The Best in Classical Music, 2009

It’s thrilling to be included in the year’s Top Ten list—two years running—of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns. His survey of things musical in the area lists events I wished at the time I could have gotten to, now even more so, as I read about them again. But I was fortunate to be a part of the Paul Celan project in The Crossing’s Month of Moderns, and to hear exciting music by David Shapiro and Kirsten Broberg. My offering was Where flames a word, a setting of two poems and one largeish bit of prose by Celan. You can read the text and my notes about the piece here.

What Stearns wrote:

Where do you start with the Crossing’s Month of Moderns Festival? Founder/director Donald Nally culled and commissioned lots of pieces based on the troubled poetry of Paul Celan during May and June at Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill. Besides yielding great pieces by Dane Bo Holten and Philadelphian Kile Smith, new forms of musical expression surfaced, such as the hallucinatory spirituality of Joby Talbot’s Path of Miracles.

After the premiere, they reprised my piece at the opening concert of Chorus America’s annual conference, which happened to be in Philadelphia this year. More about the piece, and excerpts from the premiere:

Where flames a word (Paul Celan)

SATB div. 13′. Program notes. Reviews

1. Before your late face, page 5. View excerpt 2. Conversation in the Mountains, page 13. View excerpt 3. I know you, you are the deeply bowed, page 23. View excerpt


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