A feature by Damjan Rakonjac
To the extent that posthumous musical works only receive their public “resurrection” following the death of their composer, they always have a built-in cachet. Hearing them feels like something of a miracle. With large works such as Górecki’s Fourth Symphony Tansman Epizody (“Tansman Episodes”), the sense of awed curiosity is only compounded: unlike with a poem or painting, their creator never really got to experience them in the first place. They seem to bridge the putatively unbridgeable chasm between the realms of the living and the dead. What Górecki jotted down in his last moments assumes its aural form only now that his hand has been forever quieted. The Fourth Symphony fits that mold well, surveying the various styles he adopted throughout his career. . .
A feature by Christiane Craig
The Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho's oratorio La Passion de Simone has, over this past year, been re-imagined by Saariaho, adapted specifically for conductor Clément Mao-Takacs’ nineteen-piece Secession Orchestra, vocal quartet, and soprano soloist Karen Vourc’h. This smaller cast, under the stage direction of Aleksi Barrière, provides a more direct and unmediated experience of Saariaho’s sound materials. The expansive tonal force of La Passion de Simone’s first production, an oceanic work for full orchestra, choir, and electronics, has been consolidated but not reduced in the chamber version, its sound colors intensified by a microscopic quality of vision that is perhaps better adapted to the piece’s investigation of human, as well as sonic, interiorities . . .
A feature by Ian Dreiblatt
Carnegie Hall, May 31, 2014. I watch Arvo Pärt step haltingly into the rear of the auditorium. An usher, thinking him the old man he appears from outside of sound to be, asks if he needs any help, a faint impatience curling the edges of his speech. He shakes his head and proceeds to an aisle, occluded by clusters of Orthodox priests. He navigates among them slowly and without solemnity. Like the people around me, I’m anticipating the concert by remembering things. A procession of them, connected by an invisible logic that feels somehow singular. It’s like mourning. Slow motion up a chain of small bells . . .
A feature by Emily Hoffman
László Krasznahorkai’s Animalinside is, in itself, already an adaptation. The Slovakian choreographer Jaroslav Viňarský has adapted Krasznahorkai’s novella for dance. The performance embodies the modes of existence the text describes, and yet does so within its own aesthetic parameters, with its own aesthetic integrity. At its best, the performance builds upon the original dialogue between the book’s text and images, and becomes a third surface for interpretive ricochet . . .