Godfrey Reggio's groundbreaking trilogy of experimental films, "Koyaanisqatsi" (1983), "Powaaqatsi" (1988), and "Naqoyqatsi" (2002), were released for the first time on Blu-ray this month from the Criterion Collection. In this essay, former New York Times arts critic John Rockwell traces the evolution of Philip Glass's music, and how it works in these wordless films.
The Qatsi Trilogy: Counterpoint and Harmony By John Rockwell At this late date, with Glass having attained the patriarchal age of seventy-five, some of the polemics about minimalism have abated. He's still in some ways boyish, but he is also a father figure for generations of younger composers, some of whose music sounds in no way like his own.
On "The Piano" this Sunday, a collection of riveting pieces that have Slavonic roots. First, Sergei Rachmaninoff and his new, modular approach to music; whether he consciously or unconsciously chose tolling bell patterns as a basis for his 2nd piano sonata, the effect is the same as a great festival in which, at the conclusion, all the church bells get involved.
Then there is Mily Balakirev, who explored the height of piano virtuosity with his "Islamey," featuring a soloist who was never known to rein in his power and audacity - Vladimir Horowitz.
There are so many genres of opera. There are the exquisite chamber operas that are close to plays like Strauss’ "Capriccio" of Gluck’s chamber operas. There are the operas of morality or ideology like Beethoven’s "Fidelio" or Mozart’s "Idomeneo." Some works highlight verismos raw emotions and atonal expressionism, decadent excesses like Berg’s "Lulu" or the opera of scandal, like "Salome" and the late romantic opera as epic poetry, "The Ring." The list goes on and on.
Robert Xavier Rodriguez combines cello music on new recording
The latest release of Robert Xavier Rodriguez on Albany Records spans several years, and includes all the cello and piano works, plus a work for solo cello.
"It's wonderful to have quality recordings out, you can show what a piece is supposed to sound like. It is, of course, always great to have live performances, but I hope recordings will help generate more live performances of my music," says Rodriguez.
When the Heart of Texas Concert Band (HOTCB) performs this weekend, they will add an element for the very first time in the ensemble's history: a choir. Band and choir works are more rare than orchestral accompaniment, but Mark Rogers has done some searching and arranging.
"Nancy Oehlert approached me about collaborating with the Encore Youth Chorus, and I thought it was a natural fit, and immediately thought of the holidays," says conductor Mark Rogers.
Alfred Hitchock was one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century, but he also had a dark side. A deeper reading of his films reveals some of Hitch’s hidden obsessions, including: murder, sex, and love. Throughout his career, Hitchcock was aided by the unseen hand of his wife, Alma Reville, who often served as the director’s sounding board and sometime editor.
Franz Schubert, incredibly talented and poor as a church mouse, wanted the chance to make a decent living from his music, and finally, near the end of his life, he got publishers interested. The down side was that his works were to be dictated by what would sell, and Schubert found his outlets wanted simple music that would sell rather than the big Sonata's that he was interested in.
Already in their third season, Musica Sacra SA will perform Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Our Lady of Atonement. The program follows the Second Sunday of Advent - both musically and literally.
Robert Finster says there are familiar composers and one you might not know. "David Briggs is a great improviser for the organ, and has transcribed all of the Gigout solos! He works in London at a church, plus he composes very original pieces. I first heard of him on your radio station [KPAC] with Heart and Voice!"
Few, if any, operas can bear comparison with the gestation, preparation and final execution of Giuseppe Verdi’s "Un Ballo in Maschera." It is the work that definitively closes his middle period; preceded by "Traviata,""Rigoletto," and "Il Trovatore" and followed by his supreme masterworks "Don Carlo," "Aida," "Otello" and "Falstaff."