Friday, August 31, 2018

Case Scaglione joins the Slee Sinfonietta to conduct Berio and Copland

(Case Scaglione)

Acclaimed conductor Case Scaglione is returning to UB on September 12 for the first concert of the Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music’s fall season, which will consist of two essential pieces of 20th century repertoire: Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Luciano Berio’s Folk Songs. The works will be performed by the Slee Sinfonietta, featuring UB’s own soprano Tiffany DuMouchelle in Folk Songs. The concert will take place on Wednesday, September 12th, in the Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall on the University at Buffalo’s North Campus in Amherst. As usual, tickets are available at the Slee Hall box office, (716) 645-2921, and more detailed information is provided at the end of this post.

The Buffalo community has had the opportunity to see Maestro Scaglione perform at UB twice before: first in 2013, when he conducted a concert with music by Maurice Ravel, Edgard Varèse and Pierre Boulez, and more recently in 2016, when Dérive, by Boulez, was followed by two pieces by Arnold Schoenberg: his Opus 4, Verklärte Nacht  (Transfigured Night), for string sextet, and Pierrot Lunaire (Op. 21), for voice and chamber ensemble. Scaglione, who in the past has conducted prominent American and Asian orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic, the China Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, spent much of the 2017-18 season in front of the Oulu Symphony Orchestra, the Brussels Philharmonic, the Ulster Orchestra and the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, among other European institutions.

(Tiffany DuMouchelle)

The two works featured in the program Scaglione will conduct during the September 12th concert are audience favorites from last century’s repertoire. However, their popularity is not all that Appalachian Spring and Folk Songs have in common. They are also works that engage with pre-existing music to a significant degree. And in both cases, rather than resort to themes from the classical tradition, Copland and Berio used prior melodies which have their origin in a genre that has become the epitome of folk and popular music in the West: the song. 

Copland’s work, originally a ballet commissioned by Martha Graham, was written between 1942 and 1944, and received the Pulitzer Prize the following year. The composer later condensed the music, scored for a chamber ensemble of thirteen instruments, to create a suite for orchestra at the behest of conductor Artur Rodzinski. This orchestration retained all the essential features of the music, omitting those sections in which the interest was primarily choreographic. The Slee Sinfonietta will perform a version of the condensed suite scored for the original ensemble of thirteen instruments.

(Aaron Copland)

The work is structured in eight sections, originally accompanying a choreographic action focused on different scenes in the life of a young couple in the Pennsylvania hills at the beginning of the 19th century. The seventh section—one of the highlights of the work—consists of five variations on a song known as “Simple gifts”, written by Joseph Brackett, a member of a Shaker community in Maine during the 19th century.  It is perhaps partly for its use of such willfully unassuming material, that Appalachian Springs has become an enduring symbol of Americana.

Berio’s Folk Songs was composed in 1964 on a commission by Mills College. Although the composer would eventually write a version for full orchestra in 1973, the version to be performed during the upcoming concert is the original for chamber ensemble. The work was written for Cathy Berberian, an extremely versatile American soprano with whom the composer had a prolonged professional and personal relationship. They were, in fact, married for 14 years, and their collaboration resulted in some of the most important vocal works of the second half of the 20th century, such as Sequenza III, Recital I (for Cathy), Thema (Omaggio a Joyce), Circles and Epiphanie, in addition to the piece we are discussing.

(Luciano Berio)

As we’ve mentioned above, in Folk Songs—possibly one of Berio’s best known works, together with the voices and orchestra piece Sinfoniathe composer makes use of a characteristic strategy: the recontextualization of pre-existing music. In this case, Berio selected European and American popular melodies from clearly defined musical cultures and built a subtle and imaginative orchestration supporting them. However, contrary to the title of the work, not all the songs Berio used are folkloric in a strict sense: the melodies of the first two—”Black is the colour of my true love’s hair” and “I wonder as I wander”were composed by John Jacob Niles, and Berio himself wrote the sixth and seventh songs—”La donna ideale” and “Ballo”—while he was a student at the Milan conservatory. The seven remaining songs do belong to the folklore of Armenia, France, Sicily, Sardinia and Azerbaijan. 

The event is not to be missed, as it will surely offer exciting performances of these admired works.

General Public: $15 plus $2 fee online at Ticketfly (up to 90 minutes prior to concert time) $15 plus $4 fee by phone at 877-987-6487 (Ticketfly) $19 in person at UB's Center for the Arts (Tue-Fri, 12pm-6pm) $22 in person at the door (one hour before concert time) Seniors/UB fac, staff, alumni/non-UB students: $10 plus $2 fee online at Ticketfly (up to 90 minutes prior to concert time) $10 plus $4 fee by phone at 877-987-6487 (Ticketfly) $14 in person at UB's Center for the Arts (Tue-Fri, 12pm-6pm) $17 in person at the door (one hour before concert time) All UB students with a valid ID will receive one complimentary ticket to all UB Music Department events.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Center for 21st Century Music announces its 2018-2019 Season!

Take a quick look at our 2018-2019 Season, details below!

The Robert & Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music
Calendar of Events

Slee Sinfonietta

September 12, 2018
7:30 pm in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall
Case Scaglione, Conductor
Luciano Berio – Folk Songs
Aaron Copland – Appalachian Spring

October 15, 2018
7:30 pm in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall
The Slee Sinfonietta presents Ensemble Signal
Brad Lubman, Conductor

Oliver Knussen – Sonya’s Lullaby
Oliver Knussen – Hums and Songs of Winnie the Pooh
Elliott Carter – Triple Duo

– Intermission –  

Oliver Knussen – Secret Psalm
Toru Takemitsu – Rain Tree Sketch II
Oliver Knussen – Songs without Voices

Visiting Ensemble Series

November 6, 2018
UB Graduate Composer Workshop

November 7, 2018
7:30 pm in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall
Program to feature the music of Samuel Andreyev, others

April 23, 2019
7:30 pm in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall
Music by Cassidy, Lim, and Barrett

April 24, 2019
ELISION Ensemble
UB Graduate Composer Workshop

May 7/8 TBA, 2019
UB Graduate Composer Workshop

May 9, 2019
7:30 pm in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall
Composer Portrait: David Felder
The Arditti String Quartet performs Third Face, Stuck-stücke, and Netivot
Violin Soloist Irvine Arditti joins Ensemble Signal for David Felder’s Violin Concerto Jeu de Tarot

(ELISION ensemble)

Visiting Composer Series

Olivier Pasquet, composer, music producer, and visual artist
Berlin, Germany
Fall 2018

Aaron Holloway-Nahum, composer, conductor, and sound engineer
London, UK
March 2019

Paris, France
May 3, 2019

(Stefano Gervasoni)

Co-Sponsored Events

A Musical Feast at the Burchfield Penney

Composers’ Workshop Band
February – May 2019
Final concert date TBA

June in Buffalo

June 3 – 9, 2019
David Felder, Artistic Director

Senior Composers:
Other, TBA

Resident Ensembles:

Special Guest:
(Ensemble Dal Niente)