Sunday, September 25, 2011

Contemporaneous Rising!

Last night at the Chapel of the Holy Innocents at Bard College, the ensemble Contemporaneous reached a thrilling new milestone in the annals of contemporary music.  The concert, entitled The Roots Run Deep, featured the work of three young composers:  Gabriella Smith and Dylan Mattingly (both b. 1991), and Shawn Jaeger, the elder statesman of the group (b. 1985).  The composers were all on hand to introduce their works.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dylan Mattingly’s American Vernacular

During intermission at a recital, Dylan Mattingly bounded over to his red and black-trimmed bag and pulled out a huge manuscript.  Its spiral-bound cover mimicked an atlas, and within it was a score-in-progress for the composition he’s been working on for most of the last two years.

Monday, September 12, 2011

“Verlaine? He’s hidden in the grass, Verlaine”

Verlaine ? Il est caché parmi l'herbe, Verlaine
—Stéphane Mallarmé

Long ago, I sat in a circle of fifteen girls as Madame __, her hair brittle with red-orange dye, put us through French conjugations.  I hadn’t much patience for the grammar, but I loved the sound of French words, the epitome of which seemed, at the time, to be Paul Verlaine’s Chanson d’Automne:
Les sanglots longs
Des violons
      De l'automne
Blessent mon coeur
D'une langueur

Friday, September 9, 2011

Judd Greenstein’s Le Tombeau de Ravel

Ravel wrote most of Le Tombeau de Couperin in 1914, before the outbreak of World War I.  His initial intention had been “a set of dances modeled on French baroque dance suites,” most notably the Ordres of François Couperin.  Time caught hold of Ravel’s intention, and he ultimately offered each of the six pieces that comprise Le Tombeau in remembrance of friends and colleagues who died in World War I.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

If Stones Could Speak

"The dead are sad enough, in their eternal silence."
—Maurice Ravel

Near my house in Dutchess County are several old rural cemeteries.  One of the two closest is the Verbank Rural Cemetery, with a quaint covered entrance and gravestones winding upward to views of Verbank and the surrounding hills.
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