Vocalist - Mezzo-Soprano
Au point
Make-up time. I still haven't written about the lovely performance I got on Feb. 10 of Still Point at Mannes. The performers were mezzo Theodora Hanslowe, violist Hsin-Yun Huang and pianist Thomas Sauer. And it was particularly touching to have the poet, Shona Simpson, in attendance.

Theodora has a perfect blend of creamy voice and flawless diction. Hsin-Yun has a sound and musicianship to kill for. And Thomas has the full range of touch, from lightest feathers to thickest chest hair.

As I told the audience, Still Point has gone on to a "number of performances" since its memorable premiere in 2007. Composer trick: I didn't tell them that the "number" was two.

It was also fun to hear Kurtag's Hommage a Robert Schumann for clarinet, viola and piano on the same concert, with its quirkier-than-thou structure of five very brief (some just a few seconds long) movements followed by an extended isorhythmic motet in the style of Machaut. And what better way to end a motet-movement-in-homage-to-Schumann than to have the clarinetist (Todd Palmer, in this case) punctuate the proceedings with a gentle tap on a bass drum?

Last Thursday, the performers and I convened with Judith Sherman at the American Academy of Arts and Letters to record Still Point. I've had four recording sessions with Judy, and they've all been ear-opening experiences. Her attention to detail is legendary, and her gentle but exacting manner with musicians is always a recipe for success. I won't get the results of this session for another couple of months, but I know she will have done everything humanly possible to make me sound good once again.

Lawrence Dillon, Sequenza 21
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