December update, and a piece in Strange Horizons

by Tom Ingram

My article on Wagner and epic fantasy is in this week’s Strange Horizons. Go here to check it out, and be sure to donate lots of money to them. They’ve got a good racket going.

Next week is my long-delayed review of The Hobbit. I have a few other reviews in the pipeline and some other stuff, but I’ve depleted the reserve of finished posts I built up during the summer and the upcoming semester is going to be insane. Expect posting to be somewhat more sporadic during the next two or three months.

That means I probably won’t be doing an Oscar thing this year. It’s difficult to get ahold of all the movies in time and even more so to watch them all between the announcement of the nominees and the night of the big event. I have to pump out the articles at a rate that is too fast for me, and as a result they rarely turn out well. Also, I think I have a big rehearsal on the evening of the awards ceremony. I’ll still try to watch as many of the movies as I can, and at the very least do some kind of post-mortem.

In other news, I am going to be performing twice in the WSO’s New Music Festival at the end of January—once as a member of the University of Manitoba Wind Ensemble and once with my woodwind quintet.

The UMWE will be performing at NMF 3: Ghost Train on 30 January at the Pantages Playhouse, alongside the Winnipeg Winds and an ad hoc picked band known as the U of M Flute Ensemble. The program includes a new piece by Andrew Staniland called Four Horsemen, for wind ensemble and electronics, and Colour Wheel, a band piece by the eminent Canadian composer Malcolm Forsyth. The flutes will be performing NMF headliner Steve Reich’s Vermont Counterpoint. Tickets are $10; festival passes range from $59 to $99.

The quintet will be doing pre-concert entertainment for 1 February’s NMF 5: Glennie & Reich part 1. We’re performing Ligeti’s Six Bagatelles, an interesting little piece that blends rhythmic complexity, melodic and harmonic economy (the first bagatelle uses only four notes), and extreme catchiness. This is difficult music, but well worth the effort. Also featured is the premiere of Jeremy Hill’s Two Pieces for woodwind quintet. The performance begins at 7:30 on the Concert Hall’s Piano Nobile. The concert itself includes Reich’s Tehillim and the North American premiere of Jonny Greenwood’s Suite from There Will Be Blood. Tickets for NMF 5 start at $23.75, with discounts available for seniors and students. See the NMF site for more information.

Other than that, I’ve got nothing to say. Happy New Year, all.