I was recently involved in two concerts. A piano quartet I coach at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School did a concert for a group in Worcester, Ma., called Music Soiree. The played the Schumann Quartet, the first piano quartet by Gerald Barry, and pieces by students of mine, Jeremiah Klarman (13) and Stephen Feigenbaum (15). They played really well and they were a hit. The reason for mentioning it (again) is that I was really struck this time by the fact that they were not only playing new music, but they were playing pieces by their peers. It was really impressive, inspirational even, to see the seriousness and care that the players took to play pieces by people who were their age and to get them right. I’m glad to be part of giving them that message.
In my role as a non-resident music tutor at Pforzheimer House at Harvard I just organized a concert which included the Bach A major piano concert, the two fiddle concerto, the bass aria from Cantata #, and a bunch of my favorite Cage pieces: Six Melodies for violin and keyboard, Suite for toy piano, soliloguy and In a Landscape, both for piano, and Imaginary Landscape #4 for twelve radios. I thought the combination was good. The playing, mainly by students in the house, but with some other Harvard students, was really quite good. It went over well.
A while ago, as part of the discussion about orchestration text books on the Sequenza 21 Composers Forum, I wrote (inadvertently anonymously) that Virgil Thomson swore by an orchestration book by D’Indy. I got to looking for it and discovered that I’d misremembered it’s authorship. It was by Widor. I’ve just been recently looking at it with Jeremiah Klarman. It has all kinds of useful bits of information like all the possible multiple stops on the string instruments, and all the good (and bad) tremolos on the flute. I had actually seen the Widor before. I also mentioned that Max Davies said he used one by Koechlin. I’m sure I’m remembering that correctly (I tend to remember anything anybody says about Koechlin) but I haven’t been able to locate it.