July 3, 2009
Aspenite Scott Lasser takes his game up several notches with his third novel, “The Year That Follows,” published last month by Knopf. Lasser’s story of an extended family that battles all forces – terrorism, financial woes, isolation, death – to stay intact is both heart-breaking and heart-warming. Lasser keeps his eye on his characters, making them not only likable but honest and human. It is a pleasure to watch them go through something that feels like real life. Lasser does a reading at 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 9, at Explore Booksellers.
Following last summer’s Aspen Music Festival performance of “Azul,” the name on most lips was Osvaldo Golijov, the Argentinean who composed the captivating piece. But no less buzz-worthy was Alisa Weilerstein, the cellist who performed Golijov’s work. In fact, the 27-year-old Weilerstein – whose parents were both longtime faculty members at the Music School – was essential to creating “Azul.” It was originally composed for Yo-Yo Ma, and drastically altered for the New York premiere, performed by Weilerstein. In the Aspen performance, the young cellist seemed essential to the work, giving it a funky feel. Weilerstein returns with perhaps a less dynamic program; she plays Brahms, Britten and Chopin in a recital with pianist Inon Barnatan on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at Harris Hall. (P.S. Golijov’s music is spotlighted in concerts on July 24 and 29 featuring soprano Dawn Upshaw.)
Among the Brothers Neville, Aaron is the one with the angelic voice; Art, known as Papa Funk, is the groove leader; saxophonist Charles gives the band its touch of jazz. And singer-percussionist Cyril Neville is the bad-ass, the one who adds the revolutionary spirit, the one who wrote an outspoken article – “Why I’m Not Going Back to New Orleans” – ripping the myth of the legendary New Orleans music scene. Cyril’s anger is often channeled into excellent music: take the version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” he added to the “Sing Me Back Home” album. Or “Brand New Blues,” his new CD that focuses on the blues style as much as blue emotions. Neville brings his own band to the Snowmass Free Music series on Thursday, July 8.