Sunday, March 3, 2024
Saturday, January 20, 2024
Last week in Taos, I heard what I think was my favorite recital/concert ever. Taos Opera Institute (TOI) presented mezzo Jamie Barton with pianist Kathleen Kelly at the Taos Center for the Arts. The program was wide ranging yet never incoherent. It included German, French, and Italian sections, with the duo providing friendly, inviting commentary rather than formal program notes. This gave the event a welcoming, cabaret feel, which drew in the audience in a way that I've never seen in a program that had the likes of Purcell, Schubert, and Mahler. The closing English group of Libby Larsen and Jake Heggie songs had us enraptured in a way which said "and now let's add the extra layer of instantaneous, immediate comprehension to go along with the musical and vocal beauty and perfect ensemble supplied by their earlier foreign language selections. Songs in English should always provide that... like adding a wondrous fourth dimension. I arrived at the concert something of a jaded skeptic and left with a sense that Barton and Kelly have shown us how to transform the old "art song recital," into something vibrant, vital, and fun.
Bravo to TOI for bringing this program up the mountain.
Monday, November 27, 2023
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
Act I “Characters” Sung by the Young Artists at Florida Grand Opera (PV 6-11) 2:13.
This will give you an idea of the extensive use of pastiche in the opera
Act II “Calling Cards” sung by Emily Owings at Missouri State University. Emily sang Pauline at the reading at Missouri State University. Solo version of a duet, giving you the breadth of Pauline's influence in her day.
Act III “Hermann and Dorothea” duet for Younger Pauline and Younger Turgenev (PV 153-160)
(ends at 3:35) Performed by Sophia Vidali and Colin Clark Bracewell at Taos Opera Institute.
Act II “Chere madame Viardot” Turgenev writes to Pauline from Russia. Audio Sung by Peter Lake (PV 87-93) 3:11 Aria has been adapted for solo voice
Saturday, September 23, 2023
Friday, September 15, 2023
Most of you never met my father, James Christopher Ching, who died right after I graduated from college. He was a professor of what now would be called communications, but was called speech back then. Although he had some early successes, his career stalled and he wrote a couple of books that didn't get published. He did write a play, AWEOWEO, that was produced by the theater company at Hamline University where he worked.
These manuscripts have worked their way into my storage room and I have been loathe to throw them out. But last week I digitized them and uploaded them, so the typescripts will make their way to the waste management system here where they will be burned to help produce power.
AWEOWEO is about the overthrow of King David Kalakaua, the last monarch of Hawaii. And the other manuscript, THE MERRY MONARCH, is a biography of Kalakaua. If anyone happens to come upon this blog post and wants to download them and have a look, please feel free. My father was born and raised in Hawaii and passionate about the fate of the islands and their people.
Another unpublished manuscript is called CONFRONTATION:A RHETORIC OF CRISIS. My father taught public speaking and coauthored a textbook about it. The book is about the rhetoric used in the social protest movements from the mid fifties through the early seventies.
Wednesday, June 28, 2023
Now officially their composer-in-residence, I was fortunate that they did a staged workshop of some of NOTES ON VIARDOT.
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Monday, May 1, 2023
Monday, April 24, 2023
EC Schirmer has just released my ARRANGEMENTS AND DERANGEMENTS, a song cycle for soprano, cello, and piano based on five Schubert songs, including Nacht und Träume, Sei mir gegrüßt, Die Männer sind méchant, DIE Forelle! and Rastlose Liebe.
The cycle was originally commissioned by Allison Charney and the ARK trio. Their recording of four
of the songs is available from Navona.
You can see the two "derangements." Sei mir gegrüßt...