Secret Geometry is about the play of forms, and forms of play: composing, performing, listening, music making, reading, and again, composing. There’s news here about the music I write, as well as comments about concerts, recordings, books, and a few other things you might find of interest. For more information about my compositions, including a work list, score samples, and audio clips, visit jamesprimosch.com
Tags: American Academy of Arts and Letters, Chuck Close, Louise Glück, MacDowell Colony, Michael Chabon, Wallace Shawn
A message from the MacDowell Colony came in recently, mentioning that you can hear the address given by its chairman of the board Michael Chabon at this spring’s American Academy of Arts and Letters ceremonial by visiting here. Text versions of recent addresses are also available at that site, with speakers including Louise Glück, Wallace Shawn, and Chuck Close. (In Close’s speech, you will learn that this famous maker of portraits actually has prosopagnosia, of all things.)
By coincidence, in my current reading I have finally got around to Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which well deserves its high reputation.
Tags: Aleck Karis, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Kian Freitas, Mantra
Aleck Karis was one of the top pianists in New York for new music when I lived there in the ’80s, and I was fortunate enough to hear Aleck play my music on several occasions. I wrote Secret Geometry for piano and electronic sound for him (that’s where the name of this blog comes from), and he subsequently recorded that piece. He also played and recorded my Icons for clarinet, piano and electronic sound. Aleck has been at UC San Diego for many years now. I had hoped to include Aleck as part of the consortium of pianists who are to perform my Pure Contraption, Absolute Gift, but we couldn’t work out the details; he still might play the piece at some point, but it will be outside the framework of the consortium. Aleck is a quietly spectacular player, with a wide-ranging repertoire; his large discography includes Glass, Carter, Cage, Reynolds, Feldman, and Davidovsky, as well as Chopin and Mozart, among dozens of other composers.
Here is a video of Aleck with Kian Freitas performing one of Stockhausen’s most enduring pieces, Mantra for two ring-modulated pianos.
Tags: Igor Stravinsky, Q2 Music, The Rite of Spring
Fascinating comparisons, witty juxtapositions, virtuoso editing… no, it’s not my last blog post. It’s this:
Tags: Benjamin Britten, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Dvorak, Guthrie Ramsey, Jeremy Denk, John Amis
- John Amis on two new Britten biographies. There are some choice anecdotes in the post; for example, Amis describes sitting with Erwin Stein at the premiere of Peter Grimes in 1945, an amazing thought.
- as an appendix to my Denk/Ligeti post, here is Denk coaching Dvorak for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
- Guthrie Ramsey, my colleague at my day job, has a revamped website. Check out the substantial series of posts he did relating to his course on African American music – here‘s the first one. His new book on Bud Powell has just come out.
Tags: Johannes Schöllhorn, Mode Records
An announcement came the other day from Mode Records about the release of a disc devoted to music of Johannes Schöllhorn. This was a new name to me, and I have to say I rather liked this sample of his work from the album. While checking out that track, notice the substantial array of clips posted by Mode, with interesting repertoire by Feldman, Lachenmann, Subotnick, Eckardt, and many more.
Tags: Gyorgi Ligeti, Jeremy Denk
Author of the few music blogs you really need to have on your bookmark bar, pianist Jeremy Denk talks about and plays Ligeti:
I was always conservative, being brought up Catholic.
- self-described “porno king” Richard Basciano, owner of the building that collapsed here in Philadelphia last week. Quote from Philadelphia Inquirer article.
Funny, being brought up Catholic – and remaining Catholic – I was always liberal.