Cygnus Ensemble Babbitt Centenary concert
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Thalia Theater at Symphony Space (map)
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
New York, NY 10025-6990
Milton Babbitt Centenary Concert
with a major new work by Charles Wuorinen
--preconcert talk with Bethany Beardslee Winham and Mimmi Fulmer--
....Milton Babbitt with friends, colleagues & students who were consequently influenced by his music and thinking.....
Milton Babbitt is an iconic figure in 20th and early 21st C. music. Cygnus gave Babbitt an 80th Birthday concert, a 90th birthday concert at Merkin, where Bethany Beardley again attended and participated in a pre-concert talk. In 2011, Cygnus envisioned a 95th birthday concert, which became our memorial concert for Milton. Babbitt taught at Princeton University, brought there by his teacher Roger Sessions.
This program includes of Babbitt's great works, along with music by his students and also by two composers who attended Princeton after Babbitt retired from there. The choice of company was selected to demonstrate that being influenced by Babbitt does not have to involve adopting a 20th C. high modernist *sound*. In fact, one can argue that Swan Song No. 1 (2002) is very much a 21st C. piece, particularly in the way it balances diatonic ("tonal" harmonies) with other things that he explored so thoroughly and more exclusively in his earlier career.
The performances will be live streamed by Livamp.
From Bethany Beardslee Winham's upcoming memoir:
"I was fully caught up in the excitement [talking about the first performance of Babbitt's "Vision and Prayer"]. ÂÂÂ Newsweek came to interview me before the premiere.... The article ran with the title “A Composer’s Singer” and described my particular niche and the difficult work I’d become known for. I was so brazen. In one section they quote me saying: “I don’t think in terms of the public. Music is for musicians. If the public wants to come along and study it, fine. I don’t go and tell a scientist his business because I don’t know anything about it. Music is just the same way. Music is art and not entertainment.” I still stand by what I said but I have to admit that I was just a bit over the top!"
@ Symphony Space
Leonard Nimoy Thalia
Streamed live, worldwide, by Livamp
James Baker, conductor
Tara Helen O'Connor -- flute; James Austin Smith -- oboe
Calvin Wiersma -- violin; Susannah Chapman -- 'cello
William Anderson & Oren Fader -- various plucked string instruments
--Bethany Beardsley Winham introduces her memoir
--Mimi Fulmer discusses her performers' guide to *Vision and Prayer*
---*Swan Song # 1*
---*Vision and Prayer*
- - -featuring soprano Elizabeth Farnum
--*Cygnus* (first performance)
- - -for tutti Cygnus (with two electric guitars)
--*Just Once* (first performance)
.......the composer's original text about the ravings of an insomniac at 4 in the morning....
- - - for soprano & guitar
Here's Lansky's *Talking Guitars*, from a recent Cygnus show--->
--*Toggles and Triggers* (first performance)
- - - for tutti Cygnus
Glass Harmonica (first performance)
- - -for guitar orchestra, with guitar soloist
Ab nou cor ...text by Raimbau d'Aurenga (premiere of the new version for guitar & soprano)
Piazza Piece.. text by John Crowe Ransom (premiere)
City of Orgies...text by W. Whitman (premiere)