Sunday, October 09, 2005

Like Watching Bread Go Mouldy

I listened to the premier of the English Horn Concerto by Nicholas Maw on NPR on Friday evening, with english horn player Elizabeth Starr Masoudnia, playing with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Did Mr Maw not put much effort into this piece? It was an instantly forgettable evening, the work winding sinuously from one end to the other, like smoke from a blown-out candle, the horn player dutifully playing the long, flowing lines, drifitng endlessly on and on and on and on. Get my point?

I have to admit, I had not heard any music by Nicholas Maw before this point. Or, considering that I promptly forgot the work immediately after hearing it, perhaps I had heard his music before this. He has been commissioned by various orchestras, including the Minnesota Orchestra and the American Composers Orchestra. He is on the staff of the Peabody Institute. His music is certainly very polished, like a melting ice sculpture. I can't help but wonder how much he got paid for this.


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