November 14, 2010 |
Reporting from Media, Pa. ? Despite having turned 81 less than three weeks ago, American composer George Crumb remains deeply absorbed in his craft. The native of Charleston, W.V., has been nestled in his suburban Philadelphia home for 45 years. Thanks to an Emeritus professorship at the University of Pennsylvania, he can afford to not compose on commission. "I have always been a slow writer," he confesses. Slow he may be, but he is by no means uninspired. He composes every morning and rewards himself with a scotch and water ?
May 3, 2005 |
The music of George Crumb revels in magic and flourishes on ceremonial mystery. So a concert devoted to the 75-year-old composer, and one in which he is on hand to discuss his haunting music, will necessarily be -- unless something is very wrong -- a magical mystery tour. Sunday night, when such a concert occurred at the Orange County Performing Arts Center as part of the Pacific Symphony's American Music Festival, most everything was right.
March 6, 2005 |
Wonders of Estonia "Action Passion Illusion" Nordic Symphony Orchestra. Anu Tali, conductor. (Warner Classics) *** The vanguard of women conductors tended to appear, of necessity, masculine or, at least, sexless. That may finally be changing. Anu Tali -- a gifted, statuesque blond Estonian conductor in her early 30s who founded the Nordic Symphony a few years ago -- is not afraid to make a kinky statement.
February 28, 2000 |
George Crumb's music is eerie, full of strangely primordial, ghostly sounds. It functions in the realm of shadows: It enters into the world of mysteries and rituals, and death often comes calling. Some of the scores are written in beautiful, symbolic graphic notation, with musical staffs drawn in almost unplayable circles. There is other symbolism galore in the music--number systems or astrological charts might generate structure; certain intervals or chords might stand for good and evil.
November 3, 1998 |
The concept seemed charming: a suite called "Mundus Canis" (A World of Dogs) and based on personal experiences of five of the composer's pets. At its West Coast premiere at the Claremont Colleges Sunday night, George Crumb's recent work, subtitled Five Humoresques for Guitar and Percussion, turned out to be charming enough. But much more than that: These are serious mood-pictures genuinely probing into the character of each animal.
April 21, 1997 |
Dawn Upshaw is the most versatile soprano I know. And also the bravest. She may be a favorite at the cautious Metropolitan Opera, as well as an acclaimed singer of popular song and a hip heroine to living composers, but she still remains restless, willing to try just about anything.