This is one of the great discoveries of the last few years, and my hat is off to the Los Angeles Opera, James Conlon, Bridge Records and everyone else involved. Aside from its historical importance, Franz Schreker's ravishing opera boasts one of the early 20th century's most prismatic scores and a story tinged with latter-day resonance (not to mention sex). If there is any justice, the Met will do its own production, and make sure Conlon is around to conduct.
On Twitter, there are creative types doing much more with the site than most people realize. To wit: Ranjit Bhatnagar is the formidable mind behind Pentametron, which combs Twitter for scraps of iambic pentameter and then reassembles them into couplets and then, sonnets. Yes, you read that right.
Today Bhatnagar solicited single words from readers, who were rewarded later with a custom-made sonnet using the word submitted. My first suggestion, "coruscating," drew a blank, but the follow-up, "fireflies," produced this John Cage-ian result (with just a touch of Steve Reich), "Fireflies in Taco Bell." My gratitude knows no bounds.
(From the February 19 printed program at the Morgan Libraryfor the JACK Quartet's concert of the three string quartets by Helmut Lachenmann)
For the JACK Quartet "With a little help from my friends"
Once, they called me their "father." But when with them I feel fifty years younger, and they are my admired brothers. Each work—not only mine—when peformed by the JACK, be it Beethoven or Feldman, becomes an incredible adventure of perception, a festival of intensity, touching our emotions and touching our intellect, making us remember that as human creatures we are full of possibilities and able to open our horizon infinitely. They are pure artists in that their humanity and virtuosity are one and the same. Maybe they don't know or aren't aware of it, but that's what they do: create happiness in the deepest sense.