The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Here are the world premieres of the second and third pieces of “pandemic music” commissioned by the U.S. Library of Congress | June 18, 2020

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By Jacob Stockinger

It has started.

This is the week when the world premieres of the 10 short pieces — written for the Library of Congress’ “Boccaccio Project” — started going public and began being posted on various social media sites as well as the Internet.

One performance is released each weekday night starting at 8 p.m. EDT.

The project is a way to capture some of the unique culture brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19.

The first was “Sequestered Thoughts,” a solo piano work by composer Damien Sneed and performed by Jeremy Jordan. You can hear it in the post preceding this one.

Now it’s on to two new ones.

The second piece in the series is  the 4-1/2 minutes “shadow of a difference/falling” by composer Richard Drehoff Jr. (below top, in a photo by James Matthew Daniel) and solo oboist Andrew Nogal (below bottom, in a photo by Jay Morthland) of the Grossman Ensemble.

The third work is the  three-minute “Intuit – (a way to stay in the world)” by Miya Masaoka (below top, in a photo by Heika no koto) performed by solo  cellist Kathryn Bates (below bottom) of the Del Sol String Quartet.

On the same page as the performance video, you can read what the composer and sometimes the performer have to say about the new work and what the music strives to mean or express.

You can also go to past performances and premieres.

You can follow links on the bottom of the page to see more information about both the composer and the performer, and to general background of the project.

If you would like some more background, along with some commentary and questions from The Ear, go to

What do you think of the pieces?

What do you think of the project?

Woud you like to hear more of the commissioned music?

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music
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1 Comment »

  1. Hi Jacob, To briefly , I hope,respond to your three questions . Question 1. The music is fine generally. Basically short but quite individual . All three seem ruminative as if that is the necessary response to music inspired by the pandemic. However , when one reflects on Boccacio’s Decameron ( the source for the commission’s title after all) outside of the Decameron’s introduction ,where the plague is well described, the following 100 stories are mostly rather escapist in tone and are not gloomy , languorous stories of confinement but instead a wide range of stories reflecting the whole vastness of life before and perhaps presumably after any confinement. So why do the musical pieces commissioned need to sound as if they are all rather dark pieces reflecting our current * confinement *. It shouldn’t limit the mind’s artistic imagination? Question 2 . Any effort by the Library of Congress to use their resources to benefit working artists is a worthy goal and to be applauded. Artists are suffering economically like so many others . Sadly in general the funding groups for the Commonwealth of Arts lately spends more money shoring up funding for well established conservative (almost moribund) organizations rather than infusing money to current living composers and artists. Call it the Lincoln Center Syndrome as it dates to its arrival if not before . Question 3 . Sure the music is interesting! Moreover, at the current time, public concertizing is temporarily a thing of the past. So you might also continue to point out on your blog any new local online streaming, zooming etc. from Wisconsin and Midwest groups and organizations to tune into. It is nice to hear them and benefits these groups by raising donations. Thanks for your blog as always . You do a great service.! Thanks sincerely , Randall Wilkins

    On Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 12:01 AM The Well-Tempered Ear wrote:

    > welltemperedear posted: “PLEASE HELP THE EAR. IF YOU LIKE A CERTAIN BLOG > POST, SPREAD THE WORD. FORWARD A LINK TO IT OR, SHARE IT or TAG IT (not > just “Like” it) ON FACEBOOK. Performers can use the extra exposure to draw > potential audience members to an event. And you might even a” >


    Comment by randall Wilkins — June 21, 2020 @ 2:09 pm

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