From the New York Times, a nice article about new music:
I’m hoping for pithy generalizations!
You can measure a new-music group’s success by the composers it commissions.
You can measure a new music group’s success that way. (Your mom can measure…but I digress.)
One could also measure a new music group’s success via number of concerts performed, records sold, attendance, or, perhaps, articles written about. Whew, enough passive voice for now…
When Eighth Blackbird began performing, in 1996, its repertory consisted largely of revivals of older scores and works by young composers in the early stages of their careers. The group has not forsaken those composers, nor has it given up curatorial programming completely, but the program it played at Zankel Hall on Thursday evening showed that it is now in another league.
Eighth Blackbird has been called up from the minors! (Also, I thought they, deliberately, did not capitalize their name...?)
All the music was commissioned by the group, with the first half devoted to the vigorous “Double Sextet” (2007) by Steve Reich and the second to “Singing in the Dead of Night” (2008), an energetic and occasionally spooky collaboration by David Lang, Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe, the composers who run Bang on a Can.
Fair enough. I see that their all-music-we-comissioned concert elevates their stature. Somewhat. From one perspective.
All in all, a good review. One should be careful of pithy generalizations, though; they de-elevate the review. Otherwise, a certain someone may throw Fast Eddie at ya.