Friday, October 31, 2008

Pan Cogito Dispenses Practical Advice For Halloween

If you are sitting at home (assuming you still have a home, or a hovel) waiting for the Halloween trick-or-treaters to come, and they don't come; you can use the time suddenly available to you to listen to American contemporary classical composer David Lang's Pulitzer Prize winning chamber cantata The Little Match Girl Passion, courtesy of New Music Carnegie Hall: The Carnegie Hall Commissions -- recorded almost exactly one year ago.

If you still have time, you can also listen to the Carnegie Hall Commissions of the following contemporary classical composers :

Adams, John
Adler, Christopher
Assad, Clarice
Bruce, David
Carter, Ryan
Clyne, Anna
Kalhor, Kayhan
Kopelman, Aviya
Lam, Angel
Lauer, Johannes
Lena Frank, Gabriela
Pintscher, Matthias
Riley, Gyan
Sheng, Bright
Vrebalov, Aleksandra
Ward-Bergeman, Michael
Ziporyn, Evan


Header Image: Artist: Basko Tamara, 14 years old, the pupil of the children's art school of P.I.Chaykovskiy. Title - picture: The Little Match Girl. Title - fairytale: The Little Match Girl. Childrens drawings from Kaliningrad Project.

Image credit: (c) Basko Tamara and The Hans Christian Andersen Center, Institute of Literature, Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Southern Denmark. 2008. Copyright controlled. With thanks.

In Which Pan Cogito Joins The Geek Squad In Order To Help His Mother More Fully Enjoy Her Recent Morning Open Rehearsal By The San Francisco Symphony

Dear Mother,

I'm happy that you enjoyed your visit to the San Francisco Symphony's Open Rehearsal on Wednesday morning; and that you enjoyed San Francisco Conservatory Professor Scott Foglesong's one-half hour long introduction to the Bruckner Symphony #2, which the orchestra then performed under guest conductor Herbert Blomstedt. I was interested that Professor Foglesong tried to explain why many people do not care for Bruckner as much as they care for other 19th c. composers.

I'm also glad that you thoroughly enjoyed pianist Krystian Zimerman's performance of Witold Lutosławski's Piano Concerto (1987), which was composed for Mr Zimerman. I was interested in your remark that, unlike the Bruckner which was played straight through, Mr Zimerman seemed to lead the rehearsal by often stopping Mr Blomstedt and making comments about the interpretation of the concerto.

I was rather appalled when you told me that the San Francisco Symphony does not provide printed program notes (both normal and large-print) to the paying attendees of their popular open rehearsal series.

You also told me that you were having problems finding the program notes on the San Francisco Symphony web-site. I agree that it is sometimes difficult to find the links to the usually excellent program notes now published on most symphony web-sites.

Here is what to do:

Go to the San Francisco Symphony website, and click on the picture of guest conductor Herbert Blomstedt. That should bring up some tiny text in awful orange saying "learn more". Click on the "learn more" and that will bring you to the Event Page which contains two links, again in awful orange, to the works by Bruckner and Lutoslawski. (Be patient). Please note that you must -- unfortunately -- scroll down the Event Page to find the two orange links to the program notes.

I hope that this works, and that you won't have to call Jonathan Khuner and ask him for his help.

I hope you enjoy the upcoming rain in the Bay Area.




The Jewish quarter after the November 1918 Pogrom in Lviv.

[Click on image for enlargement.]

Source: Derzhavnyi Archiv L’vivs’koi Oblasti (L’viv State Regional Archive)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

In Which Pan Cogito Recalls The 24 'Dark Ages' Years The NEA-Supported Metropolitan Opera Did Not Stage A Single New American Opera [1967 - 1991]

"The creation of the NEA Opera Honors constitutes a milestone in the agency's long history of support for opera. Beginning in 1967, only the second year of its grant making activities, the NEA awarded a $150,000 grant to the Metropolitan Opera National Company, a satellite of the Metropolitan Opera. Since then, the NEA has made more than 4,000 grants totaling almost $164 million to opera companies, artists, and organizations. The catalytic effect of this support is reflected in the growth of opera companies, from 46 companies in 1965 to 129 companies in 2005.

Key to the agency's history of opera support was the New American Works program which from 1980 to 1995 awarded more than 600 grants totaling $9.5 million to assist in the creation of new work. Among the operas made possible through this program are Anthony Davis' Amistad, John Adam's Nixon in China, William Bolcom's A View from the Bridge, and Philip Glass' Appomattox." [The librettists Christopher and Thulani Davis, Alice Goodman, Arthur Miller and Arnold Weinstein, and Christopher Hampton are -- following long-standing NEA policy -- unworthy of mention.]


Sharon Rockefeller's conservative, normally American classical music-less Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital, will broadcast Miller, Bolcom, and Weinstein's American opera, "A View From The Bridge" on Saturday at 1 PM.

Opera Doctor Atomic

Photo credit: All rights reserved. With thanks.

Somebody Expects Pan Cogito To Be Interested In A National Endowment For The Arts Opera Honors Gala In Which The Guests Come In Business Attire?

Dear Pan,

The National Endowment for the Arts and
Washington National Opera
invite you to toast the inaugural
2008 Opera Honors Awards and Honorees

Friday, October 31, at 8:00 p.m.
Sidney Harman Hall at the Harman Center for the Arts

The NEA Opera Honors Awards will be presented to Leontyne Price, soprano; Carlisle Floyd, composer; Richard Gaddes, general director; and James Levine, music director/conductor.

Tickets Available October 31!

'Although officially sold out, unclaimed reserved seats will be distributed on the day of performance beginning at 7:30pm at the Harman Center for the Arts box office located at 610 F Street NW.

After those seats are distributed, 200 additional tickets will be available for viewing a live video feed in the Forum and other locations in the Harman Center. These tickets will be distributed beginning at 7:35 p.m. at the Harman Center for the Arts box office. All tickets are complimentary.

Washington National Opera (WNO) and OPERA America will host the evening that includes video portraits of the artists and performances by soprano Sondra Radvanovsky and WNO's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists, accompanied by the WNO Orchestra. The evening's presenters are mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, NEA Chairman Dana Gioia, OPERA America President and CEO Marc A. Scorca, and WNO General Director Plácido Domingo. Each honoree will be present to receive their award. The evening ends with champagne for all attendees.

For more information, go to or

Dress is business attire.'


[Pan was secretly hoping that Plácido Domingo, Leontyne Price, and James Levine would come to Washington, D.C. dressed as Ze' do Caixao (Coffin Joe), Terezinha, and Antonio.]

On The Secular And Sacred Arts In The Shadows Of Empire ["The Loss Of Memory By A Nation Is Also A Loss Of Its Conscience"]

The U.S. economy temporarily behind him, Pan Cogito's thoughts turn to (free) poetry and music in the Nation's Capital [Pan Cogito's author Zbigniew Herbert was born in Lviv]:

October 30 2008, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Marjana Savka, poet and publisher, Lviv, Ukraine

Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, D.C.

Born in 1973 in Kopytchyntsi, Ukraine, Marjana Savka published her first volume of poems Naked Riverbeds when she was twenty-one. Eight other books, for which she has received numerous prizes and awards, have appeared since then, including four of poetry and three books for children. A former actress and journalist, she has edited We and She, an anthology of poems by women writers from Lviv, Ukraine, where she lives. She is also co-founder, with her husband, of Old Lion Publishing House, specializing in children’s books and poetry. She has been a Fellow of the William Joiner Center at the University of Massachusetts, Boston when the poetry for her newest book Boston-jazz was created. The book of translations of her poetry Eight Notes from the Blue Angel by Askold Melnyczuk was published in Boston by Arrowsmith Press.

Please RSVP by sending an e-mail to

Note: A Reception will precede the event at 5:30.


Post-Classical Ensemble and the Georgetown University Chamber Singers: Voice of Mexico

Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 6:00pm

McNeir Auditorium

This concert is free and open to the public.

Repertoire list:
Laudate Dominum - Francisco Lopez Capillas
Aufer a nobis – Francisco Lopez Capillas
Magnificat (quinti toni) – Fernando Franco
Et incarnates est – Anon. (Puebla I, fols. 70-71).
Exultate Justi in Domino – Juan Gutierrez de Padilla
Vidi turbam magnam – Juan Gutierrez de Padilla
A la xacara xacarilla - Juan Gutierrez de Padilla
Quisiera te pedir, Nidida, cuenta – Luis Sandi
Serenissima Una Noche, Geronimo Gonzalez
Xicochi xicochi – Gaspar Fernandez
Convidando esta la noche – Juan Garcia de Zespedes

Post-Classical Ensemble


Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 8:00

Messiaen Centenary

TONY ARNOLD, soprano

Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Free. First come, first served.

Carter: Voyage
Mozart: Das Veilchen
Berlioz: Le Spectre de la Rose
Sibelius: Svarta Rosor
Kurtág: Requiem for the Beloved
Harbison: Breakfast Song
Adés: Life Story
Messiaen: Harawi (A Song of Love and Death)

6:15 pm – Coolidge Auditorium (no tickets required)

Pre-concert presentation: "The Complete Works for Violin and Piano" by Messiaen performed by Paul Festa, violin and Jerome Lowenthal, piano. Includes: Theme and Variations; Le Loriot from Catalogue d'oiseaux (piano solo); Fantasie (Washington premiere); and, "Louange à l'immortalité de Jésus" (mvt VIII of Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps)


National Gallery Vocal Arts Ensemble

November 2 at 6:30 PM

West Building Main Floor, West Garden Court

Music by seventeenth-century composers
Presented in honor of Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Rediscovered

Free. First come first served.

Program Notes


Header: "The Preaching of the Antichrist" by Luca Signorelli and his school (1499-1504) (in the left corner : the figures of Fra Angelico and Signorelli); San Brizio Chapel, Cathedral of Orvieto, Italy, European Union.

Below "The Preaching of the Antichrist" are smaller paintings of famous writers and philosophers watching the unfolding disaster above them with interest. Depicted are Homer, Empedocles, Lucan, Horace, Ovid, Virgil and Dante.

Photo credit: (c) Georges Jansoone, 2008. All rights reserved. Via Wikipedia. With thanks.


Jan Lievens
Magdalena in meditation
Oil on canvas, 69 cm x 55.5 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Douai, European Union

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Russian Federation, China, And Germany Consider Updated Rail Links Between Pacific Ocean And Europe

"Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao agreed to build an oil pipeline to China and signed off on a raft of other agreements Tuesday.

The leaders also discussed ways to jointly counter the global financial crisis, just three weeks before leaders from Russia, China and other countries gather for an emergency summit in Washington to grapple with the same problem.

"It's hard to find another country in the world that is our partner with such a wide range of interaction," Putin said after the talks....

Russian Railways, which plans to cut spending next year and seek about $6 billion in loans, has asked China to join efforts to develop rail links from the Pacific Ocean to Europe, company president Vladimir Yakunin said. He said China had reacted positively to an offer to join the company's venture with Deutsche Bahn to carry out the project."

Anatoly Medetsky "Putin, Wen Sign Off on Oil Pipeline" The Moscow Times October 29, 2008

[Click on image for enlargement.]

While Ukraine has one Autonomous Region (Crimea), the Russian Federation has numerous Autonomous Regions.

Image credit: (c) Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection University of Texas at Austin. With thanks.

Belarus Says That It Is Prepared To Accept Economic Liberalization As Set Forth By I.M.F. In Exchange For Loan, But Insists That It Is Not In Crisis

"Belarus is ready to liberalise its economic policies as it seeks a $2 billion cushion against the impact of the global financial crisis from the International Monetary Fund, an official said on Wednesday.

The talks with the ex-Soviet state follow a preliminary agreement between the IMF and Ukraine on a $16.5 billion standby loan and a 'substantial financing package' with Hungary. Iceland and Serbia are among others who have turned to the Fund.

Belarus' deputy central bank head Vasily Matyushevsky told reporters he was optimistic about the loan as an IMF mission held talks with top Belarussian officials in Minsk.

'Our macro goal is for this credit not to be used at all. In the current situation we don't need this money... But we don't know how deep the global crisis is,' he said. 'Belarus is asking for the loan, but it is not in crisis.'" ...

Thomson Financial News "UPDATE 1-Belarus tells IMF ready to liberalise economy" October 29, 2008


The loan package prepared by the I.M.F. for Ukraine is reported to contain forty (40) conditions for further economic liberalization in exchange for the $16.5 billion loan.


Just before the international financial crisis, the I.M.F. forecast the gross national income per capita [per person] in the Russian Federation would converge with that of Portugal in five years time (2013) at ca. $27,000 -- with Belarus at about 80% of this level and Ukraine at about one-third of this level.
The Russian Federation's convergence with Portugal would be due to its oil wealth and its currently declining population.

[Click on images for enlargement.]

[Above] English: The National Bank of Ukraine's building [1905 and 1933], Kyiv, Ukraine, Future European Union.

[Below] English: National Library's new building [2006], Minsk, Belarus, Future European Union.
Беларуская: Новы будынак Нацыянальнай бібліятэкі, Менск, Беларусь.

Photo credits: (c) Alexander Noskin, 2005. All rights reserved.
(c) Giancarlo Rosso, 2006. All rights reserved. Via Wikipedia. With thanks.


"In 1902, the architect O. Kobolyev won the competition for the design of the new structure, and work began several years later. The main facade was designed by O. Verbitskyi. On August 1, 1905, the building was completed and the day-to-day business was transferred to it. The new building featured electrical lighting and ventilation and a central heating system. In 1933, when the capital of Ukraine was transferred from Kharkiv to Kiev, two more stories were added to the building to handle the growth. The Italian sculptor Emilio Sala was invited to create the decorations for the new building."

Retrieved from ""

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oakland - Goose Bay - Berlin (Tempelhof Airport): Pan Cogito's Now Fading First Memory Of Europe, September 1972

Tempelhof Airport [October 8, 1923 to October 31, 2008] was designed by Ernst Sagebiel.

In 1929, Sagebiel [1890-1970] took up a job in Berlin as a project leader and chief executive officer at the German-Jewish architect Erich Mendelsohn's office, but in 1932, he had to leave this job owing to the severe economic climate in Germany at that time. He worked as a construction foreman. After Adolf Hitler and the Nazis seized power in 1933, Sagebiel applied for membership in the NSDAP, and became a member of the Sturmabteilung (SA).


Mendelsohn [1887-1953], from Allenstein (Olsztyn), East Prussia, was the fifth of six children; his mother was a hatmaker and his father a shopkeeper. He attended a humanist Gymnasium in Allenstein and continued with commercial training in Berlin.

In 1906 he took up a study of national economics at the University of Munich. In 1908, he began studying architecture at the Technical University of Berlin; two years later he transferred to the Technical University of Munich, where in 1912 he graduated cum laude....

From 1941 to 1953, Mendelsohn taught architecture at the University of California, Berkeley.

[Click on images for enlargements.]

Mendelsohn's hat factory in Luckenwalde, Brandenburg, Germany.

Luckenwalde is a town in the district of Teltow-Fläming in the state of Brandenburg, Germany. Its cloth and wool factories were once among the most extensive in Germany. Among its other traditional industries were cotton printing and a dye works, brewing, and the making of metal and bronze goods.

The site of Luckenwalde was occupied in the 12th century by a Cistercian monastery, but the village did not spring up till the reign of Frederick the Great. It was made a town in 1808.

[About a third of historic Brandenburg was annexed by Poland following the establishment of the new Oder-Neisse border, in 1945, by the Allies.]

English: Einstein Tower in Potsdam, Germany
Deutsch: Babelsberg Einsteinturm in Potsdam im Wissenschaftspark „Albert Einstein“, Deutschland [by Erich Mendelsohn].


Photo credits: Tempelhof Airport by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology. Others, Wikipedia Commons. With thanks.


Königsberg Castle, East Prussia, 1895; and "House of the Soviets", built on the site of the former Königsberg Castle.

Photo credits: Wikipedia.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Musicological And Pianistic Reminders For A Great Nation's Capital

Friday, October 24, 2008

7:30 pm La Maison Française, Washington, D.C.

Alexandre Tharaud, piano

Preludes by CHOPIN and RAVEL's Miroirs



Saturday, October 25, 2008

6:15 p.m. - Whittall Pavilion
Preconcert presentation (no tickets/reservations required)

"Messiaen in War and Peace: From Vingt Regards to Harawi and the Tristan trilogy" Dr. Peter Hill, University of Sheffield and editor of the The Messiaen Companion


8:00 p.m. - Coolidge Auditorium
Messiaen Centenary
Christopher Taylor, piano

MESSIAEN: Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jésus

Free tickets will almost assuredly be available at the door on the night of the concert.

This ancient Baobab tree in the Réserve de Bandia, Sénégal, forms a living mausoleum for the remains of famed local Griots.

Photo credit: Wikipedia. With thanks.

The Changing Colors Of Autumn Approach The Nation's Capital

Leesburg, Virginia, October 22, 2008, at dusk: These young change seekers aren't just seeking quarters for UNICEF this autumn.

[Click on images for enlargements.]

Photo credit: (c) Ian Livingston and the Washington Post. With thanks.


John Quidor, The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane, 1858, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Nineteenth century American painter of historical and literary subjects, Quidor was obliged to support himself by painting the panels of stage coaches and fire engines and died in abject poverty.

"Because the ghost [of racism] is incapable of crossing the bridge [into the 21st century C.E.], Ichabod assumes that he is safe; however, the Headless Horseman -- the ghost of a Hessian soldier who was decapitated by a cannonball -- throws his own severed head at Ichabod, knocking him from the back of his own horse and he fell onto the road. The next morning, Ichabod's hat is found abandoned, and close beside it a shattered pumpkin. Ichabod is never seen in Sleepy Hollow again, and is therefore presumed to have been spirited away by the [spiritually transformed] Headless Horseman."

Image credit: (c) SAAM. Copyright controlled.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Studies In Art And Imagination In Times Of Transcendental And Transformational Spiritual And Economic Upheaval And Crisis

“Eureka (1848) is a lengthy non-fiction work by American author Edgar Allan Poe which he subtitled "A Prose Poem," though it has also been subtitled as "An Essay on the Material and Spiritual Universe." Adapted from a lecture he had presented, Eureka describes Poe's intuitive conception of the nature of the universe with no scientific work done to reach his conclusions. He also discusses man's relationship with God, whom he compares to an author. It is dedicated to the German naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt. Though it is generally considered a literary work, some of Poe's ideas anticipate discoveries of the 20th century. Indeed a critical analyisis of the scientific content of Eureka reveals a non casual correspondence with modern cosmology due to the assumption of an evolving Universe. Poe's suggestion that the soul continues to thrive even after death also parallels with works in which characters reappear from beyond the grave such as "Ligeia." The essay is oddly Transcendental, considering Poe's disdain for the movement. He considered it his greatest work and claimed it was more important than the discovery of gravity.

Eureka was published in a small hardcover edition in March 1848 by Wiley & Putnam priced at 75 cents. Poe persuaded George Palmer Putnam, who had previously taken a chance on Poe by printing his only novel 'The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket' in England, to publish Eureka after claiming this work was more important than Isaac Newton's discovery of gravity. Putnam paid Poe fourteen dollars for the work. Poe suggested an initial printing of at least one million copies; Putnam settled on 750...

Text and image credits: Wikipedia. With thanks.


The Living Theatre begins its 2008-2009 season with the limited run of Judith Malina and Hanon Reznikov's Eureka!, based on an Edgar Allan Poe essay about the origin of the Universe. The production is directed by Judith Malina and features an original score by Patrick Grant.


The Great Chartist Meeting on Kennington Common, April 10, 1848, photograph taken by William Kilburn. Black and white photograph with applied colour. Original at Windsor Castle.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More Contemporary Classical Oratorio/Opera Libretto Publication And Study In The Age Of Digital (And Mechanical) Reproduction

Extract from Ian McEwan's libretto for Michael Berkeley's world premiere opera "For You":

Charles: "It does not touch me, this music of my younger self, when my name was unknown and I lived on nothing but sex and cigarettes and fast food, when I was in love again every other week.

I hear it clearly, each intricate part, I understand it, even admire it, but I cannot feel its passion, the longing, the sharp hunger, the lust for newness of that young man.

It does not touch me now. The car is ready, Sir! The usual table, Maestro? The Minister of Culture is waiting. A famous man with a rich wife — but the dimmed perception, the expiring powers, stamina, boldness, vigour wilting under the weight of years. The long descent to uselessness. Every man's fate, how banal it is, and still it makes me angry, the clock that's beating me to extinction. Stop! Enough! How can I make it stop?"

Nicholas Wroe "A Complicated Beast" The Guardian, Saturday October 18 2008 via On An Overgrown Path.

For You, performed by Music Theatre Wales, opens on
October 28 at the Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House, London.
For You: The Libretto is published by Vintage (£5.99).


Michael Berkeley: "I've always been attracted to slightly dark and turbulent things, although I use quite a lyrical language a lot of the time. My clarinet concerto fits into that, as does my first opera, Baa Baa Black Sheep, which was really about the child abuse suffered by Rudyard Kipling. Equally, in Jane Eyre, there is ultimately a terrible price paid by the characters." [Ian McEwan and Michael Berkeley collaborated on the earlier anti-nuclear war oratorio Or Shall We Die? in the terrible, deep recession/threatened nuclear war, early 1980s.]

Leonard Bernstein, the upper-class, 20th c. American conductor and composer.

Photo credit: (c) PA via The Guardian. Copyright controlled. With thanks.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Contemporary Classical Oratorio/Opera Libretto Publication And Study In The Age Of Digital Reproduction

A Flowering Tree

Act I, Scene 1
I want to tell you a story—
a story of love,
and then pain,
and then love again.

This is Kumudha.
Like the flower
she’s named for,
she is beautiful,
and always has been.

This is the Prince.
Once a selfish
spoiled young man,
careless, rash,
he is different now.

Together they will help me
tell you the story
of their love.

In the time of honey and elephants
in the south of the country
near a town where two rivers
met to mingle their slow pure waters,
near that town
a king ruled among his people.

His son, the Prince,
lived in comfort and luxury.
He lived with his two sisters,
one kind, the other covetous.
Rarely did they leave the palace,
for the world outside
was a place of misery and suffering.

In that same town, close to the river,
an old woman, weary, fretted,
lived alone with two daughters.
With gnarled hands and curved spine,
her sweat mixed with dust and chaff,
she labored in fields,
in order to feed them,
her two precious daughters.

-- Libretto by John Adams and Peter Sellars adapted from the ancient Indian folktale and poetry in translations by A.K. Ramanujan.

(c) 2008.Nonesuch Records. All rights reserved. With thanks.


Header credit: Flowering Tree by Mary Belknap, 2006. Mixed media on matte board. Copyright © 2000-2008 Creativity Explored. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Creativity Explored: Where Art Changes Lives. San Francisco.
Their website is funded, in part, by The San Francisco Foundation.

Pan Cogito Thinks That Charles Ives, Whose Birthday Is Today, Would Have Supported Barack Obama For President

No Charles Ives on Sharon Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM, public radio in the Nation's Capital:

The following music was previously broadcast by Classical WETA.

To search our playlists by keyword, enter the terms you're looking for in the search box below. To find a particular day's playlist, please go to the main Playlists page to select a date.

Keyword: Charles Ives

No search results. Please try again.

Photo credit: United States Postal Service via Wikipedia. With thanks.


Charles Ives, unlike Warren Buffett and Sharon Rockefeller, was also a great supporter of twentieth century American classical music.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pssst! ... Heard Some Of The Latest Elliott Carter Thoughts About The Piano? ... (I Bet Warren Buffett Hasn't Yet, But You Can)

PROGRAM (70:53)

Elliott Carter (b. 1908)

1 90+ (1994) (4:55)

2 Retrouvailles (2000) (1:38)

3 Night Fantasies (1980) (19:48)

Two Diversions (1999) (7:28)
4 I. (4:03)
5 II. (3:21)

6 Matribute (2007) (2:05)

Piano Sonata (1945–46) (23:31)
7 I. Maestoso; Legato scorrevole (10:22)
8 II. Andante (13:03)

Two Thoughts About the Piano (2005–06) (10:55)
9 Intermittences (7:04)
10 Caténaires (3:48)

New Releases Ursula Oppens Plays Elliott Carter


Some of the composers who have written music for Ursula Oppens

Charles Wuorinen, Luciano Berio, William Bolcom, Elliott Carter, Tobias Picker, John Harbison, Julius Hemphill, Tania Leon, Harold Meltzer, György Ligeti, Witold Lutoslawski, Conlon Nancarrow, Frederic Rzewski, Joan Tower, Amy Williams, Christian Wolff, and Amnon Wolman.

Photo credit: © Schott Music GmbH & Co. KG, 2008. With thanks.

Renaissance Research "Conservatory Project" Assignment: Benjamin Britten On Schubert And The Years Between Beethoven And Wagner, Verdi, And Brahms

... "Franz Schubert’s last three piano sonatas were written in the summer of 1828, when he had reached his maturity as a composer and was finally beginning to gain public recognition for his compositions. Ironically, it was also the year of his untimely death at age thirty-one. The pieces from the last years of Schubert’s life are profoundly private, and explore the depths of sadness as well as heights of sublime joy. The trilogy of final piano sonatas is ranked with his song cycle Winterreise, his Mass in E-flat Major, D. 950, and his String Quintet in C Major, D. 956, [and his Symphony #9 in C Major, D. 944] as one of his greatest achievements." ...

Danielle DeSwert's Program Note for Gilles Vonsattel's Free Piano Recital at the National Gallery of Art last Sunday -- featuring music of J.S. Bach, Schubert, Liszt, Dallapiccola, and Nico Muhly.


Benjamin Britten considered Franz Schubert's achievement in his very short period of time following the death of Beethoven (and before the later, huge 19th c. achievements of Wagner, Verdi, and Brahms), to represent perhaps the pinnacle of Western art music.

Try to locate the source of this reference and then write an essay discussing your reaction to Benjamin Britten's strong judgment.

[Britten, an accomplished pianist, accompanied many of Schubert's lieder and performed many of his piano solo and duet works.]

Alberto Giacometti

Objet désagréable à jeter [Disagreeable Object to be Thrown away]

'This wooden object is designed to be picked up and played with, and can stand in several different positions. It is satisfying to hold, but is also sinister and possibly offensive. Although it looks as if it has been built for a purpose (possibly sexual), the artist has left this for the viewer to decide. It is similar in shape to a type of stool made in Western Africa, although one of the 'legs' is fixed to the top of the 'seat.' Giacometti made this piece while working with the surrealist group.'

'Swiss-born sculptor Giacometti (1901-1966) studied art in Geneva, moving to Paris in 1922 where he experimented with Cubism and became interested in primitive sculpture. He worked with the surrealist group until the mid-1930s, producing strange objects suggestive of cruelty, sex and dreams. After that time, he broke away dramatically from the Surrealists and returned to working from life. He then produced his best known works, a series of elongated and fragile skeletal figures, made not by carving but by an obsessive process of modelling in clay and whittling away.'

Photo (and caption) credits: © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2006. Via National Gallery of Scotland website.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Yet Once More, O Ye Laurels ... Absalon Fili Mi

"This memorial disc of solos and duos by Andrew Welsh Imbrie (1921-2007) and one of his most distinguished pupils, Hi Kyung Kim (b.1954), boasts performances largely by the musicians who commissioned and premiered them. Two of Imbrie's last pieces, To My Son and Melody for Gayageum, written while he was fighting with his illness are included on this disc."


Absalon fili mi,
quis det ut moriar pro te, Absalon?
Non vivam ultra,
sed descendam in infernum plorans.

Absalon my son,
if only I had died instead of you, Absalon!
I shall live no more,
but go down to hell, weeping.
(trans. Mick Swithinbank)


John Milton Lycidas
A Lament for a friend drowned in his passage from
Chester on the Irish Seas, 1637


Image credit: (c) Albany Records. [September 1,] 2008.

Aide Memoire: Determine Present Location Of Score To Artur Sergeyevich Luriye's 'Blackamoor of Peter the Great' Next Time In New York City

Last night, we had tea and cake at home with a senior curator from the National Gallery of Art. He mentioned that he thought that it was a culturally exciting time for Washington, D.C., the Nation's Capital, because most of the Capital's wonderful museums were now operating under new directors who would soon be making their visions apparent.

I mentioned that the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as well, would, in 2010-11, have both a new (and first) Music Director, Christoph Eschenbach; as well as a successor to 'turn-around' expert, President Michael Kaiser.


Artur Sergeyevich Luriye's 'Blackamoor of Peter the Great', based upon Pushkin's unfinished historical novel, Peter the Great's Negro. Manuscript at the New York Public Library, New York City, United States of America.

Roger Sessions's 'Montezuma', based upon libretto by Giuseppe Antonio Borhese. Manuscript at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., United States of America.


Debreczeny, Paul. “The Blackamoor of Peter the Great: Pushkin’s Experiment with a Detached Mode of Narration.” Slavic and East European Journal. 18.2 (1974): 119-31.

Nicholas V. Riasanovsky. The Image of Peter the Great in Russian History and Thought. Oxford, Oxford UP, 1992.

Cogan, Robert. "Toward a Theory of Timbre: Verbal Timbre and Musical Line in Purcell, Sessions, and Stravinsky." Perspectives of New Music, viii/1 (1969-70): 75-81.

Harbison, John. "Roger Sessions and Montezuma." New Boston Review, ii/1 (1976): 5; [reprinted in Tempo, no.121 (1977): 2-5.]

Black, Peter. "Inroads for analysis: When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd by Roger Sessions." Sonus: A Journal of Investigations Into Global Musical Possibilities, vol. 18, no.2 (spring 1998): 1-17.


Header image credit: (c) Estate of Sol LeWitt and National Gallery of Art website. 2008. Copyright controlled. All rights reserved. With thanks.


Roger Sessions: Selected Bibliography.

[Sharon Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM broadcast Sessions's From My Diary, for piano, last Saturday, as part of their piano weekend.]

Eine Kleine 'Tchaikovsky Research' While Awaiting Greater Time For 'Renaissance Research' -- [Thanks, Bob! (Vladimir Davydov)]

Tchaikovsky (left) with his nephew, Vladimir "Bob" Davidov, who dissuaded the composer from totally abandoning the E flat Symphony, which was completed and orchestrated by Soviet composer Semyon Bogatyryov in 1951-55 as Tchaikovsky's "Symphony No 7 in E-flat major."


"The ultimate essence of the symphony is Life. First movement - all passion, confidence, thirst for life. Must be short (finale death - result of collapse). Second movement - love; the third - disappointment; the fourth ends dying away (also short)"


In a letter dated December 19, 1892, 'Bob' wrote, "I feel sorry of course, for the symphony that you have cast down from the cliff as they used to do with the children of Sparta, because it seemed to you deformed, whereas it is probably as much a work of genius as the first five."


Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra premiered and recorded the Bogatyryev reconstruction of Symphony #7 in 1962. Since then, four other conductors have recorded it: [Estonian-American conductor] Neeme Järvi, Sergei Skripka, Kyung-Soo Won, and Leo Ginzburg.


Source and photo credits: Wikipedia. With thanks.


Sharon Percy Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital, programs the older Tchaikovsky, but not the younger Charles Ives, above.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Designing Our Way Out Of World Crisis? Pierre Paul Andriani, G.M. Car Designer, To Speak At La Maison Française

'General Motors car designer Pierre Paul Andriani will present a glimpse of 100 years of car design, offering words and images to depict the incredible developments in automotive design across the past century.

The French artist will speak to design highlights and breakthroughs worldwide such as the start of Model T production in 1908, the world's first design studio in 1927 (GM's Art and Colour Division), the rich French contribution to car design and the introduction of electric vehicles.

This program is presented by General Motors, La Maison Française and the French-American Cultural Foundation.

A reception will follow Mr. Andriani's talk.

WHAT: Pierre Paul Andriani, General Motors Designer

WHEN: Monday, October 20, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.

WHERE : La Maison Française
4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007


TICKETS: Reservation required. Please send an email to:, providing your surname, first name and the number of persons attending.

Photo credit: (c) General Moters via La Maison Francaise and the French-American Cultural Foundation.


Pierre-Paul Andriani
Adjunct Faculty
College for Creative Studies
201 East Kirby
Detroit, MI 48202-4034

The College offers Undergraduate and Graduate degrees in Design and Automotive Design.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Renaissance Research And Pan Cogito Are Happy To Promote 'The Year of Castles and Palaces of Galychyna (Including The Lviv Region) in Ukraine'

-- road network including Pan-European highways;

-- rich cultural, historic, and art surroundings that will satisfy the most exigent connoisseur of art;

-- talented and hard-working people – descendants of those who did significant contribution in development of the world sciences and culture;

-- beautiful nature and inexhaustible minerals that make us consider our land to be the best place for rest and health spa.

"Moreover, you will always feel yourself as a desirable and dear guest here. About half of all castles and palaces of Ukraine are located in Lviv region. Our obligation before our descendants is to preserve these precious acquirements of not only Ukrainian but also all-European culture. As far as this year is proclaimed a Year of Castles and Palaces of Galychyna in Ukraine, the central theme of Lviv International Economic Forum is the attraction of state-of-art technologies to preservation of historic and architectural heritage. Another central topic of the Forum derives from an exceptional opportunity of hosting Euro-2012 that gives us a chance to make a major step in the infrastructure development."

"European Partnership - Open Opportunities"

"This was just a road between two communities. Then, in September 1939, the locals woke up to discover that they belonged to different countries. The EU now maintains a sophisticated infrastructure to prevent people crossing. In the [lower] photo, the new road and the houses uphill is Poland. One day this great barrier will also disappear." [The photo, above, is of Stare Selo Castle near Lviv, Ukraine, Future European Union.]

Caption and photo credits: (c) Vladyslav "Slav" Tsarynnyk and Lviv Ecotour. 2008. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Pokrova Presvyatoy Bogoroditsy!!

"According to old tradition, Pokrova (lit. translated as Coverage, Protection) is celebrated on October 14 five weeks earlier than the American Thanksgiving holiday. After the popular calendar, October was the last month of autumn, especially in northern areas of Ukraine (and in Russia). This month symbolized a transition time between autumn and winter. The Pokrova holiday was regarded as the turning day, when the first gust of cold winter air reached the Ukrainian land.

The transition day from autumn to winter was regarded a Holiday of Holy God Mother and Virgin Maria. The faithful Ukrainians have always started this day in churches, and prayed: We, Orthodox people, are celebrating the joyful holiday, holified by your, God Mother, appearance. Raising our eyes to your wonderful pure icon, we pray for your protection: Cover us with your Cover of sincerity and purity; relieve us from evil, and let Jesus, your son, our God, save our souls.

Before Christianity, the pagans celebrated the same day with a traditional cult of memorializing their ancestors. They prayed for the souls of the dead and the happiness of their families; and they praised the harvest, for mid-October was the time when the field works were over."

(c) Irina Timchenko and Vadim Naboikin.

[Click on image for enlargement.]

Pokrova Church, Village Parhomivka, 1908 [featuring Ukrainian revival/modernist architectural style and mosaics by Nicholas Roerich], Kyiv Region, Ukraine. Future European Union.

Photo credit: (c) Embassy of Ukraine to Sweden. With thanks.


"Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, undoubtedly ranks among the most scenic places of Ukraine and the world - it has been recognized as one of the three best capitals of Europe (together with Oslo and Vienna) as to its greenery. Its suburbs are also splendid. Pushcha-Vodytsa belongs to one of these lovely places. There might be no other megapolis in the world that can offer its residents and visitors a nature oasis only in 20 kilometres off its centre. The picturesque dendroparks of Ukraine are also worth mentioning here - they can be referred to as masterpieces of landscape gardening art without any exaggeration: Sofiyivka Park, a pearl in the crown of world parks; Aleksandriya Park in the Kyiv region; parks of Kachanovka, Sokornitsy and Trostyanets in the land of Chernihivshchyna."



"The Seven Wonders of Ukraine"

Friday, October 10, 2008

Brave New World ... Or Grandmothers' Autumn?

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development members Germany and the United Kingdom, 2008 C.E.

Photo credits: (c) Agence France Press 2008; and (c) Getty Images 2008. Copyright controlled. All rights reserved. With thanks.


Irena Sendler, 1910 to 2008.

Photo credit: (c) Stefan Maszewski, Agence France Presse, and Getty Images. 2007. Copyright controlled. With thanks.



Gently Internationalizing Composers 70th Anniversary Celebrations Calendar: Nations Capital To Host "Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors" Myroslav Skoryk


The second concert of the Washington Group Cultural Fund Sunday Music Series presents a recital in honor of the 70th anniversary of noted Ukrainian composer, Myroslav Skoryk. Although contemporary in its vocabulary and means of expression, his music often draws from the rich well of Ukrainian folklore. A tribute to Maestro Skoryk, the recital features Volodymyr Vynnytsky (piano), Natalia Khoma (cello), Yuri Kharenko (violin) Alexander Abaev (violin), Boris Deviatov (Viola), and includes the composer playing three jazz pieces for piano for four hands. A reception to meet the artists will immediately follow the performance.

Sunday, November 9
3:00 PM

The Lyceum
201 South Washington Street
Alexandria, Virgina [King Street Metro Station]

Suggested donation $20, students free.

Please call 301-229-2615


Skoryk graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1964 and took a teaching job at the Lviv Conservatory where he remained until 1966. Shortly after, he accepted a position at the Kyiv Conservatory where he said, "Along with teaching composition classes, I also lectured theory classes that focused on contemporary harmony techniques."

The subject of Skoryk’s dissertation, which he completed in 1964, concentrated on Prokofiev’s music, its title reads "Osoblyvosti ladu muzyky S. Prokofieva" (The Modal System of Prokofiev). Skoryk also authored a book, "Struktura i vyrazhalna pryroda akordyky v muzitsi XX stolittia" (The Structural Aspects of Chords in 20th Century Music) (Kyiv, 1983 Musical Ukraine Publishing House); as well as numerous articles.

In 1996 he lived for a time with his family in Australia.


Skoryk's Ukainian language opera Moses.

World premiere of Moses, Lviv Opera House, 2001.

Photo credit: (c) 2007. With thanks.

U.S. Democratic Capitalism's Renaissance Denied: More Than $8.4 Trillion Lost Since U.S. Stock Market Hit All-Time High One Year Ago Thursday

Odeon. (Vomitorium with Telamon)
1978; Pompeii, Ancient Roman Empire [a UNESCO World Heritage Site].


While Pan Cogito attended to the welfare, security, and health of his art curator wife yesterday, the U.S. markets lost about another $1 trillion -- give or take. His thoughts turn yet again to Athenian democracy and its "enforced" cultural renaissance of 2,500 years ago.

The richest man in the world, culture-less Warren Buffett, is reported to have grown $8 billion richer from Aug. 29 to Oct. 1, 2008.

E.S. Browning and Annelena Lobb "Market's 7-Day Rout Leaves U.S. Reeling" Wall Street Journal October 10, 2008




Photo credit: (c) Paula Chabot and -- A Virtual Community for Teaching and Learning Classics [funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities]. With thanks.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

More On Using Classical Music To Pull The World Economy Out Of Recession -- And To Possibly Deter Crime And Edify Teenagers And The Young

"In coming years, Americans are going to need to save more. People saved about 10 percent of their income in the 1960s and 1970s. In the current decade, they have saved about 1 percent.

But the transition to an economy with a higher savings rate cannot happen all at once. In the current environment, a sharp pullback in spending could aggravate the (almost certain) recession. A little more spending now will not solve our problems, but it would not be the worst thing, either. Think of it as an insurance policy against a deep downturn."

David Leonhardt and Catherine Rampell Q&A: The Fed’s Rate Cut New York Times, October 8, 2008


J.S. Bach Edition - Complete Works on 155 CDs for $125.99 Postage Free.

Mozart - Complete Works on 170 CDs for $134.99 Postage Free.


Friday, March 13, 2009 at 8:00pm (Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress)
Quatuor Ébène

Pre-concert presentation at 6:15 pm

Music and the Brain - “Halt, or I’ll Play Vivaldi!”-- Classical Music as Crime Stopper

Dr. Jacqueline Helfgott, Seattle University, and Norman Middleton, Library of Congress


Photo credits: (c) via the Quatuor Ébène and Dr. Jacqueline Helfgott websites. With thanks.


Columbus Day Free New Music Concert, Washington, D.C.:

The Randy Hostetler Living Room Music Project


Works by Derek Bermel, Alexandra Gardner, Karlheinz Essl, Michael Henderson, Greg Sandow, Randy Hostetler, Maurice Saylor and Randall Woolf.

Featuring Derek Bermel, clarinet; Jennifer Choi, violin; Jenny Lin and Ruth Rose, piano; and others.

Pre-concert Videos of Eric Dyer and others at 4:00pm
Concert 4:30pm

Sidwell Friends Upper School
Performing Arts Center
3825 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC
Admission FREE

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Saints John And Therese Step Aside For Mictecacihuatl: Post-Classical Ensemble To Bring Two Concerts And Humanities Conference To 'Changing' Capital

The Mexican Odessey
Post-Classical Ensemble
Thursday, November 6,
7:30 to 10:30 pm
The Harman Center for the Arts. Sydney Harman Hall
610 F Street NW
Washington, D.C. [Gallery Place Metro Station]

Pedro Carboné, piano
Roberto Limón, guitar
Georgetown University Chamber Singers
Gregorio Luke, commentator
Angel Gil-Ordóñez, conductor

Mexico’s explosive cultural saga — from stark Mayan ceremonies to the torrid revolutionary art of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo — produced centuries of explosive music. This unique program, combining music, history, and visual art, includes the Aztec intensities captured by Carlos Chavez, the florid reverence of Mexican Baroque, and the shrill trumpets and booming tubas remembered by Silvestre Revueltas from his rural childhood.

Pre-hispanic cultureXochipili by Carlos Chávez (with pre-Hispanic instruments)

Mexican Baroque — Choral works by Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla

Romantic/Post-Romantic piano music by Ricardo Castro and Manuel Ponce

For solo guitar: Scherzino mexicano and Variations and Fugue on “La Folia” by Manuel Ponce

Nationalism: Three Pieces for solo guitar by Carlos Chavez; Homenaje a Federico Garcia Lorca by Silvestre Revueltas

High modernism: Three Secular Dances for cello and piano by Mario Lavista and Serenata* by Ana Lara
* East Coast premiere


Additional Mexican programing Nov. 1 at Georgetown University: "Defining Mexico" — an all-day conference followed by a choral concert by Georgetown University Chamber Singers at 6:00 pm in McNeir Hall (New North Building). Free and open to the public.


"The Mexican Odyssey," a festival including two concerts and a conference, will be presented Nov. 1 to 6, 2008, in Washington, D.C., by Post-Classical Ensemble in association with Georgetown University, with support from the Mexican Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The centerpiece will be a three-hour Post-Classical Ensemble concert on Friday, Nov. 6, at 7:30 pm at the Harman Center for the Arts. Conceived by the Ensemble's Artistic Director, Joseph Horowitz, in collaboration with the Mexican cultural historian Gregorio Luke, and conducted by the Ensemble's Music Director, Angel Gil-Ordóñez, this multi-media presentation traces Mexico's cultural saga from stark Mayan ceremonies to the torrid revolutionary art of Diego Rivera and Silvestre Revueltas.

Combining music, history, and visual art, the concert moves from Aztec intensities, captured by Carlos Chavez, to the florid reverence of Mexican Baroque, to the shrill trumpets and booming tubas recollected by Revueltas from his rural childhood. The participants include the Mexican composers Mario Lavista and Ana Lara, the Mexican guitarist Roberto Limon, the Spanish pianist Pedro Carbone, and the Georgetown University Chamber Singers.

"The Mexican Odyssey is the first fruit of a new Educational Partnership between Post-Classical Ensemble and Georgetown University," comments Joseph Horowitz. "It links with the Ensemble's ongoing advocacy of Mexican music, which has included last season's conference on Revueltas and Chavez at the Library of Congress, and our presentation of the Mexican classic film Redes with Revueltas's score in live performance. We've also given a full program of the music of Mario Lavista. "We feel a sense of mission to share with American audiences the astonishing musical legacy of Mexico, a legacy we in the US know little about.

Mexico's musical odyssey began centuries earlier than American classical music. It produced important Baroque composers, important Romantic composers, and, in Manuel Ponce, a transitional figure bridging Romantics and Moderns who deserves to be considered one of the important composers produced this side of the Atlantic. Mexico also boasts a vital and thriving contemporary music culture, in which Mario Lavista and Ana Lara figure prominently."


Header image credit: Mictecacihuatl by Tlisza Jaurique. © 2008 Jaurique and Zilliox. Copyright controlled. With thanks.

Tlisza Jaurique's personal statement:

"My multimedia work seeks to reconstruct and recontextualize the imagery/language of my Mexican/Yaqui/Basque/Xicana heritage. What is valuable to culture needs to be re-interpreted for the present age. My work is informed by Western linear art traditions, and also propelled by my own native, cyclical traditions of the re-incarnations of our sacred imagery."

'9% Of Americans Are Satisfied With The Way Things Are Going In The United States'

Americans’ Satisfaction at All-Time Low of 9%

Now Let Us Reconsider Famous Men And Women.

Photo credits: (c) Associated Press and Copyright controlled. With thanks.


(c) Tom Toles and Washington Post. 2008. Copyright controlled. With thanks.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Opera News Today ... (Or At Least Opera News To Me ... Or Maybe I Just Forgot Given The Daily Financial Market Chaos)

Andre Previn's second opera, 'Brief Encounter', a commission from the Houston Grand Opera, will be premiered in Houston in five performances from May 1-9, 2009. The libretto is by John Caird, and the opera is based upon the play 'Still Life' and the screenplay to the 1945 film 'Brief Encounter', both by Noël Coward.


Photo credit: (c) Houston Grand Opera. With thanks.

And What Ever Did Happen To The Bees And Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)?

“Why do we wish to inhibit the pollinating bees of Wall Street?”

-- Alan Greenspan, referring to financial regulation, in his book The Age of Turbulence.


Colony Collapse Disorder (or CCD)

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons. With thanks.


James Kanter "1 in 4 Mammals Threatened, Study Says" New York Times October 6, 2008

Les Miz -- Reality Version 2.0: Die Elenden Sollen Essen/The Miserable Shall Eat

October 7, 2008 (Tuesday) at 12:10 pm

Noontime Cantata: Die Elenden sollen essen [The Miserable Shall Eat](BWV 75)

[Free, but suggested donation of $5]

Washington Bach Consort

Church of the Epiphany, Old Downtown, Washington, D.C. [One-half block from Metro Center]

Composed in 1723, the Cantata is in fourteen movements.

Later, the Leipzig City Council, J.S. Bach's employer constantly reprimanded him for not having their pre-approval of his libretti and for delegating to others his responsibility to teach Latin.

'I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me

The miserable shall eat and be satisfied'

Psalm 22:27

Photo credits:




As some, but probably not all, readers will already know, Warren Buffett, the richest man on earth, supports the election of Barack Obama. Mr. Buffett intends to give 83% of his ca. $60 billion fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, whose motto is "All Lives Have Equal Value".

Obama remains statistically ahead for the tenth straight day: 50% to 42% (Gallup)