Appropriately enough, we are under over a foot of snow here in NYC. It will all turn to black dirty muck by Christmas Day. By that time I’ll be safely entrenched in the White Mountains of North Conway NH and taking in the smells of a Christmas ham.
Over the weekend the LA Times writer Mark Swed presented his Top Ten list of 2009. In a year where much of the hoopla was about changes in music directorships in America, I’m very happy that Mr. Swed was so impressed by Kepler. He seemed to not only understand the opera itself, but also questioned our own cultural mechanisms which leaves such productions up to more enlightened operations in foreign lands. In other words, why isn’t America doing its job in supporting its own major artists?
This may be a bit of a Glass Year-in-Review because I am rushing out of town later this week, so here goes:
Recordings: OMM gave us plenty of new and re-issues this year including my personal favorites Madrigal Opera and Symphony No. 7 “Toltec.” The new year appears very exciting with forthcoming new recordings of Orphée, Kepler, the Violin Sonata, and re-issues including Itaipu and a Philip Glass Ensemble Retrospective.
Premieres/Revivals: In addition to the recent premieres of Kepler, Violin Concerto No.2, The Bacchae, the Violin Sonata, and the Witches of Venice, 2009 also saw the US premiere of Four Movements for Two Pianos, and high profile revivals including 5 productions of The Fall of the House of Usher (all in one month), other operas including productions of Akhnaten (Atlanta), la Belle et la Bete In the Penal Colony (Poland), (France), les Enfants Terribles (Serbia), and Appomattox (UK)a giant Glass Festival in Rouen, France.
Births: The birth of the Glass Chamber Players with the group’s auspicious debut at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in December. They appeared last Friday for a concert performance which will be broadcast on APM’s Performance Today. Next up, a performance at the Apple Store in Soho on Jan. 21.
Looking forward: Not only does OMM have many cool projects up its sleeve, but other important debuts and premieres will take place. In February the English National Opera revives the super cool Satyagraha which bowed there in ’07 and at the Met Opera in ’08. Dennis Russell Davies starts his new music directorship of the Basel Symphony Orchestra and quickly introduces them to Glass’ music in a big way with March performances of the mammoth Symphony No.5. April 2010 is a good time to be in London with the premiere of Icarus at the Edge of Time at the Southbank Centre, and the London Philharmonic will be making the UK premiere of the Glass Violin Concerto No.2 with Robert McDuffie. A week later in the Netherlands one can hear the world premiere performances of the Glass Double Concerto for Violin and Cello at the Netherlands Dance Theater. Then head over to Bergen, Norway for the European premiere of Koyaanisqatsi with the PGE and Orchestra.