Concertino--Oct. 16 @ Leonard Nimoy, Thalia
Wolpe Fund Concert
The Wolpe Fund was created last year by Zaidee Parkinson & Alanna Stone. For that first round, I composed a set of poems by the great unsung American hero, Djuna Barnes.
That cycle is now expanded and tranformed into an orchestral work that will be performed by the Riverside Symphony on December 8.
This year, the Wolpe concert will take place on October 16, 8pm, at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia room at Symphony Space.
Concertino for two guitars and strings was written in August and September for this year's Wolpe concert. The piece begins with an acknowledgement of our 21st C. soundworld, newly and freshly unaware of anything that came before it. (very American, this penchant for forgetting! Similar to the "Disney" forgetting of the '30s, when the confusing and progressive '20s were swept under the carpet.) From this opening,with very simple, minimalist strumming, the music, building on subtle oddities, finds its way back in time for a look at the world of Zaidee Parkinson and Stefan Wolpe, arriving, about 3 minutes into the piece, at hard, edgy bebop expressionism.
This pulling-together of 21st and 20th C. musics is a tribute to both Zaidee Parkinson and Stefan Wolpe. This expressionist remix is also unthinkable without my immersion in the work of Wolpe's greatest protege, composer Matthew Greenbaum. My 21st C. frame is meant as a real embrace of that lovely forgetful world, and the work falls or succeeds upon the integration of the two worlds; every step in the argument must be persuasive.
Ms. Parkinson studied composition with Wolpe; she studied piano with Frau Wolpe; and she also knew all the abstract expressionists who were of great interest to Stefan Wolpe. Ms. Parkinson was up to her ears in the the New York City art world. Her mother was Director of MOMA, and her aunt Lilly Bliss was one of the founders of MOMA.
Wolpe enjoyed cult status in New York, as one of a very few composers in our city who had European modernist credentials. He had that particularly through his association with the Bauhaus, and with Anton Webern. Of all the European war refugees who ended up here, Wolpe was, perhaps, the only fellow who took a cue from American high art. He was fascinated by the American abstract expressionists. Zaidee Parkinson was Wolpe's connection to the abstract expressionists.