The May 9 concert featured Mr. Small performing with cellist Drew Owen at Harmony Hall Regional Center in Ft. Washington, Maryland, as part of the Afternoon Tea concert series. They performed the Beethoven A Major Sonata together, and each performed several solos, including Small playing a sneak preview of his composition, Visions of Childhood.
The May 12 concert featured Mr. Small’s performance of his Visions of Childhood and works by J.S. Bach, Ordoñez and Schubert at Westmoreland Congregational Church in Bethesda, Maryland. This concert was presented by Washington Conservatory of Music and was the final concert of their 2011-2012 series.
Haskell Small gave a recital on April 15 at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland. Repertoire was Bach’s G Major Partita, the 2nd movement of Schubert’s great B-flat Major Sonata, Mr. Small’s own composition Visions of Childhood and his short paraphrase of Gershwin’s An American in Paris.
The orchestral transcription of Haskell Small’s Scraps was performed by the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic, Ulysses S. James, Music Director and Conductor, on February 12 at Church of the Epiphany in Washington, DC and on February 19 at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Virginia.
Scraps is described by the composer as, “12 very little pieces of blues and jazz,” and is an orchestral transcription of a 2006 work originally for solo piano, written for Dutch pianist Marcel Worms for his multi-national Blues Project. More about it at http://www.haskellsmall.com/compositions/2006/scraps-orchestral.
Other works on the February 12 and 19 concerts were Bob Mintzer’s Rhythm of the Americas (featuring the Washington Saxophone Quartet), Cesar Franck’s Symphony in D Minor and Jonathan Blumhofer’s Diversions.
Haskell Small’s 12 Snippets for flute, clarinet, cello and piano was performed on September 18 as part of Think Small! at Copland House at Merestead in Mount Kisco, New York.
The composer writes about the work, “Considering my name, I felt it was obligatory for me to respond to a call for scores by the "Association Decadanse" in Lunel, France for composers from around the world to each submit five to fifteen compositions, each of a maximum length of (sic) ten seconds. 12 Snippets was premiered in the Spring of 2000 as part of the Association Decadanse's "2000 for 2000" festival in southern France. More about the music at http://www.haskellsmall.com/compositions/1999/12-snippets.
Other composers on the program were Copland, Sebastian Currier, Schoenberg, and Webern. The event was sponsored by, in part, Music from Copland House.
Haskell Small is taking part in a fascinating artistic collaboration. Washington DC's Source Festival has joined him with visual artist Lee Gainer and director/ puppeteer Cecilia Cackley to create an Artistic Blind Date.
Gainer writes, "We are tasked with the development and performance of a 30 - 40 minute play/experience/presentation about pretty much anything we want. We have a title to tease you with. Our performance will be called: Adjusting the Volume."
Performance dates are June 16 @ 7PM, June 19 @ 3PM, June 25 @ 6PM, and July 2 @ 3PM. ABD tickets are $10. More about the project, including a sound file of Haskell's music, the Artistic Blind Date project and the Source Festival itself at http://www.sourcedc.org/sourcefestival/performances.html.
Haskell Small's The Rothko Room: Journeys in Silence, was given its World Premiere on Sunday, February 20 at The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.
The composer writes about the new work, "(The artist Mark) Rothko said tragedy, ecstasy, doom are the only important things in art. I've tried this in music. In this piece, I'm trying to play so quietly on the piano as to be on the very cusp of audibility, but there are occasional outbursts paralleling Rothko's passionate nature (wild primeval, ritualistic dances). The work was influenced by Mompou's Musica Callada and the work of Arvo Part. It is in 1 continuous movement, a little under half an hour, in 4 parts, loosely paralelling the 4 paintings in the Phillips's Rothko Room, and reflecting the narrative of the painter's life journey. These parts are interwoven with an "ether" theme- floating in space. The piece also features a bell motif, at first very quiet, then later bells of doom." This continues the composer's exploration of quietude in music, which was featured on his acclaimed recording of Mompou's Musica Callada for MSR Classics.
Other works on Mr. Small's program were Erik Satie's Ogive No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3, Alan Hovhaness' Suite for Piano, Op. 96 and Macedonian Mountain Dance and J.S. Bach's Partita in Bb Major, BWV 825.
Visit the Phillips at http://www.phillipscollection.org/homepage.aspx.
The internationally renowned Naxos label has issued a new CD of Haskell Small's Lullaby of War, Renoir's Feast and Three Etudes in Sound (catalog no 8.559649). The music is performed by pianist Soheil Nasseri and narrated by Martin Rayner.
Lullaby of War was commissioned by pianist Soheil Nasseri and was inspired by Picasso's great painting Guernica. The piece includes poetry by Joy Harjo, Paula Tatarunis, Stephen Crane, Uri Zvi Greenberg, Walt Whitman and Yvan Goll.
This is very powerful and effecting music, which when combined with the imagery, becomes something extraordinary.
Renoir's Feast was a commission by The Phillips Collection of Washington, D.C. to celebrate the return of their beloved Renoir masterpiece, Luncheon of the Boating Party.
Three Etudes in Sound explores the piano's 'color and sound control'.
More about the CD at http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.559649.
More about Haskell's other CDs at http://www.haskellsmall.com/discography.
Haskell’s MSR Classics recording of Federico Mompou’s Musica Callada has received some wonderful reviews from around the world. England’s Gramophone magazine wrote, “Small conveys the austere purity and concentration with an unhurried, timeless quality that seems just right... Throughout Small realises the microbially shifting expression... [Small] is in touch with Mompou's enigmatic, other-worldly music landscape..." and the London-based MusicWeb International wrote, “I am prepared to follow Haskell Small through these twenty-eight stations again, knowing that he probably is the living guide who knows this destination better than anyone…” Read more review excerpts, including a review of his Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C performance, and order the CD at http://www.msrcd.com/1282/1282.html.
Also in the realm of quiet music, Haskell is currently working on a new piece for Phillips’s Rothko Room - Journeys in Silence, which will be premiered in February of 2011.