News has arrived that Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, a cornetist, conductor, composer, conceptualist and inimitable spirit, has succumbed to the cancer with which he was diagnosed last year. I’d so hoped for his recovery, but it was not to be. If you know his work, this poignant musical slideshow will kindle warm memories; if you don’t, let this be the start of a fruitful voyage of discovery.
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.
Amazing pro video of Anthony Braxton’s 12+1tet at the Venice Biennale Musica 2012, the 56th annual International Festival of Contemporary Music, last Saturday, October 13. Watching the ensemble play Braxton’s Composition 355 and more, you get a great sense of how the band’s on-the-fly decision making works. You can watch a related interview with Braxton here. (My thanks to Alberto Lofoco for passing these along.)
Here’s a blissfully tranquil video by Clarice Saliby for “Emerald Eyes,” a track from the new Field Hymns limited-edition cassette release, Charlatan Meets the North Sea. Electronic-bliss connoisseurs and cassette-culture mavens will already know that both Charlatan and The North Sea are Brad Rose, the indefatigable force behind Digitalis Recordings as well as the Foxy Digitalis webzine. The available audio samples are enticing, and the cool retro cover design seals the deal. There’s more to be heard on this page, which also includes a convenient link for ordering.
Out of the vast bounty that was the Ende Tymes Festival of Experimental Liberation, I only managed to catch a measly three sets last Thursday night. Mind you, they were damn good sets – by Lussuria, Husere Grav and Work/Death. But sadly, if this Vimeo clip is anything to judge by, I missed an epic performance by Grasshopper on Saturday night. You can see more clips from the same taper, (((unartig))), on the Vimeo website.
Update: Better still, go directly to the (((unartig))) website for a full list of taped shows… including the three sets I saw last Thursday, which I’ll be revisiting presently.