by Daniel Hathaway
In the countdown to Thanksgiving weekend, only a single concert appears in today’s list: a 12:15 pm organ recital by Robert Myers at Trinity Lutheran Church, W. 30th & Lorain, Cleveland. “Praise and thanksgiving” includes music by Walther, Kaufmann, Manz, and Held, played on the Rudolph von Beckerath organ. Freewill offering.
British historical performance pioneer Sir Roger Norrington (pictured) is retiring after leading a concert with the Northern Sinfonia. The Guardian interviews him here in connection with that landmark event.
Composer Margaret Brouwer’s Blue Streak Ensemble will join Burning River Baroque on December 15 in Mixon Hall at CIM for “Cycles of Creation and Anihilatation,” a program combining Baroque music with works by living female composers. The playlist includes Brouwer’s Light, Dolores White’s I Breathe Poetry, Malina Rauschenfels’ When I Cry, J.S. Bach’s Laßt der Spötter Zungen schmähen and Telemann’s Packe dich, gelähmter Drache. More information here.
M.U.S.i.C. | Stars in the Classics will present “An Eclectic Musical Celebration” on Saturday, December 4 at 4:00 pm at the Church of the Western Reserve in Pepper Pike, featuring music by Mozart, Saint-Saëns, Rota, Still, Schnittke, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Puccini, and Vivaldi. Download a flyer here.
Only a long list of births to celebrate on the 24th day of November: American composer Scott Joplin in Texas (1868), American composer Emma Lou Diemer in Kansas City (1927), Russian composer Alfred Schnittke in Engels (1934), American composer Wendell Logan in Thompson, Georgia (1940), American cellist, conductor, and composer Tod Machover in New York (1953), American composer and double-bassist Edgar Meyer in Oak Ridge, TN (1960), and American composer Seth Boustead in Jefferson City, MO (1971).
Joplin is most famous for single-handedly inventing ragtime — the syncopated American genre revived by William Bolcom and William Albright, who introduced the young musicologist Joshua Rifin to Joplin’s music in 1968, and further popularized it in the movie The Sting. Joplin wrote two operas as well. The materials for A Guest of Honor have been lost, probably seized by a rooming house owner in lieu of rent during a tour in 1904, but Treemonisha enjoyed a full production by Houston Grand Opera in May, 1975. Watch a video (with subtitles in Portuguese!) here.
Returning to ragtime: Joplin made seven pianola rolls in 1916 including his most famous piece, the Maple Leaf Rag. In 1970, Rifkin’s Nonesuch recording of Joplin piano rags was the label’s first to sell a million copies.
Schnittke adopted what he called his polystylistic technique in works like his remarkable Concerto Grosso No. 1, performed live in Moscow in 2004 by Gidon Kremer, Tatiana Grindenko and Kremerata Baltica.
Logan joined the Oberlin Conservatory Faculty and founded the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble in 1973, later developing a jazz curriculum for the school, which adopted admissions standards for jazz students in 1991. Watch a shaky cell phone video of Logan speaking at the dedication of the Kohl Jazz Studies Building in 2010 (he died later that year).
And listen to a February, 1991 recording of Logan’s Roots, Branches, Shapes and Shades (of Green), commissioned by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, composed for pianist Neal Creque, and first performed under the direction of Edwin London in February, 1991.
Finally, ChamberFest Cleveland violinist David Bowlin and bassist Nathan Farrington performed the third movement of Meyers’ Concerto Duo at The Wine Spot in June, 2014. Watch here.