The cold snap is behind us and we’re feeling the warmth of spring on Now Is the Time, Sunday, May 19th at 10 pm. Ingrid Arauco’s Florescence buzzes and hums for the flute and harpsichord of Mélomanie, and Derek Bermel brings Thracian Sketches in all its Bulgarian-inspired rhythms to viola and percussion.
George Tsontakis takes us to the Mediterranean with orchestral Gymnopedies that are more Greek than French, but France infuses the sound of Avner Dorman’s Moments Musicaux for piano.
Things heat up with the computerized kicks of Thrum by John Gibson, and finally, with the two electric guitars that rock David Lang’s Warmth.
Tango is the dance of love, of passion, and of a world that transports you to another plane. So say the tango lovers and novices who have re-discovered this emotional and passionate dance expression.
Join Jill for a conversation with Meredith Klein, director of the the Philadelphia Argentine Dance School, and organizer of the Third Annual Philadelphia International Tango Festival, which takes place from May 24th through May 27th. Twenty-two workshops with world-renowned dancers/teachers, five milongas (social dances) and outstanding performers will teach, perform, and work with those who live and breathe tango and those who have had no prior exposure or experience to it.
Tango, unlike other dances, has a mystique surrounding it that is deeply felt and absorbed by the participant, and is also a new world for the novice to discover. Internationally renowned couples, directly from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Javier Antar & Kara Wenham and Guillermo Cerneaz and Marina Kenny will teach workshops for intermediate and advanced dancers and perform at nightly social dances. Tangueros from around the United States are planning to travel to Philadelphia to study with these celebrated masters.
Most events will take place in the upstairs ballroom of the beautiful RUBA Club in Northern Liberties (414 Green Street, Philadelphia), which is reminiscent of some of the elegant and sometimes edgy tango spaces in Buenos Aires. A therapeutic yoga class is available daily taught by Argentine yogi and tango aficionada Monica Moya. More information here.
We’re having fun with numbers on Now Is the Time, Sunday, May 12th at 10 pm. Four dances for piano is what Keith Carpenter calls An even number of odd pieces, and Sketches Set Seven, also for piano, is Ed Bland’s contribution to what he calleds “urban classical funk.”
Mr. Bland passed away after this show was produced, so we honor his memory with this look into his wide-ranging career.
Charles Wuorinen’s Dodecadactyl is a fun two-guitar romp through the twelve pitches, and from her set of life-rhythm-inspired Genesis works is Janika Vandervelde’s Genesis V, for four guitars. For two sopranos is the riveting Madrigal III by Sergio Cervetti, setting a text from pre-Columbian Mexico.
from John Williams: Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra
Concertos for low instruments bookend a concerto for orchestra on Now Is the Time, Sunday, May 5th at 10 pm. Gunther Schuller conducts Orchestra 2001 in his Concerto da Camera, a classical-sized work with twists. Carter Brey’s singing tone dives deep into Steven Gerber’s Cello Concerto, bringing up a work of warmth and beauty.
The program opens with a perky yet challenging Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra by John Williams. Although he’s known worldwide for his decades of award-winning film scores, he’s written many concert pieces—including concertos. This one has become a repertoire piece for tubists since he composed it in 1985.
It’s different ways to say good night on Now is the Time, Sunday, April 28th at 10 pm. Alex Freeman’s solo piano Night on the Prairies leads to a sextet in Jeremy Beck’s In Flight until Mysterious Night (and do we hear Steely Dan in there?). Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble then runs with the Night of the Flying Horses of Osvaldo Golijov.
Then, two quartets. Night Blossoms of Mary Jane Leach is a haiku for four singers, and the four string instruments of Kronos play Terry Riley’s long-breathed Cadenza on the Night Plain, out into that good night.
We’re traveling far and enjoying the journey on Now is the Time, Sunday, April 21st at 10 pm. From his CD Stream of Stars, Dylan Mattingly’s Atlas of Somewhere on the Way to Howland Island imagines the last flight of Amelia Earhart, somewhere over the Pacific, finishing with the movement “Islanded in a Stream of Stars.”
James Aikman’s CD Tremors From a Far Shore yields his Violin Sonata No. 2, a large-breathed work opening with a piano-centered Habanera. It also includes a second-movement Homage to his grandmother. Miguel del Aguila’s softly delicious Pacific Serenade leaves us wanting to hear more from him, as we continue on our way.
Kile's review including music from Francis Pott: In the Heart of Things
Whether communication is too easy, or articulation is too difficult, our time is not a time of counterpoint. Instead of corresponding, we post or tweet; instead of reasoning, we shout and repeat, louder and louder. Music is often an event or a stepping-up of rungs of events: hooks and ladders, clanging past, looking for a fire.
In the Heart of Things: Choral Music of Francis Pott Commotio. Matthew Berry, conductor Naxos 8.572739
The choral music of Francis Pott, however, flows by, refreshingly contrapuntal. That joy in the working of voices is particularly evident in his 2012 CD, In the Heart of Things. If counterpoint seems anti-modern, he admits it, and points to Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, and other past masters of the polyphonic Mass as models. That’s appropriate, because In the Heart of Things is a collection of his choral music revolving around the most substantial work on the recording, his Mass for Eight Parts.
From the Kyrie through the Agnus Dei, this Mass is a triumph of intricate beauty. Upper, middle, and lower streams of voices glide by and mingle, their complexity unnoticed because they shimmer. Sometimes they sneak in, as the “Hosanna” does at first in the Sanctus, or roll in waves, gathering strength as at the end of that movement.
Sometimes the power is overwhelming, as at the end of the Gloria, the final “Amen” surging, unexpected, rank upon rank. Pott composed the Agnus Dei in memory of someone he didn’t know, a past singer of the choir that commissioned this. His gentle, pointed lyricism melts the voices into a sea of comfort.
Francis Pott was raised in the English chorister tradition, and knows this repertoire from the inside. His setting of a familiar text, such as Balulalow (known by many from Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols), or the new Mary’s Carol (Pott wrote this in memory of his father-in-law), always balances freshness of expression with aptness to the language.
His Lament honors a soldier killed in Afghanistan. Using the poem of Wilfrid Wilson Gibson, “But we, how shall we turn to little things / And listen to the birds… nor feel the heart-break in the heart of things,” we know the composer feels deeply what we also feel. This fellow-feeling is at the heart of artistry.
Francis Pott weaves a living counterpoint of music and emotion because he himself has sung it. His music breathes the life of tradition, but it is ever fresh, ever modern.
It really is spring, and our thoughts turn to... Now is the Time, Sunday, April 14th at 10 pm. Why not make up a story, and let the boys start. Eric Whitacre's emotionally surprising A Boy and a Girl leads us to the fresh Gate of Michael McDermott. A Charles Wuorinen Divertimento, bracing and lively, hints at—
Wait; now it's the girls' turn—a Tell-Tale Fantasy, perhaps, here told by Jane Brockman. Then six multi-tracked trumpets blast us into Lois Vierk's brilliant Cirrus, and all that's left, after all that story, is a single human voice. Joelle Wallach brings in a tenor to sing up into the silence. It really is spring.
The popular AMC series Mad Men is now in its 6th season. Listen back to a revealing and humorous interview with David Carbonara from March, 2012, as he shares the inside story on how he writes music for Mad Men, how creator Matthew Weiner chooses the '60s songs, and how it's all mixed together to make a hit TV series.
David, a former trombonist, spices the show with jazz-tinged music that lends flavor as much as the crisp dialogue and mod decor.