Saturday, December 1, 2012

21ST-CENTURY MUSIC / December 2012


December 2012

Volume 19, Number 12

Hans Werner Henze / Mark Alburger

Adventures Big and Small / Michael McDonagh

Einstein on the Tour / Michael McDonagh

Chronicle of October 2012

Illustration / Hans Werner Henze

Editorial Staff
Mark Alburger


Harriet March Page

Patti Noel Deuter

Erling Wold

Elizabeth Agnew
Alexis Alrich
Katherine Buono
Ken Bullock
A.J. Churchill
David Cleary
Jeff Dunn
Phillip George
Elliot Harmon
Brian Holmes
Jeff Kaliss
John Lane
Arel Lucas
Michael McDonagh
Chip Michael
Tom Moore
William Rowland
Lisa Scola Prosek
Andrew Shapiro
Alice Shields


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Hans Werner Henze / Mark Alburger

Hans Werner Henze (July 1, 1926 Gutersloh, Germany - October 27, 2012, Dresden), the oldest of six children of a teacher, and showed early interest in art and music. That and his political views led to conflict with his conservative father, Franz, who had served in the First World War and was wounded at Verdun.  Books by Christian and Jewish authors were replaced in the Henze household by literature reflecting Nazi views.  The older boys, including Hans, were enrolled in the Hitler Youth.

Hans, who had heard broadcasts of classical music (particularly Mozart), began studies at the state music school of Braunschweig in 1942, studying piano, percussion, and theory.  He had to break off his education after being conscripted into the army in 1944, towards the end of World War II.  Trained as a radio officer, he was soon captured by the British and held in a prisoner-of-war camp.  In 1945, he became an accompanist in the Bielefeld City Theatre and continued his training under Wolfgang Fortner at Heidelberg University the next year.

Henze had successful performances at Darmstadt, including an immediate success that season with a neo-baroque work for piano, flute and strings, that brought him to the attention of Schott Music publications.  He also took part in the Darmstadt New Music Summer School, turning, in 1947, to serial compositions. 

During this time, he worked with 12-tone technique in his First Symphony and Violin Concerto.  In 1948, Henze became musical assistant at the Deutscher Theater in Konstanz, where he composed his first opera Das Wundertheater, based on Cervantes.  Subsequently, Sadler's Wells Ballet visited Hamburg, inspiring Henze to write the choreographic poem Ballett-Variationen , first performed in Düsseldorf in September 1949.

Following this, he became ballet conductor at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden in Wiesbaden, where he composed two operas for radio, his Piano Concerto No. 1, and the jazz-influenced opera Boulevard Solitude, a reimagining of Andre Prevost's Manon Lescaut (1731, also the basis of Jules Massenet's Manon, 1884).

In 1953, Henze left Germany in disappointment, in reaction against homophobia and the country's general political climate, and moved to Italy, where he remained for most of his life, at first settling on Ischia in the Gulf of Naples.  Also resident were William Walton and his wife Susana, who took a great interest in the young German composer.  Two years later, Henze's Quattro poemi for orchestra made clear that he had moved far from the avant-garde.   In January 1956, Henze moved to Naples, initially he suffering disappointment, with the controversial premiere of the König Hirsch (The Stag King, 1957, Carlo Gozzi) -- despite its lush, rich textures.

A trend towards opulence was continued that year in Ondine, for choreographer Frederick Ashton, where the influence of Weber, Mendelssohn, Stravinsky (both Russian and Neoclassic), and jazz can all be heard.   Henze's spikier Maratona di danza (Luchino Visconti) even includes an on-stage band.

Henze's Five Neapolitan Songs, for Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, were also composed soon after his arrival in Naples, as well as Serenades and Arias.  During a brief stay in Greece, he completed the harsh cantata-esque Kammermusik (1958), dedicated to Benjamin Britten and written for Peter Pears, the guitarist Julian Bream, and eight instrumentalists.  That same year, with librettist Ingeborg Bachmann, Henze wrote the operas Der Prinz von Homburg (1958, after Heinrich von Kleist).

In 1961, the composer, with his gardener-partner Fausto Moroni, moved to a secluded villa. La Leprara, on the hills of Marino, overlooking the Tiber south of Rome.  From 1962 until 1967, Henze taught masterclasses in composition at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, in 1964 composing Choral Fantasy (1964) and Der Junge Lord (Bachmann, after Wilhelm Hauff).  In the final year at Mozarteum, he became a visiting Professor at Dartmouth College.

Political concerns became prominent in such works as Symphony No. 6 (1969), Violin Concerto No. 2 (1971), and Voices (1973).  Because or despite this, Henze became an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, London in 1975, with his activism reaching high point the next year with the premiere of We Come to the River.

At this point, Henze founded the Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte in Montepulciano, where Pollicino premiered in 1980.  From here until 1991, he led a class in composition in the Cologne Music School. In 1981 he founded the Mürztal Workshops in the Austria, and two years later wrote The English Cat, subsequently followed by the setting up of the Deutschlandsberg Youth Music Festival.  1988 saw the foundation of the Munich Biennale.

His later works, while less controversial, continued in political and social engagement, including The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea (Das Verratene Meer, 1990, based on Yukio Mishima's Gogo no Eiko).

Henze's Requiem (1993) comprises nine sacred concertos for piano, trumpet and chamber orchestra, and was written in memory of the Michael Vyner.  In 1995 Henze received the Westphalian Music Prize, which has carried his name since 2001.  The choral Symphony No. 9 (1997, Hans-Ulrich Treichel) is based on motifs from Anna Seghers's The Seventh Cross, as a defiant rejection of Nazism. Invited by Walter Fink, he was the tenth composer featured in the annual Komponistenporträt of the Rheingau Musik Festival in 2000, but he did not attend due to illness.  2003 saw the successful premiere of L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe (The Hoopoe and the Triumph of Filial Love) at the Salzburg Festival, based on a Syrian fairy tale.  The next year included the composition of Sebastian im Traum (2004) and the reception of an honorary doctorate in Musicology from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München.

Moroni cared for Henze when he suffered a spectacular emotional collapse during which he barely spoke and had to be encouraged to eat, living as though in a coma.  In the year of Henze's sudden recovery in 2007, he wrote Phaedra, and Moroni died after a lengthy battle with cancer.  Elogium Musicum (2008) with a Latin text by Henze, is an obituary to his partner of more than 40 years.

Works List

Kleines Quartett for Oboe, Violin, Viola, and Cello (1945)
Sechs Lieder (1945)
Kammerkonzert (1946)
Sonata for Violin and Piano (1946)
Concertino (1947)
Fünf Madrigäle (1947)
Sonatina for Flute and Piano (1947)
Sonatina for Piano (1947)
String Quartet No. 1 (1947)
Symphony No. 1 (1947)
Violin Concerto no. 1 (1947)
Apollo et Hyazinthus (1948)
Chor Gefangener Trojer (1948)
Kammersonate (1948)
Der Vorwurf (1948)
Whispers from Heavenly Death (1948)
Wiegenlied der Mutter Gottes (1948)
Das Wundertheater (1948)
Ballet-Variationen (1949)
Jack Pudding (1949)
Serenade for Solo Cello (1949)
Suite (1949)
Symphony No. 2 (1949)
Variationen (1949)
Chanson Pflastersteine (1950)
Die Gefangenen (1950)
Piano Concerto No. 1 (1950)
Sinfonische Variationen (1950)
Symphony No. 3 (1950)
Le Tombeau d'Orphée (1950) 
Das Vokaltuch der Kammersängerin Rosa Silber (1950)
Boulevard Solitude (1951)
Labyrinth (1951)
Ein Landarzt (1951)
Sinfonische Zwischenspiele (1951)
Der Tolle Tag (1951)
Der Idiot (1952)
Pas d’Action (1952)
Sodom und Gomorrha (1952)
String Quartet No. 2 (1952)
Tancredi (1952)
Tanz und Salonmusik (1952)
Wind Quintet (1952)
Das Ende einer Welt (1953)
Ode an den Westwind (1953)
Quattro poemi (1955)
Der Sechste Gesang (1955)
Symphony No. 4 (1955)
Vokalsinfonie (1955)
Die Zikaden (1955)
Concerto per il Marigny (1956)
Drei Tentos (1958)
Fünf Neapolitanische Lieder (1956)
König Hirsch (1956)
Maratona (1956)
Sinfonische Etüden (1956)
Hochzeitsmusik (1957)
Jeux des Tritons (1957)
Nachtstücke und Arien (1957)
Undine (1957)
Drei Dithyramben (1958)
Drei Fragmente nach Hölderlin (1958) 
Kammermusik 1958 (1958)
Der Prinz von Homburg (1958)
Sonata per Archi (1958)
Trois pas des Triton (1958)
Undine, Suite No. 1 (1958)
Undine, Suite No. 2 (1958)
L’Usignolo dell’Imperatore (1959)
Sonata for Piano (1959)
Antifone (1960)
Jüdische Chronik (1960)
Elegy for Young Lovers (Elegie für Junge Liebende) (1961)
Six Absences (1961)
Les Caprices de Marianne (1962)
Novae de Infinito Laudes (1962)
Symphony No. 5 (1962)
Ariosi (1963)
Being Beauteous (1963)
Cantata della Fiaba Estrema (1963)
Los Caprichos (1963)
Lucy Escott Variations (1963)
Muriel ou Le Temps d'un Retour (1963)
Quattro Fantasie (1963)
Three Arias (1963)
Divertimenti (1964)
Der Frieden (1964)
Der Junge Lord (1964)
Ein Landarzt (1964)
Lieder von Einer Insel (1964)
Tancredi (1964)
Zwischenspiele (1964)
The Bassarids (Die Bassariden) (1965)
Mänadentanz (1965)
In Memoriam: die Weisse Rose (1965)
Double Bass Concerto (1966)
Double Concerto (1966)
Fantasia for Strings (1966)
Der Junge Törless (1966)
Muzen Siziliens (1966)
Moralities (1967)
Piano Concerto No. 2 (1967)
Telemanniana (1967)
Das Floss der Medusa (1968)
Versuch über Schweine (1968) 
Symphony No. 6 (1969)
El Cimarron (1970)
Compases para Preguntas Ensimismadas (1970)
Memorias de "El Cimarrón" (1970)
L'Usignolo dell'Imperatore (1970)
Das Floss der Medusa (1971)
Fragmente aus Einer Show (1971)
Der Langwierige Weg in die Wohnung der Natascha Ungeheuer (1971)
Prison Song (1971)
Violin Concerto No. 2 (1971)
Heliogabalus Imperator (1972)
La Cubana, Oder Ein Leben für die Kunst (1973)
Tristan (1973)
Voices (1973)
Carillon, Récitatif, Masque (1974)
Sonatina for Trumpet (1974)
Heb Doch die Stimme An (1975)
Kindermund (1975)
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1975)
Ragtimes and Habaneras (1975)
Amicizia! (1976 )
Capriccio (1976)
Mad People's Madrigal (1976)
Royal Winter Music, Sonata No.1 (1976)
String Quartet No. 3 (1976)
String Quartet No. 4 (1976)
String Quartet No. 5 (1976)
We Come to the River (1976)
L'Autunno (1977)
Aria de la Folía Española (1977)
Der Taugenichts (1977)
Ländler (1977)
Sonata for Violin (1977)
S. Biagio 9 Agosto Ore 12.07 (1977)
Trauer-Ode für Margaret Geddes (1977)
Il Vitalino Raddoppiato (1977)
 Five Scenes from the Snow Country (1978)
Margareten-Walzer (1978)
 Orpheus (1978)
The Woman (1978)
Apollo Trionfante (1979)
Arien des Orpheus (1979)
Barcarola (1979)
Dramatische Szenen aus "Orpheus" I (1979)
Epitaph (1979)
Etude Philarmonique (1979)
El Rey de Harlem (1979)
Royal Winter Music, Sonata No. 2 (1979)
Sonata for Viola and Piano (1979)
Sonatina for Violin and Piano (1979)
Toccata senza Fuga (1979)
Drei Märchenbilder (1980)
Montezuma (1980)
Pollicino (1980)
Sechs Stücke für Junge Pianisten (1980)
Spielmusiken (1980)
Cherubino (1981)
Euridice (1981)
Le Miracle de la Rose (Imaginäres Theater II) (1981)
Variation for Brass Quintet (1981)
Von Krebs zu Krebs (1981)
Canzona (1982)
Nach Lissabon (1982)
Un Amour de Swann (1983)
The English Cat (1983)
Orpheus Behind the Wire (1983)
Sonata for Piccolo Trumpet, 2 Trumpets, Fluegel Horn, Bass Trumpet, 2 Trombones, and Bass Trombone (1983)
Three Auden Songs (1983)
L'Amour à Mort (1984)
Deutschlandsberger Mohrentanz No. 1 (1984)
Une Petite Phrase (1984)
Sonata for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Percussion, and Piano (1984)
Symphony No. 7 (1984)
Deutschlandsberger Mohrentanz No. 2 (1985)
Fandango (1985)
Kleine Elegien (1985)
Konzertstück (1985)
Liebeslieder (1985)
Selbst- und Zwiegespräche (1985)
Eine Kleine Hausmusik (1986)
Ode an Eine Äolsharfe (1986)
Serenade for Solo Violin (1986)
Allegra e Boris (1987)  
Cinque Piccoli Concerti e Ritornelli (1987)
La Mano Sinistra (1988)
Piece for Peter (1988)
Clavierstück (1989)
Drei Lieder uber den Schnee (1989)
Für Manfred (1989) 
Das Verratene Meer (1989)
Fünf Nachtstücke (1990)
Paraphrasen über Dostojewsky (1990)
Gogo No Eiko (1990)
An Sascha (1991)
Das Haus Ibach (1991)
Piano Quintet (1991)
La Selva Incantata, Aria and Rondo (1991)
Zwei Konzertarien (1991)
Adagio for String Sextet (1992)
Introduktion, Thema, und Variationen (1992)
Minette (1992)
Pulcinella Disperato (1992)
An Brenton for Viola (1993)
Adagio, Serenade (1993)
Heilige Nacht (1993)
Lieder und Tänze (1993)
Requiem: 9 Geistliche Konzerte (1993) Symphony No. 8 (1993)
Appassionatamente (1994)
Für Reinhold (1994)
Heimlich zur Nacht (1994)
Toccata Mistica (1994)
Le Disperazioni del Signor Pulcinella (1995)
Hirtenlieder (1995)
Venus und Adonis (1995)
Notturno (1995)
Erlkönig (1996)
Le Fils de l'Air (1996)
Leçons de Danse (1996)
Minotauros Blues (1996)
Neue Volkslieder und Hirtengesänge (1996)
Pulcinellas Erzählungen (1996)
Serenata Notturna (1996)
Sieben Boleros (1996)
Violin Concerto No. 3, Three Portraits from Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus (1996)
Voie Lactee o Soeur Lumineuse (1996)
Zigeunerweisen und Sarabanden (1996)
Symphony No. 9 (1997)
Sechs Gesänge aus dem Arabischen (1998) 
Fraternité (1999)  
Ein Kleines Potpourri for Flute, Vibraphone, Harp, and Piano (2000)
Symphony No. 10 (2000)
A Tempest (2000)
Olly on the Shore (2001)
Scorribanda Sinfonica (2001)
L’Heure Bleue (2001)
Scorribanda Pianistica (2003)
L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe (2003)
Fünf Botschaften für die Königin von Saba (2004)
Sebastian im Traum (2004)
Phaedra (2007)
Elogium Musicum (2008)
Der Opfergang (2010)
An den Wind (2011)
Gisela! Oder die Merk- und Denkwürdigen Wege des Glücks (2010)

Adventures Big and Small / Michael McDonagh

Sometimes a busy schedule can work to advantage.  You may not be able to squeeze everything but you can get a lot done.  And so it was that I went to Berkeley, on October 20, to see and review four films in the Arab Film Festival and then decamped to the city for the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra's Adventures Around the Lake with a Unicorn, at Old First Church.  I got there late, and the piece in progress was Allan Crossman's 2012 Two Walks, of which I seem to have caught the second A Walk at Lake Merritt, an imaginative chromatic affair, which , not wanting to disturb the performers, I heard in the vestibule.  And this odd vantage point once again exposed the sonic shortcomings of this brick walled hall.  High pitches tended to blur, overtones dropping in and out with a kind of "soundless" thud.

The venue's acoustic was far more forgiving with John Bilotta's five-movement Thurber Country (2012) which didn't push the sonic envelope, but was nevertheless well-crafted, and certainly charming. Lisa Scola Prosek's 2012 overture to her opera-in-progress L'Aventura, set to premiere in 2013, is easily one of  her best pieces.  The two excerpts here -- Si, che sono triste, perche' mi mancano le stelle -- for orchestra, with the Scola Prosek at the piano, and Bocca baciata -- which she sang with co-soprano Maria Mikheyenko -- featured deft part writing, seductive yet contained colors, and piquant or calming harmonies.  It called to mind what late composer-friend Virgil Thomson once said about his teacher Nadia Boulanger. "She taught you that writing music was like writing a letter.  All you had to do was say what you had to, and then stop."  Scola Prosek's music here was that letter, and the hall thankfully didn't get in its way.

I'm not sure what to make of Mark Alburger's 2012 Triple Concerto for Bassoon, Contrabassoon, and Harp (" Family"), though its scoring was certainly unorthodox, and the family in question -- Michael, Lori, and Samantha Garvey -- and the orchestra seemed up to its not inconsiderable demands.  The first of its three movements -- "Allegro " -- was easily the best -- tight, its musical argument apprehendable -- while the other two seemed incompletely thought out, and therefore less expressive. But the orchestra, under Alburger's firm beat, gave it their all.

Too bad I missed Varese's 1923 Octandre, and the opening Dances to Mytilini (2011), by Davide Verotta, who can be a very striking composer.

The performers throughout l sounded completely engaged, which isn't an easy feat in our "economic downturn " times.  But then music, and art have always mattered most when there's trouble at your door.  Boccacio was right.  Tell stories whatever the night.

Einstein on the Tour / Michael McDonagh

What becomes a legend most?  Well, in the case of two legends -- composer Philip Glass and director/designer Robert Wilson -- an international tour of their first and most famous of their five collaborations, Einstein on the Beach (1975), which began in Ann Arbor, Michigan in January 2012, goes on to Amsterdam in Jan 2013, and ends in Hong Kong in March 2013.  But there's an irony.  The piece "that broke all the rules of opera" -- there's no story, and certainly no star-crossed lovers, murder, or even betrayal -- is an endeavor on a par with the scale, ambition, and work force of 65 (onstage and off) of a standard repertory work, with according to lighting supervisor John Torres -- 800 cues, with about 75 each for its Dance 1 and Dance 2.  Its incarnation at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Howard Gilman Opera House, the University of California's Zellerbach Hall, and Mexico City's Palacio De Bellas Artes was the product of 4-5 days of tech (each scenic element and the actors and dancers are lit separately) and cast rehearsals, with about a week's lodging for all at each stop.  But did Einstein live up to or even exceed its reputation as a seminal work of 2oth century music theatre?  Judged by what I saw in New York and Berkeley, it clearly did, and it also drove home the simple fact that seeing it with others in a darkened theatre is a far more complete experience than hearing it at home alone on even the best sound system, and I've listened to both its original 1979 Tomato LP recording and its 1993 Nonesuch CD set many times over the years.  But let's face it: music is as confrontational as anything else.  It's like meeting someone online, and then live.   The latter is no longer an invention, but something implausibly real.

And much of Einstein does seem implausible.  Is the train which inches forward and back in Train One to Glass's rapidly shifting and rapidly modulating music really the Night Train and a Building; is the white toy plane slowly going up across the screen the one that causes the final scene, The Spaceship, which seems to be about nuclear catastrophe?  Are the two largely immobile and hieratic trials about something more than their exquisite tableaux look?  Glass has said that what you see is all -- "that's it" -- while Wilson says, "Here, it's a work where you go and can get lost.  That's the idea. It's like a good novel.  You don't have to understand anything."  One can easily come up on the side of either Glass or Wilson, but that's not the point, and it certainly isn't the matter because Einstein is something to be encountered live.  And it felt live in entirely different ways at BAM and Zellerbach:  the full bore purity of the sound with large banks of black speaker monitors at the Gilman, and the thicker, sometimes muddled sound in the Art Brut concrete interior of  Zellerbach which paradoxically allowed the music's different lines with their combination tones to come through loud and clear.  The images were just as astonishing each time, with dancers leaping from behind the masked proscenium at Gilman, and from the black curtained flies in Zellerbach.  The Trial looked even more epic and inscrutable at Zellerbach, and felt different too.  Was it personal circumstance that made me feel that Glass's colors in Trial One -- which he lays down as methodically but ineluctably as Arnold Schoenberg's Farben movement in Funf Stucke Fur Orchester (1909), was too little, too long in the first presentation, but felt just right in the second?  But then how long is long and how short is long?

Or maybe my response to Trial and other parts of Einstein has more to do with what Glass experienced perceiving his score for Mabou Mines 1965 production of Beckett's Play where the "quickening " he felt was in a different place each time.  And Einstein, if it's about anything, is about our experience of space, and/or time, in different times when we experience ourselves and time in a fresh way.  Time in the moment stilled, or perhaps open to another space, and time, in this present time.  And I think if Einstein questions anything, it's this.  Forget the critics saying Einstein's the new Wagnerian gesamtkunstwerk.  It ain't.  It's just "very fresh and clean."  An eternal Gertrude Steinian "continuous present" in which nothing external obtrudes.

Chronicle of October 2012

October 20

San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra presents Adventures Around the Lake with a Unicorn: Mark Alburger's Triple Concerto for Bassoon, Contrabassoon, and Harp ("Family"), John Bilotta's Thurber Country, Allan Crossman's Two Walks (Lakes Merced and Merritt), Lisa Scola Prosek's Overture to L'Avventura, Edgar Varese's Octandre, and Davide Verotta's Dances to Mytilini.  Old First Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, CA.

October 21

Sonic Harvest.  Anne Callaway's Speak to Me my Love and Peter Josheff's Sutro Tower in the Fog.  Hillside Club, Berkeley, CA.    

October 23

Minimalism's Evolution, with Ensemble Signal.  Michael Gordon's Light is Calling (2001) and Industry (1992), Philip Glass's Selections from "In the Summer House" (1993), the U.S. premiere of Donnacha Dennehy's Overstrung (2010), Giacinto Scelsi's Duo (1965), and Louis Andriessen's Selections from "Xenia" (2005).  Miller Theatre, Columbia University, New York, NY.

October 25

WNYC Soundcheck Live! Pan Sonatas Steel Orchestra and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Players in the world premieres of Ted Hearne's But I Voted for Shirley Chisholm, Chris Cerrone's Flows Beneath, Matt Marks's Bluetooth Islands, and music of Kendall Williams, plus Tim Fite's Copycat, and Arnold Schoenberg's Accompanying Music to a Film Scene, Op. 34. World Financial Center Winter Garden
, New York, NY.

Percussionists Steven Schick, William Winant, Daniel Kennedy, and Christopher Froh perform Cage’s Constructions.  Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

October 26

Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach (Robert Wilson).  Zellerbach Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA.  Through October 28.

October 27

Death of Hans Werner Henze (b. 7/1/26, Gütersloh, Germany), at 86.  Dresden, Germany.  "[He was] a prolific German composer who came of age in the Nazi era and grew estranged from his country while gaining renown for richly imaginative operas and orchestral works.  Born into a European generation that wanted to make a fresh start at the end of World War II, Mr. Henze . . . did so without wholly negating the past. He wanted a new music that would carry with it the emotion, the opulence and the lyricism of the Romantic era, even if those elements now had to be fought for. Separating himself from the avant-garde, he devoted himself to genres many of his colleagues regarded as outmoded: opera, song, the symphony.  By the early 1960s Mr. Henze was an international figure with enthusiastic admirers in the United States. His Fifth Symphony was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, which gave the work’s premiere in 1963, with Leonard Bernstein conducting. More than 40 years later, the orchestra took part in commissioning one of Mr. Henze’s last orchestral works, the tone poem Sebastian Dreaming.  He maintained relationships with other American institutions as well, including the Boston Symphony, which commissioned his Eighth Symphony (1992-93), and the Tanglewood Music Festival, where he was composer-in-residence in 1988.  His music expressed passionate but mixed feelings about his German heritage. His Nazi-era childhood alone would have produced, at the least, ambivalence about that heritage, but his homosexuality only further estranged him, particularly from the bourgeois West German society of the immediate postwar years. And he found little sympathy at home for his embrace of the Romantic past.  He had to escape, and in 1953 he abruptly left for Italy. But he went on writing operas for theaters in Germany, where he was far more popular than any other composer of his time. That success brought him material comfort, and he came to give a fair physical impression of the kind of well-to-do burgher he might well have feared and despised in his youth: tight-suited, bald, energetic even when still. What failed to fit this image of stiff propriety was his unfailing charm, his sardonic sense of humor and his fondness for his many friends.  As he grew older, the matter of Germany became increasingly important to his music. Having written his Cuban-inflected Sixth Symphony (1969) -- produced during a period when he spent a great deal of time in Cuba -- he composed his Seventh (1983-84) for the Berlin Philharmonic, taking Beethoven as his model. Again with Beethoven in mind and again writing for the Berlin Philharmonic, he made his Ninth a choral symphony -- and a drama -- telling a story of desperation and hope set during the Nazi epoch. . .  After army service in 1944 and 1945 he studied with Wolfgang Fortner at the Heidelberg Institute for Church Music and with the French composer René Leibowitz. He soon became acquainted with the modern music that had been banned by the Nazis -- notably Stravinsky and Berg, as well as jazz -- and gained the means to create a sprightly style that carried him through an abundant youthful output. By the time he was 25 he had written three symphonies, several ballets and his first full-length opera, Boulevard Solitude (1951).  In his Second String Quartet (1952) he drew close to his more avant-garde contemporaries, but the moment quickly passed. The next year he left his post as music director of the Wiesbaden State Theater to settle on the Bay of Naples, and his music at once became luxurious and frankly emotional, as exemplified by his fairy-tale opera King Stag, first performed in Berlin in 1956.  It was an exultant period, which also brought forth his Fourth Symphony (1955); the full-length ballet Ondine (1956-57), produced with choreography by Frederick Ashton at Covent Garden; Nocturnes and Arias, for soprano and orchestra (1957); and Chamber Music, for tenor, guitar. and octet (1958).  In his next opera, The Prince of Homburg, first produced in Hamburg in 1960, he caricatured German militarism within a style fashioned after the bel canto operas of Bellini and Donizetti. After this came Elegy for Young Lovers, to a libretto by W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman, about a poet’s use of his family and acquaintances in his art. The story’s alpine setting offered Mr. Henze the opportunity for glistening, radiant music, scored for a chamber orchestra. The work had its first performance in Schwetzingen, Germany, in 1961, and has been more widely seen than any of the composer’s other operas.  The Young Lord, presented by City Opera in 1973, is the only of one Mr. Henze’s full-length operas to have received a professional staging in New York (His one-act opera The End of a World was presented by Encompass New Opera Theater in 2003).  Working again with Auden and Kallman, he went on to a much bigger operatic project, The Bassarids, a remake of Euripides’ Bacchae, which was presented at the 1966 Salzburg Festival. The undertaking provoked a creative crisis, out of which Mr. Henze re-emerged as a radical socialist. He had contacts with student leaders, taught and studied in Cuba for a year, and composed several explicitly political works, among them The Raft of the Medusa (1968), a semi-dramatic cantata protesting racism and other forms of discrimination, and El Cimarrón (1969-70), a concert-length work for baritone, flute, guitar and percussion telling the story of a runaway slave.  But once again Mr. Henze moved swiftly on. By the time he composed what might have been his biggest essay in political engagement  the opera We Come to the River, with a libretto by the English socialist playwright Edward Bond, produced at Covent Garden in 1976 -- his musical interests had returned to his more characteristic moods of nostalgia, reverie, burlesque and erotic passion. Among his other important works of this period is Tristan for piano, orchestra and tape (1974), a symphonic poem on the medieval legend including quotations from Wagner’s treatment of it.  In 1976 Mr. Henze founded a festival in the small Italian town of Montepulciano, where he pursued his ideals as a musician in society, working with local performers and drawing other, younger composers to do the same. He was extraordinarily open and encouraging to student composers, and there are many whose careers he made by crucial advice or an important break.  Further works with Mr. Bond followed: the ballet Orpheus (1979) and the surreal-satirical opera The English Cat (1983). But Tristan had signaled a rapprochement with Germany.  From his home near Rome, his principal place of residence since 1961, Mr. Henze made increasingly frequent and lengthy returns to his native country, and in 1988 he established a biennial festival of new music theater in Munich.  He had begun his artistic life in the theater, and he found it hard to leave. Having announced that L’Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe) (The Hoopoe and the Triumph of Filial Love, which had its premiere in Salzburg in, 2003) would be his last opera, he went on to produce a Phaedra for the Berlin State Opera in 2007 and Gisela!, an opera for student singers, for the Ruhr Festival in 2010.  The crowning work of Mr. Henze’s late period is Elogium Musicum for choir and orchestra (2008), which he wrote in memory of Fausto Moroni, his companion of four decades, who died in 2007. At once vast and intimate, Mediterranean-Classical in its sunlight and German-Romantic in its expressive depth, it is also a fitting memorial to its composer" [Paul Griffiths, The New York Times, 10/28/12].

Irregular Resolutions, 8th Annual New Music Concert. John Bilotta's Brain Freeze and Renaissance Songs, Carol Belcher's Los Lazos del Ayer, Gary Friedman's Sticks and Tones, Steve Mobia's Nudge,
Ed Dierauf's Masonic Tectonic, and Davide Verotta's The Sofa.  Community Music Center, San Francisco, CA.

San Francisco Contemporary Music Players presents John Cage's Musicircus, Yerba Buena Center fot the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

October 30

John  Zorn Halloween Celebration, featuring the world premiere of Ceremonial Magic and organ improvisation.  St. Paul's Chapel, Columbia University, New York, NY.