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Un Día de Noviembre, Leo Brouwer’s Anthem to 1970s Cuba

Un Día de Noviembre is a title song of sorts from the Humberto Solás film (1972) of the same name. It was not released in Cuba though it has become popular in Cuban cinema history for its portrait of post revolutionary Cuba as seen through the eyes of the film’s central character, Esteban. The moody, somber film shot in black and white limns the style … Continue reading Un Día de Noviembre, Leo Brouwer’s Anthem to 1970s Cuba

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Flowered Faces, Challenging Contexts Mark L.A. Dance Project Return to Live Performance

      For a few moments before the beginning of Solo at Dusk, Bobbi Jene Smith’s new, commissioned work for Los Angeles Dance Project, the blue sky above the improvised outdoor theater and the purple floor covering for the stage area glowed with a vivid wash of color. With the company’s down town studio parking lot transformed it was clear this drive-in style performance … Continue reading Flowered Faces, Challenging Contexts Mark L.A. Dance Project Return to Live Performance

Leo Brouwer/ Debussy: from Nuevos Estudios Sencillos

  This is the first of Juan Leovigildo Brouwer’s 10 studies from Nuevos Estudios Sencillos. Each of the ten is an homage to different composers with elements that suggest their compositional style or even a specific piece. This one dedicated to Debussy captures some of the feeling of the Debussy piano preludes cast in a minimalist vein. They are simple in the sense that each … Continue reading Leo Brouwer/ Debussy: from Nuevos Estudios Sencillos

The Nearness of You from the American Songbook

Here is my arrangement for classical guitar of the American Songbook classic The Nearness of You by Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington. It debuted in the 1938 film Romance in the Dark and was released by Famous Music in a 1940 recording. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong recorded it in 1956 on Verve for their Ella and Louis duets album backed by the Oscar Peterson … Continue reading The Nearness of You from the American Songbook

Django’s Echoes of Spain: Pastiche for the Incidental Improvisor

In performance Django Reinhardt’s solo improvisation Echoes of Spain comes across as an unselfconscious musical moment  captured during a recording session. In some ways it seems almost like the microphone is eavesdropping on the guitarist. There is very little give and take to his playing as he pushes through the piece with little flair or drama. The amplitude of whatever he’s doing feels purposefully dialed back. … Continue reading Django’s Echoes of Spain: Pastiche for the Incidental Improvisor

Taylor’s Film “Night Bloom” for LADP Finds a New Groove for Stravinsky

   New York City Ballet’s 1972 Stravinsky Festival made a household name out Stravinsky and his connection to dance music. While there were earlier famed pieces such as Rite of Spring and Firebird the festival made Stravinsky’s neoclassic music the go to music for the neoclassical ballet world. On that festival was a first try for Stravinsky’s orchestraless Concerto for Two Pianos (1935) by choreographer, … Continue reading Taylor’s Film “Night Bloom” for LADP Finds a New Groove for Stravinsky

Erroll Garner’s Misty

Erroll Garner’s Misty began its life as an instrumental jazz standard for piano in 1954. The lyric was added later by Johnny Burke. It’s been covered by many singers but my favorite version of the music comes from the many recordings (with different ensembles) by the jazz violinist, Stéphane Grappelli. A violinist colleague of mine, someone who played only classical music and possessed a hard … Continue reading Erroll Garner’s Misty

L.A. Dance Project Debuts Its New Collaborative Company In Disney Hall Performances

  Benjamin Millepied and his new, curatorial dance collective, L.A. Dance Project, have their eyes set on a new kind of concept for bringing dance to Los Angeles audiences. The result on Saturday evening, however, looked in style, squarely in the pocket of many chamber sized company performing a repertory evening for the stage. Their real success will depend on what happens next and how … Continue reading L.A. Dance Project Debuts Its New Collaborative Company In Disney Hall Performances

A Chance to Dance: Episode One

Billy Trevittt and Michael Nunn Hit the Road in Their New Dance Series for Ovation TV: episode 1   Cue former Royal Ballet principal dancers, Billy Trevitt and Michael Nunn, aka the BalletBoyz, arriving via motorcycle at the Covent Garden Opera House. Cue the staged phone call from producer Nigel Lythgoe. The task: to create a new dance company to tour with So You Think … Continue reading A Chance to Dance: Episode One

Millepied and LADP Digital: Dance Company By App for the Quarantine Period and Beyond

The beginning of the Covid-19 quarantine saw dance companies both large and small turning to digital engagement as a way of keeping themselves in touch with audiences. The early offerings of streamed performances were an attempt to replace lost performance revenue and salvage at least a temporary virtual presence as performance possibilities evaporated. In March it seemed unlikely that dance companies would be cancelling performances … Continue reading Millepied and LADP Digital: Dance Company By App for the Quarantine Period and Beyond