Nicholas Alexander Brown, November 1, 2014
William Robin's excellent feature on the Irving Fine Centennial ran in The New York Times. Below is an excerpt, and you can read the full article here.
EXCERPT: "Dec. 3 will be the 100th anniversary of Fine’s birth, an opportunity to reassess that Neo-Classical moment in American culture. For several decades, Fine and his colleagues had a confirmed place in the elite institutions of classical music. But today, those midcentury composers are often faulted for drawing on Old World mannerisms, overlooked in favor of mavericks like Charles Ives and John Cage. Aside from a handful of Copland chestnuts, few works of American Neo-Classicism are regularly heard in our concert halls.
A bonanza of Fine centennial activities in New York and Washington may rectify this imbalance. On Nov. 16, Copland House at Merestead will present chamber works of Copland and Fine in its music room in Mount Kisco, N.Y. Beginning on Dec. 2, the Library of Congress in Washington, which houses the Irving Fine Collection, hosts a five-day festival with concerts, lectures and a symposium. Later that month, the Boston Modern Orchestra Projectis releasing an album of Fine’s complete orchestral music: magisterial, exquisite compositions whose absence from the concert hall is a minor injustice."
Remembering Irving FIne
By Joel Mandelbaum, Composer & Former Student of Irving FIne
"From time to time, though very rarely, I kept a diary of my thoughts. One of those times was the Summer of 1962, the year Irving Fine died. I have recently been rummaging through my long forgotten notes and found the following, which I thought might be of interest to you. It is my entry of August 26, 1962."
"The general subject of why men create works of art has been put at the center of my attention these last two days by the terrible news of the death of Irving Fine and my grappling for means of expressing my deep regret in a condolence letter to Mrs. Fine. The thought fixed itself on me: does the fact that he left music behind, including some very beautiful music, make easier, should it make easier, the bereavement of those he left behind? It would seem to me that the answer is 'yes' and a strong 'yes' at that. Through the works of a great composer, his powers to sustain and console can permeate the hearts of total strangers even to his epoch, let alone his person. Should they not fill the hearts of his intimates? And since the sense of sustaining another human being is the deepest joy in life, and the fear of leaving most bereft the very creatures closest to oneself the greatest horror of death, is not, whether acknowledged or unacknowledged, the desire to immortalize one's power to console, the greatest single factor behind the impulse to create works of art?"
Classical Lost and Found reviews Irving Fine: Complete Orchestral Works
June 30, 2015 — "The overall instrumental timbre is natural sounding with pleasing highs and a lifelike midrange. Fine's elegant scoring engenders a lean bass end that remains clean throughout. The many instrumental solos are well captured and highlighted in all three play modes with the string tone even more convincing on the SACD tracks. This release is another addition to BMOP/sound's growing catalog of demonstration quality discs."
MusicWeb International reviews Irving Fine: Complete Orchestral Works
June 17, 2015 — "I was delighted by this exciting new CD from the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Apart from the Symphony, I have not consciously heard these works before: Irving Fine is, I guess, little known in the United Kingdom. He was one of the Boston Six group of composers which included Arthur Berger, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Lucas Foss and Harold Shapero. Fine’s music was neo-classical, neo-romantic and latterly serial in its style. All his works are approachable and all are written with fine craftsmanship and an excellent understanding of orchestration."
Commentary/CD Reviews: Recent Symphonic Recordings From Boston Orchestras
May 19, 2015 — "Curious, isn’t it, that the last really great symphony…was Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements, date 1945, exactly coincident with the end of World War Two? It is as though that apocalyptic bomb had demolished not only Hiroshima but, as a side effect, the whole tonal symphonic concept as well. And so for the last thirty years we have had no real symphonic history."
Classical Playlist: Tchaikovsky, Leonard Bernstein and More
April 15, 2015 — ... Irving Fine, Complete Orchestral Works Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Gil Rose, conductor BMOP Sound 1041 "Last year, the centennial of the birth of the American composer Irving Fine, brought some overdue attention to this significant and influential figure. Now there is an essential and rewarding new recording of Fine’s complete orchestra works, performed with expertise, zest and style by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project conducted by Gil Rose."
Audiophile Audition reviews Irving Fine: Complete Orchestral Works
March 25, 2015 — This disc is a most welcome retrospective of American composer Irving Fine, who died in 1962. Fine was a member of the so-called “Boston Six” or “Boston School.” Other members of the Boston School included Arthur Berger, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Lukas Foss, and Harold Shapero.
WebMusic International reviews Irving Fine: Complete Orchestral Works
March 2, 2015 — To the list of those such as Toccata who fill the gaps of neglected music, I’m happy to add the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Some of their releases have been too avant-garde for me, but there’s nothing about these recordings of the music of Irving Fine to scare the horses. In fact much of the music is as direct in its appeal as fellow American composers Aaron Copland – Fine’s older contemporary – and Leonard Bernstein.
Irving Fine’s Complete Orchestral Music, a vital addition to his discography
February 15, 2015 — Irving Gifford Fine (1914-1962) was an American composer. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Fine studied with Walter Piston at Harvard earning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. He studied conducting with Serge Koussevitsky and composition with Nadia Boulanger. At the time of his death at age 47 he completed only a handful of works for orchestra, chorus and various chamber ensemble and solo works. But what he lacked in quantity did not lack in quality. The Irving Fine Society maintains a very useful web page which can be found here.
Nicholas Alexander Brown, March 3, 2015
EXCERPT: "Fine's legacy goes way beyond that first festival, though it serves as a tangible product of Fine's work on behalf the artistic community in Boston and the United States. In the Brandeis music department Fine cultivated a strong curriculum in musicology and composition that has produced some of the leading figures in art music (composers Peter Lieberson, Steven Mackey and Scott Wheeler). His leadership of the School of Creative Arts created a training ground for many entertainment icons like playwright and TV writer Theresa Rebeck (Smash), actress Debra Messing (Will & Grace, Smash), Friends co-creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman, Tony Goldwyn of Scandal, president emeritus of The Kennedy Center Michael Kaiser, and actress Loretta Devine of Dreamgirls and Grey's Anatomy."
#IrvingFine100 on SoundNotion
Nicholas Alexander Brown, September 24, 2014
Nicholas Alexander Brown recently joined the team at SoundNotion for a discussion of the Library of Congress' Irving Fine Centennial Festival, nationwide commemorations of Fine's music, and also the Concerts from the Library of Congress series.
Irving Fine Centennial Launches
Nicholas Alexander Brown, December 2013
The Fine Family and Irving Fine Society are pleased to partner with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for the launch of the Irving Fine Centennial at Carnegie Hall on Saturday, December 7, 2013. Just four days after Fine's 99th birthday, this special commemoration features a performance of Fine's Serious Song, along with works by Handel and Mozart. Clarinetist Martin Froest performs.
The new IFS website
Nicholas Alexander Brown, July 2013
IFS is pleased to launch this new website in preparation for the 2014 Irving Fine Centennial. The website intends to be the central platform for all things Fine, recording important events of the past, present and future. Not only a tool for researchers, the new website actively encourages participation in Irving Fine events around the world and seeks to be a hub for interest in Fine and his legacy.
Remembering Harold Shapero
Nicholas Alexander Brown, May 18, 2013
IFS was sad to learn of the passing of Harold Shapero on Friday, May 17, 2013 at the age of 93. Shapero was one of Irving Fine's closest friends and colleagues. He was instrumental in the development of the Brandeis University Department of Music and was the last remaining living composer of the Boston Neoclassical School. A statement from the Shapero family is available here.
Irving Fine Centennial
Nicholas Alexander Brown, May 1, 2013
The Irving Fine Society is pleased to be the coordinating the IRVING FINE CENTENNIAL, which will be celebrated during calendar year 2014 with concerts, lectures, panel discussions and new online resources for those interested in the music and life of Irving Fine. If you are planning a celebration or tribute, contact us so we may help promote your event!
Irving Fine Resources
Nicholas Alexander Brown, April 12, 2013
Home to the Irving Fine Collection, the Library of Congress holds the world's most extensive music collection of over 25 million items (yes, that's right, 25 million!). Check out the digitized materials from the Fine Collection via the Library's "American Memory" portal.