by Daniel Hathaway
Four young classical guitarists compete virtually tonight in the final round of the James Stroud Classical Guitar Competition, which was to have made its debut reconfigured for high school students 14-18 at CIM during the Cleveland International Classical Guitar Festival last spring.
And anyone lucky enough to have heard the young French early music ensemble Nevermind in their pop-up performance at Oberlin in February, 2016 will want to catch their concert from an Belgian abbey in a stream sponsored by the Boston Early Music Festival. See the Concert Listings.
The Bowling Green State University New Music Festival is happening online this year from October 15-18. Click here to view the full schedule.
NEWS AND ARTICLES:
Canadian soprano Erin Wall, who most recently appeared with The Cleveland Orchestra in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony during The Prometheus Project in May, 2018, has died of cancer at the age of 44. Read the New York Times obituary here.
In La Scena Musicale, Montréal-based critic Arthur Kaptainis considers the risks in resuming live performances. He concludes that “decision-makers everywhere could apply restrictions with common sense rather than draconian, across-the-board rigidity. If risk cannot be eradicated, it can be managed. Managing risk is what public health policy is all about.” Read Can there be performances in the age of COVID? here.
In his “Paging Dr. Hamblin” column in The Atlantic, James Hamblin tackles a parent’s question of how dangerous it is for her daughter to continue playing in an accomplished high school wind quintet. Read the article here.
In its “One to One” series, Musical America interviews eighth blackbird’s Matthew Duvall and Lisa Kaplan about some major changes to the Chicago-based new music ensemble on the brink of its 25th year. Watch the conversation here.
On this date in 1621, Dutch organist and composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck died In Amsterdam, where he spent his entire career, although his fame spread elsewhere. He was known in Germany for his mentoring of young organists and in England for his keyboard compositions, which found their way into the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.
Sweelinck was employed by the city rather than by the Oude Kerk, where he played, and which shunned organ music in services. His duties included improvising on Dutch psalm tunes and hymns at other times.
Click here to hear Brian Wentzel play Sweelinck’s Erbarm dich mein, O Herre Gott on the new Paul Fritts organ at First Lutheran Church, Lorain.
Sweelinck’s contrapuntal works not based on church tunes include this Ricercar, played by Nicholas Capozzoli in his senior recital on the Brombaugh organ in Oberlin’s Fairchild Chapel, and this Fantasia chromatica, played by harpsichordist Michael Maxwell Steer on a meantone-tuned instrument. That Sweelinck’s fame extends into later eras is demonstrated by pianist Glenn Gould’s performance of one of the composer’s organ fantasies at the Salzburg Festival in 1959.
Sweelinck is also known for his variations on popular tunes that surely entertained his listeners during their promenades in the Oude Kerk. Oberlin graduate Joseph Ripka recorded his More Palatino variations on the Brombaugh organ at Southern Adventist University in 2017.
On this date in 1679, composer Jan Dismas Zelenka was born in Lounovice, Bohemia. Acknowledged for the structurally and harmonically innovative compositions he wrote in Dresden, Zelenka figured in a ChamberFest Cleveland program in June, 2014, when oboists Alex Klein and Xiomara Mass, bassoonist Fernando Traba, cellist Julie Albers, and harpsichordist Carolyn Warner played his Trio Sonata No. 5 in Harkness Chapel.
And on October 16, 1750, German lutenist and composer Silvius Leopold Weiss died in Dresden. One of the most accomplished lutenists of his era, Weiss wrote something like 1,000 pieces for the instrument, and engaged in improvisation duels with Johann Sebastian Bach.
Click here to watch Robert Barto rehearsing a Weiss prelude before his Lute Society of America recital in June, 2010 in Cleveland, and here to listen to Barto performing his Partita Grande in C and two sonatas.
Weiss’s lute music is frequently played by enterprising classical guitarists. Watch this performance of his Tombeau sur la Mort de M. Comte d’Logy by Petra Poláčková.