Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kind of Blue

YOSA Philharmonic is looking for some crystal glasses that are part of a work by Jennifer Higdon, Blue Cathedral, that they will perform this fall.

From their Facebook page: "Lead crystal wine glasses produce the best sound. The glasses will be carefully monitored by YOSA staff and safely stored between rehearsals until the performance on November 5, after which they will be returned.
If you have crystal to lend, please email"

Host John Clare spoke to Higdon about her Blue Cathedral:

John Clare and Jennifer Higdon
[John] The first commercial recording I had been familiar with was of Blue Cathedral – I know this is a very personal piece and I wondered, was curious about – that idea of putting yourself or having something personal in music.

[Jennifer] Yeah, you know, I had a great debate with myself when I first wrote Blue Cathedral because it was written in – it was written as part of a commission from Curtis in its 75th anniversary, but I started the piece a year after my brother's death, and it made me really stop and think about the fact that in a lifetime, we have a lot of people cross our paths. I was thinking about the kids here at Curtis. I thought, Wow, their colleagues will come to mean a lot to them once they leave school, and I thought about the fact that everyone you meet affects you in some way – but when I wrote the piece, I actually had no intention of telling anyone about the background that was running in my head about this piece.
My brother's middle name was Blue, so that's part of the title, but I was thinking about him throughout the process of writing – but the ironic thing was, so many reporters were asking me about the title that it's like I could not escape explaining what the piece was about.
My thought about that was, well, you know, it's good to share that message, I guess, although I had real conflicted feelings about it, but I have found that it's been a very cathartic piece for a lot of people who've lost people  – when I got to concerts where that piece is being done, people come up to me often in the lobby, and sometimes they can't even speak, they're – they have tears in their eyes. They'll take my hand. It's really a very moving experience. Sometimes they can tell me about someone who's died in their family. So I think it's not such a bad thing. I don't think you have to know the program to have the piece speak to you. At least I hope that's the case. But it is interesting. It's a very exposed feeling for a composer – to write something that personal and to put it out into the world, because you're basically kind of – it's literally wearing your heart on your sleeve. You're wearing it on the manuscript paper, you know, and you hope that it speaks to people but there's no way to know how it will be taken and no way to know what the reaction will be and you have to make sure you don't let that affect you.

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