Tōru Takemitsu – Archipelago S. (1994) Members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra/Yuzo Toyama
If you’re in New York City on Monday, December 10, you can hear Juilliard’s outstanding new-music group Axiomplay this live at Alice Tully Hall, free of charge and paired with John Adams’s Grand Pianola Music.
The German composer Hans Werner Henze left us today at 86, after a full, prolific and at times tumultuous life and career. This Telegramobituary provides an extensive overview of Henze’s life and work, and you’ll learn still more in this appreciation by Peter G. Davis published in The New York Times.
I first became aware of Henze’s music around 20 years ago, through a Cleveland Orchestra radio broadcast of his opera Die Bassariden conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi, and I consider myself fortunate to have seen and reviewed one of his later operas, Phaedra, last summer in Philadelphia.
Were it available, I would share a recording of Elogium Musicum Amatissimi Amici Nunc Remoti, which Henze completed in 2008 following the sudden, unexpected death of his longtime partner, Fausto Moroni Henze. (Read about it here and here.) Since that piece remains unrecorded, I’m offering instead the second movement, Dies irae, of another favorite latter-day Henze work, Requiem, a remarkable instrumental cycle composed from 1990 to 1993.
Yes, this review is filled with nitpicks and caveats, along with two of my proudest moments in print (the lox-colored sky and “conductor-fu”). But if the idea of hearing the New York Philharmonic through speakers under a wide-open sky appeals to you, I am the last person who’s going to stand in your way to Central Park’s Great Lawn, where the program I described will be repeated tonight.