YellowBarnBlog

Yellow Barn Listening

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Listen to festival performances from the Big Barn in Putney, Vermont.

Summers at Yellow Barn

Browse videos from Yellow Barn's 2017 Summer Festival

2017 summer season

Johann Sebastian Bach Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G Major, BWV 1048
James Tenney Maximusic
Franz Joseph Haydn Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Hob. XV:30
Franco Donatoni Alamari
Eric Nathan Quartet for Oboe and Strings
Maurice Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello
Johann Sebastian Bach Selections from Cantatas BWV 197, 88, 47, and 42
Jörg Widmann Zirkustänze
Jörg Widmann String Quartet No.1
Ludwig van Beethoven Sonata in F Major, Op.24 “Spring”
Jörg Widmann Oktett
Giacinto Scelsi Khoom “Seven episodes of a love story and of a non-written death in a faraway land”
Henry Purcell Sonata in A Minor, Z.804
Toshio Hosokawa Landscape II
Pavel Haas String Quartet No.2, Op.7 “From the Monkey Mountains”
Sofia Gubaidulina Galgenlieder à 3
Alban Berg Lyric Suite 
Sergiu Natra Music for Violin and Harp
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart String Quartet in G Major, K.387 
Alexander Raskatov Five Minutes from the Life of W.A.M. 

2016 summer season

Johannes Brahms Poco Allegretto from Symphony No.3, Op.90 
Michel van der Aa Oog 
George Frideric Handel Concerto Grosso in F Major, Op.6 No.2, HWV320 
Arnold Schoenberg Brettl-Lieder (Cabaret Songs) 
Jörg Widmann 180 beats per minute
Charles Wuorinen Spinoff 
Alexander Raskatov Dolce Far Niente “Sweetness of Doing Nothing”
Oliver Knussen Prayer Bell Sketch
Toshio Hosokawa Drei Engel-Lieder (Three Angel Songs)
Johannes Brahms Sonata in E-flat Major, Op.120 No.2 
Hans Abrahamsen Schnee “Snow”: 10 Canons for 9 Instruments. 
James MacMillan Visions of a November Spring
Sofia Gubaidulina Garden of Joy and Sorrow
Thomas Adès Lieux Retrouvés
Dmitri Shostakovich String Quartet No.9 in E-flat Major, Op.117 
Beat Furrer Aer 
Luciano Berio Naturale
Charles Ives The Things Our Fathers Loved
Charles Ives Tom Sails Away (1917-1921)
Charles Ives Two Little Flowers
Charles Ives General William Booth Enters into Heaven
Charles Ives Charlie Rutlage
Charles Ives The Housatonic at Stockbridge
Charles Ives Down East
Charles Ives The Side Show 
André Caplet Les Prières 
Susan Botti Bird Songs
Franz Schubert Sonata for violin and piano in A Major, D.574 “Duo” 
György Ligeti String Quartet “Metamorphoses nocturnes”
Ted Hearne Vessels
Johannes Brahms String Quartet in A Minor, Op.51 No.2
John Zorn The Aristos, ten metaphysical ambiguities for violin, cello and piano 
Travis Laplante Thank You Is Not Enough
Magnus Lindberg Clarinet Trio
Béla Bartók Sonata No.1, Sz.75 for violin and piano
Stefano Gervasoni Phanes
Stefano Gervasoni An, Quasi una serenata, con la complicitá di Schubert
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart String Quartet in B-Flat Major, K.589
George Crumb Books I-V from Madrigals
Stefano Gervasoni Adagio ghiacciato, da Mozart, K.356
Arnold Schoenberg String Trio, Op.45
Matthias Pintscher A Twilight’s Song
Franz Schubert String Quartet in A Minor, D.804 “Rosamunde” 
Stefano Gervasoni Luce ignota della sera “Unknown Evening Light”, da Robert Schumann, Zwölf Vierhändige Klavierstücke für kleine und große Kinder, Op.85 No.12 for piano and electronics
Stefano Gervasoni Sonatinexpressive
Felix Mendelssohn Sonata in D Major, Op.58 for cello and piano

 

Yellow Barn videos

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Watch performances from Yellow Barn's 2017 Summer Festival in Putney, Vermont.

Summers at Yellow Barn

Browse audio recordings from Yellow Barn summer festival performances

 
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G Major, BWV 1048 (1718). Zenas Hsu, Eunae Koh, Erica Tursi, violins; Katherine Murdock, Hyobi Sim, Jesse Morrison, violas; Natasha Brofsky, Rainer Crosett, Julia Yang, cellos; Lizzie Burns, double bass; Emely Phelps, harpsichord—July 8, 2017


 
Sofia Gubaidulina (b.1931) Galgenlieder à 3 (1996). Melanie Henley Heyn, soprano; Lizzie Burns, double bass; Sam Seyong Um, percussion—August 4, 2017 | Program Note
 
 
 
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) String Quartet in G Major, K.387 (1782). Jennifer Liu, Eunae Koh, violins; Hyobi Sim, viola; Michael Kannen, cello—August 5, 2017 (finale)
 
 
 
Alexander Raskatov (b.1953) Five Minutes from the Life of W.A.M. (2000). Anthony Marwood, solo violin; Eva Aronian, Erica Tursi, Mason Yu, violins; Hyobi Sim, Jinsun Hong, Emily Brandenburg, Aiden Kane, violas; Coleman Itzkoff, Alex Cox, cellos; Lizzie Burns, double bass; Eduardo Leandro, percussion—August 5, 2017 (finale) | Composer Bio
 
 
 
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937). Sonata for Violin and Cello (1922). Brian Hong, violin; Coleman Itzkoff, cello—July 22, 2017
 
 
 
Jörg Widmann (b.1973). Zirkustänze (2012). Christina Dahl, Tomer Gewirtzman, Abigail Sin, pianos—July 26, 2017
 

 

Happy Birthday, Yellow Barn Music Haul!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

On October 10, 2015, Yellow Barn Music Haul came home to Putney, Vermont. Since then, our precocious traveling concert hall has brought Music No Boundaries to Baltimore, Dallas, Midcoast Maine, Boston, and New York City. Wherever she goes, from Times Square to West Baltimore, she is giving people the shared experience of listening to chamber music on common ground.

In celebration of her second birthday, we brought our "Music Haul Playground" to Downtown Baltimore Child Care, dropping the stage like a second jungle gym, filling recess with music and dancing. When we packed up to go, the music didn't stop. Music Haul continued to play from one neighborhood to the next, for passers-by, construction workers, police officers, bus drivers, and countless others, capturing their attention in an unexpected moment.

For the next two months, Music Haul will continue to live in Baltimore, bringing "Music Haul Playground" to schools, driving and playing music through her external speakers, and generally being a resource for social causes throughout the city, such as collecting goods for Puerto Rico. In addition, she will return to Lockerman-Bundy Elementary School and other OrchKids schools that she visited during previous trips to Baltimore.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out where Yellow Barn Music Haul is traveling!

Dancing to Beethoven and celebrating Yellow Barn Music Haul's 2nd birthday at Downtown Baltimore Child Care

Eric Nathan on "Some Favored Nook"

Monday, October 9, 2017

Some Favored Nook live recording in Putney (In front, left to right: Jessica Rivera, Andrew Garland, Molly Morkoski, Eric Nathan)

Composer Eric Nathan reflects on his September 2017 Artist Residency, Some Favored Nook, at Yellow Barn:

Soprano Jessica Rivera, baritone Andrew Garland, pianist Molly Morkoski and I recently completed an Artist Residency at Yellow Barn to workshop and record my new 45-minute dramatic cycle, “Some Favored Nook,” based on texts by Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, adapted by librettist Mark Campbell.

Yellow Barn afforded us an invaluable opportunity to have an intense period of uninterrupted time over the course of a few days to rehearse and workshop the piece, and then record it in front of a live audience as part of a private recording session at Executive Director Catherine Stephan’s house. While we were in-residence we also had wonderful opportunities to engage with students and faculty at the Greenwood School and with Yellow Barn supporters in the post-recording session Q&A. Both chances to engage with the community were especially valuable to me as a composer, because it allowed me to hear directly from the audiences how the music, performances and subject matter made them think and feel.

“Some Favored Nook” takes place in Civil War-era America and is inspired by the significant correspondence between an unlikely pair: Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Dickinson was practically unknown during her day but is now one of the world’s most widely read poets, and Higginson was a figure who loomed large in literary and political spheres of his time, but who is now relatively forgotten. My work focuses on Dickinson's private struggle as women poet in a patriarchal society and Higginson's public struggles for women’s rights, women poets, and the abolition of slavery. I place Dickinson and Higginson's writings in the context of the Civil War and society of the time, and uses the texts as a lens to view social, political and cultural issues of this early chapter in American history – civil rights, women's rights, the effects of war, as well as many of the themes that fill Dickinson's poetry, such as love and death – all issues that are as relevant today as they were in Dickinson’s time.

Dickinson and Higginson’s correspondence spanned twenty-four years and offers an intimate look into Dickinson’s private world as well as to Higginson’s involvement in major social and political issues of the day, as the commanding officer of the First South Carolina Volunteers, the first black regiment in the Civil War. Higginson was also a noted supporter of women poets, and published the first collection of Dickinson’s poetry after her death. I set excerpts from Dickinson’s letters and poems she sent to Higginson, but as many of Higginson’s letters to her are lost, Higginson’s texts are set from his own essays as well as diaries from his “Army Life in a Black Regiment.”

This project has been a number of years in the making. It began as a proposal for my Rome Prize fellowship at the American Academy in Rome in 2013-14. While I was in Rome, I assembled texts by Dickinson and Higginson. A subsequent visit to Emily Dickinson’s house in Amherst sparked the initial measures of my piece, after I experienced the sense of space and light in Dickinson’s room. However, it was not until 2016 when the librettist Mark Campbell molded the texts into a compelling dramatic and thematic arc that ideas for my musical work began to fully take shape. I began composing in earnest in January 2017 during a residency at Copland House in Cortlandt Manor, where I lived and composed for three weeks in composer Aaron Copland’s home. It was incredibly humbling and inspiring to write music in Copland’s house, especially since his settings of Dickinson’s poetry in his “Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson” remain some of the most treasured and iconic musical settings of her poetry. I completed my work in July 2017, back at the American Academy in Rome as part of a Visiting Artist residency.  

For our residency at Yellow Barn, our goals were to workshop, rehearse and record “Some Favored Nook,” so that we could have documentation to entice presenters to sponsor the official world premiere and a subsequent multi-city tour in 2018-19 and/or 2019-20. Yellow Barn has been so supportive of this project and arranged for the work to be professionally video and audio recorded. The Brown Arts Initiative was also very helpful in making this workshop possible through a Research and Development Grant.

Our rehearsal process at Yellow Barn was incredibly collaborative. We experimented with various parameters of the text setting and performance techniques. For instance, during one rehearsal Molly Morkoski suggested we have Jessica Rivera sing a section of the music directly into the piano, to create an otherworldly resonance. I had marked this section “distantly” in the score, but this new technique brought out other aspects in the music that arose from our discussions of the dramatic unfolding of the work, and so we decided to keep this technique in the performance. It is at this moment that Dickinson sings her poem, “A Death blow is a Life blow to some,” to the tune of “America,” after Higginson has recited phrases from his diary recounting attending to wounded soldiers after a battle. Throughout the entire rehearsal process, we watched the characters of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson come to life, and how their conscious and unconscious emotional states could be translated from the score into dramatic performance.

The chances to engage with the Yellow Barn community were for me some of the most meaningful experiences of the week. The recording session took place in the intimate setting of a living room, and this intimacy combined with the inquisitiveness of the Yellow Barn audience fostered a remarkable discussion. Audience members shared how the performance and story affected them personally, and their questions and my colleagues’ responses helped me see our work in new light. Similarly, I was excited to hear the imaginative responses from students as they described the worlds and ideas that the musical motives conjured in their minds.

The entire week residency was a beautiful testament to the communicative power of music. We commune with music to share ideas and emotions and reflect on stories of the past and present. In such a divisive time, it was nourishing to be reminded of the unifying power of music, especially on such a small and personal scale, and how the exchange of ideas helps us see and understand our world.

_____________________

This project has been made possible, in part, by the Brown Arts Initiative.

Music No Boundaries: Midcoast Maine

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

MUSIC NO BOUNDARIES: midcoast Maine

September 13-19, 2017

Following its first tour of New York City, Yellow Barn Music Haul brought the national touring program "Music No Boundaries" to five area schools (St. George School, South Elementary School, Gilford Butler/Owl’s Head School, Edna Drinkwater School, and Lincoln Academy), as well as the Coastal Maine Reentry Program, Damariscotta-Newcastle ArtWalk, Bremen Public Library/Bremen Town Center, and the Farnsworth Museum. After six days in Maine, Yellow Barn Music Haul stopped in Boston on the way home, returning to the Epiphany School in Dorchester, and giving a sidewalk performance in Boston's South End.

Locations and Partners

For complete tour and program information, go to musichaul.org.

South Elementary School, Rockland, ME

Edna Drinkwater School, Northport, ME

Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center Farm, Belfast/Swanville, ME

St. George School, St. George, ME

Lincoln Academy, Newcastle, ME

Owls Head School, South Thomaston, ME

Damariscotta-Newcastle ArtWalk, Damariscotta, ME

Bremen Public Library, Bremen, ME

Bremen Town Center, Bremen, ME

Farnsworth Museum, Rockland, ME

Boston Extension—Epiphany School, Dorchester, MA

Boston Extension—Shawmut Ave. at W. Concord St., Boston, MA

MUSICIANS

Telegraph String Quartet

Greg Beyer, percussion

Seth Knopp, piano

Sound Engineer: Dev Ray

Stage Managers: Michael Bradley Cohen and Christopher Grant

Jörg Widmann at the Nasher

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Scott Cantrell, special contributor and former classical music critic for the Dallas Morning News, reviews "Jörg Widmann at the Nasher" from the Nasher Sculpture Center's Soundings series:

You'd be hard-pressed to outdo the Nasher Sculpture Center's Soundings series for the most provocative classical-music programs in the area. The formula of setting cutting-edge contemporary music in contexts of older fare was certainly in evidence Sunday evening.

This was the last of three concerts over the weekend featuring the 43-year-old German composer and clarinetist Jörg Widmann. A Friday concert displayed his avant-garde virtuosity on the clarinet; Saturday's program was devoted to his complete string quartets.

On Sunday, baritone William Sharp and pianist and Soundings artistic director Seth Knopp gave the North American premiere of Widmann's 4-year-old song cycle Das heisse Herz (The Fiery Heart). In the first half, Robert Schumann's 1840 song cycle Dichterliebe (Poet's Love) proved a revelatory prelude. Separated by 173 years, the two works illuminated each other.

To words by the poet Heinrich Heine, the Schumann cycle is all about lost love. Words and music explore turbulent emotions stirred up by rejection: sentimentality, heartsickness, defiance, fury and sarcasm. Dreams mix with reality. 

Sharp made this a deeply personal experience, coloring and texturing his well-seasoned baritone with drama and sensitivity.  As appropriate to both words and music, there were sounds alternately rich, brazen and gently insinuated. Knopp's pianism matched Sharp's expressivity. The compact, low-ceilinged auditorium on the Nasher's lower level has oppressed some music, but here it supplied apt salon-like intimacy. 

The piano introduction to Widmann's cycle almost sounded like an echo, subtly distorted, of the opening of Dichterliebe.  One of the songs, "Hab' ein Ringelein am Finger" ("I Have a Ring on My Finger"), evoked associations with a parallel song in Schumann's Frauenliebe und Leben. "Liebeslied" ("Love Song") suggested the sardonic tone of Kurt Weill; "Das Fraulein stand am Meere" ("The Girl Stood by the Sea") was set as an irreverent waltz.

Widmann's cycle sets texts from a variety of sources — including Heine — but as with Dichterliebe, the theme is lost love. Here, though, the tone ventures more boldly into irony, sarcasm and even surrealism. Surprisingly, perhaps, the vocal writing is anything but the far-flung spasms of much contemporary European work. No, it has a naturalness of pitch and shape. Although the piano part incorporates angry bass clusters and glinting attacks at the top of the keyboard, it also includes flowing patches not that distant from, yes, Schumann.

If postmodernism is defined by allusions to earlier art, Das heisse Herz is postmodern. It was certainly a deeply engaging experience Sunday evening, unsettling in a powerful and artistically valid way. Sharp brought to it every manner of vocal nuance, but with a core of tonal beauty, even adding a good deal of physicality. Again, Knopp was an incisive and dramatic collaborator. I was glad to be there.

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