Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Contemporary Music

Here's a list of all pieces by living composers that will be played by the San Francisco Symphony this coming season, 2007-08: work, composer, conductor:
  • Short Ride in a Fast Machines, Adams, MTT

  • Cobalt, Scarlet: Two Colors of Dawn, Luca Francesconi, R.Abbado

  • Si Ji (Four Seasons), Chen Yi, Gaffigan

  • Symphonic Variations, Almeida Prado, Roberto Minczuk

  • Symphony No. 3, Oliver Knussen, MTT

  • Manhattan Trilogy, Rautavaara, Ashkenazy

  • Agnegram and Notturno, Thomas, MTT

  • Son et lumière, Stuckey, Gilbert

  • Ku-Ka-Ilimoku, Rouse, Shwartz

  • Ceres, Juno The Torino Scale, Turnage, Gaffigan, Shwartz, or Bohlin

  • New work by Magnus Lindberg, Oramu

I pulled that together by going through the whole ghastly SFS web site concert by concert. I know I've missed something, because there is a recent addition to the program, a concert where James Gaffigan is conducting a different Lindberg piece. But you see the point I'm making: MTT himself is conducting four pieces by living composers this coming season. Two are by....MTT.

There are other interesting works by 20th century composers scheduled:À l‘Île de Gorée, by Xenakis, with MTT;Messiaen's L'ascencion, with Chung; Ligeti's San Francisco Polyphony, with Metzmacher; some Janacek, the Barber piano concerto, and other pieces. Overall it's a pretty dull season. Blomstedt does what he does; MTT's big festival for the year is Brahms....I know that MTT is responsible for the overall planning of the season, but, really, he's doing his most interesting work with contemporary music elsewhere, and I'm sorry about that.


Keith said...

I love Ku-Ka-Ilimoku.

For comparison, a similar list for the LA Phil's 07-08 season:

*Piano Concerto, Salonen, Salonen
*world premiere by Stucky, Salonen
*Wing on Wing, Salonen, Salonen
*Cello Concerto (world premiere), Knussen, Salonen
*"...explosante-fixe...", Boulez, David Robertson
*world premiere by Michael Gordon, Robertson
*Insomnia, Salonen, Dudamel
*A Haunted Landscape, Crumb, Robertson

Not nearly as interesting a list as yours, I fear; were it not for Robertson's special three-concert series, "Concrete Frequency" (and Salonen's own pieces, of course), we'd not have much at all.

(The "Concrete Frequency" series -- and I quote the season guidebook here -- "examines the elements that define cities and how those qualities are affected by, and reflected in, music.")

I've not included the concerts in the Green Umbrella series, which is specifically devoted to new music; this list comes from the main LA Phil subscription season only.

We were supposed to get the LA premiere of Saariaho's La Passion de Simone, but it's been postponed for the second straight year.

Other interesting 20th-century music on the season: Feldman's Turfan Fragments, Zimmermann's "Nobody knows de trouble I see," Britten's War Requiem, Varese's Ameriques, Messiaen's Oiseaux exotiques, Zappa's Dupree's Paradise (!).

Lisa Hirsch said...

Lot of Salonen there, but, you know, he's a better composer than MTT. Still, you're right that we've actually got better living-composer music.

However, I'll take your Sibelius Fest over our Brahms Fest any day, despite my dismay that the Saariaho isn't being done. What happened to it? I see that the concert is completely gone, which will affect my plans for October.

Keith said...

The official line on the postponement of the Saariaho is that Salonen has decided that the oratorio needs to be presented in fully staged form, and there wasn't time to arrange that before the performances, which had been scheduled for the first weekend of October.

When is the Rouse being performed, Lisa, and what's on the program with it? I only know the piece from recordings, and the chance to hear it live might be worth a trip to SF.

Lisa Hirsch said...

The Rouse is on a "Concerts for Youth" program along with a Saint-Saens march, a Gabrieli piece, the finale from Mozart's Wind Serenade no. 10, Piazzolla's Libertango, a bit of On the Town and the finale of S-S's Organ Symphony. These concerts are on April 1, 3,and 4, looks like.