I have, I admit, been a very bad blogger of late—which is to say this’ll be my first post in (ulp!) four years.
Not much to say today, but a little news upstate.
I’ve been quiet here, but busy elsewhere. In terms of writing, I’ve done a lot of reviews for the Journal of Music. Too many for me to link four years worth, but here’s a couple of quotes from the most recent ones.
On Louth Contemporary Music Society’s performance of Michael Pisaro-Liu’s Asleep, wind, voice, poe:
Music like this resists narrative implications. Each section of the work is not a journey but a place. A new note, which may arrive after a couple of minutes of the same chord, feels not like a change in direction but like a change in weather. And with music this slow and delicate, the appearance of a simple major third in the strings has a surprisingly pronounced brightening effect; the addition of a single dissonant note in the bass of the piano gives a heightened friction. Throughout, you feel like your senses are especially attuned to small changes.
I’ve covered LCMS’s summer festival for the JM every year since 2017—except for the cancelled 2021 festival—so I was heartbroken to have to miss out this year, as I was self-isolating with Covid.
Last month, I covered “Totemic,” a release from the excellent Irish label Ergodos, featuring duos for percussion and viola:
Ironically, given its title, and unusually for an Ergodos release, Totemic feels like an album pulled in four directions at once. The forceful gestures of the Berio, Schlepper-Connolly’s cool trance, the tightrope walk of Moore’s piece, and the nocturnal stillness of Wilson’s each works in isolation, and I’ve found myself returning to each one alone several times.
And also last month, I covered Irish National Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda. INO’s approach is generally to stage radical performances of canon—or canon-adjacent—works. I’ve generally found myself impressed, though I think the ambition of this one exceeded its outcome, though the quality of the singing was extremely high (and Tara Erraught is always amazing):
I’ll always admire a production that takes risks and makes bold choices. This would have been easy to stage as a period costume drama but, while it may have been less incongruous, it also wouldn’t have given a deeper look at the characters. And for all the pomp of the show, it is Erraught and [soprano Anna] Devin’s commitment to their characters, to displaying their internal and external conflicts, and their extraordinary vocal prowess, that carries the opera to success.
If you’re interested in reading what else I’ve been catching, the JM keeps a list of my reviews here.
My other project lately has been writing music for games. I’ve got a couple under my belt, though unfortunately one was withdrawn from availability. If you’d like to check out my first, Haunted Bar, it’s available here.
I also wrote a track for the game String of Hearts. And I’ve recently finished work on an upcoming visual novel, My Grandmother’s Last Adventure, due for release soon.
Within the next day or two, I’ll have a new page on this site with music to listen to. Moreover, I intend to start writing here more regularly, so I’ll see you again in under four years.