May 22, 2020
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
This event has been CANCELLED:
Due to concerns over audience and performer health related to the COVID-19 outbreak, Present Music has made the difficult decision to cancel our Spaghetti Western season finale concert on May 22.
Again, as there is still great uncertainty in the spread of the Coronavirus, we will not be announcing a rescheduled date for the performance at this time. Present Music is working to be able to share programming with our audience members through creative alternative means and will inform you as soon as we have those details confirmed.
David Bloom brings the season to a close with the spaghetti western program that captures the spirit of the 1960’s Italian films about the American Old West.
In a crosscurrent, a work of American composer Yotam Haber inspired by the music of Roman Jews is juxtaposed with Italian composer Ennio Morricone’s iconic sounds of the West.
American composers Kyle Gann, Annie Gosfield, and Henry Threadgill share their musical visions of the Great Plains and the Dust Bowl as tumbleweeds roll down the aisles in this immersive season finale.
Yotam Haber was born in Holland and grew up in Israel, Nigeria, and Milwaukee. He is the recipient of a 2017 Koussevitsky Commission, a 2013 Fromm Music Foundation commission, a 2013 NYFA award, the 2007 Rome Prize and a 2005 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. He has received grants and fellowships from the MAP Fund (2016), New Music USA (2011, the New York Foundation for the Arts (2013), the Jerome Foundation (2008, the Bellagio Rockefeller Foundation (2011), Yaddo, Bogliasco, MacDowell Colony, the Hermitage, ASCAP, and the Copland House.
Recent commissions include works for Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor; an evening-length oratorio for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, CalARTS@REDCAT/Disney Hall (Los Angeles); New York-based Contemporaneous, Gabriel Kahane, and Alarm Will Sound; the 2015 New York Philharmonic CONTACT! Series; the Venice Biennale; Bang on a Can Summer Festival; Neuvocalsolisten Stuttgart and ensemble l’arsenale; FLUX Quartet, JACK Quartet, Cantori New York, the Tel Aviv-based Meitar Ensemble, and the Berlin-based Quartet New Generation.
Haber is Assistant Professor of Music at the University of New Orleans and Artistic Director Emeritus of MATA, the non-profit organization founded by Philip Glass that has, since 1996, been dedicated to commissioning and presenting new works by young composers from around the world. His music is published by RAI Trade.
New Ghetto Music
New Ghetto Music continues my series of works based on the music of the Roman Jewish tradition. In 2008, I came across nearly ten hours of reel-to-reel tapes of Roman cantors chanting, captured in the 1940-60s by Leo Levi, an Italian ethnomusicologist. These recordings captivated me, with stoic, iron voices seemingly encapsulating more than two thousand years of history since Jews first set foot in Rome. This piece, however, deals more loosely than my other works with a literal history, and instead deals with a notion of ghetto. Thus, what we hear first is not strictly Jewish music, but rather a nod to the exuberant, hypnotic wildness of Sardinian Tenores singing. As Christina Courtin approaches the orchestra, singing and playing the violin, I felt compelled to use this ancient, rugged music to create a sort of ritual for beginning, for setting the stage, and for fusing two things (cultures, musics, timbres) into one.
Once the orchestra fully engages, we hear a charged set of interludes, ruminations, variations, deconstructions, and constructions mostly all based on one liturgical melody, or piyut, whose glowing, swaying melody grabbed my attention, with its ineffable sadness and joy. Rather than using the original Hebrew poetry (most likely written in the 11th century), I asked Christina Courtin and my friend, the poet Barbara Ras, to write a new text, reflecting on the original meaning and interpreting it in a personally meaningful way.
This piece was made possible through the generosity of Meet the Composer Commissioning Music/USA Program, the Marlot Foundation, and Jane and Bernie Frischer. Thanks also to Simone Ghetti for creating the electronic component of this work. I am indebted to the extraordinary efforts and collaborative spirit of The Knights, Eric Jacobsen, and Christina Courtin.