If I were more disciplined I would have put something up earlier about Alex Ross' visit to the Northwest and his reading at the UW Bookstore. Instead, I am getting to it a few days late.
A respectable crowd showed up to hear Ross and Dave Beck have a conversation about music in the 20th Century. Ross read a bit from his new book - the pages describing the premiere of the Rite of Spring - and talked about music a bunch. Frankly, I liked this much better than some of the readings I have been too where the author confines him/herself to the text on the page.
If I could have changed one thing it would have been to have Dave Beck ask about the music in the other 80 years of the 20th Century and not the first twenty or so.
There were interesting and guilt inducing questions too. One older gentleman was on some screed about Milton Babbit and Elliot Carter and how (I think) musicians don't want or try to play music that's difficult. Another fella asked about a theoretical connection between Messiaen and Bernard Herrmann. Damn you! This question made me regret not picking up Hermann's Symphony when I saw it in the used bin at the record store the other day. And I regret not hearing the Seattle Philharmonic perform the piece a few weeks back. When I went back to pick it up, the disk was gone. Sigh.
In any event, it was interesting and informative time. I am having a blast reading the book. It is dense with information and would have been the perfect primer when I was just starting to listen to classical music back in the 90's.
There are a few noteworthy events over the next few days:
- The Onyx Chamber Players are beginning their traversal of the Brahms piano trios and piano quarters. Here's hoping I can catch the second installment January 13, 2008. This recital is kicking off what seems like a month of Brahms with the Seattle Symphony doing his two piano concertos and two symphonies and Orchestra Seattle performing his Tragic Overture, yet to be determined a capella songs, and Bach's cantata - Actus Tragicus.
- The Northwest Film Forum is having a viewing of two film shorts based on Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 and Barber's A Hand of Bridge.
- Finally, member of the Corigliano Quartet and University of Washington faculty member Melia Watras, will be performing Shostakovich's final work - his Viola Sonata. I will be covering the recital and looking at this important, sparse piece.
Tags: Classical, Books, Seattle, Chamber Music, Herrmann