Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music

The schedule for Tanglewood's annual Festival of Contemporary Music just landed in my inbox. It's very nice, all music I'd like to hear, especially George Benjamin's new, reportedly feminist opera Written on Skin - none of it, alas, composed by women. Blame Pierre-Laurent Aimard, this year's director. The daily schedule is as follows:

Aug 8
CARTER: String Quartet No. 1
New Fromm Players

Aug 8
MASON: Years of Light (world premiere, TMC commission)
STROPPA: Let Me Sing Into Your Ear (U.S. premiere)
CARTER: Instances (East Coast premiere, TMC co-commission)
LACHENMANN: “…zwei Gefühle…”
TMC Fellows; Brian Church, narrator; Michele Marelli, basset horn

Aug 9
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano
CARTER: Epigrams (U.S. premiere)
STROPPA: Traiettoria (U.S. premiere)
With JACK Quartet and New Fromm Players

Aug 10
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano
LACHENMANN: “…got lost…”
CARTER: Retrouvailles; Tri-Tribute; 90+
With Elizabeth Keusch, soprano; Stephen Drury, piano; New Fromm Players

Aug 11
NANCARROW, transcr. Adès: Study No. 6 & 7 for two pianos 
STROPPA: Ay, There's the Rub
LIGETI: Three Pieces: Monument – Self portrait – Movement
REICH: Music for 18 Musicians
Mickey Katz, cello; TMC Fellows; New Fromm Players

Aug 12
BENJAMIN: Written On Skin (U.S. premiere)
TMC Fellows; George Benjamin, conductor


Tom DePlonty said...

Who can we write and at least try to shame?

Lisa Hirsch said...

Andris Nelsons? Mark Volpe?

Alex Ross said...

There's also the odd fact that 6 of 16 pieces in this "contemporary" festival are by no longer living composers.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I did notice that, but I'm prepared to own that Ligeti (d. 2006) and Carter (d. 2012) are both contemporary composers.

Unknown said...

I hadn't thought about the fact that I can't even think of a woman composer.

Lisa Hirsch said...

At least 30% of current student composers (undergrad & grad) are women, and I can name dozens of women, living or dead, who compose or composed good music, so I've started tracking season announcements by prominent organizations as to how much music they're playing that was composed by women.

Interestingly, the Baroque music group Magnificat has been a pioneer in this area. They've played more music by women in the past decade than the San Francisco Symphony has.

OTOH said...

Regardless of how "feminist" Written on Skin" may be, it's really fantastic music. I am not particularly an opera/vocal fan. I also tend not to care much for stories where the main character who is of an oppressed class dies in the end, not matter how defiantly. But forget about all that - it's an extraordinary musical experience.

I caught the audio of a performance of it on BBC Radio 3, not long ago, but they only keep things online for a week, and it's been longer than that. A DVD of it from the first production is either already out, or in the works, so there will still be a convenient way to hear/watch it. It's definitely worth seeking out, one way or another.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I would love to see Written on Skin, but I can't get to Tanglewood for it, and who knows whether it will play anywhere else? Long Beach Opera has the guts to put it on; hardly any other companies.