Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday update

Not too much to report this week. The last official Sunday of church was this past Sunday, and now we are into summer services, for which the services of the organist and music director are not required, so I have two months to recharge. The activities of the academic year are now complete, and I am fully into my summer activities, which include voice lessons (both teaching and taking) and repertoire preparation and rehearsals for Anthology and other things.

The most time-consuming of my summer activities is proving to be giving a series of lectures at Lasell Village. Never having lectured before, I had NO idea how time-consuming it is to prepare for lectures! I am spending at least 3 hours outside the classroom for every hour inside it, and while it's nice to have an opportunity to do research on some of these topics, it's also a little overwhelming!

But maybe you can help. :) I'm teaching two lectures (8 meetings each, and 3 are already past, so I only have 5 to go). One is called "The Ten Greatest Choral Works" and that one is pretty much under control, although if anyone has a recording of Britten's War Requiem I sure would love to borrow it. I will let you in on my list of what the ten greatest works are in the coming weeks.

The other is called "Modern Music: Why It's Not That Horrible" and I'm really grateful for the excuse to force myself to learn more about what's going on right now. Here are some outstanding questions.

We'll be doing a class on opera. What are the most important operas of the last 30 years? Do you have a CD or DVD of your recommendation? (DVDs of recent operas are proving hard to come by.) Anyone have a DVD of Nixon in China?

We'll also be doing a class on symphonic works. Right now I'm thinking Schnittke, Sandstrom's Motorbike Concerto, Higdon (either Percussion or Violin Concerto), Stucky, Rautavaara, Peter Maxwell Davies, Ades, possibly Tan Dun or Corigliano or Gubaidulina. But of course I can't do all of those people, so who should I choose; and maybe I missed your favorite? (I suppose maybe Elliott Carter should be in there too, but listening to his music always seems more of a chore than a joy.)

For the class on modern song, I am shorter on ideas, but still probably have too many. Argento, Lieberson, Hundley, Cipullo, Harbison, Kernis, and...?

And we are ending with a lecture on local Bostonian composers. Harbison, Wheeler, Pinkham, Gandalfi - any other Boston Brahmins I should include?

Help me brainstorm! Free association welcome.

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