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Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Sunday, May 08, 2005

SEATTLE SYMPHONY (The 2-year-old is awake, and I'm playing his lullabye music, over and over, until he sleeps.)

The Ives was gorgeous.
So many surprises in the concert.
Small hall, not the main orchestra hall.
Chamber orchestra -- 6 first violins, 5 second violins, 4 violas & cellos, 3 basses, plus various wind instruments for different pieces.
Three pieces from a suite of solos for cello by Roger Sessions. Nice music. Hall too big for solo cello. I'd never heard Sessions, but he made Serialism seem nice, almost corny, with its nice polite sticking to the tempered scale. Nothing too memorable about it.
A piece of proto-thriller-movie-music by Bergsma, another composer I didn't know. Again, nice, nothing thrilling.
An early Elliott Carter, "Elegy." Pretty. Lots of open, Copland-esque chords.
A suite of 9 songs written to Robert Herrick poems by Ned Rorem, beautifully sung if cornily acted by Jonathan Silvia with pretty piano accompaniment by Michelle Chang. Pretty music in a Debussy-Satie bag, and I admired the brevity of many of the songs, sticking to the 4 or 6 lines of many of the Herrick poems; still, the emotional connection between the poems (which I've loved for a long long time) and the music was shallow. I've set quite a bit of poetry to music, probably around 20 songs over the years, if I count the ones I did for theater. It's a tricky biz. I've never set Herrick. Now I want to try. I would preferred the singer of the Rorem to have been singing vocalise.

The 2-year-old's asleep now. More on the concert tomorrow. Just this for now -- the Ives was gorgeous.
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