June 14, 2004
Kent Nagano selects new transcription by arts
dean Edward Houghton to open Ojai Music Festival
By Scott Rappaport
The San Francisco-based choral group Chanticleer gave the premiere
performance of Arts Division dean and professor of music Edward Houghtons
new transcription of Johannes Ockeghems Missa Ecce ancilla
domini at the opening concert of the Ojai Music Festival on June
Kent Nagano and Edward Houghton backstage at the Philharmonic
Hall in Berlin.
Photo courtesy of Edward Houghton
The original manuscript of 15th century composer Johannes Ockeghems
Missa Ecce ancilla domini is on display in Rome at the
Photo courtesy of the Vatican Library
Renowned conductor and UCSC alum Kent Naganothe music director
of the 2004 Ojai Festival--decided to open this years event with
the new transcription by Houghton because of the success of his first
concert four years ago as music director of the German Symphony Orchestra.
At that performance in Berlin, Nagano made the unprecedented and daring
programming choice to combine works from the 15th and 20th centuriesjuxtaposing
Houghtons transcription of Ockeghems Renaissance mass Missa
Au travail suis with Mahlers Ninth Symphony.
Houghton has been researching and translating works by 15th-century
composers into modern musical notation for the past 25 years. The mass
performed at the Ojai Festival is one of 40 works known as the Chigi
Codex, which Houghton is preparing for publication in a critical edition
for the series Monuments of Renaissance Music by the University
of Chicago Press.
"Editions of this music are needed by most musicians and music
scholars because the system of musical notation, like other living languages,
has changed in the course of five centuries, Houghton noted. In
addition to interpreting obsolete signs and changed meanings, the editor
can supply missing but essential information, such as text, tempo indications,
and pitch alterations originally added by oral tradition in performance."
Kent Nagano conducted the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra at the
2004 Ojai Music Festival.
Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Opera
Houghton traveled to Ojai to present a preconcert lecture on Ockeghems
music at the Ojai Festival. Houghton also attended the Early Music America
conference in Berkeley to participate in a panel discussion of performance
issues in Ockeghems music. Chanticleer additionally performed
Houghtons new edition of the mass in Berkeley at St. Marks
A former student of Houghton, Nagano graduated with degrees in music
and sociology from UCSC in 1974. He is currently musical director of
the Los Angeles Opera, Berkeley Symphony, and the Deutsches Symphonie.
It's been a series of wonderful thrills to witness Kent's meteoric
succession of musical achievements in Berkeley, Lyon, Berlin, and Los
Angeles, Houghton noted. And I am anticipating more to come,
beginning in 2006, with his recently announced appointments as music
director for both the historic Bavarian State Opera in Munich and the
Return to Front Page