Jacob Greenberg

Thursday, May 08, 2008

out of the woods

After two and a half nonstop months, I have a bit of a break. ICE's Tres Generaciones festival was a big success and an education for all involved. Residencies at Columbia University and NYU have come and gone with great results, and the Stravinsky concerts--as present as all that amazing music still is in my head--seem in the fairly distant past. (Here's our great review in the New Yorker.) Anyway, now I can get back to work on Kurtag. Tony and I leave for Germany in a little less than two months.

Julio Estrada, the grandfather of experimental composition in Mexico and a student of Messiaen and Xenakis, was a joy to work with during the festival. A gifted teacher and a hysterically funny man, he "acted out" his piano and percussion piece for me and ICE's percussionist David Schotzko. It's amazing how working with a composer gives you insight that is only hinted at on the musical page. In working with an experimental tradition that I've only had slight prior experience with, it was invaluable to have Estrada on hand. There's been talk of a recording; I really hope it happens soon. The piece, "yuunohui'tlapoa," from Zapotec words for "fresh clay" and "calculation," is one of the most demanding scores I've ever worked on.

Today I'm editing the George Crumb disc for Bridge, which is due out at the end of the summer. It's exciting music to revisit.