This week on Cued Up on Q2, we continue to celebrate the uncompromising vision of the late Milton Babbitt with a New York premiere of one of his most mesmerizing and compelling string works, Transfigured Notes (1986).
The piece -- which is as complex as it is lyrical and Romantic -- was named after Schoenberg's seminal Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night). It's no coincidence that both pieces are written for strings and clock in at around 30 minutes. Babbitt was commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra to write the piece, which deemed it unplayable, cancelling its premiere twice. Its first performance was finally given in Boston in 1991 and was conducted by jazzman and composer Gunther Schuller.
On Sunday, February 7 at 2 p.m., listen to Transfigured Notes' New York premiere, performed by the Orchestra of the League of Composers and conducted by Louis Karchin at Columbia University's Miller Theatre on June 7, 2010. The League of Composers, which is dedicated to New Music, was co-founded in the '30s by Babbitt and Elliott Carter. It's quite fitting that the organization's season finale concert also included a premiere by Elliott Carter, along with premieres by Joan Tower and So Percussion's Jason Treuting.