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Modern Notebook

  • This week’s Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline kicks off a a special series of programs celebrating the winter season: hear a mix of contemporary music about wintry weather, such as Elena Langer’s “Snow,” Shuying Li’s “Canton Snowstorm,” and “Dreams Grow Like Slow Ice” by Jay Batzner. Plus, we settle into stillness with a work by Anna Thorvaldsdottir titled “Ró,” which is named for the Icelandic word for “serenity,”Then, a work for violin and percussion orchestra by Jarkko Hartikainen titled “ICE Concerto;” Jonathan Hannau“Snowfall,” from his new collection of works, “Pieces I Wrote on a Cold Winter Night;” and a frigid piece by Sebastian Fagerlund titled “Breathe,” which explores the timbres of clarinet, accordion, and cello through musical inhales and exhales.
  • You’ll hear an exploration of “everything” on Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline this week with Daijana Wallace’s solo cello work titled “Shades.” There is mystery, aggression, and heaviness - but also melodic music, softness, and sultriness. There is also a sense of breath and breathing throughout the piece.Then, the cyberpunk post-apocalyptic Japanese graphic novel Akira was the inspiration for Tyondai Braxton’s massive work for electric guitars, orchestra, choirs, and electronics titled “Telekinesis.” And as the title might suggest, the work also explores music that conveys the power of the mind.
  • Coming up on Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline: “Sin Fronteras” means “without borders,” and it’s also the title of a piece by Clarice Assad in which she creates a musical journey through the Americas: from the tip of South America, up the coast and into Central America, and finally into the Northern Hemisphere.Plus music to accompany the changing of the seasons is coming up on this week’s Modern Notebook: tune in for this work by Christopher Stark for string quartet titled “Seasonal Music,” as well as Toru Takemitsu’s “A String Around Autumn,” arranged for viola and piano.
  • On this week’s Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline: The energy, fluidity, and great speed of the rapids of Niagara Falls was the inspiration for this piece by Oliver Knussen called “Coursing:” and what courses through the music is a singular melody that is stretched and pulled to various lengths to convey the force of water.Then, for her latest album, violinist Olivia de Prato posed the question: can a woman be both an artist and a mother? The album is called “I AM: Artist Mother Project,” and the composers de Prato collaborated with have committed to being dedicated mothers while still pursuing their goals and dreams in music and art. We’ll hear a new work by Ha-Yang Kim from the project this week.
  • Composer Nicky Sohn says that studying the life and music of Clara Schumann was an essential path for her - so much so that she felt it necessary to compose a work in honor of Schumann. And Sohn's piece, “If You Love For Beauty,” even weaves in melodic ideas from Schumann's music.Then: In the 1960s, after receiving a commission from the New York Philharmonic Toru Takemitsu secluded himself in the mountains of Japan with only a piano and a few Debussy scores to study… and ended up producing a work titled November Steps that bridges the traditions of East and West by utilizing two traditional Japanese instruments.
  • On the next Modern Notebook: Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata was the inspiration for Leo Tolstoy’s novella of the same name, in which Tolstoy writes “Music is the shorthand of emotion.” Fast forward to the year 2020, when composer Anna Clyne wrote her work Shorthand, which is also inspired by Beethoven’s Sonata.Then, the legendary “Real Book” - an expansive anthology of Jazz standards that musicians have used since the 1970s - is the inspiration for Anthony Cheung’s piece for flute and string quartet “The Real Book of Fake Tunes.” Across the five movements of Cheung’s work, he adapts character traits from various genres and styles, including a John Coltrane-esque chord progression.
  • The space between movement and stillness is the focal point of Andrew Tholl’s work for violin and viola, hold still while the world turns.” It is music that asks the question: “who could hold still?” And, “what could hold still?”Join Tyler Kline for the next Modern Notebook to hear that, as well as a work titled “water hollows stone” by Alex Weiser which is inspired by an ancient Latin proverb that reads “A drop of water hollows a stone - not by force, but by continuously dripping.” And throughout the work, the music features textures which emulate the movement of water.
  • Alma means “soul” in Spanish - Alma is also the title of a flute and piano piece by Tania León, and “soul” is a great way to describe the music. It is impressionistic, improvisational, and features grooving themes often heard in Cuban music.You can hear it on this week’s Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline, as well as Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate’s MoonStrike, a work composed for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and it also tells three stories about the moon from Native American folklore. In these stories, one common theme is a trickster trying to take possession of this precious object.Plus, works by Satoko Doi-Luck, Gity Razaz, Ingrid Stolzel, Alejandro Vera, Alexandra Gardner, and others; and performances by flutist Jennifer Grim, the Apollo Chamber Players, pianist Eunmi Ko, the Borderlands Ensemble, saxophonist Dylan Ward, and more.
  • On this week’s Modern Notebook: Both virtuosity and an exploration of improvisation can be heard in Vivian Fung’s Bird Song - and, as the title suggests, you will also hear passages that evoke the sounds of bird calls. Then, music that expands the limits of traditional concert music. Not only is the piece co-composed by members of two different ensembles - but, the ensembles also perform it. It’s a piece called Rubix, by the groups Flutronix and Third Coast Percussion.We’ll also hear music by David Liptak, Ledah Finck, Carlos Simon, Sarah Bernstein, and others; and performances by clarinetist Andy Hudson, Veer Quartet, Admiral Launch Duo, and more.
  • Modern Notebook first hour:The book Schottenfreude by Ben Schott bears the subtitle “German Words for the Human Condition,” and it is a collection of German words invented by the author inspired by everyday contemporary life. Schott’s book is also the inspiration for a series of compositions by Eric Nathan called Missing Words. Join Tyler Kline for Missing Words V by Eric Nathan, and a lot more, on the next Modern Notebook, Sunday night from 8 to 10 on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9.Modern Notebook second hour:In June 2020, composer Sugar Vendil was commissioned to write a new solo violin work - but she only had six days to complete it. So, she focused on developing a process that allowed her to complete the work in a short amount of time, but also have some resemblance of structure. It’s titled Simple Tasks: Six-Day Deadline, and you can hear it on the next Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline. Sunday night from 8 to 10 on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9.
  • Modern Notebook first hour:The Spark Catchers is a poem by Lemn Sissay that serves as inspiration for Hannah Kendall’s work of the same name. The poem tells the story of the women who worked at a match factory that once stood near the Olympic Stadium in London, who would be on constant watch of stray sparks that could light the factory on fire. Hear it this week on Modern Notebook with Tyler Kline: Sunday night from 8 to 10 on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9 and WSMR.orgModern Notebook second hour:Memories of a once-experienced Tibetan folk dance fill the String Quartet No. 3 by Bright Sheng, a work that he describes as a point of departure from the original dance, rather than a literal interpretation. You can hear it on this week’s Modern Notebook, plus a piano trio by Pauchi Sasaki called Mother’s Hand, Healing Hand. Join Tyler Kline for Modern Notebook, Sunday night from 8 to 10 on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9 and WSMR.org
  • On the next Modern Notebook: music for solo cello by Reena Esmail composed as an interlude between two Haydn Sonatas, titled Varsha, which in Hindi means “The Rainy Season.” And throughout the piece, Esmail uses Hindustani raags which are often sung to beckon rain.Then, Tampa-based flutist Taylor Irelan joins Tyler Kline to discuss his new album titled The Journey, which features new works for flute and piano by LGBTQIA+ composers.Also featuring music by Baljinder Sekhon, Deena T. Grossman, Nokuthula Ngwenyama, Viet Cuong, and others; and performances by cellist Claire Bryant, steel pan soloist Dave Gerhart with the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, saxophonist Dylan Ward, and more.Listen to Modern Notebook, Sunday night from 8 to 10 ET on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9. Streaming at wsmr.org.
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