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Listening Group Selection #32: Daugherty - Concerto for Violin and Orchestra


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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 30, 2012 12:19:41 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 19, 2012 9:26:01 AM PST]

Posted on Nov 30, 2012 12:39:29 PM PST
Video of a live performance chez Daugherty, with stills of the work that inspired it

I - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PwprdcYa4o
II - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D4UBN33C8s
III - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYcYOM4wWQI

Posted on Nov 30, 2012 1:11:26 PM PST
Larkenfield says:
Another fine performance, with somewhat more grit and gruffness.

Posted on Nov 30, 2012 5:35:33 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 1, 2012 9:11:52 AM PST
WH says:
Lark, Thanks for choosing of one of the best compositions of the last decade. I'm not sure why you didn't mention its official title "Fire and Blood." It was commissioned by the Detroit Symphony. It's a homage to paintings by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera and his equally brilliant painter-wife Frida Kahlo. In fact, if you watch the YouTube that MZ posted, you can see the painting that inspired the work.

I had been familiar with Daugherty's earlier "Philadelphia Stories" (which has a homage to jazz artists John Coltrane and Sun Ra, the movement "Sundown on South Street" and to conductor Stokowski): Michael Daugherty: Philadelphia Stories; UFO. I came across FIRE AND BLOOD in late 2009 when NPR named it one of the best classical releases of the year. By the way, there is a reasonably priced version of this in the Naxos "American Classics" series:
"Daugherty: Fire & Blood - Motorcity Triptych; Raise the Roof"
(Ida Kavafian (violin) / Detroit Symphony / Neeme Jarvi)
The YouTube that Lark cites seems to be from this recording--except the huge applause at the end of the third movement has been cut out. This is a live version--which explains the imbalance problem Lark is hearing.

Let me say that there is something thrilling in this work. Like all good concertos, it allows the soloist to do some virtuoso turns (especially in cadenza of the 3rd movement). When I've introduced people to it, I have people go first to the 3rd movement. Daugherty's vocabulary to my ear is a a direct descendent of the Copland / Gershwin / Bernstein tradition of American music. This work has a Bartokian edge. I agree with Lark when he speaks of the violinists grit and gruffness.

I may add more later, but for the moment, let me say this: This is a work that I point all those naysayers to, those who like to tirelessly and tiresomely complain about the health of contemporary classical. Contemporary classical is not inaccessible. While there are edgy works, odd instruments or microtonal excursions (and I certainly enjoy some of those adventurous works), much of the best is not far removed from most harmonic works of the 20th century. Great choice, Lark.

BTW, check out a release from last year: Daugherty: Route 66; Ghost Ranch; Sunset Strip; Time Machine (Naxos, 2011). The work Route 66 is very reminiscent of Bernstein.

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 5:42:08 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 1, 2012 5:45:40 AM PST
scarecrow says:
Yeeeh ThXs Lark,
Daugherty is interesting, He engages a strong subject to grab/HOLD our attention, then he gets to business of making interesting music;His music suggests time Gone by, Time/ghosts, spectres/ we have lost, but would like it back. . . Rouse does similar; with agendas, aesthetic strategies. . .
ThXxX. . .
Quite brave to engage a subject like Rivera and Frida Kahlo;

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 9:05:25 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 1, 2012 9:09:48 AM PST
Daugherty talks about composition & this work with Naxos' commentator here : http://blog.naxos.com/2009/08/19/podcast-michael-daughertys-fire-and-blood/

Is it sacrilege to admit how much I prefer the student performance? Detroit's seems warmed over by comparision.

WH, didn't know the backstory to about Sundown on South St. Thanks!

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 9:38:48 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 1, 2012 9:39:39 AM PST
WH says:
MZ, I don't want to divert this too much to other Daugherty works. But let me quote Daugherty's liner notes on his "Philadelphia Stories": "In Sundown on South Street, I recreate the groove of people cruising down one of the most popular streets of Philadelphia, where one finds nightclubs and musicians from all walks of like. The many generations of musicians who lived in Philadelphia and walked down this musical street include Sun Ra, John Coltrane, Fabian, Mario Lanza, and Patti LaBelle. In the 1980s I too was a frequent visitor to South Street, playing jazz piano and performing experimental electronic music in various nightclubs."

Here's a bit from his biography: "Born in 1954 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Daugherty is the son of a dance-band drummer and the oldest of five brothers, all professional musicians... He studied music composition at North Texas State University (1972-76) and computer music in Paris at Boulez's IRCAM (1979-80). Daugherty received his doctorate in composition in 1986 from Yale University ... During this time he also collaborated with jazz arranger Gil Evans in New York ... He pursued further studies with composer Gyorgy Ligeti in Hamburg Germany (1982-84)...." I note this because Daugherty, whose music draws largely on a populist Bernsteinian stye, has avant garde training on the one hand and jazz training on the other and both are detectable even if not at the forefront all the time.

Posted on Dec 2, 2012 5:19:28 PM PST
KenOC says:
Listened to the Kavafian/Jaarvi recording with the Detroit SO. I've had this for a while but not heard it.

Verdict: a real rip-snorter. Great violin, and Jaarvi must have forgotten his usual Prozac. Very enjoyable. It was interesting to find out that Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera's wife who is commemorated in the 2nd movement, had an affair with Leon Trotsky shortly before he had that run-in with an ice pick.

Anyway, I didn't listen carefully enough to "get" all the themes and development, but the whole concerto is an energetic and kaleidoscopic affair that holds the attention easily. High voltage throughout. More listens are indicated! Many thanks to Larkenfield for suggesting this.

Posted on Dec 2, 2012 8:31:28 PM PST
Mahlerian says:
I've never really enjoyed this work or any other I've heard by Daugherty, but I thought that this might help the discussion a bit. Boosey & Hawkes, who own the rights to this score, have put it up on their site for free viewing for anyone who registers.

If you're interested, take a look.
http://www.boosey.com/cr/perusals/score.asp?id=1383
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  6
Total posts:  9
Initial post:  Nov 30, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 2, 2012

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