strident, sombre cante jondo sung in oriental-sounding scales, chords derived from guitar tunings, and a harsh percussive quality reminiscent of castanets and heel stamping. The tonal originality of the Baetica is a result of Gypsy, 'Middle Eastern', Sephardic, Indian and subtle French influences woven into the harmonic language [notes by Paul Jacobs]  . . . it's one of this week's PYTHEAS EARFULS.

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