We’re informed that Antonio Marti has been granted tenure as principal trumpet of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in Charleston, South Carolina, effective immediately.
Born in Valencia in 1978, Marti studied at Mannes and has played in the New York Philharmonic, Madrid Symphony, Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and more.
The French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky has pulled out of a major tour of Handel’s Partenope with Il Pomo d’Oro after the death of his father. The tour was to have visited Paris, Ferrol, Coruña, Pamplona and Madrid.
Lawrence Zazzo will replace Philippe in Paris. The first two Spanish dates are cancelled and it remains to be seen whether Pamplona and Madrid will go ahead. This was to have been the opera’s belated Spanish premiere.
We send Philippe warm condolences.
Our attention has been drawn to Women’s Opera Network, hosted by Opera America.
Acknowledging the under-representation of women in arts leadership positions as a critical concern, a capacity crowd convened at the May 2015 Annual Conference for a very spirited, substantive and productive conversation. Now, a few months later, our shared commitment bears fruit with the creation of the Women’s Opera Network.
With the support of OPERA America and all of you, we commit to creating an ongoing dialogue where we share resources, information, and insights in order to develop robust opportunities and innovative programs that will benefit women across our field. – Deborah Sandler, Chairman
The bottom line? In opera companies with the largest budgets fewer than eight percent employ a female general director, and there is no sign of improvement. All recent vacancies have gone to men.
They had to cut top prices from 120,000 won ($99) with Chung to 70,000 won with Eschy and they haven’t been able to find anyone of quality to perform Mahler Sixth, so they are employing a staff conductor.
‘We managed to find a world-renowned maestro for the concerts; however, the maestro showed concerns over preparing the Mahler symphony in such a short time and requested a change of program,’ said an orchestra official today. ‘With much consideration, we decided to maintain the program and believe that our associate conductor Choi [Soo-yeoul], who has been working closely with the orchestra for a long time and has high understanding of the members, is the right person to conduct the upcoming concerts.’
It can only get worse.
I have great admiration for David Bowie. We only had a few moments of contact. One was back in 1976 when he was at Music for 18 Musicians in Berlin and then made his beautiful Weeping Wall. Years later at the Bottom Line in 1978 during the ECM ’18’ release concert we finally met and I was invited to see David Bowie on Broadway in The Elephant Man. His performance was riveting as one watched this incredibly handsome man create a character of freakish ugliness.
More recently I was struck by his deeply sad yet commanding voice in the Love is Lost remix with Clapping Music. I’m proud to have made even a minutely small contribution to David Bowie’s incredibly varied and influential musical output. He was an absolutely brilliant and original artist whose impact was felt across many mediums.
Reich’s page carries no mention of Pierre Boulez.
We have been informed of the death of Gilbert Steurbaut yesterday morning at the age of 74.
If you didn’t work in classical recording, you’ve probably never heard of him. If you did, he was a legend.
Luk Vaes reports: An independent sound recording entrepeneur from 1967 onwards, Steurbaut started a huge studio in a former factory in Gent, Belgium, 1975. The endeavour quickly became a coveted place to record classical music in great comfort, even for the largest orchestras. Thanks to the lack of walls, there were no impediments. The sound of the studio was of the highest label quality. Countless recordings were made with internationally renowned musicians – George Cziffra, Jörg Demus, José Van Dam, Sylvain Cambreling – for DGG, EMI, Decca, Phillips, Erato and more. These are testimony of his vision in recording classical music.
In Flanders, his professional position was embedded in the classical music scene: from the Queen Elisabeth competition to new music ensembles, from the Royal Band and the Monnaie to organs in small churches and cathedrals, Studio Steurbaut was counted on to achieve the best.
Gilbert will be remembered as a tireless promoter of the art of recording and its highest quality, even in later times of declining recording norms and markets. Gilbert was known for wheeling in his cart with coffee for the musicians, for his pride in being able to sound a natural trumpet while not trained as a musician, for enjoying old wine, but also for chasing birds from trees near the churches where he was recording.
Sony are rush-releasing Beethoven’s 4th and 5th symphonies with the Concentus Musicus as ‘the last recording made by the great conductor,’ who announced his retirement in December 2015.
In the booklet note, Harnoncourt declares that Beethoven’s Symphony No.5 has been completely misunderstood. He believes it has nothing to do with destiny, but tells the story of “the revolt of the masses”. He understands this symphony as Beethoven’s greatest political statement.
Exclusive to Slipped Disc, by Ivan Ilic.
Today, 12 January 2016, would have been Morton Feldman’s 90th birthday. The proximity with Pierre Boulez’s death is a reminder of their relationship, which was strained from the beginning. Boulez dismissed Feldman’s early experiments with graphic notation as “too imprecise” and “too simple” in his correspondence with John Cage.
Nevertheless, it was Feldman’s music which sparked the idea for Boulez’s Éclat (1965): “You listen to some music and you immediately think of what you can extract from it for your own use”, he said.
“I was listening to a work by Feldman. It does not matter which one…at that moment the idea of Éclat came into my mind. Under the influence of Feldman’s piece I realized that one could compose music with short cells, even single chords, which come from nothing and disappear into nothing”.
Boulez’s description of Éclat reads like a perfect characterization of much of Feldman’s work: “I wished to write contemplative music – one which had no direction or perceptible development. The subject itself does not develop – the basic feature of the music is its timbre”.
And more: “I could perhaps liken Éclat to the behavior of fish in an aquarium. They hover motionless for a long time – all we can see is the slow gliding of colors”.
Feldman only found out about Boulez’s admission in 1983, when it was shared by interviewer Bálint András Varga, former head of promotion for Universal Edition. Feldman was “visibly intrigued”.
Although Feldman never forgot Boulez’s earlier slight, he didn’t seem to bear a grudge. Envious of Boulez’s success, he mentioned him often in his lectures: “There is no difference between me and Boulez, no difference! He made a million dollars with Peugeots, he became a Peugeot tycoon, and I make safety pins, but I also made a million dollars. So there is absolutely no difference. We’re the same.”
There will be an Hommage for Pierre Boulez on Thursday at 4pm at Saint-Sulpice church, Paris 6.
The funeral will be strictly private, at Baden-Baden.
Chris Nickol, organist at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and an occasional soloist with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, offers an extraordinary tribute to the late musician.
Watch and marvel.
UPDATE: And here’s another account, slower and churchier, from the Organ Scholar at St Alban’s Cathedral:
Soon, they’ll be singing it to hymns on Sunday.
After Bowie appeared to give a Nazi salute in 1976, the composer Cornelius Cardew – a member of the Marxist-Leninist breakaway Communist Party of England – put up a motion at his Central London branch to expel Bowie from the Musicians Union.
The Cardew motion (all misspellings from the original):
This branch deplores the publicity recently given to the activities and Nazi style gimmickry of a certain artiste and his idea that this country needs a right wing dictatorship. Such ideas prepare the way for political situations in which the Trade Union movement can be destroyed, as it was in Nazi germany. The spreading of such ideas must be considered as detrimental to the interests of the Union and any necessary steps should be taken to prevent such ideas from gaining credence in the community. We propose, therefore, that any member who openly promotes fascism or fascist ideas in his/ her act or recorded performance should be expelled from the Union.
A second, more radical motion, below, was carried by 15-2:
When a pop star declare that he is ‘very interested in fascism’ and that ‘britain could benefit from a fascist leader’ he is influencing public opinion through the massive audiences of young people that such pop stars have access to. Such behaviour is detrimental to the interests of the Union,since it prepares the ground for a political system in which the Trade Union movement can be smashed, as it was in Nazi Germany. This Central London Branch therefore proposes that any member who uses his professional standing or stage act or records to promote fascism should be expelled from the Union.
On the day after John Lennon was shot, I was working at BBC News. I clearly recall the shock and excitement, the sound of decks being cleared to accommodate an historic event, but I do not have the impression that there was anything like the fuss which, last night, cleared the whole of the first half of the main news bulletin, for reflections and appreciations of David Bowie. That strikes me as excessive.
This morning in the Times newspaper, a critic who is described ‘as Bowie’s representative on Earth’ defines him as ‘more imaginative than Lennon and Dylan’, who broke their moulds a dozen years before Bowie made his mark.
In some respects, I suspect, Bowie moved into the vacuum left by Lennon and Dylan in a fallow decade. In others – far beyond the limits of music – he created his own legend.
Strictly from a musical perspective, I doubt that his originality was equal to theirs. Or that we will reach for his songs, as we do for Lennon’s ‘Imagine!, in times of public crisis.
Bowie was brilliant in his own unique way. Comparisons are superfluous.