YellowBarnBlog

2018 Yellow Barn videos

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Watch performances from Yellow Barn's 2018 Summer Festival in Putney, Vermont.

More videos

Audio recordings

 

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). Concerto Grosso in D Major, Op.6 No.5, HWV 323 (1739). Zenas Hsu, YuEun Kim, Harriet Langley, Magdalena Filipczak, Brian Hong, Leonard Fu, Mélanie Clapiès, violins; Tegen Davidge, Emily Brandenburg, Yitong Guo, violas; Natasha Brofsky, Cristina Basili, cellos; Peter Walsh, double bass; Alice Chenyang Xu, harpsichord—July 6, 2018
Larghetto e staccato: 0'
Allegro: 1.42'
Presto: 3.53'
Largo: 7.36'
Allegro: 9.44'
Menuet. Un Poco larghetto: 12.18'

 
John Cage (1912-1992). Solo for Voice 15 from Song Books (1970). Lucy Shelton—July 6, 2018 | Program Note
 

Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016). Ballad for Harp and Strings (1973/1981). Marion Ravot, harp; Violaine Melançon, Leonard Fu, violins; Lauren Siess, viola; Sein Lee, cello; Peter Walsh, double bass—July 7, 2018 | Program Note

Liza Lim (b.1966). Love Letter (2011). Sam Seyoung Um, percussion—July 7, 2018 | Program Note

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911). Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen "Songs of a Wayfarer" (1883-85) (arr. Arnold Schoenberg). Melanie Henley Heyn, soprano; Rosie Gallagher, flute; Yasmina Spiegelberg, clarinet; Emma Frucht, Juliette Roos, violins; Katherine Murdock, viola; Jean-Michel Fonteneau, cello; Peter Walsh, double bass; EunAe Lee, piano; Pedro Borges, harmonium; Sam Seyong Um, percussion—July 7, 2018
Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht: 0'
Ging heut morgen übers Feld: 5.38'
Ich hab’ ein glühend Messer: 9.48'
Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz: 13.17'

John Cage (1912-1992). Experiences No. 2 (1948). William Sharp, voice—July 7, 2018
 
 
Salvatore Sciarrino (b.1947). Le voci sottovetro, elaborazioni da Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa “Voices under glass, elaborations on music of Carlo Gesualdo of Venosa” (1998): 0'
Hans Abrahamsen (b.1952). Liebeslied (2010): 16.34'
Melanie Henley Heyn, voice; Rosie Gallagher, bass flute; Mark Hill, English horn; Yasmina Spiegelberg, bass clarinet; Mélanie Clapiès, violin; Jesse Morrison, viola; Coleman Itzkoff, cello; 
Sam Seyong Um, percussion; Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, piano—July 12, 2018 | Program Note
 

Philippe Hersant (b.1948). Usher (2016)
. Marion Ravot, harp; Juliette Roos, Emma Frucht, violins; 
Katherine Murdock, viola; Cristina Basili, cello—July 12, 2018 | Program Note

Stephen Coxe (b.1966). Entretien (2018). Maren Rothfritz, viola; Tomer Gewirtzman, piano—July 12, 2018 | Program Note

 
Oliver Knussen (1952-2018). Triptych
Autumnal, Op.14 (1977): 0' Eunae Koh, violin; Eunae Lee, piano 
Sonya’s Lullaby, Op.15 (1978): 8.42' Alice Chenyang Xu, piano
Cantata, Op.16 (1977): 16.52' Mark Hill, oboe; Harriet Langley, violin; Tegen Davidge, viola; Annie Jacobs-Perkins, cello—July 13, 2018 | Program Note
 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). String Quintet in G Minor, K.516 (1787). Jennifer Liu, Eunae Koh, violins; Katherine Murdock, Lauren Siess, violas; Daniel Hamin Go, cello—July 13, 2018
Allegro: 0'
Menuetto. Allegretto: 8.50'
Adagio ma non troppo: 15.01'
Adagio—Allegro: 23.33'

César Franck (1822-1890). Piano Quintet in F Minor (1879). Peter Frankl, piano; Magdalena Filipczak, Claire Bourg, violins; Nicholas Mann, viola; Yoshika Masuda, cello—July 13, 2018
Molto moderato quasi lento—Allegro: 0'
Lento con molto sentimento: 17.17'
Allegro non troppo ma con fuoco: 28.29'
 
 
Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904). Piano Trio in G Minor, Op.26 (1876). Peter Frankl, piano; Violaine Melançon, violin; Edvard Pogossian, cello—July 14, 2018
Allegro moderato: 0'
Largo: 13.06'
Presto—Poco meno mosso: 21'
Finale. Allegro non tanto: 27.20'
 
 

Chinary Ung (b.1942). Spiral (1987). Natasha Brofsky, cello; Marisa Gupta, piano; Sam Um, percussion—July 19, 2018 | Program Note

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937). String Quartet in F Major (1903). Eunae Koh, Leonard Fu, violins; Maren Rothfritz, viola; Jean-Michel Fonteneau, cello—July 19, 2018
Allegro moderato—très doux: 0'
Assez vif—très rythmé: 9.25'
Très lent: 17.24'
Vif et agité: 26.25'

 
Alexandre Lunsqui (b.1969). Deflectere II (2008). Magdalena Filipczak, violin; Alan Kay, clarinet; Eduardo Leandro, percussion—July 19, 2018 | Program Note
 
 
Shulamit Ran (b.1949). Moon Songs, a song cycle in four acts (2011). Lucy Shelton, soprano; Rosie Gallagher, flute/piccolo; Annie Jacobs-Perkins, cello; Alice Chenyang Xu, piano—July 20, 2018 | Program Note
Act I: Creation: 0'
Act II: Li Bai and the Vacant Moon: 6.27'
Entr’acte I: 14.38'
Act III: Star-Crossed: 15.54'
Entr’acte II: Prayer to Pierrot: 19.51'
Act IV: Medley: 20.54'
 

Béla Bartók (1881-1945). Violin Sonata No.2, Sz.76 (1922). Mélanie Clapiès, violin; Pedro Borges, piano—July 20, 2018
Molto moderato: 0'
Allegretto: 9.08'

György Kurtág (b.1926). 12 Microludes for String Quartet, Op.13 (Hommage à Mihály András) (1977). Donald Weilerstein, Zenas Hsu, violins; Yitong Guo, viola; Edvard Pogossian, cello—July 20, 2018 | Program Note

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976). String Quartet No.1 in D Major, Op.25 (1941). Harriet Langley, YuEun Kim, violin; Tegen Davidge, viola; Sein Lee, cello—July 20, 2018
Andante sostenuto—Allegro vivo: 0'
Allegretto con slancio: 10.36'
Andante calmo: 13.56'
Molto vivace: 24.58'

Christopher Rouse (b.1949). Compline (1996). Rosie Gallagher, flute; Yasmina Spiegelberg, clarinet; Marion Ravot, harp; Brian Hong, Juliette Roos, violins; Emily Brandenburg, viola; Daniel Hamin Go, cello—July 21, 2018 | Program Note

Franz Schubert (1797-1828). Fantasie in F Minor, D.940 (1828). Tomer Gewirtzman, Pedro Borges, piano four-hands—July 21, 2018
Allegro molto moderato: 0'
Largo: 5.25'
Allegro vivace: 8.01'
Allegro molto moderato: 13.49'

Alexander Raskatov (b.1953). Monk’s Music, Seven Words by Starets Silouan (In memoriam Mieczyslaw Weinberg) (2005). Leonard Fu, YuEun Kim, violins; Lauren Siess, viola; Natasha Brofsky, cello; William Sharp, baritone—July 21, 2018 | Program Note
I. Adagio: 0'
II. Adagio cantabile: 7.14'
III. Adagio recitando: 16.39'
IV. Adagio chiaro e dolcissimo: 24.58'
V. Adagio affetuoso: 31.29'
VI. Adagio spianato: 39.31'
VII. Adagio molto: 45.10'

Steven Mackey (b.1956). Heavy Light (2001). Steven Mackey, electric guitar; Rosie Gallagher, flute; John Myerscough, cello; Eduardo Leandro, percussion; Pedro Borges, piano—July 28, 2018 | Program Note
Ritual: 3.0'
First Crossing: 14.32'
Psychedelic Sketch: 19.14'
Voices: 23.51'
Second Crossing: 26.10'
Heavy Light: 29.19'

Nicholas Maw (1935-2009). Roman Canticle (Two in the Campagna) (1991). William Sharp, baritone; Rosie Gallagher, flute; Maren Rothfritz, viola; Marion Ravot, harp—July 24, 2018 | Program Note

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937). Ballade de la reine morte d'aimer “Ballad of the queen who died of love” (1893). Melanie Henley Heyn, soprano; Alice Chenyang Xu, piano—July 24, 2018

Harrison Birtwistle (b.1934). 9 Settings of Lorine Niedecker (1998/2000). Lucy Shelton, soprano; John Myerscough, cello—July 24, 2018 | Program Note

Steven Mackey (b.1956). Ars Moriendi, nine tableaux on the art of dying well (2000). Claire Bourg, Jennifer Liu, violins; Jesse Morrison, viola; Jean-Michel Fonteneau, cello—July 24, 2018 | Program Note
1. “Don’t trouble trouble.”: 0'
2. First Lament Fragment: 6.03'
3. “Speak like the people, write like the king.”: 7.14'
4. Second Lament Fragment: 11.24'
5. A Peculiar Spice: 12.58'
6. “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”: 14.39'
7. Third Lament: 18.28'
8. Fibrillation: 25.0'
9. Londonderry Air: 27.55'

 
Matthew Burtner (b.1971). Coral Attraction (2010). Sam Seyong Um, vibraphone/percussion; Daniel Hamin Go, cello/percussion—July 24, 2018 | Program Note
 

Steven Mackey (b.1956). Fusion Tune (1994). Edvard Pogossian, cello; Steven Mackey, electric guitar—July 25, 2018 | Composer Bio

François Sarhan (b.1972). Situation No.7 (Imagination) (2008). Eduardo Leandro, Sam Seyong Um, percussion—July 26, 2018 | Program Note

Mauricio Kagel (1931-2008). Exotica (1971/72). Jean-Michel Fonteneau, Coleman Itzkoff, Eduardo Leandro, Yoshika Masuda, Edvard Pogossian, Sarah Rommel—July 26, 2018 | Program Note

roneat, khim, khloy, tro sau, sampho, skor, udu, talking drum, bass djembe, ocarina, didgeridoo, shofar, taso, ching, tamtam, wind gong, Thai gong, temple bell, rainstick

Steven Mackey (b.1956). Four Iconoclastic Episodes (2009). Anthony Marwood, solo violin; Steven Mackey, solo electric guitar; Eunae Koh, Harriet Langley, Jennifer Liu, Brian Hong, Zenas Hsu, YuEun Kim, Claire Bourg, Mélanie Clapiès, Magdalena Filipczak, Leonard Fu, Emma Frucht, violins; Emily Brandenburg, Maren Rothfritz, Yitong Guo, Lauren Siess, violas; Sarah Rommel, Cristina Basili, Daniel Hamin Go, cellos; Pete Walsh, double bass—July 26, 2018 | Program Note
Like an Animal: 0'
Salad Days: 5.27'
Lost in Splendor: 10.10'
Destiny: 15.36'

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). String Quartet in F Major, Op.135 (1826). Zenas Hsu, Claire Bourg, violins; Emily Brandenburg, viola; Annie Jacobs-Perkins, cello—July 26, 2018
Allegretto: 0'
Vivace: 7.09'
Assai lento, contante e tranquillo: 10.52'
Der schwer gefaßte Entschluß. Grave, ma non troppo tratto—Allegro: 18.55'

Mark Applebaum (b.1967). Aphasia (2010). Eduardo Leandro—July 27, 2018 | Program Note

Sofia Gubaidulina (b.1931). Perception, for soprano, baritone, string septet, and tape (1981-83). On texts of Francisco Tanzer and Psalms. Lucy Shelton, soprano; William Sharp, baritone; Harriet Langley, Juliette Roos, violins; Tegen Davidge, Jesse Morrison, violas; Jean-Michel Fonteneau, Cristina Basili, cellos; Peter Walsh, double bass—July 27, 2018 | Program Note
I. Einsicht: 0’
II. Wir: 3.13’
III. Pizzicato I: 8.23’
IV. Dezember: 9.46’
V. Pizzicato II: 12.40’
VI. Begegnung: 13.09’
VII. Am Meer: 15.35’
VIII. Col legno I: 23.11’
IX. Ich: 25.07’
X. Ich und Du: 31.40’
XI. Col legno II: 37.00’
XII. Montys Tod: 37.47’
XIII. Stimmen: 46.42’

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957). Suite, Op.23 (1930). Anthony Marwood, Mélanie Clapiès, violins; John Myerscough, cello; Alice Chenyang Xu, piano left hand—July 27, 2018 
Präludium und Fuge: 0’
Walzer: 10.09’
Groteske: 16.34’
Lied: 27.58’
Rondo. Finale: 32.02’

Steven Mackey (b.1956) On All Fours (1990). Brian Hong, Magdalena Filipczak, violins; Maren Rothfritz, viola; Sarah Rommel, cello—July 27, 2018 | Program Note

Jacob Druckman (1928-1996). Bō (1979). Sam Seyong Um, percussion; Marion Ravot, harp; Alan Kay, bass clarinet; Wonjung Kim, Lucy Shelton, Melanie Henley Heyn, accompanying voices—July 31, 2018 | Program Note

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951). Phantasy, Op.47 (1949). Magdalena Filipczak, violin; Christina Dahl, piano—July 31, 2018 | Program Note

Luciano Berio (1925-2003). O King (1968). Lucy Shelton, soprano; Rosie Gallagher, flute; Alan Kay, clarinet; YuEun Kim, violin; Annie Jacobs-Perkins, cello; Christina Dahl, piano—August 1, 2018 | Program Note

Edison Denisov (1929-1996). Clarinet Quintet (1987). Alan Kay, clarinet; Magdalena Filipczak, Eunae Koh, violins; Emily Brandenburg, viola; Edvard Pogossian, cello—August 1, 2018 | Program Note
I. Agitato: 0’
II. Molto tranquillo: 8.42’
III. Agitato: 14.47’

Leon Kirchner (1919-2009). String Quartet No.4 (2006). Emma Frucht, Zenas Hsu, violins; Lauren Siess, viola; Michael Kannen, cello—August 1, 2018 | Program Note

Luciano Berio (1925-2003). Folk Songs (1964). Lucy Shelton, soprano; Rosie Gallagher, flute; Yasmina Spiegelberg, clarinet; Marion Ravot, harp; Maren Rothfritz, viola; Sein Lee, cello; Sam Seyong Um, percussion—August 1, 2018 | Program Note
1. Black is the color…: 0’
2. I wonder as I wander…: 2.59’
3. Loosin yelav…: 5.08’
4. Roosignolet du bois: 7.57’
5. A la femminisca: 9.24’
6. La donna ideale: 10.45’
7. Ballo: 12.09’
8. Motettu de tristura: 13.51’
9. Malurous qu’o uno fenno: 16.26’
10. Lo fiolaire: 17.28’
11. Azerbaijan Love Song: 20.15’

Elliott Carter (1908-2012). String Quartet No.1 (1951). Mélanie Clapiès, Emma Frucht, violins; Roger Tapping, viola; Coleman Itzkoff, cello—August 2, 2018 | Program Note
I.    (1) Fantasia—Maestoso: 0'
      (2) Allegro Scorrevole
II.   (2) Allegro Scorrevole: 13.46'
      (3) Adagio
      (4) (m.236)
III.  (4) Variations: 27.24'

Viktor Suslin (1942-2012). Grenzübertritt “Crossing Beyond” (1990). Tegen Davidge, viola; Yoshika Masuda, cello; Pete Walsh, double bass—August 3, 2018 | Program Note

Béla Bartók (1881-1945). The Miraculous Mandarin, Op.19, Sz.73 (BB 82) (1925). Alice Chenyang Xu, Christina Dahl, pianos—August 3, 2018 | Program Note

Dieter Ammann (b.1962). A(tenir)tension (2002-03). Rosie Gallagher, flute; Eduardo Leandro, Sam Seyong Um, percussion—August 3, 2018 | Program Note

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897). Piano Quartet in G Minor, Op.25 (1861). Pedro Borges, piano; Anthony Marwood, violin; Lauren Siess, viola; Annie Jacobs-Perkins, cello—August 3, 2018
Allegro: 0’
Intermezzo. Allegro, ma non troppo: 13.48’
Andante con moto: 22.01’
Rondo alla Zingarese. Presto: 32.21’

Cathy Berberian (1925-1983). Stripsody (1966). Melanie Henley Heyn, voice—August 4, 2018 (finale) | Program Note

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951). Notturno (1896). Anthony Marwood, Claire Bourg, Mélanie Clapiès, Magdalena Filipczak, Zenas Hsu, Brian Hong, Emma Frucht, Leonard Fu, YuEun Kim, Juliette Roos, Jennifer Liu, violins; Maren Rothfritz, Lauren Siess, Emily Brandenburg, Tegen Davidge, violas; Edvard Pogossian, Cristina Basili, Sein Lee, Sarah Rommel, cellos; Pete Walsh, double bass; Marion Ravot, harp—August 4, 2018 (finale)

Yellow Barn Videos

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Watch festival performances from the Big Barn in Putney, Vermont.

Yellow Barn's Summer Season

Listen to recordings of Yellow Barn festival performances

2019 summer season

Andrew Hamilton O'ROURKE
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Concerto No. 12 in A Major for piano and string quintet, K.414
Eric Nathan Some Favored Nook
Claude Debussy Danses sacrée et profane (Sacred and Profane Dances)
Igor Stravinsky The Rite of Spring
Elliott Carter Saëta (Arrow) from Eight Pieces for Four Timpani
Anna Thorvaldsdottir Ró (Serenity)
Simon Bainbridge Four Primo Levi Settings
Stefan Wolpe Arrangements of Six Yiddish Songs
Eugène Ysaÿe Trio à cordes “Le chimay,” Op. posth.
André Previn Vocalise
Antonín Dvořák Violin Sonata in F Major, Op.57 (B.106)
Salvatore Sciarrino Tre duetti con l'eco (Three Duets with an Echo)
Sándor Veress Memento
Earl Kim Where Grief Slumbers
Tōru Takemitsu Orion
Harrison Birtwistle Crescent Moon over the Irrational
Stephen Coxe About That Time
Jörg Widmann Fieberphantasie (Fever Fantasy)
Clara Schumann Romance in A Minor, Op.21
Brett Dean Equality
Brett Dean Huntington Eulogy
Benjamin Britten Winter Words, Op.52
Brett Dean String Quartet No. 2 “And once I played Ophelia”
Philippe Schoeller Isis II
Arnold Schoenberg Suite, Op.29
Mark Applebaum Control Freak
Frédéric Chopin Rondo in C Major for Two Pianos, Op. posth. 73
Brett Dean Winter Songs
John Cage Dream

2018 summer season

George Frideric Handel Concerto Grosso in D Major, Op.6 No.5, HWV 323J
John Cage Solo for Voice 15 from Song Books
Einojuhani Rautavaara Ballad for Harp and Strings
Liza Lim Love Letter
Gustav Mahler Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen “Songs of a Wayfarer”
John Cage Experiences No.2
Salvatore Sciarrino Le voci sottovetro
Hans Abrahamsen Liebeslied
Philippe Hersant Usher
Stephen Coxe Entretien
Oliver Knussen Triptych
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart String Quintet in G Minor, K.516
César Franck Piano Quintet in F Minor
Antonín Dvořák Piano Trio in G Minor, Op.26
Chinary Ung Spiral
Alexandre Lunsqui Deflectere II
Shulamit Ran Moon Songs, a song cycle in four acts
Béla Bartók Violin Sonata No.2, Sz.76
György Kurtág 12 Microludes for String Quartet, Op.13
Benjamin Britten String Quartet No.1 in D Major, Op.25
Christopher Rouse Compline
Franz Schubert Fantasie in F Minor, D.940
Alexander Raskatov Monk's Music, Seven Words by Starets Silouan
Steven Mackey Heavy Light
Nicholas Maw Roman Canticle
Maurice Ravel Ballade de la reine morte d'aimer “Ballad of the queen who died of love”
Harrison Birtwistle 9 Settings of Lorine Niedecker 
Steven Mackey Ars Moriendi, nine tableaux on the art of dying well 
Matthew Burtner Coral Attraction
Steven Mackey Fusion Tune
François Sarhan Situation No.7 (Imagination) 
Mauricio Kagel Exotica 
Steven Mackey Four Iconoclastic Episodes
Ludwig van Beethoven String Quartet in F Major, Op.135
Mark Applebaum Aphasia 
Sofia Gubaidulina Perception, for soprano, baritone, string septet, and tape 
Erich Wolfgang Korngold Suite, Op.23
Steven Mackey On All Fours
Jacob Druckman 
Arnold Schoenberg Phantasy, Op.47
Luciano Berio O King
Edison Denisov Clarinet Quintet 
Leon Kirchner String Quartet No.4
Luciano Berio Folk Songs
Elliott Carter String Quartet No.1 
Viktor Suslin Grenzübertritt “Crossing Beyond”
Béla Bartók The Miraculous Mandarin, Op.19, Sz.73 (BB 82)
Dieter Ammann A(tenir)tension 
Johannes Brahms Piano Quartet in G Minor, Op.25 
Cathy Berberian Stripsody 
Arnold Schoenberg Notturno

2017 summer season

Johann Sebastian Bach Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G Major, BWV 1048
Sofia Gubaidulina Galgenlieder à 3
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart String Quartet in G Major, K.387 
Alexander Raskatov Five Minutes from the Life of W.A.M. 
Maurice Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello
Jörg Widmann Zirkustänze

Oliver Knussen (1952-2018)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Yellow Barn's concert this Friday, July 13 was meant in part to celebrate the revered British composer Oliver Knussen, with the performance of three of his works. It is with great sadness that these performances must now be presented in memoriam to this composer who will be deeply missed.

In the words of BBC broadcaster Tom Service, “Oliver Knussen’s sheer brilliance as composer and conductor, his support for generations of younger composers and musicians, with whom he created a performance practice for music from Elliott Carter to Helen Grime—made him an essential part of our musical life. His music is one of the life-enhancing glories of the repertoire of the 20th and 21st centuries."

The Guardian published the following obituary on July 9, 2018:

Oliver Knussen, who has died aged 66, was a towering figure in contemporary music, as composer and conductor, teacher and artistic director. The relatively small size of his compositional output conceals music of exceptional refinement and subtlety—a few bars of Knussen may have more impact than whole movements by lesser composers.

Besides definitive interpretations of his own music, he must surely have given more first performances than any other conductor, alongside an outstanding body of recordings. He was the central focus of so many activities, and an irreplaceable mentor to his fellow composers, who constantly sought and relied on his advice and encouragement.

He was born in Glasgow, son of Jane (nee Alexander) and Stuart Knussen; his father was principal double bass of the London Symphony Orchestra for nearly 20 years. Although Knussen would have laughed at any idea of his being a child prodigy, this gave him an unrivalled insight into the workings of the orchestra from an early age. It culminated in his conducting his First Symphony with the LSO at the age of 15, when their principal conductor István Kertész fell ill. His father played in the first performance of Benjamin Britten’s church parable Curlew Riverin 1964. Knussen attended all the rehearsals, and Britten was very encouraging to the young composer, commissioning a work for the 1969 Aldeburgh festival.

Between 1963 and 1969 he studied with the composer John Lambert, which gave him a solid but untraditional grounding. His musical perspectives were expanded greatly by studying in the US with Gunther Schuller from 1970 until 1973 at the Tanglewood Music Center, where he met his future wife, Sue Freedman, then a horn player, later a maker of documentary films. This period saw him writing with ever greater confidence—a Concerto for Orchestra commissioned by André Previn in 1969, and his Second Symphony, commissioned by Yehudi Menuhin in 1970, the latter the first major work in which he felt fully confident of his abilities. Even at the age of 18 his musical personality seemed fully formed.

The 1970s were a period of intense creativity for Knussen, with chamber works including Rosary Songs, Océan de Terreand Ophelia Dances, culminating in the completion in 1979 of his Third Symphony, a work whose first movement had been conducted by its dedicatee, Michael Tilson Thomas, in 1973. But this activity came at a cost: his extreme scrupulousness led him to take increasing care in composing, whether the work was on a small or large scale, and the material for the first complete performance of the symphony at the Proms was delivered only at the last minute. The 70s also saw the beginning of his longstanding relationship with his publisher Faber Music.

Similar problems attended the two “fantasy operas” he wrote in collaboration with Maurice Sendak. Where the Wild Things Are (1979-83) and Higglety Pigglety Pop! (1984-85). These superbly crafted, colourful works give every impression of unaffected spontaneity, but for Knussen it was a slow and painstaking process, with both operas first performed incomplete. Higglety was finally completed to the composer’s satisfaction only in 1999.

Until the 80s conducting had been a second string for Knussen, but gradually began to take up more of his time, particularly with his appointments as artistic director of the Aldeburgh festival from 1983 until 1998 and head of contemporary music activities at Tanglewood between 1986 and 1993. In 1992 he and I founded the Aldeburgh Contemporary Composition Course, where it gave him great pleasure to work with young composers and performers, who gratefully sat at his feet. Conducting was an occupation which gave him much satisfaction, with the opportunity to programme the music of both senior and junior composers, as well as his contemporaries, but it inevitably distracted him from composing. “I certainly wish I could afford to keep the two roles, conducting and composing, in better balance,” he said in 2012.

Most of the works from the next decade were on a smaller scale, but the Whitman Settings(1991), Songs Without Voices(1991-92) and Horn Concerto(1994) stand out as major achievements. He seemed to recover something of the flair of the 70s when he composed Prayer Bell Sketch in three days in 1997 in memory of his great friend the composer Toru Takemitsu, and the Violin Concerto, composed in 2002 for Pinchas Zukerman, which seemed to come almost out of the blue.

The similar intensity of Requiem: Songs for Sue(2005-06) was his considered reaction to the death of his wife in 2003 (he had much earlier composed Sonya’s Lullabyfor the birth of their daughter, now a gifted singer, in 1977). He described this major late work succinctly: “It’s not a huge work ... but it’s a big piece emotionally.” However other works from this period remained incomplete, including the remarkable Cleveland Picturesfor orchestra begun in 2003, withdrawn for revision and still unperformed, and concertos for piano and cello. His last completed work was O Hototogisu!for soprano and ensemble, a tantalising but substantial fragment of an intended larger piece.

Honours came to him in later years—appointment as CBE and honorary membership of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1994, honorary membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2002 and its conductor award in 2010, the Ivor Novello classical music award and the Queen’s Medal for Music in 2016. He was associate guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 1989 onwards and their artist in association, 2009-12; artist in association with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group from 2006; and associate artist of the South Bank Centre in 2006. In 2014 he was made the inaugural Richard Rodney Bennett professor of music at the Royal Academy and was awarded an honorary doctorate there very recently.

But any sense of Olly (as everyone knew him) belonging to the establishment would have been an illusion. He was too big a figure to fit into any easily defined category. He had a voracious appetite for knowledge, with a special love for films—he was a Hitchcock obsessive and became friends with Jim Jarmusch—and painting: he had a fascination for obscure artists such as Joachim Patinir and Ivan Bilibin. But above all his consuming passion was for music. I can think of no composer into whom he could not offer insights, although his taste was very much for the 19th and 20th centuries. It was a love that could and did get in the way of composing: it was as if every bar that he wrote was measured against all the music that he knew, and this explains the almost painfully slow process by which his music was written, and the number of fragments left behind.

He had close friendships with most of the major 20th-century composers—Takemitsu, Hans Werner Henze, Elliott Carter (whose late works he championed), Mauricio Kagel, Harrison Birtwistle and Alexander Goehr, among many others. He even established a relationship with Karlheinz Stockhausen, and loved to tell the story of how, when he said to him “You can call me Olly”, the reply came back “You can call me Stockhausen.”

Although he leaves a wonderful legacy of performance, it is primarily as a composer that he would want to be remembered. It makes it all the more regrettable that, although he gave less time to conducting, due to the ill health which dogged his last years, this did not mean—as he said to me in hope only a couple of months ago—that he would have time to write the music that was in his head, and which would undoubtedly have taken him in new and rewarding directions.

He is survived by Sonya.

—Colin Matthews for The Guardian (July 9, 2018)

2019 Yellow Barn videos

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Watch performances from Yellow Barn's 2019 Summer Festival in Putney, Vermont.

More videos

Audio recordings

 
Andrew Hamilton (b.1977). O’ROURKE (2013). Lucy Shelton, soprano.—July 5, 2019 | Program Note
 
 
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). Concerto in A Major for Piano and String Quintet, K.414 (1782). Peter Frankl, piano; Claire Bourg, Mann-Wen Lo, violins; Katherine Murdock, viola; Coleman Itzkoff, cello; Pete Walsh, double bass—July 5, 2019
Allegro: 0.00'
Andante: 10.36'
Allegretto: 18.22'
 
 
Eric Nathan (b.1983). Some Favored Nook (2017). Rachel Schutz, soprano; William Sharp, baritone; Gilbert Kalish, piano—July 5, 2019 | Program Note | Texts
Part I: 0.00'
Part II: 17.22'
Part III: 39.02'
 

Claude Debussy (1862-1918). Danses sacrée et profane (Sacred and Profane Dances) (1904). Noël Wan, harp; Anny Chen, Zenas Hsu, violins; Rosemary Nelis, viola; Matthew Chen, cello; Pete Walsh, double bass—July 6, 2019

 
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971). The Rite of Spring (1913). Gilbert Kalish and Sophiko Simsive, piano four-hands—July 6, 2019 | Program Note
 

Elliott Carter (1908-2012). Saëta (Arrow) from Eight Pieces for Four Timpani (1950). Sam Seyong Um, timpani—July 6, 2019 | Program Note

Anna Thorvaldsdottir (b.1977). Ró (Serenity) (2013). Rosie Gallagher, bass flute; Barret Ham, bass clarinet; Marisa Gupta, piano; Sam Seyong Um, percussion; Mélanie Clapiès, Magdalena Filipczak, violins; Lauren Siess, viola; Sein Lee, cello—July 11, 2019 | Program Note

Simon Bainbridge (b.1952). Four Primo Levi Settings (1996). Lucy Shelton, soprano; Yasmina Spiegelberg, clarinet; Sarah Sung, viola; Pedro Borges, piano—July 11, 2019 | Program Note

Stefan Wolpe (1902-1972). Arrangements of Six Yiddish Songs (1923, 1925). William Sharp, baritone; Emely Phelps, piano—July 11, 2019 | Program Note

Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931). Trio à cordes “Le chimay,” Op. posth. (1915). Yiliang Jiang, violin; Rosemary Nelis, viola; Yoshika Masuda, cello—July 11, 2019 | Program Note

André Previn (1929-2019). Vocalise (1995). Rachel Schutz, soprano; Alexander Kovalev, cello; Marisa Gupta, piano—July 12, 2019

 
Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904). Violin Sonata in F Major, Op.57 (B.106) (1880). Leonard Fu, violin; Peter Frankl, piano—July 12, 2019
 
Salvatore Sciarrino (b.1947). Tre duetti con l’eco (Three Duets with an Echo) (2006). Rosie Gallagher, flute; Yen-Chen Wu, bassoon; Roger Tapping, viola—July 12, 2019 Program Note
 

Sándor Veress (1907-1992). Memento (1983). Rosemary Nelis, viola; Pete Walsh, double bass—July 13, 2019 | Program Note

Earl Kim (1920-1998). Where Grief Slumbers (1982). Rachel Schutz, soprano; Noël Wan, harp; Emma Frucht, SoYoung Choi, Magdalena Filipczak, violins; Katherine Murdock, DJ Cheek, violas; Jean-Michel Fonteneau, Yunwen Chen, cellos—July 13, 2019 | Program Note

Tōru Takemitsu (1930-1996). Orion (1984). Aaron Wolff, cello; Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, piano—July 18, 2019 | Program Note

Harrison Birtwistle (b.1934). Crescent Moon over the Irrational (2010). Rosie Gallagher, flute; Yasmina Spiegelberg, clarinet; Noël Wan, harp; Anthony Marwood, SoYoung Choi, violins; Maria Lambros, viola; John Myerscough, cello—July 20, 2019 | Program Note

Stephen Coxe (b.1966). About That Time (2019) Caleb Hudson, trumpet; Pete Walsh, double bass; Seth Knopp, piano; Eduardo Leandro, percussion—July 26, 2019 | Program Note

Jörg Widmann (b.1973). Fieberphantasie (Fever Fantasy) (1999). Sophiko Simsive, piano; Magdalena Filipczak, Tatjana Roos, violins; Sarah Sung, viola; Yoshika Masuda, cello; Barret Ham, clarinets—July 26, 2019 | Program Note

Clara Schumann (1819-1896). Romance in A Minor, Op.21 (1853). Marisa Gupta, piano—July 29, 2019

Brett Dean (b.1961). Equality (2004). Christina Dahl, piano—July 30, 2019

Brett Dean (b.1961). Huntington Eulogy (2001). John Myerscough, cello; Pedro Borges, piano—July 31, 2019 | Program Note

 
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976). Winter Words, Op.52 (1953). Benjamin Butterfield, tenor; Marisa Gupta, piano—July 31, 2019
 

Brett Dean (b.1961). String Quartet No. 2 “And once I played Ophelia” (2013). Rachel Schutz, soprano; Emma Frucht, Sophia Anna Szokolay, violins; Maren Rothfritz, viola; Coleman Itzkoff, cello—August 1, 2019 | Program Note

Philippe Schoeller (b.1957). Isis II (2001). Yen-Chen Wu, bassoon; Noël Wan, harp—August 2, 2019 | Program Note

 
Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951). Suite, Op.29 (1925-1926). Alan Kay, Yasmina Spiegelberg, clarinets; Barret Ham, bass clarinet; Emma Frucht, violin; Rosemary Nelis, viola; Michael Kannen, cello; Emely Phelps, piano—August 2, 2019
 
 
Mark Applebaum (b.1967). Control Freak (2015). Benjamin Butterfield, voice; Rosie Gallagher, flute; Mark Hill, oboe; Anny Chen, violin; Matthew Chen, cello; Sophiko Simsive, piano; Sam Seyong Um, percussion—August 2, 2019
 

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849). Rondo in C Major for Two Pianos, Op. posth. 73 (1828). Alice Chenyang Xu and Pedro Borges, pianos—August 2, 2019 | Program Note

Brett Dean (b.1961). Winter Songs (2000). Benjamin Butterfield, tenor; Rosie Gallagher, flute; Alan Kay, clarinet; Mark Hill, oboe; Yen-Chen Wu, bassoon; Stephen Stirling, French horn—August 3, 2019 | Program Note

John Cage (1912-1992). Dream (1948) (arr. 1974 by Karen Phillips). Sarah Sung, solo viola; Roger Tapping, DJ Cheek, Lauren Siess, Maren Rothfritz, violas—August 3, 2019 | Program Note

Video program note: Four Iconoclastic Episodes

Saturday, June 23, 2018

In 2003, during Steven Mackey's first composer residency at Yellow Barn, violinist Anthony Marwood proposed the idea of a double-concerto for violin and electric guitar with string orchestra. Six years later, Steve and Anthony premiered Four Iconoclastic Episodes. On July 26, 2018 the double-concerto comes home to Yellow Barn for a performance with Steve and Anthony in the Big Barn. Steve describes the genesis and composition of his piece in the following video program note:

Songs of Refuge and Resistance

Friday, June 22, 2018

In advance of Yellow Barn's 2018 Summer Gala, The Westerlies offer the following notes for their program with Theo Bleckmann, Songs of Refuge and Resistance, which was developed during a Yellow Barn Artist Residency in June 2018:

In June of 2018, Theo Bleckmann and The Westerlies worked in residence at Yellow Barn to pair songs of resistance with songs of refuge, seeking to balance music’s integral role in protest movements with the power of songs to provide internal solace amidst external turmoil.

This balance is perhaps no better demonstrated than in the two pieces that bookend the evening, those of Joni Mitchell and Judee Sill. Joni Mitchell first recorded The Fiddle and the Drum on her 1969 album Clouds, and its anti-war message has been associated with a number of resistance movements since the 60’s. A contemporary of Mitchell, Sill released two albums in the early 1970’s before her untimely death from drug overdose in 1979. Her 1973 song The Kiss is a demonstration of her remarkable lyricism and Bach-influenced harmonic sensibility.

The protest song is given a fresh, new take in the work of American composer Phil Kline. A veteran of New York’s downtown scene, Kline’s work has been hailed for its originality, beauty, subversive subtext, and wry humor. 3 Rumsfeld Songs come from his 2004 work Zippo Songs, a statement on war and the politics of war based on the Pentagon briefings of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The song cycle was written for Theo Bleckmann and was one of the most talked-about records of 2004, winning “Best of the Year” citations throughout the world, from The New York Times to The Guardian, from CNN to NPR. His song Thoughts and Prayers was written for Theo Bleckmann and The Westerlies during their June 2018 residency at Yellow Barn, and sets the words of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School survivor and activist Emma Gonzalez’s speech addressing the NRA.

Two original pieces in the program by members of The Westerlies draw on their inspiration from the world of poetry. Trombonist Andy Clausen’s Land was composed while in residence at Yellow Barn in June 2018, and sets words from Agha Shahid Ali’s poem of the same title. Exploring the complexities of life as an Indian-American immigrant, Agha’s work colorfully illustrates the thematic and cultural poles of past and present; America and India, Islamic and American geography, American cities and former American Indian tribes. Trumpeter Riley Mulherkar’s Looking Out is a reflection on the poem of the same name by Japanese-American activist, feminist, essayist, and poet Mitsuye Yamada. Born in Japan, Yamada spent most of her childhood in Seattle until 1942, when her father was arrested by the FBI for espionage and she was interned at the Minidoka War Relocation Center in Idaho. The poem “Looking Out” comes from her 1992 work Camp Notes and Other Writings, and is juxtaposed here with text from FDR’s Executive Order 9066, which authorized the Secretary ofWar to prescribe certain areas as military zones and cleared the way for the incarceration of 120,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry.

True to their Seattle roots, The Westerlies find another voice of resistance in Pacific Northwest history in Joe Hill, a Swedish-American immigrant and laborer who rose to prominence as an organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World. As Hill and other IWW organizers traveled to lumber and construction camps throughout the west, they would often encounter missionaries from the Salvation Army who were attempting to convert the local migrant workers to Christianity. One of the Salvation Army’s (referred to fondly by the IWW as the “Starvation Army”) most popular hymns was “In the Sweet By and By”; in response to the Salvation Army’s overtures to the migrant workers, Joe Hill, a gifted songwriter himself, wrote a parody version of “In the Sweet By and By” called “The Preacher and the Slave”. Trombonist Willem de Koch’s arrangement juxtaposes the two songs side-by-side, highlighting Hill’s witty, cynical lyrics. 

Early in their development as an ensemble, The Westerlies found mentorship in Seattle-based composer and pianist Wayne Horvitz; their first performance was at his Seattle club The Royal Room, and their first recording was their 2014 album of his compositions, Wish The Children Would Come On Home. These two Horvitz pieces come from his 2012 work Smokestack Arias, a song cycle for soprano voice, piano and pre-recorded electronics and accompanied by dance performances with text by Robin Holcomb. Inspired by the 1916 labor uprising and resultant deaths, now known at the Everett Massacre, each song portrays the perspective of a different woman affected by the uprising and the deaths of the slain protesters, giving a personal account of a seminal event in the history of the Pacific Northwest labor movement. 

Perhaps no voice is more associated with American protest songs than that of Woody Guthrie, and his voice is channeled through The Westerlies in many iterations. One of the songs, entitled Tear the Fascists Down was recorded in 1944 but never released until 2009, when master discs of Stinson Records were discovered in a Brooklyn apartment. At the same time that Guthrie was writing his songs, Bertolt Brecht was a prominent international voice of freedom. His poem “Bitten der Kinder” was written in 1951 and set to music by Paul Dessau, originally written to be sung by a children’s choir but arranged here by Riley Mulherkar.

Amidst these voices of resistance, the original songs of refuge by members of the ensemble shine. Another Holiday by Theo Bleckmann, was written in June of 2016 shortly after the mass shooting atPulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Says Bleckmann, “Unlike my often long and intensely critical editing processes when writing music, ‘Another Holiday’ seemed to appear almost fully formed. This is a not a protest song but a song about being without refuge, of being isolated from your family because of whom you love.” Also bringing familial relationships into the program is Andy Clausen, who wrote Grandmar in November of 2017, shortly after the passing of his grandmother. Says Clausen, “the piece is a meditation on the challenges of loving someone with whom you have vehement political disagreements.”

The theme of refuge is exemplified in Wade in the Water, a well-known spiritual work song from the Underground Railroad. The meditative melody is a hymn of resistance and unification, originating from one of the (many) dark times in the African American struggle. Theo Bleckmann arranges it here next to Look for the Union Label, a TV commercial song from the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (formerly the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and other unions). Composed by R&B Soul artist Malcolm Dodds to a lyric by advertising executive Paula Green, the melody seems to strongly reference Jerome Kern’s Look for the Silver Lining.

Theo Bleckmann and The Westerlies would like to thank Yellow Barn for making this program possible.

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