Pulitzer Prize

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Ted Quanrud
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Pulitzer Prize

Post by Ted Quanrud » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:30 pm

The 2010 Pulitzer Prize for music has been awarded to Jennifer Higdon for the violin concerto she wrote for Hilary Hahn.

Anyone here who has heard it?

stenka razin
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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by stenka razin » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:56 pm

Congrats to Ms. Higdon. I know her 'Concerto For Orchestra and her 'City Scape' from the Robert Spano recording on Telarc.Both are colorful and easy to listen to contemporary orchestral compositions. I am not familiar with her 'Violin Concerto', but am eager to hear it. 8)
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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:40 pm

Coming soon to an orchestra or Youtube pirate near you.


From The Baltimore Sun:

June 5, 2009
Hilary Hahn gives brilliant performance of Jennifer Higdon's Violin Concerto with Marin Alsop, Baltimore Symphony

Hilary HahnThe first standing ovation came before a note was played by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Thursday night at the Meyerhoff. It was triggered by the arrival onstage of music director Marin Alsop, moments after BSO board chairman Michael Bronfein announced that she had just signed a five-year extension of her contract that will keep her at the artistic helm until 2015. All the cheers reaffirmed how strongly the conductor has connected with the public; the concert reaffirmed how strongly she has connected with the orchestra.

Before starting the program, Alsop praised the musicians “for their wonderful artistry and commitment” and said that their recent pledge of $1 million in concessions to help balance the BSO budget was one of the things that “made me want to be a part of this community.” (She recently bought a condo in the Mount Vernon area.)

It was quite the feel-good evening. The music wasn’t bad, either. The big news of the program was the East Coast premiere of ...

Jennifer Higdon’s Violin Concerto, written for Baltimore’s own classical music star, Hilary Hahn. It’s a killer of a concerto in its technical demands, and it asks a lot of listeners, too. (Before the performance started, Alsop asked Higdon to stand – “It’s always good to know if you’re sitting next to the composer,” the conductor said. Good quip.)

Marin AlsopHahn wanted Higdon to write a “major” work. In terms of length, she certainly got it. Cast in three sizable movements, the concerto makes a grand statement, packed with thematic material and expansive development, all of it delivered with extraordinary prismatic colors. The opening of the score is stunning – plaintive musing from the violin against delicate wisps of percussion. It’s quite the ear-grabber, a wonderful way to begin what amounts to a long journey through moods and events, through light and shade.

The first movement contains other subtle passages, where the violin enters into a kind of conversation with individual instruments in the orchestra; the effect is compelling. There are less interesting moments, too. Higdon sometimes takes more time than seems necessary to arrive at a destination point, as in the finale, an extensive perpetual-motion exercise for the fiddler. The trouble with perpetual motion is that, if carried on too long, it becomes more about the motion than the music. That’s what happens here. I also think that the middle movement could use a little pruning so that its wonderful lyricism doesn’t become diluted.

That said, the concerto still achieves an impressive effect, overall. Higdon’s style, fundamentally tonal, yet imaginatively spiced, communicates with a refreshing directness and lack of pretension. The violin part encompasses an enormous range, technically and expressively (you can hear how the composer had Hahn’s remarkable virtuosity in mind at every turn), and the orchestra becomes every bit as important in this dialogue. The second movement is the heart of the work, bathed in almost Vaughan Williams-like sonorities, with richly textured chords supporting a slowly soaring melodic line. A rush of drama erupts near the end, but the calm returns, unfazed, somehow even more radiant.

Hahn, playing the daunting piece by memory [imagine!], delivered a performance brimming with bravura, but her keen musicality ultimately took center stage. Alsop provided rock-solid support and had the orchestra responding brilliantly.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Modernistfan
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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by Modernistfan » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:41 pm

The Higdon Violin Concerto has been recorded by Hilary Hahn accompanied by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko. The coupling is the Tchaikovsky concerto. The notification of this on the Presto Classical website didn't mention the label, but I have to assume it is Sony, as Ms. Hahn records exclusively for that label. The notification stated that a summer 2010 release is expected. I will definitely have to have this (it looks like the majors are not quite dead).

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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by Wallingford » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:35 pm

In addition, Hank Williams Sr. was awarded a posthumous special citation Pulitzer.

Says my dad, "That's somethin' his son'll never get."
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

stenka razin
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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by stenka razin » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:59 am

Modernistfan wrote:The Higdon Violin Concerto has been recorded by Hilary Hahn accompanied by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko. The coupling is the Tchaikovsky concerto. The notification of this on the Presto Classical website didn't mention the label, but I have to assume it is Sony, as Ms. Hahn records exclusively for that label. The notification stated that a summer 2010 release is expected. I will definitely have to have this (it looks like the majors are not quite dead).

Modernistfan, the talented Ms. Hahn records for DG exclusively. Her new recording of the Tchaikovsky/Higdon combo will be released by DG. Her Sony contract was terminated a few years ago, mate. 8)
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DavidRoss
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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by DavidRoss » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:09 am

stenka razin wrote:the talented Ms. Hahn records for DG exclusively. Her new recording of the Tchaikovsky/Higdon combo will be released by DG. Her Sony contract was terminated a few years ago, mate. 8)
Correct. The concerto premiered a year ago in Indianapolis. Review here: http://www.musicincincinnati.com/site/r ... polis.html

More about the concerto with Ms Hahn interviewing Ms Higdon following the premiere:





"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by karlhenning » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:14 am

The Baltimore Sun wrote:. . . The trouble with perpetual motion is that, if carried on too long, it becomes more about the motion than the music.
It's a challenge, and one to which I've applied my craft a number of times.

Cheers,
~Karl
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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by karlhenning » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:16 am

Modernistfan wrote:. . . The notification stated that a summer 2010 release is expected. I will definitely have to have this (it looks like the majors are not quite dead).
The majors are driven by superstars, as large sums are involved. So as long as the performance culture sustains superstardom . . . .

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:02 am

stenka razin wrote:Congrats to Ms. Higdon. I know her 'Concerto For Orchestra and her 'City Scape' from the Robert Spano recording on Telarc.Both are colorful and easy to listen to contemporary orchestral compositions. I am not familiar with her 'Violin Concerto', but am eager to hear it. 8)
There is one respect in which I do not think you will be adding her to your collection, Mel. :wink:

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Modernistfan
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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by Modernistfan » Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:56 am

Sorry, I stand corrected. Ms. Hahn does indeed record for Deutsche Grammophon, and I presume that is the label that will release the Higdon and Tchaikovsky violin concertos. Interesting that Deutsche Grammophon, one of the most prestigious of all labels, is doing this with an orchestra and conductor (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Valery Petrenko) that record frequently for Naxos (their Shostakovich Eighth Symphony is coming out next month on that budget label). I forgot that Hahn moved to Deutsche Grammophon.

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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by UB1 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:01 pm

Modernistfan wrote:Sorry, I stand corrected. Ms. Hahn does indeed record for Deutsche Grammophon, and I presume that is the label that will release the Higdon and Tchaikovsky violin concertos. Interesting that Deutsche Grammophon, one of the most prestigious of all labels, is doing this with an orchestra and conductor (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Valery Petrenko) that record frequently for Naxos (their Shostakovich Eighth Symphony is coming out next month on that budget label). I forgot that Hahn moved to Deutsche Grammophon.
They probably used them because they played the European premiere back in late May 2009. DG could probably record it soon after the concert for a lot less.

I have a recording of the BBC broadcast and it is OK but nothing outstanding. The opening 5 minutes is quite interesting and the 4 minutes or so is a lot of fun fiddling around but as mentioned in the review is a little too long. Hahn handles everything with ease.

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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:47 pm

Modernistfan wrote:Sorry, I stand corrected. Ms. Hahn does indeed record for Deutsche Grammophon, and I presume that is the label that will release the Higdon and Tchaikovsky violin concertos. Interesting that Deutsche Grammophon, one of the most prestigious of all labels, is doing this with an orchestra and conductor (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Valery Petrenko) that record frequently for Naxos (their Shostakovich Eighth Symphony is coming out next month on that budget label). I forgot that Hahn moved to Deutsche Grammophon.
Petrenko and the RLPO also release recordings on Avie...
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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by Lance » Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:30 pm

I heard about it. A composer in Binghamton, New York also entered one of his pieces to honor those many people who were killed a year ago by a shooter at the ACA [American Civic Association offices]. He didn't win any prize. Other than that, I haven't been following. I'm not crazy about the violin concerto either.

Here's what that building looks like:

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The story, of course, made national and international news. No city is exempt from this kind of thing.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
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rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:54 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
stenka razin wrote:Congrats to Ms. Higdon. I know her 'Concerto For Orchestra and her 'City Scape' from the Robert Spano recording on Telarc.Both are colorful and easy to listen to contemporary orchestral compositions. I am not familiar with her 'Violin Concerto', but am eager to hear it. 8)
There is one respect in which I do not think you will be adding her to your collection, Mel. :wink:
Same reason as Marin Alsop I think... :wink:
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DavidRoss
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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by DavidRoss » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:56 pm

Nice little piece about Higdon in yesterdays NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/22/arts/ ... n.html?hpw
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Air
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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by Air » Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:27 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
stenka razin wrote:Congrats to Ms. Higdon. I know her 'Concerto For Orchestra and her 'City Scape' from the Robert Spano recording on Telarc.Both are colorful and easy to listen to contemporary orchestral compositions. I am not familiar with her 'Violin Concerto', but am eager to hear it. 8)
There is one respect in which I do not think you will be adding her to your collection, Mel. :wink:
Same reason as Marin Alsop I think... :wink:
C'mon, that's lame. Myra Hess? Wanda Landowska? Nadia Boulanger? You're missing out on a lot. :roll:

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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by karlhenning » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:46 am

Air wrote:C'mon, that's lame. Myra Hess? Wanda Landowska? Nadia Boulanger? You're missing out on a lot. :roll:
"A lot"?

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:09 am

Air wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
stenka razin wrote:Congrats to Ms. Higdon. I know her 'Concerto For Orchestra and her 'City Scape' from the Robert Spano recording on Telarc.Both are colorful and easy to listen to contemporary orchestral compositions. I am not familiar with her 'Violin Concerto', but am eager to hear it. 8)
There is one respect in which I do not think you will be adding her to your collection, Mel. :wink:
Same reason as Marin Alsop I think... :wink:
C'mon, that's lame. Myra Hess? Wanda Landowska? Nadia Boulanger? You're missing out on a lot. :roll:
I was only naming living ones... :mrgreen:
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ravel30
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Re: Pulitzer Prize

Post by ravel30 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:15 pm

I am very happy that Jennifer won that price and I am looking forward to hear this work fully (beside the excerpts on the New York Times website).

Very happy because a few weeks ago (well before she was given that price) I made a review of an album that contains her work Blue Cathedral

http://www.classicalmusicguide.com/view ... 10&t=34727

and because of some recommandations made in the thread concerning some of her work, I purchased a cd by Naxos featuring 3 of her chamber works. All very interesting. In the spare of a few weeks, Ms.Higdon has become a favorite of mine (among contempory composers).

Matt.

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