Author Topic: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich(1939-)  (Read 10165 times)

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hildegard

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Re: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich(1939-)
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2009, 03:08:55 PM »
I've been thinking about this septet combination a lot and have been wondering why no one has done this before... Though you could produce the lushest imaginable sonorities with that group (string quartet and piano trio), for some reason it immediately suggests to me a harsher soundworld, serious, granitic, slow moving, contrapuntal. I don't know why! I wonder what she makes of it... (and it's a shame that it's not being broadcast.)

Here's an interesting article on the piece and the composer:
http://www.observer.com/2009/%E2%80%98twas-zwilich-composer-70

Septet for Piano Trio and String Quartet, Ellen Zwilich (b. April 30, 1939); Composed in 2008; 24 minutes; Premiered April 28 and 29, 92nd St Y, NYC, by the Kalechstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and the Miami String Quartet.


It was a wonderful evening for friends and fans of Zwilich. The premier was preceded by a brief interview with pianist Joseph Kalichstein. Zwilich talked about the structure of her Septet: Introductions -- bringing together the interplay of different styles and different moods; starting off with the Trio and the Quartet joining in; Quasi una Passacaglia -- a concept based on a Medieval dance exploring Baroque and Romantic styles that interchanged from one group of players to the other; Games -- she described this movement as a Scherzo, jazzy, playful, with the instruments talking ot each other back and forth; in addition to the jazzy beat, I thought I also sense a bit of Latin rhythm in this movement; and Au Revoir -- which she described as the climax of the piece -- built on memory, not a recap but all the movements coming together. I don't recall if Zwilich said this or Kalichstein calling it one of the most moving pieces of music. Indeed it is. Although Zwilich mentioned that it is not a "good bye" or an "ending," but an "we will see you again," it was somehow tinged with a very deep sadness.

Zwilich has talked about this work as an orchestral palette, and that is what was most apparent to the mind and to the ear -- through each movement, the playing, the shifting between instruments, highlighting one and then another, focusing on one group and shifting to the other before coming together to highly resounding resolution. It leaves one wanting to live the experience all over again, measure for measure, and the sad realization that it is not yet recorded.

Some other memorable notes/quotes from the evening: "Listening is 90 percent of learning"; HIP is gaining in popularity, but asking a violin virtuoso to shift gears to a non-vibrato, straight sound, which is authentic of Baroque music, does not mean playing without emotion and passion; Kalichstein's comment that if you want to be authentic when performing Baroque, "remember that when Vivaldi performed, the young ladies fainted."

You might still be able to catch a performance of the Septet as it premiers across the country at the Kennedy Center on May 5th, the Virginia Arts Festival on May 6th, and the Detroit Chamber Music Society on May 16th.

 



« Last Edit: April 30, 2009, 01:05:06 PM by hildegard »

Harry

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Re: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich(1939-)
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2009, 11:08:46 PM »
Septet for Piano Trio and String Quartet, Elaine Zwilich (b. April 30, 1939); Composed in 2008; 24 minutes; Premiered April 28 and 29, 92nd St Y, NYC, by the Kalechstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and the Miami String Quartet.


It was a wonderful evening for friends and fans of Zwilich. The premier was preceded by a brief interview with pianist Joseph Kalichstein. Zwilich talked about the structure of her Septet: Introductions -- bringing together the interplay of different styles and different moods; starting off with the Trio and the Quartet joining in; Quasi una Passacaglia -- a concept based on a Medieval dance exploring Baroque and Romantic styles that interchanged from one group of players to the other; Games -- she described this movement as a Scherzo, jazzy, playful, with the instruments talking ot each other back and forth; in addition to the jazzy beat, I thought I also sense a bit of Latin rhythm in this movement; and Au Revoir -- which she described as the climax of the piece -- built on memory, not a recap but all the movements coming together. I don't recall if Zwilich said this or Kalichstein calling it one of the most moving pieces of music. Indeed it is. Although Zwilich mentioned that it is not a "good bye" or an "ending," but an "we will see you again," it was somehow tinged with a very deep sadness.

Zwilich has talked about this work as an orchestral palette, and that is what was most apparent to the mind and to the ear -- through each movement, the playing, the shifting between instruments, highlighting one and then another, focusing on one group and shifting to the other before coming together to highly resounding resolution. It leaves one wanting to live the experience all over again, measure for measure, and the sad realization that it is not yet recorded.

Some other memorable notes/quotes from the evening: "Listening is 90 percent of learning"; HIP is gaining in popularity, but asking a violin virtuoso to shift gears to a non-vibrato, straight sound, which is authentic of Baroque music, does not mean playing without emotion and passion; Kalichstein's comment that if you want to be authentic when performing Baroque, "remember that when Vivaldi performed, the young ladies fainted."

You might still be able to catch a performance of the Septet as it premiers across the country at the Kennedy Center on May 5th, the Virginia Arts Festival on May 6th, and the Detroit Chamber Music Society on May 16th.

 






A very excellent write up, well conceived and painted in realistic colours. I am a great fan of Zwilich, yes a fan, as in fanatic. One of the rare quality pieces written on GMG these days.
Thank you Hildegard, you showed all others the way, including me. Please participate more on GMG as you do.

Offline Guido

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Re: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich(1939-)
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2009, 12:00:17 PM »
Septet for Piano Trio and String Quartet, Elaine Zwilich (b. April 30, 1939); Composed in 2008; 24 minutes; Premiered April 28 and 29, 92nd St Y, NYC, by the Kalechstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and the Miami String Quartet.


It was a wonderful evening for friends and fans of Zwilich. The premier was preceded by a brief interview with pianist Joseph Kalichstein. Zwilich talked about the structure of her Septet: Introductions -- bringing together the interplay of different styles and different moods; starting off with the Trio and the Quartet joining in; Quasi una Passacaglia -- a concept based on a Medieval dance exploring Baroque and Romantic styles that interchanged from one group of players to the other; Games -- she described this movement as a Scherzo, jazzy, playful, with the instruments talking ot each other back and forth; in addition to the jazzy beat, I thought I also sense a bit of Latin rhythm in this movement; and Au Revoir -- which she described as the climax of the piece -- built on memory, not a recap but all the movements coming together. I don't recall if Zwilich said this or Kalichstein calling it one of the most moving pieces of music. Indeed it is. Although Zwilich mentioned that it is not a "good bye" or an "ending," but an "we will see you again," it was somehow tinged with a very deep sadness.

Zwilich has talked about this work as an orchestral palette, and that is what was most apparent to the mind and to the ear -- through each movement, the playing, the shifting between instruments, highlighting one and then another, focusing on one group and shifting to the other before coming together to highly resounding resolution. It leaves one wanting to live the experience all over again, measure for measure, and the sad realization that it is not yet recorded.

Some other memorable notes/quotes from the evening: "Listening is 90 percent of learning"; HIP is gaining in popularity, but asking a violin virtuoso to shift gears to a non-vibrato, straight sound, which is authentic of Baroque music, does not mean playing without emotion and passion; Kalichstein's comment that if you want to be authentic when performing Baroque, "remember that when Vivaldi performed, the young ladies fainted."

You might still be able to catch a performance of the Septet as it premiers across the country at the Kennedy Center on May 5th, the Virginia Arts Festival on May 6th, and the Detroit Chamber Music Society on May 16th.

Cheers for that! Very nice write up - makes me want to hear the piece a lot. Hopefully it will be broadcast at some point.
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

hildegard

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Re: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich(1939-)
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2009, 06:18:04 PM »

A very excellent write up, well conceived and painted in realistic colours. I am a great fan of Zwilich, yes a fan, as in fanatic. One of the rare quality pieces written on GMG these days.
Thank you Hildegard, you showed all others the way, including me. Please participate more on GMG as you do.

Cheers for that! Very nice write up - makes me want to hear the piece a lot. Hopefully it will be broadcast at some point.

Thank you both!  :) :) It was a very special evening, and I, too, can't wait to hear it again or for it to be recorded.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich(1939-)
« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2014, 11:51:20 AM »
Just bumping up this thread (yikes, no activity in four years?) with an article I wrote for Juilliard this month about a recent Zwilich recording - a good one:

http://www.juilliard.edu/journal/1409/taafe-zwilich-appleby-phillips

--Bruce
“I set down a beautiful chord on paper—and suddenly it rusts.”

- Alfred Schnittke

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

snyprrr

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Re: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich(1939-)
« Reply #25 on: September 03, 2014, 01:18:30 PM »
Just bumping up this thread (yikes, no activity in four years?) with an article I wrote for Juilliard this month about a recent Zwilich recording - a good one:

http://www.juilliard.edu/journal/1409/taafe-zwilich-appleby-phillips

--Bruce

Compared to the other two ladies we've been discussing she's kind of ordinary, eh? I give her the 'That's Nice Dear' award for trying, and she gets the 'Sally Field' award for Most Photogenic. I just wish Van De Vate looked like her- I know, shame me. :( Some bully once called her 'Swillich'- ouch- poor lady- I'm glad the CD you reviewed was a "good" one, haha! ;) Where IS that NewWorld disc...?... actually, that disc looks interesting though I wished for an SQ.

What's you 'favourite' piece?

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich(1939-)
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2014, 04:57:43 PM »
I've listened to a couple of her pieces on YouTube and will definitely be ordering some disks.

I used to be the poetry editor for an Australian literary journal and people used to ask me "It must be so difficult to choose the poetry, mustn't it?" When I was being facetious I used to say "Not really, you know how when you peel a banana how easy it is to see if it's rotten, it's the same with poems." But when I wasn't I just used to say "No, you just begin to read and within a few lines you know whether to the poems are worth considering."

I find it's the same with music, you just have to listen to a few bars and know whether it's quality, serious music, and Zwillich's certainly is.

Offline Scion7

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Re: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich(1939-)
« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2014, 01:08:44 PM »
I like the first movement of the violin concerto - moves along nicely.
The Germans, who make doctrines out of everything, deal with music learnedly; the Italians, being voluptuous, seek in it lively, though fleeting, sensations; the French, more vain than perceptive, manage to speak of it wittily; and the English pay for it . . . - Stendhal

Offline Scion7

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Re: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich(1939-)
« Reply #28 on: September 08, 2014, 02:35:17 AM »
BTW, the pronunciation of her last names (Taaffe Zwilich) is as in "safe hillock."

THE NEW YORK TIMES: " Yet Ms. Zwilich (whose name is pronounced tayf ZWIL-ick) is often compared to non-Romantics like Shostakovich and Bartok . . . "

or better yet:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBNh1-GMoWY
« Last Edit: September 08, 2014, 02:58:04 AM by Scion7 »
The Germans, who make doctrines out of everything, deal with music learnedly; the Italians, being voluptuous, seek in it lively, though fleeting, sensations; the French, more vain than perceptive, manage to speak of it wittily; and the English pay for it . . . - Stendhal

Offline Brewski

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Re: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich(1939-)
« Reply #29 on: September 08, 2014, 09:04:42 AM »
Compared to the other two ladies we've been discussing she's kind of ordinary, eh? I give her the 'That's Nice Dear' award for trying, and she gets the 'Sally Field' award for Most Photogenic.

What's you 'favourite' piece?

No, I don't think she's ordinary. Her music isn't wildly cutting-edge (e.g., she's not about "extended techniques" for the instruments) but it's beautifully crafted, satisfying to listen to, and sounds fun for the musicians to play.

Not sure if I have a favorite yet, though one of the three on the disc above might end up in that slot.

--Bruce
“I set down a beautiful chord on paper—and suddenly it rusts.”

- Alfred Schnittke

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline Scion7

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Re: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich(1939-)
« Reply #30 on: September 08, 2014, 11:38:25 AM »
Compared to the other two ladies we've been discussing she's kind of ordinary, eh?

If you can find it, her early work before her husband died in '79 might be more to your taste - it was more angular/thorny.  But "ordinary" she is not - she won the Pulitzer for her first symphony.
The Germans, who make doctrines out of everything, deal with music learnedly; the Italians, being voluptuous, seek in it lively, though fleeting, sensations; the French, more vain than perceptive, manage to speak of it wittily; and the English pay for it . . . - Stendhal