For its second concert of the season, the group continues its exploration of music of John Cage, accompanied by music from Christian Wolff that responds to Cage's "tradition."
Also on the program: Oliver Knussen's Hums and Songs of Winnie the Pooh.
While composer Oliver Knussen has followed the almost-abandoned model of creating numbered symphonies and other large-scale orchestral works, he has also endeared himself to concert programmers with his chamber operas based on Maurice Sendak works: Where the Wild Things Are and Higglety Pigglety Pop! Knussen will be in Boston during preparations for performances of his orchestral works. On April 14, Boston Modern Orchestra Project will perform Knussen's Music for a Puppet Court and Symphony No. 2 on a program that also includes music by NEC composition chair Michael Gandolfi. NEC will bestow an honorary Doctor of Music degree on Knussen at this BMOP concert. Concerts at the Boston Symphony Orchestra on April 12 and 13 feature Knussen's Violin Concerto and Whitman Settings, as part of a larger program that he will conduct. During this time, Knussen will also visit NEC for masterclasses on April 8 and April 9, and lectures on April 8 and April 9.
Knussen's Hums and Songs features a singer with chamber ensemble, but don't expect the A.A. Milne poems you chanted as a child. The composer calls this work "a sequence of faded snapshots and reflections, by an unwilling grown-up, on things remembered from the book, and on what those things meant to him as a child." Read more.
Susanna Su, soprano
Daniel Mitnitsky, cello
Allison Poh, flute
Akane Inoue, english horn
Jay Hutchinson, clarinet, contrabass clarinet
Peter Dodds, percussion
Diamanda La Berge Dramm, conductor
Works by John Cage on this program date from the early 1960s, filling a chronological gap from last year's centennial concerts.
Following the transparency overlays that make up score parts, performers of Cartridge Music (1960) insert objects into the opening of phonograph cartridges to amplify their sound.
Geoffrey Landman, Simon Hanes, Dara Blumenthal-Bloom, Neal Markowski, Mattia Maurée, John Chen
Similar in derivation to Etudes Australes, Atlas Eclipticalis (1961–1962) uses a star map (from which it takes its title), and the stars line up to represent notes when overlaid with staff paper.
Ryan Shanon, violin
Mary Ferrillo, viola
Nash Tomey, Elizabeth Burns, double bass
Allison Poh, flute
Paige McGrath, horn
Stephen Kehner, percussion
Neal Markowski, electronics
Stephen Drury, conductor
Speaking about Cage's influence on him—and specifically, the Cagean principle of "indeterminacy"—Christian Wolff has said that "the first piece I did that was more indeterminate than anything I’d done before was For One, Two, or Three People, and there already the instrumentation is not specified, the number of players is open. It’s actually a set of ten pieces in which you can do all of them or any selection from them. So it can take many different forms."
Read the full interview.
Joshua Marzan, piano
Zachary Boeding, oboe
Christina Dioguardi, bassoon
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