About this project
Cellist Justin Dougherty will present a series of recitals focusing on music written by composers in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. The four part recital series consists of performances of compositions for solo cello, works for cello and piano, string quartets, and chamber music for eclectic instrumental combinations. The fundraising goal of this project is set at $500.00, the amount needed to cover travel expenses to and from the west coast. Funds above and beyond this goal are greatly appreciated and will be used to offset other costs associated with a recital tour (lodging, publicity and advertising, audience receptions).
The first of these recitals will be presented this summer, in July of 2011, along the west coast of the United States, beginning July 11 in the San Francisco Bay Area and ending two weeks later in the pacific northwest. The recital, which features music for solo cello by composers Benjamin Britten, Robert Muczynski, and Ned Rorem, is the first in a series of ‘Queering the Pitch’ recitals which seek to introduce and celebrate the great works of art being created by LGBT composers. With your donation, the performances will be free and open to the public.
The three works presented on the first recital in the series represent compositions by some of the most prolific gay composers of the 20th-century. Composer Robert Muczynski’s (1929-2010) piece, Gallery: for unaccompanied cello, was inspired by watercolors of American painter Charles Burchfield and composed after a suggestion by Mr. Muczynski’s longtime companion, Harry Atwood. The brief work showcases that which is most beautiful about the cello. Gallery is earnest, economical and unostentatious, characterized by spare, neo-classical textures, and a restrained, but beautiful, lyricism.
Ned Rorem's (b. 1923) After Reading Shakespeare was composed in 1980 for cellist Sharon Robinson. The piece was written, Rorem says, after dipping into Shakespeare’s verses. Composed in nine movements, Rorem’s piece does not tell a story, despite it’s literary inspiration, and is equally violent and comforting throughout. The vocal writing for which Rorem is so well known is present throughout and pleasantly balances the most aggressive parts of the piece.
The final work on the program, Third Suite for cello, op. 87, by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) is the only piece which has entered the standard cello repertoire. The Third Suite for cello is a theme and variations based on Russian folk songs (arranged by Piotr Tchaikovsky) and dedicated to the great Russian cellist, Mstislav Rostropovich. The nine movements run attaca, one into another, and explore the entire lyrical range of the cello, finishing with the Kontakion, an Orthodox hymn for the dead.
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