AU Musical Events: Bartok’s B-day!

Ultra-famous Hungarian composer Bela Bartok turns 134 this week (he’s not still alive, silly!) and AU’s music students, big fans, are paying him tribute for his big day!

Stop by the Katzen rotunda this Friday, March 27 (his birthday is actually the 25th) at 12:30 to hear AU’s string students and faculty big up the great composer by performing not one, not two, not three, but all 44 of his violin duets! Originally written for two violins, they will be interpreted by all of the performers on various strings and such.

If you’re a superfan of Bartok, strings, or our string students and faculty, you can stay for all 44! All will surely be impressed by your endurance and fansmanship.

Here’s the official facebook event, and here’s an unofficial (but more popular) one! Seeya there!

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The New York Philharmonic: Full Digital Archives!

You all know how much we here at the music library love archives, and rightly so! They are a great way to delve into the past, and to witness the evolution of your research topic throughout history.

Speaking of archives, an enormous archive has just been finished, that of the New York Philharmonic. That’s right, they’ve finished the massive undertaking of archiving every single performance program published since their founding year of 1842. So now you can go back through 173 years (count ’em!) of NY Phil concert programs, 13,300 in total.

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Their site notes that among these programs are such historically significant ones as “those from the 1865 memorial concert for Abraham Lincoln; the 1893 World Premiere of Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World; the 1928 World Premiere of Gershwin’s An American in Paris, with program notes by the composer; the concert that took place on December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor Day; for the free downtown chamber concerts given after 9/11 for those working near the ruins of the World Trade Center; and from the Philharmonic’s national and international tours, including Toscanini’s 1930 European Tour and the 2008 tour to Pyongyang, D.P.R.K., led by then Music Director Lorin Maazel.” Not quite actual audio recordings, but we’ll take it!

They also make sure to mention that these archives are free and accessible online to all researchers. I have a feeling this will be of major use to many music students at AU and worldwide. And even if you’re not researching for any specific purpose, it has to be exciting to walk down American classical music’s memory lane and hear the language of these classic documents. Check them out here!

Sweet New Arrivals: John Cage Shock

I’m sure you’ve already heard of yesterday’s atom bomb of a Sweet New Arrival, but there’s another good one that hopefully won’t be too overshadowed. This Arrival is a 3-CD set of recordings from John Cage’s 1962 performances in Japan with pianist David Tudor. These concerts led to the term “John Cage Shock,” a description of the floored nature of Cage’s Japanese audiences. The set is called, appropriately, John Cage: Shock.

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Famous for his piece 4’33” (4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence, allowing audiences to notice the ambience of their surroundings), John Cage was a composer who was fascinated with deconstructing the concepts of music itself. These performances, all featuring hearty helpings of silence, dissonance and prepared instruments, are a very clear portrait of the classical avant-garde in the early ’60s.

The set includes performances both of Cage originals and of pieces by like-minded composers such as Toru Takemitsu, Christian Wolff and Karlheinz Stockhausen. All are very intense and challenging. Also, Yoko Ono shows up at one point. Pretty cool stuff, if you’re into it. Come get shocked!!! at the music library.

Sweet New Arrivals: KZ Musik

Welcome back from your spring break, Music Library readers! Whether it was spent in warm, beachy climes or, like mine, even further north than usual with the usual assortment of cold, wind, rain and snow, I’m sure it was well spent catching up on your me-time.

But being back at school isn’t all bad, right? For one thing you’ve got us to visit! For another, we have a great new arrival! This one’s a big deal- a 12-volume CD set from the Naxos classical record label. And it contains some rather interesting/intense music. It’s called KZ Musik and it is a compilation of music written by inmates in Nazi concentration camps during WWII.

KZ Musik is intended to collect performances of every single piece of music composed in this horrific setting. It’s a lot of music, including compositions in nearly every classical form you can imagine: symphonies, lieder, piano sonatas, fugues, dances, arias, duos, trios, quartets etc. They also span a large variety of instruments, from pieces for full orchestras to smaller chamber groups, pieces for pianos, organs, guitars, vocal works, and more.

This will probably be the most comprehensive collection of music composed in concentration camps to ever be released. It is meant to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks- while certain Holocaust pieces such as Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time” have been canonized, a litany of works have been ignored, until now. The music, naturally, is both depressing and inspiring- a portrayal of the human spirit and its creativity even in the darkest of surroundings. Come check it out!

Here’s the link to the first CD of 12. If you’re really interested, click the link for “Varying Forms of Title” (shown below) for the rest of the items.

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AU Musical Events: Robert’s Senior Recital

Usually we don’t advertise senior recitals here, but this one is being performed by music library regular, enthusiast and alum Robert Sheehan!

Titled “Explorations of a Modern Countertenor,” Robert’s recital will explore pieces by Vivaldi, Bach, Schubert, Ives, and more! That variety alone is exciting.

Bucolic and studly

Robert will also be performing music by a fellow AU student, junior Evan Oliver (a great guy and talented musician). Overall this promises to be a varied and engaging recital.

It’s going down on Sunday (March 2nd) at 2 pm in Katzen. Like all senior recitals, admission is free! Nurse those Sunday blues and come support a Music Library family member!

The event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/482670498522712/

AU Musical Events: AU Symphony Orchestra

How’s it going, readers? Feeling inspired by our super-awesome pop-up music library? Looking for an awesome AU musical event to feed your need! Well you’re in luck! Our AU Symphony Orchestra will be performing twice this weekend, once on Saturday night and once on Sunday afternoon.

Conducted by DPA professor Yaniv Dinur, the orchestra will be playing three pieces, each one promising to be exciting in its own right. The first is Rautavaara’s Cantus Arcticus, a concerto combining traditional classical orchestration with field recordings of birdsong from northern Finland and the Arctic Circle. Following this will come Lutoslawski’s Preludes and Fugue, which the event page calls “rough and capricious”- oh, baby.

And last but certainly not least, the orchestra will perform Beethoven’s mighty 5th Symphony. DUN DUN DUN DUNNNN. But seriously, other than the classic 4-note motif, this symphony contains about as much agony and ecstasy of musical perfection as any other piece of classical music (or any genre). Sure to be a breathtaking set-closer.

There will be two performances in the Abramson Recital Hall, one on Saturday at 8 PM and one on Sunday at 3 PM. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for AU community members and seniors. RSVPs are required, so don’t forget! It’s going to be an awesome experience!