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Revitalizing a Once Obsolete Instrument

Article 29 October 2013

After writing many chamber works and vocal numbers involving the arpeggione, finally I can say I have written the first full-scale concerto for the instrument since the forgotten pieces of the 1820s. It has, for some years now, been my hope that I would be able to do for the arpeggione what Johann Sebastian Bach did for the cello, or what Ravel did for the double-action orchestral harp. But one thing neither Bach nor Ravel did was write a concerto for their newly introduced instrument. Great concerti ...

 

Reviving an Old Instrument

Article 31 July 2013

Recently there have been an increasing number of attempts to revive and repopularize the arpeggione, an obscure instrument invented by Johann Staufer in the 1820s. In Staufer's lifetime only three pieces are known to have been composed for the instrument, and the one that gained fame - Schubert's sonata in A minor - was only played on other instruments after the composer's death. But today, nearly 200 years later, Staufer's instrument is gaining new popularity at the hands of a number of string players. ...

 

New Options for Teaching Counterpoint

Article 26 July 2013

When I was studying in New York for my Bachelor's degree in composition, I often felt a little uneasy about how music theory and counterpoint were taught. I was certainly not the only Jewish student - in fact Christians might have been in the minority in those classes - yet our examples for theory were taken almost exclusively from the genre of music written for the Church. Whenever anyone made a reference to sacred music, it was almost always Catholic sacred music (unless it was by Bach or Brahms or ...

Are you planning your next season's concerts?

Article 24 July 2013

Any music director faces the dreaded summer, that time of year when he or she is faced with newly planning the coming season's programs. And every composer always dreads the same time of year, having to go with hat in hand to music directors to ask if they would like to perform new music. I have a great deal of experience in hearing directors say they'll keep my music in mind, only then to program Mozart or Brahms or Verdi. It is a sad fact that listeners have come to rely on the era between Bach and ...

 

In the Beginning

News 19 July 2013

I have just published a piece that I wrote in 2003: B'reshit , "In the Beginning". This is the first setting of the complete first chapter of Genesis in its original Hebrew (of which I am aware). All are invited to check out that piece and others published by Dov Rosenschein at MusicaNeo

 

Art on Apollo

Article 19 July 2013

I am currently involved in several musical projects, but one always keeps coming to mind at this time of year. Tomorrow is the 44th anniversary of the first manned landing on the Moon (Apollo 11). Among the Apollo astronauts were poets and artists. One of them, Alan Bean, devoted years to preserving his memories, and the memories of all the Apollo astronauts, in painting. I've taken it upon myself to write some music which would complement those paintings, almost like a modern version of "Pictures at an ...

 

New and old vocal music

Article 9 July 2013

If you'd like to hear a fresh angle on religious and cultural matters, you will probably be interested in the vocal music I've been composing in the last few years. Some of it has been published recently on Musicaneo, but most is yet to come. Among other pieces I've published recently are the Verses on the Subject of Music , for 6-part mixed choir. The texts, taken from the Bible, all deal with the value of sound and spirit - from the well-known Psalm 150, to the commandments in Numbers regarding the ...