Turn On The White Lights

Alexei Lubimov’s Late-Night Elegies Recital: Web cast on Hammered!

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Monday, November 22, 2010

This week Hammered! takes its programmatic cue from the probing musical curiosity of pianist Alexei Lubimov, beginning Monday with a Web cast of his Late-Night Elegies recital at Lincoln Center's White Light Festival. The haunting performance features a set of unlikely composers ranging from Valentin Silvestrov to Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, whose Fantasia in F-sharp minor, no joke, sounds supremely freaky next to Tigran Mansurian’s Nostalgia.

The rest of the week’s program revels in Monday's acoustic and conceptual resonance, riffing on Lubimov’s intermingling of new and old with introspective works by Alfred Schnittke, John Cage, and Eleanor Sandresky alongside short pieces by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Leoš Janáček, and Franz Schubert (trust us). 

But there’s more to this programatic theme than meets the ear! In addition to juxtaposing “new” and “old” pieces by separate composers, the central works on this week’s program are by single composers fusing material from both sides of the categorical dividing line, in some cases erasing it completely. Think: “is that a quotation from Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony in John Corigliano’s Fantasia On An Ostinato,” or, “is that a modernized Mozart paraphrase in George Tsontakis’s Ghost Variations,” (yes to both) and you'll have a good idea of what to expect.

What you might not expect are performances of Charles Ives' Concord Sonata (with its disfigured quotations from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony), George Crumb's Little Suite for Christmas (cue surreal setting of the 16th century "Coventry Carol"), and Juilliard professor Philip Lasser's Twelve Variations on a Chorale by J.S. Bach (good guess!). Whatever the repertoire, this week promises to be a vivid, sometimes creepy, frequently touching combination of works you never knew you always wanted to hear together.

For next week's program, a seasonal Hammered!-related question: to what contemporary composer will you give thanks on Thursday?

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