Eros Piano: John Adams’ Journey into Impressionism

John Adams’ Eros Piano (1989) grew out of a nagging obsession. Adams could not stop listening to riverrun, a 15-minute-long piece written five years earlier in 1984 by Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996). He described the experience of being haunted by Takemitsu’s music, saying, “I…had the response I often do of writing a piece of my own in order to exorcise it.” It’s almost as if riverrun‘s unborn sibling was relentlessly pursuing Adams, demanding to be brought to life. …

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The Baltimore Symphony Turns 100

Tomorrow marks the 100th anniversary of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Following a few seasons of informal performances in the 1890s, the orchestra played its first official concert on February 11, 1916. It began as the country’s first municipal orchestra, funded for 26 years by the City of Baltimore. In 1942, the BSO separated from the City to become an independent entity. The Baltimore Symphony’s season-long celebration includes a concert tomorrow featuring Joshua …

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Conductor News on Both Sides of the Pond

Two recent announcements promise to shake up the orchestra world. Late last month, the New York Philharmonic announced that Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden would succeed Alan Gilbert to become the orchestra’s Music Director, beginning in 2018. He is currently Music Director of the Dallas Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.  Jaap van Zweden, who was concertmaster of Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for 17 years, first picked up a baton at the request of Leonard …

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Remembering Composer Bern Herbolsheimer

(Photo above by Rosetta Greek Photography) This Sunday, Seattle’s musical community will pause to remember the life of one of its most esteemed composers. American composer Bern Herbolsheimer passed away on January 13 following a battle with cancer. He was 67. Herbolsheimer served on the faculty of Cornish College and the University of Washington. His works include a Symphony which was premiered in 1989 by conductor Kenneth Jean and the Florida Symphony Orchestra, two …

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Schumann and Tchaikovsky: The Music of Manfred

"Manfred On The Jungfrau," watercolor by John Martin (1837)

The stars are forth, the moon above the tops Of the snow-shining mountains.—Beautiful! I linger yet with Nature, for the night Hath been to me a more familiar face Than that of man; and in her starry shade Of dim and solitary loveliness, I learn’d the language of another world. -Lord Byron, Manfred Demons inhabit Lord Byron’s Manfred. In the 1,336-line dramatic poem, Manfred is tormented by guilt surrounding a mysterious past transgression …

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Sounds of Candlemas: Thomas Tallis’ Videte miraculum

Candlemas, also known as The Feast of the Purification, is observed on or around February 2 on the Christian calendar. It’s a liturgical celebration that has inspired numerous works of art, such as the Byzantine painting above and at least three of J.S. Bach’s cantatas: Erfreute Zeit im neuen Bunde (BWV 83) (1724), Mit Fried und Freud ich fair dahin (BMV 125) (1725), and Ich habe genug (BWV 82) (1727). The last of the three remains the most recorded of all of Bach’s …

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