High School Cadets.
A classical music blog by music critic Tim Mangan
High School Cadets.
By Timothy Mangan, Musical America, Feb. 25, 2019
David Lang’s the loser, presented by LA Opera in its West Coast premiere February 22 and 23, works on the principle of musical mesmerization. It relies on a single voice relating its hour-long tale in the first person in a kind of unrelenting tuneful singsong. The accompanying quartet of instruments, latterly a quintet, burbles, stutters, goads and echoes sparingly in support, with limited sets of notes. There is no action, just a man in a tuxedo on a platform, feet planted, looking at us as he tells the story.
Lang’s theater piece — calling it an opera would be a stretch — was presented as part of the company’s Off Grand series for alternative opera. Bang on a Can, of which Lang is a founding member, produced. The venue was the Theatre at Ace Hotel, a restored United Artists movie palace from 1927, located in a rapidly transitioning area, still with seedy trimmings, of south downtown. The audience was seated in the large, ornate balcony, no one downstairs. In the dark, one could see baritone Rod Gilfry mounting a steep set of stairs until he stood on a small square landing with rails, in mid-air before us. Cue the lights. If he had even wanted to stroll while he sang, he would have had to go downstairs. He didn’t.
Stravinsky’s late ballet, Agon, an astonishing hybrid of diatonic, chromatic and dodecaphonic harmonies, while much of the rhythmic element is inspired by 17th-century French court dances. The orchestration features unique small combos of instruments. Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the London Symphony Orchestra.
Review: Mirga Returns to LA for the Worst of Times, the Best of Times. Musical America, April 8, 2019.
Review: Third Coast Percussion Lays Down a Virtuosic Set at Samueli. Voice of OC, April 9, 2019.
That’s the composer who starts things out. This piece served as finale to Third Coast Percussion’s concert at Samueli Theater on Friday.
Pacific Chorale to Sing the Praises of Women Composers. Voice of OC, March 26, 2019.
The ‘Roadrunner’ movement of John Adams’ Chamber Symphony, a mash-up of Schoenberg and American cartoon music, according to the composer.
Four scores from my collection. I’ve been collecting since I was in college. I like the look and feel of these particular four publications. I include shots of the covers and first pages of the music. Click on the jpegs for larger views if you like.