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Category Archives: Composers

Igor Stravinsky, a correspondence.

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In the early days of May, 1958, as my first year in college was ending, I wrote Igor Stravinsky’s publishers  J. & W. Chester Ltd. to ask if I could arrange for percussion quartet, the three dances from Stravinsky’s L’ Histoire du Soldat. The letter I received in reply is copied below as well as further communications between myself, Stravinsky and his publishers.

 

 

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May 19, 1958.

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And so, emboldened by the fearlessness of youth, I wrote Igor Stravinsky asking for his permission to transcribe the three dances from L’ Histoire du Soldat  for  a quartet of percussionists.  I had to deal with problems of my own making and a few copyright hurdles proffered by Stravinsky’s publishers. To my ears, their letters, written in quaint, but authoritative English, were at once humorous, revelatory and a bit intimidating. However, I continued writing my arrangements sure in the knowledge that one day I would receive the permission I sought. Voila, it came to be. I now have two dated Igor Stravinsky signatures. [1.]

Though I blush to inform you, Dear reader,  please note the absence of my signature on my letter to Mr. Stravinsky. Ooops!

Note:

[1.] I have received a few letters asking about this arrangement,which turned out to be only one, the Devil’s Dance. I did finish it, it was recorded by the Ithaca College percussion ensemble conducted by Warren Benson on Golden Pressed Records. I have three recordings dating from the late 1950s, but the surface noise makes it almost impossible to listen to them. I still have the score and I’m not sure about the parts. At any rate I’m not really interested in hearing a performance today.  The arrangement has some merit, but not enough I think to justify a modern audience or me.  I don’t even know if Golden crest records exists and if it does, if it would have a master of the album called Warren Benson Conducts.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2015 in Articles, Composers, History

 

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Seiji Ozawa in Toronto

The Japan Foundation of Toronto recently held a celebratory event honouring the 50th anniversary of Seiji Ozawa’s arrival in Toronto as conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Toshi Aoyagi, the Foundation’s director of Japanese projects, displayed a large and interesting variety of photos from those early years, including a photograph of Seiji looking astonishingly young, and a giant black and white photo showing all the players, easily identifiable, on the stage of Massey Hall, its performance venue until 1982. Toshi also prepared sushi, sashimi and California rolls for 50 guests. In attendance were members of Toronto’s arts community including  the Symphony’s long time manager Walter Homberger who had played an important role in bringing Ozawa to Toronto. Also included among the guests were current and former members of the T.S.O.

åSome of the veteran players who were asked to speak briefly about their early experiences with Seiji were principal flutist Robert Aittken; principal harpist Judy Loman; myself, principal percussion; cellist Richard Armin and double bassist Ruth Budd. We had not known beforehand we’d be called upon so our comments were a bit skittish, even disjointed, but it was clear to all that Seiji  had been a respected and in some cases, a beloved maestro.

in the earliest days of Seiji’s tenure, he had some difficulty with the English language. Though we became rather close, as close as a conductor and player could or should be, he was never able to pronounce my first name Robin, because of the R. So he always called me Engelman. Of course given the Japanese order of names, correctly Ozawa Seiji, he was perfectly correct to call me Engelman, particularly when we were in Japan. Judy Loman told a wonderful story from those days. Seiji introduced her as  Mary Loman, harpist and when the orchestra laughed, Seiji turned to someone and said, “She plays harp doesn’t she?”.

I was always impressed by the acuity of Seiji’s ears and told two stories. We were rehearsing one of the Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe Suites down on the lake under an open tent. There were thousands of seagulls squawking and swooping and dropping bombs, young children laughing, screaming and running around, airplanes taking off and landing at the small nearby airport, tour boats blaring music for parties and the ferryboats back and forth between the mainland and the islands. An impossible acoustic situation with the Ravel beginning so quietly. I couldn’t hear the contra basses to the left of me and the orchestra pianist Patricia Krueger, playing celeste, was only about 20 feet to my right. After less than two bars Seiji stopped and said, “Patty, put the pedal down”.

After Toronto, Seiji conducted in San Francisco and then the Boston Symphony. Karel Ancerl succeeded him in Toronto and when Ancerll died in mid season, Seiji came back to conduct a concert or two to fill in while the Toronto Symphony management scramble to fill their seasons concerts with conductors. Seiji programmed music from his first concert in Toronto in 1965. One of the works was Sergei Prokoffiev’s Fifth Symphony, at times densly orchestrated. Seiji was back among friends and obviously wanted to show us how he had progressed. He leaped onto the podium and after a friendly hello began conducting. After the break Seiji came back to the podium and waved to Johnny Cowell the second trumpet, “Johnny, 3 bars before H, don’t breathe after fourth beat. Take breath after second beat next measure”.

One of the things I always liked about Seiji was the fact that he rarely talked in rehearsal. Some players didn’t like this. They wanted to be told how to play, but Seiji said, “I conduct, you play”. Seiji believed questions of ensemble and string bowings were the provenance if principal players. Another collegial aspect was his willingness to share the act of re-creating music with the players.

After he programmed Ives’ 4th Symphony, Seiji asked me, “How shall we do last movement?”  The percussion section must play a quiet, nine bar ostinato, holding a steady tempo during the entire movement while the rest of the orchestra winds its way through a number of tempo changes and dynamics. As the orchestra finishes, the percussion section plays one cycle in diminuendo, ending the movement. Seiji wanted to know if the percussion section wanted him to  conduct them or ignore them. No decision had been made by the time Seiji walked on stage. As the audience applauded, he stopped by my side and said, “Well?”.  I said. “Conduct the orchestra.” “Okay” Seiji replied.  As we had earlier discussed, the percussion section, by Ives’ calculations, would ideally have 9 measures remaining after the orchestra finished. Otherwise, if we concentrated and kept track, the farthest afield we’d drift would probably be in the range of 10 or 12 measures. We were just about dead on.

Seiji conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra for twenty nine years. He wanted to break Serge Koussevitzkyi’s record of twenty five years. Vic Firth, Seiji’s close friend and timpanist of the B.S.O. told me when Seiji heard he was going to retire, Seiji called and said, “Vic, don’t retire now, stay until you make 50 years!”. Vic made it.

Toronto was Seiji’s first job as conductor and music director.  Since then he has become a national treasure in Japan. I’ve always thought that Seiji did his best work with contemporary music. I heard, but cannot confirm that his management dissuaded him from conducting contemporary music. However, a composer friend told me he’d overheard a conversation wherein Seiji was told by his manager not to conduct my friend’s music anymore. And so he seemed to do.

My first year in the orchestra we played Charles Ives Symphony No. 4, the Lutoslawski Concerto for Orchestra, Iannis Xenakis’ Pithoprakta, (conducted byJames Levine, no less) for 46 string instruments, two trombones, xylophone, and woodblock, about a half a dozen works by Takemitsu, a recording of Takemitsu’s music, Gunther Schuller’s 7 Studies on Themes of  Paul Klee and a number of other works I cannot now remember.  I missed playing Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalila Symphony by one year. The excitement was palpable every time Seiji conducted. I was working with a conductor only two years older than myself – one who genuinely enjoyed new music and made audiences enjoy it as well.

During Seiji’s tenure, I looked forward to rehearsals and performances. He was a conductor I never had to watch. Simply by listening, I knew where the music was going. If a player extended a note a bit longer then usual, Seiji would accept that and the piece would change.

Seijii Ozawa, Toronto, 1969

Seijii Ozawa, Toronto, 1969

Seiji Ozawa, 2011.

Seiji Ozawa, 2012.

 

 

 

 

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SCORES

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Composer Composition Publisher Dimensions (in.) Num of Copies (1 unless noted otherwise) Cover (Paper unless noted otherwise) Minor Damage
1 Auber Fra Diavolo – Overture Southern Music 7.5 x 10.5
2 Bach, C.P.E Concerto for Orchestra in D major Broude Bros. 7.5 x 10.5
3 Bach, J.S. 6 Brandenburg Concertos Vols. 1 and 2 Lea Pocket Scores 5 x 6.5
4 Bach, J.S. 185 4-Part Chorales Lea Pocket Scores 5 x 6.5 3
5 Bach, J.S. 371 4-Part Chorales – Vol 1 – Nos. 1-198 Kalmus 14 x 9
6 Bach, J.S. Art of the Fugue Kalmus 8 x 11
7 Bach, J.S. Cantata No.21 Broude Bros. 5.5 x 7.5 Board
8 Bach, J.S. Cantata No.39 Broude Bros. 5.5 x 7.5
9 Bach, J.S. Cappriccio in Bb Major on the Departure to Distant Climes of His Dearly Beloved Brother Kalmus 10 x 13.5
10 Bach, J.S. Goldberg Variations (Ed. Hans Bischoff) Kalmus 10 x 13.5
11 Bach, J.S. Italian Concerto (Ed. Hans Bischoff) Kalmus 10 x 13.5
12 Bach, J.S. Mass in B Minor (The High Mass) Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
13 Bach, J.S. The St. Matthew Passion Dover 6.5 x 8.5
14 Bartok Contrasts for Violin, Clarinet and Piano Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
15 Bartok First Rhapsody (Folk Dances) for Violin and Orchestra Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
16 Bartok Piano Concerto No.1 Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
17 Bartok Piano Concerto No.3 Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
18 Bartok Sonata for 2 Pianos and Percussion Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
19 Bartok Violin Concerto Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
20 Beethoven 17 String Quartets Vol.3 – Op.74, 95, 127, 130. Lea Pocket Scores 5 x 6.5
21 Beethoven 17 String Quartets Vol.4 – Op.131, 132, 135, 133. Lea Pocket Scores 5 x 6.5
22 Beethoven Fantasy for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
23 Beethoven Overtures: Coriolan; Egmont; Fidelio; Leonore 1, 2, 3; Prometheus. Edward B. Marks 9 x 12
24 Beethoven Piano Concerto No.1 Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
25 Beethoven Piano Concerto No.2 Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
26 Beethoven Piano Concerto No.3 Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
23 Beethoven Piano Concerto No.4 Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
29 Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5 Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
30 Beethoven Symphony No.1 Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
31 Beethoven Symphony No.1 Penguin 8 x 5 *
32 Beethoven Symphony No.2 Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
33 Beethoven Symphony No.3 Heugel and Co. 5.5 x 7.5
34 Beethoven Symphony No.4 Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
35 Beethoven Symphony No.5 Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
36 Beethoven Symphony No.5 Penguin 8 x 5 *
37 Beethoven Symphony No.6 Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5 Board
38 Beethoven Symphony No.7 Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5 Board
39 Beethoven Symphony No.8 Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5 Board
40 Beethoven Symphony No.9 Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
41 Beethoven Violin Concerto Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
42 Berg 3 Orchestra Pieces, Op.6. Philharmonia 5.5 x 7.5
43 Berlioz Damnation of Faust Heugel and Co. 5.5 x 7.5
44 Berlioz Harold in Italien Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
45 Berlioz Requiems of Mozart and Berlioz. Edward B. Marks 9 x 12
46 Berlioz Roman Carnival Overture
47 Berlioz Symphonie fantastique Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5 Board
48 Bernstien Serenade for Solo Violin, String Orchestra, Harp and Percussion. G. Schirmer 7.5 x 10.5
49 Bernstien Symphony No.2 “The Age of Anxiety” for Piano and Orchestra G. Schirmer 7.5 x 10.5
50 Bizet L’Arlesienne. Suite No.2. Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
51 Bloch Schelomo G. Schirmer 7.5 x 10.5
52 Boulez, P. le marteaux sans maitre. Universal Edition 7 x 9.5 Some water damage on cover and title page.
53 Brahms Hungarian Dances Nos. 1, 3, 10. Kalmus 5.5 x 7
54 Brahms Symphony No.1. Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5 Board
55 Brahms Symphony No.2 Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
56 Brahms Symphony No.3 Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
57 Brahms Symphony No.4 Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
58 Brahms Variations on a Theme by Haydn Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
59 Brahms Violin Concerto in D Penguin 8 x 5
60 Bruch Violin Concerto, Op.26. Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5 Board
61 Britten Four Sea Interludes Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
62 Britten Noye’s Fludde, Op.59. Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
63 Britten Serenade, Op.31 Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
64 Britten Soirees musicales Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
65 Chabrier Espana Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
66 Cherubini Requiem Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
67 Colgrass, M.
68 Copland Appalachian Spring (reduced) Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
69 Copland Appalachian Spring (full) Boosey and Hawkes 7 x 10.5
70 Debussy Afternoon of a Faun Kalmus 5.5 x 7
71 Debussy Iberia Durand and Co. 6 x 8.5
72 Debussy La Mer Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
73 Debussy Petite Suite Durand and Co. 6 x 8.5
74 Debussy Three Nocturnes Boosey and Hawkes 7 x 10
75 Dvorak Cello Concerto Statni Nakladatelstvi (Czech) 5.5 x 7.5 Board
76 Dvorak Piano Concerto in G minor Statni Nakladatelstvi (Czech) 5.5 x 7.5 Board
77 Dvorak Scherzo Capriccioso Statni Nakladatelstvi (Czech) 5.5 x 7.5 Board
78 Dvorak Symphony No.2/7 in D minor N. Simrock 5.5 x 7.5
79 Dvorak Symphony No.4 in G Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5 Board
80 Dvorak Symphony No.9. “New World” Pro Art Publications 5.5 x 7.5
81 Dvorak Violin Concerto Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5 Board
82 Elgar Enigma Variations Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
83 Franck Symphony in D minor Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
84 Genzmer, H. Concerto for Flute and Orchestra Edition Schott 6 x 9 Cover stained
85 Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue (with Jazz Ensemble) (orch. Grofe) Salabert 5.5 x 7.5
86 Glazunov Violin Concerto M. P. Belaieff 5.5 x 7.5 Board
87 Glinka Russlan und Ludmila Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
88 Gluck Mozart and Gluck Overtures: Mozart: Abduction from the Seraglio; Cosi fan Tutti; Don Giovanni; Idomineo; The Impresario; Magic Flute; Marriage of Figaro; Clemenza di Tito. || Gluck: Alceste; Iphigenia in Aulis (ending by Mozart; Iphigenia in Aulis (arr. Wagner); Orpheus and Eurydice. Edward B. Marks 9 x 12
89 Grieg Peer Gynt. Suite No.1. Kalmus 5.5 x 7.5
90 Handel 16 Concerti for Organ and Orchestra Vol.1, Nos.1-8. Lea Pocket Scores 5 x 6.5
91 Handel Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day (1739). Praise of Harmony. Lea Pocket Scores 5 x 6.5
Handel Der Messias Edition Peters – Leipzig 5.5 x 7.5
92 Handel The Messiah (Vocal Score) G. Schirmer 7 x 10.5
93 Handel The Water Music Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
94 Haydn Cello Concerto in D, Op.101. Broude Bros. 7.5 x 11
95 Haydn The Creation (Die Schopfung). Breitkopf and Hartel 9 x 12 Hardcover Conductor’s Score – Inquire about price.
96 Haydn The Seasons (Die Jahreszeiten). Breitkopf and Hartel 9 x 12 Hardcover Conductor’s Score – Inquire about price.
97 Haydn Symphony in D. “La Chasse” (Full score w/ pno reduction (2 hands)) Southern Music 7.5 x 11
98 Haydn Symphony No.4 (101) in D major. “The Clock” Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
99 Haydn Symphony No.11 (100) in D major. “Military” Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
100 Haydn Symphony No.16 (?). “Oxford” (Full score w/ pno reduction (2 hands)) Southern Music 7.5 x 11
101 Haydn Trumpet Concerto in Eb Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
102 Henze Funf neapolitanische Lieder fur mittlere Stimme und Kammerorchester. Edition Schott 6 x 9
103 Hindemith Sinfonische Metamorphosen B. Schott’s Sohne/Mainz 5.5 x 7.5 Board
104 Hindemith Symphonie. Mathis der Maler. Edition Schott 5.5 x 7.5
105 Ives Piano Sonata No.2 “Concord, Mass; 1840-60” Kalmus 5 x 7
106 Ives Scherzo (Over the Pavements). For Chamber Orchestra. – Parts (marked in pencil) Peer International Corp. 9 x 12
107 Ives Symphony No.2. For Large Orchestra. Southern Music 9 x 12
108 Janacek Sinfonietta Philharmonia 5.5 x 7.5
109 Kabalevsky Colas Breugnon Leeds Music Corp. 5.5 x 8.5
110 Kabalevsky The Comedians Leeds Music Corp. 6 x 9
111 Khachaturian Cello Concerto – Piano Reduction and solo part (separate) Leeds Music Corp. 9 x 12
112 Khachaturian Gayne Ballet. Suite No.1. (Sabre Dance; Lullaby: Dance of the Rose Maidens.) Leeds Music Corp. 6 x 9
113 Kodaly Hary Janos Suite. Universal Edition 10.5 x 12 Cover taped; otherwise v.g.
114 Liszt Les Preludes Philharmonia 5.5 x 7.5
115 Liszt Piano Concerto No.1 Eb. “Le Triangle” : ) Ricordi 5.5 x 7.5
116 Mahler Symphony No.1 Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
117 Mahler Symphony No.2 Kalmus 7 x 10.5
118 Mahler Symphony No.3 Universal Edition 7 x 10
119 Mahler Symphony No.4 Kalmus 5.5 x 7.5
120 Mahler Symphony No.5 Edition Peters 5.5 x 7.5
121 Mahler Symphony No.6 Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
122 Mahler Symphony No.7 Dover 8.5 x 11
123 Mahler Symphony No.9 Universal Edition 7 x 10
124 Mendelssohn A Midsummer Night’s Dream Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
125 Mendelssohn The Hebrides Overture Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
126 Mendelssohn Symphony No.4 in E. “Italian” Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
127 Messiaen Oiseaux exotiques Universal Edition 7 x 9.5
128 Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time Editions Durand et Cie. 6 x 8.5
129 Milhaud La Creation du Monde Durand and Co. 7 x 9
130 Milhaud Suite francaise MCA Music 6 x 9
131 Mozart Don Giovanni (full score) Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
132 Mozart Mozart and Gluck Overtures: Mozart: Abduction from the Seraglio; Cosi fan Tutti; Don Giovanni; Idomineo; The Impresario; Magic Flute; Marriage of Figaro; Clemenza di Tito. || Gluck: Alceste; Iphigenia in Aulis (ending by Mozart; Iphigenia in Aulis (arr. Wagner); Orpheus and Eurydice. Edward B. Marks 9 x 12
133 Mozart Piano Concerto in Eb major, K.482. Heugel and Co. 5.5 x 7.5
134 Mozart Piano Concerto No.11 in F major. Broude Bros. 8 x 10.5
135 Mozart Piano Concerto No.21 in C major. Broude Bros. 8 x 10.5
136 Mozart Piano Sonatas and Fantasies, Vol.2 – K.331, 332, 333, 475, 457, 545, 570, 576, 394, 396, 397, 533, 494. Lea Pocket Scores 5 x 6.5
137 Mozart Requiems of Mozart and Berlioz. Edward B. Marks 9 x 12
138 Mozart Symphony in D without Menuet, K.504. Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5 Board
139 Mozart Symphony No.35 in D. “Haffner” Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
140 Mozart Symphony No.39 in Eb. Penguin 8 x 5
141 Mozart Symphony No.40 in G minor Kalmus 5.5 x 7.5 Board
142 Mozart Symphony No.41. Broude Bros. 8 x 10.5
143 Mussorgsky Night On the Bare Mountain Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
144 Mussorgsky Picture at an Exhibition (orch: Ravel) Edition Russe de Musique 5.5 x 7.5 Board
145 Nielsen Clarinet Concerto Samfundet…Dansk Musik 6 x 9 Slight water damage on upper border
146 Nielsen Symphony No.5 Skandinavisk Musikforlag 5.5 x 7.5
147 Nielsen Symphony No.6 Samfundet…Dansk Musik 6 x 8
148 Orff Die Bernauerin [solo tenor, solo soprano, chorus, large orch and large percussion section] B. Schott’s Sohne/Mainz 9 x 12
149 Prokofiev Ala et Lolly (Scythian Suite), Op.20. Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
150 Prokofiev Alexander Nevsky (Cantata for Chorus and Orchestra) Leeds Music Corp. 5.5 x 8.5
151 Prokofiev Cinderella. Suite No.1. Leeds Music Corp. 6 x 9
152 Prokofiev Peter and the Wolf Pro Art Publications 5.5 x 7.5
153 Prokofiev Piano Concerto No.3 Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
154 Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet. Suite No.1. Leeds Music Corp. 5.5 x 8.5
155 Prokofiev Symphony No.3 Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
156 Prokofiev Symphony No.5 Kalmus 7 x 10
157 Prokofiev Violin Concerto No.1 for Violin International Music Co. 5.5 x 7.5 Board
158 Prokofiev Violin Concerto No.2 for Violin Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
159 Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.3 Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
160 Ravel Daphnis et Chloe Durand and Co. 6 x 8.5
161 Ravel La Valse Durand and Co. 6 x 8.5
162 Ravel Mother Goose (Ma mere l’oye) Suite Durand and Co. 6 x 8.5
163 Ravel Piano Concerto in G Durand and Co. 6 x 8.5
164 Ravel Rapsodie Espagnol Durand and Co. 6 x 8.5
165 Respighi Feste Romane Ricordi 5.5 x 7.5
166 Respighi Fountains of Rome Ricordi 5.5 x 7.5
167 Reynold, R. The Emperor of Ice Cream. (8 voices, pno, perc, cb). Edition Peters 10.5 x 7
168 Reynold, R. Quick are the Mouths of Earth. (ob, 3 lutes, 3 vc, tpt, tbn, btbn, pno, 2 perc). Edition Peters 10.5 x 7
169 Rimsky-Korsakov Capriccio Espagnol Pro Art Publications 5.5 x 7.5
170 Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherezade Kalmus 10 x 13 Pages browned.
171 Rorem, Ned Eleven Studies for Eleven Players Boosey and Hawkes 9 x 12
172 Roussel Le Festin de l’Araignee Durand and Co. 6 x 8.5
173 Schaefer, R. M. Five Studies on Texts by Prudentius for 4 Flutes and Soprano. BMI Canada Ltd. 9 x 12
174 Schoenberg, A. Violin Concerto G. Schirmer 7.5 x 10.5
175 Schubert Symphony No.7 in C major Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
176 Schuller, G. American Triptych. A Study in Textures. For Orchestra. Associated Music Publishers 7 x 10.5
177 Schuller, G. Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee. Universal Edition 9 x 12
178 Schuman, W. Credendum (Article of Faith). For Orchestra. Merion Music, Inc. 8 x 11
179 Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
180 Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor Penguin 8 x 5
181 Schumann Piano Trio in A minor, Op.98 Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
182 Schumann Symphony No.1 in Bb major Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
183 Schumann Symphony No.4 in D minor Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
184 Scriabin Le Poeme de l’Extase (Poem of Ecstasy.) Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
185 Shostakovich Symphony No.1 Leeds Music Corp. 5.5 x 8.5
186 Shostakovich Symphony No.5 Kalmus 6 x 9
187 Shostakovich Symphony No.8 Breitkopf and Hartel 5.5 x 7.5
188 Shostakovich Symphony No.9 Leeds Music Corp. 6 x 9 Slight water damage to top border.
189 Shostakovich Symphony No.10 Leeds Music Corp. 6 x 9
190 Shostakovich Symphony No.12 (The Year 1917) State Music Publishers Moscow 5.5 x 8.5 Cardboard
191 Shostakovich Symphony No.15 Hans Sikorski 5.5 x 8
192 Smetana The Moldau (Vltava) Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
193 Stockhausen, K. Nr.5. Zeitmasse. Universal Edition 12 x 9
194 Stockhausen, K. Nr.6. Gruppen fur drei Orchester. Universal Edition 10.5 x 13
195 Strauss, J. Blue Danube Waltz Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
196 Strauss, R. Also Sprach Zarathustra Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
197 Strauss, R. Don Juan Kalmus 9 x 12
198 Strauss, R. Don Quixote Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
199 Strauss, R. Ein Heldenleben International Music Co. 6.5 x 8.5
200 Strauss, R. Sinfonia Domestica Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
201 Strauss, R. Til Eulenspiegel Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
202 Stravinsky Apollon Musagete (Apollo) Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5
203 Stravinsky Firebird Suite (1919) Kalmus 9 x 12 Board
204 Stravinsky Les Noces Kalmus 5.5 x 8
205 Stravinsky Renard Kalmus 5.5 x 7
206 Stravinsky Symphony No.1 in Eb Rob, Forberg/Bad Godesberg 5.5 x 7.5
207 Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
208 Tchaikovsky Capriccio Italien Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5 Board
209 Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5 Board
210 Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture Pro Art Publications 5.5 x 7.5
211 Tchaikovsky Symphony No.4 Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
212 Tchaikovsky Symphony No.5 Boosey and Hawkes 5.5 x 7.5 Board
213 Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5 Board
214 Varese Ecuatorial. Colfranc Music 7 x 10
215 Varese Hyperprism. Colfranc Music 7 x 10
216 Varese Integrales. Colfranc Music 7 x 10
217 Varese Octandre. Colfranc Music 7 x 10
218 Varese Offrandes. Colfranc Music 7 x 10
219 Verdi Requiem (vocal score) G. Schirmer 7 x 10.5
220 Wagner The Flying Dutchman Ernst Eulenburg 5.5 x 7.5
221 Wagner Lohengrin Overture Heugel and Co. 5.5 x 7.5
222 Wagner Siegfried Idyll Penguin 8 x 5
223 Walton Façade. An Entertainment. With Poems by Edith Sitwell. (complete). Oxford University Press 7 x 10
224 Webern Konzert, Op.24. Philharmonia 5.5 x 7.5
OPERA
1 Berlioz Romeo and Juliet Edition Peters 5.5 x 7.5
2 Puccini La Boheme (full score) Dover Large
3 Puccini La Boheme (vocal score) G. Ricordi Large
4 Puccini Tosca Dover Large
5 Verdi Aida Dover Large
6 Verdi Otello Dover Large
7 Verdi Il Trovatore (Metropolitan Opera Libretto) Fred Rullman, Inc. Large
8 Verdi La Traviata Dover Large
9 Wagner Tannhauser Dover Large
10 Wagner Tristan und Isolde Dover Large
 
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Posted by on November 17, 2014 in Composers, Compositions, Unassigned

 

Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan

If one ignores the fact that over half their players are new to the group, one could say the Evergreen Club has been around for 30 years.  Blair Mackay  the Club’s director since 1993, acted as host for the 2nd of 2 concerts held at Array Space on 22 June, 2014.

For some reason Blair chose to program music written for the club in the early 1990s. This decision was not explained and I thought it a bit odd that none of the music written for them in the last decade or more had been programmed.  Only four of the10 performers could be considered Club old timers, Blair Mackay, Andrew Timar, Mark Duggan and Bill Parsons. Perhaps some of them had played these works 20 years ago. Perhaps that, or lack of rehearsal time could explain the vintage repertoire.

The two opening works were by Andrew Timar, the Club’s resident Suling (flute) player and one of its founding members. Then followed works by the late Nic Gotham, Henry Kucharzyk, the late John Wyre and finally the club founder in 1983, John Siddall.

All the works were engaging if sometimes too long. With the exception of  Andrew Timar’s The Quality of Mercy, all were well played.  The Quality of Mercy opens with a number of conducted single strokes, none of which were together.  I mentioned this to a friend of mine who told me the effect was intended. Sorry, I apologize.

There was some brilliant xylophone playing by Mark Duggan on what sounded to me like simple wooden slats. Michelle Colton played steel pan in John Wyre’s Island of Silence (1994). There were no program notes, an ommission I found inexcusable for older works and especially for an anniversary concert. I believe Island of Silence was written for Paul Ormandy and if memory serves, the premier was in the Glenn Gould theater. Michelle’s performance on steel pan was fluid and well-balanced. Her steel pan notes end with a “twang” and that was more than a bit disturbing. At any rate, to my ears the steel pan simply did not fit into the ensemble’s sound.

Henry Kucharzyk’s 1992 Toy Garage was for me the best work on the program with Palace (1993) by Jon Siddall a close 2nd.

It used to bother me that everything the Club played was in the same key. The thought again crossed my mind, but this evening it was not off putting. The club has good players and their control of complex rhythms and dynamics is remarkably good.

All the more reason to wonder how a group that commissioned composers such as Lou Harrison, John Cage, Gilles Tremblay, Jim Tenney and more, has survived 30 years in Toronto and today, is unable to attract an audience larger than about 25 people. I was told attendance at the first concert of these two was similar. That is pitiable. Was the lack of attendance due to World Cup soccer, lack of promotion, or a lack of interest?

The reasons for poor attendence are often difficult to determine, but one must wonder how the group’s development is being handled. Blair welcomed the new members to “the Evergreen family”, Ryan Scott, Dan Morphy, Michelle Colton, Rick Sacks, Etienne Levesque and Adam Campbell. They are some of Toronto’s best and busiest musicians.

Are they now members of the Club, or was Blair’s reference to family a bit disingenuous? If allowed input, they’d surely elevate audience size and much more. I’m very interested to find out if the new blood has some effect on the Club’s future.

 

 

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A Howard Hanson Opera in Carnegie Hall. 7 May, 2014.

We arrived in New York about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and had time to check into our hotel,  unpack and grab a bite to eat before going to Carnegie Hall. The concert we’d hear was being given by the Rochester Philharmonic and was devoted entirely to a concert presentation of Howard Hanson’s opera Merry Mount. Including the orchestra and chorus, more than 1000 people had come from Rochester to display their cultural mores in the Big Apple. Spring for Music  is the idea of Thomas Morris, its Artistic Director and CEO. Morris is a past manager of the Boston and Cleveland Orchestras and at present, director of the prestigious Ojai Festival held among the plush hills north of Los Angeles. Thomas and I are casual acquaintances. He began his life in music as a percussionist and on occasion has had opportunities to practice his early craft. In Cleveland he played cymbals with a professional band conducted by Fredrick Fennel. In Ojai, Nexus invited him to play triangle and cymbals in Les Noces. Both were captured on CDs, which prove him a superior player and musician when he’s not shepherding other people towards fulfilling their music endeavors.

The beauty of Spring for Music took some time for me to appreciate. Its mandate is to encourage creative, experimental programming free of financial or commercial considerations and not normally undertaken by the ensemble. Interesting submissions receive invitations to New York City and financial support from a bevy of foundations and wealthy individuals. Secondarily it provides a rallying point for community leaders and patrons of the arts and of course, an opportunity to play in iconic Carnegie Hall.

Some of the most recent participants have included the New York Philharmonic which gave the New York City premier of Chris Rouse’s Requiem, the Seattle Symphony which played the large work Become Ocean by John Luther Adams and the Winnipeg Symphony which programed contemporary Canadian works including Murray Schafer’s First Symphony. In an subsidiary category, the Buffalo Philharmonic is leading with the largest cohort of native supporters  attending the festival.

While waiting in the third floor Carnegie bar for a signal to take our seats, my wife and I joined a couple at their table. After an uncomfortable silence my wife asked if they were from Rochester and they said they were. They then asked us where we lived and we said Toronto. An awkward silence ensued until the woman asked incredulously, “Did you come to hear the orchestra?”

The subtext of her question was obvious. “Who would come from Toronto to hear the Rochester Philharmonic?”  She had exposed a provincials inferiority and became even more uncomfortable. I could have answered no and told her truthfully that we had booked the wrong week of concerts. We had planned to hear the Philadelphia and Atlanta orchestras last week, but after discovering our hotel and airline booking errors, we decided to embrace fate rather than trying to change arrangements that now included Rochester and the New York Philharmonic. But I didn’t. Instead, after a short silence I told them I had played in the Rochester Philharmonic 48 years ago. Now, incredulity was replaced by  perplexity. The couple were saved by the arrival of Rochester friends and we were forgotten. My wife and I slipped away.

Our box had the worse seats I’ve had in my entire concert going life. It held eight people and we sat at the very back on bar stools, our heads about a foot from the ceiling and it was hot. All we could see were the backs of the other occupants heads with no view at all of the stage. I complained to the captain of the concessioneres who said she’d do what she could, but I was not expecting any relief. Voila, just before the downbeat, our door opened and the captain urged us to quickly follow her.

She led us to an empty box directly in the center of the tier and said, “It’s all yours”. Indeed it was. The box to the right of us held an engineer and producer from radio station WQXR. During intermission I heard someone calling my name and was surprised to see David Smith in the box to our left. As a young boy David had begun his percussion studies with me in Rochester and went on to a lifetime career in the U.S. Army Band at West Point.

The Hanson work was suggested byTom Morris. Hanson’s orchestration was always turning corners to reveal new and interesting sonic vistas, never relinguishing its professionalism to boredom. This talent has kept his works alive. But the chorus stole the show. They were prepared and never fell below fabulous. They produced hair-raising fortissimos and delicate pianissimo passages, all beautifully in tune and with clarity of diction. Though occasionally submerging the Philharmonic strings and winds, the choristers were too good to fault. Together with the important snare drum rhythms, they never slowed the music’s forward momentum. I felt those rare quivers of joy which come when performers are peaking and can’t wait for the next note.

Rochester Philharmonic with towels and fans in Carnegie Hall, NYC, 7 May, 2014.

Rochester Philharmonic with towels and fans in Carnegie Hall, NYC, 7 May, 2014.

As a football fan I’m used to seeing 80,000 people waving magic towels at their home team, but I was bemused when the crowd from Rochester pulled out Philharmonic towels and started waving them at the stage. But it didn’t end there. After the third curtain call, orchestra and chorus members waved their own towels at the standing audience. Okay, whatever turns you on.

The first performance of Merry Mount ,Op. 31 took place on 10 February, 1934 and received 50 curtain calls. At least that’s what the program said.

After 4 years of what the New Yorker Magazine music critic Alex Ross called the best idea to hit New York in decades, Spring for Music, due to a lack of funding has given us its last year. Poor New York and poor US. Well Tom, you tried. See you at the next incarnation of whatever. It’ll be good no matter what it is.

Note:

Howard Hanson (b.1896, Wahoo, Nebraska. d. 1981)  was a distinguished composer and educator. At the request of George Eastman, Hanson became the director of the Eastman School of Music and guided its developement into one of the most prestigious music schools in North America.

One of the last concerts I played in Rochester was in Kilbourn Hall with Hanson conducting the Rochester Philharmonic core orchestra. Hanson used these year end concerts to present his Quiet Music Award to a student composer. This year Hansen faced the audience and told them there would be no winner. The student compositions had become too brash, dissonant and loud to deserve the honor. I believe this was the last concert he conducted at the Eastman School.

 

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The New York Philharmonic, 8 May, 2014.

The last time I heard a concert in Avery Fisher Hall was in 1998 when principal percussionist Christopher Lamb played the premier performance of Tan Dun’s Water Concerto, a work commissioned for him by the New York Philharmonic. The hall is a cold, extremely oversized rectangle with dubious eye-appeal , ambiguous acoustics and the home of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

This Thursday evening we were to hear the great violinist Leonidas Kavakos play Alban Berg’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1935). We had first heard him via the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall. He is a binder of spells. The program started with Im Sommerwind (1904) by Anton Webern and after intermission Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony. All the works were conducted by Bernard Haitink.

The Webern and Berg sounded as if they’d just been touched in rehearsal. Haitink never got his head out of the scores and everything was uninterestingly pedantic. I felt sorry for Kavakos. My goodness what a waste. I hope his hotel accomodations were posh and he had access to a great Greek restaurant that delivered.

Of course everyone on stage knew Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony and it was given a not to be forgotten performance. Everything was shaped beautifully and passages had ample space in which to breath.  None of Toscanini’s inexorable rushess to the finish line in this performance. Those exciting and difficult 3rd movement section solos for horns were played with a brassy exhuberance. My goodness they were exciting and the horns received a very well deserved solo bow.

That’s about all that can be said for the concert. Except for Chris Lamb’s cymbal playing in the Webern and most particularly, near the end, two exquisitly soft triangle notes.  Both absolutely breathtaking.

 

 

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Jörg Widmann. Deja vu all over again.

During the 1960s and 70s, the good ole days(?), I was playing a great deal of contemporary music. Perhaps it was the best of times and the worst of times. After all, a revolution was in progress.

Many of the contemporary composers and performers who came to Toronto were experimenting with new techniques for instruments and forms of composition. This sometimes required local musicians to learn 3 or 4 new systems of notation for each concert and find their way through a veritable maze of unfamiliar manuscripts. It was a communal experience organized by Bob Aitken’s New Music Concerts.

The notation didn’t affect percussionists very much – we only had to deal with an enormous amount of instruments, but it certainly did affect oboists, trombonists and flutist’s. That was because of Holliger, Globokar and Nicolet the French teacher and flute virtuoso. Those were the beginning days of the so-called extended techniques. Usually the sounding of 2, 3, or 4 notes at once and making sounds they’d never heard a day earlier. The player not only had to hear differently, or hear different things, but had also to learn the new notation for these things. Multi-phonics and other techniques had entered our lives.

I grew tired of hearing our local players squeak and squawk as they tried to play these extended techniques in rehearsals. In fact, I actually feared the possibility of hearing them trying over and over again. I worked on developing a feigned nonchalance. Put simply, their struggles were not worthy.

These memories were revived when I went to hear Jörg Widmann  play and conduct his music on 18 April, 2014 in the Betty Oliphant theater. The most lengthy work was titled Dubairische Tanze in nine movements. Each movement concentrated on the sounds, extended techniques I’d heard Heinze and Vinko play 30 or 40 years ago, but then, only in moderation.

Jörg Widmann took all of those sounds, and more, and put them together into a complete language for his compositions. It was exciting stuff and he used many techniques our jobbers – people who played contemporary music together only a few times a year, could play convincingly. If memory serves, Widmann had written one very brief violin passage that could pass muster as a traditional melody. The work was terrific and the orchestration was exquisite. Those things I’d heard long ago had developed new expressions and new players in my absence.  It was akin to greeting someone you’d not seen for 40 years and perhaps had mixed feelings about.

During the 1970s Heinz Holliger and Vinko Globokar appeared in Toronto 3 or 4 times, Heinz playing his oboe and Vinko his trombone. Both of these men were at the forefront of music exploration. They were finding new ways to play their instruments and producing new sounds. Our comprehension was of a level so low, they often had to teach us their compositions by rote, note by note. Globokar was particularly good at this.[1.]  The venue of choice at the time was Walter Hall in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music.

I remember sitting in Walter Hall with Toru Takemitsu as Toronto harpist Erica Goodman played one of his solo works. During a short break Toru turned to me and said, “She’s a perfect harpist”. Toru had similalyy praised the playing of Heinz Holliger and Vinko Globokar.

After Widmann’s large work, he played one of his clarinet solos. He is after all a clarinetist of no mean reputation. The solo he chose to play on the 1st half was for B-flat clarinet and quite frankly I’ve not heard that kind of control and fluidity on any instrument in years. He began multi-phonics as smoothly as a common Bflat and slid from fortissimo to pianissimo as easy as pie. My goodness.

I’m sure if Toru had been sitting next to me in the Betty Oliphant Theatre a week ago he would’ve turned to me and said,” He’s a perfect clarinetist”.

[1.] In 1970, Lukas Foss (1920-2009) organised a concert involving all the performers and composers Toru Takemitsu had invited to the Space Theater at Expo 70 Osaka, Japan. Lukas paired us up and gave each of us  wrist bands with directions for an”improvisation” he had devised. I brought a large cow-bell, a mallet and a cello bow to this party and Vinko, his trombone. After a few minutes I had expended my repertoire of sounds and sat listening raptly to Vinko who was making sounds I had never associated with a trombone. He then begam dissassembling the trombone and playing even more facinating sounds. After all that, Vinko gestured  for me to give him my cello bow. He started bowing all the trombone parts ending with the bell, sometimes a most mellifluous sound, others screechingly dissonant. A few years later, Vinko came to Toronto with some of his chamber music compositions. He and I had stayed in touch during the interval and this time I was ready for him. Besides being a great trombonist, Vinko for some time was in charge of IRCAM in Paris.

 

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