I Am Sitting In A Room

Commentary and thoughts on (mostly) classical music.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

A Little Midnight Music

A search for the score to George Crumb's Eine Kleine Mitternachtmusik led me to an entry in WNYC's New Sounds series featuring an in-studio performance by Simone Dinnerstein. Stream and enjoy.

In October, Crumb visited Houston during his 70th birthday tour and gave a concert. Bob Shannon played EKM, which is subtitled Ruminations on "'Round Midnight" by Thelonius Monk. Monk and Crumb - what an inspired mix of two guys that developed strongly individual, mysterious piano sounds. The silences that are so much a part of Monk's tune lend themselves perfectly to Crumb's penchant for dropping out all activity to let the unearthly shimmer of excited piano strings fade into the foreground.

Italian pianist Emanaule Arciuli was involved in the commission that produced Mitternachtmusik. In addition to Crumb, a host of other composers wrote variations on Monk's tune. I haven't heard any of these, though I'm hoping that the 'Round Midnight Project will lead to an eventual recording. (Crumb told me in October that a recording of EKM was in the can awaiting release.)

Crumb's contribution stands on its own at 15 minutes, and I think it'll become an important contribution to the piano repertoire. When we first heard it, both my girlfriend and I were captivated. Now that Peters has the score out* she can put it on her "to do" list and I can start retraining my fingers to move.

Links: Robert Gable's aworks has an entry on the piece. Lawrence Budmen reviews Arciuli's performance of the 'Round Midnight Varations at last year's Festival Miami (yay for the hometown!).

* It's not listed on their website, but Sheet Music Plus shows it available.


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