I. Good Times Just Seem to Pass Me By
II. So Cold / So Lonely
III. Everything Was Alright
When I was finishing up my Doctorate I fell in love—again—with the Velvet Underground. I longed, I suppose, for less complicated and depressing times, and remembered driving around Los Angeles with their first record, “Velvet Underground and Nico,” blasting and dreaming of moving to New York, and believing, then as now, that music could be dangerous. So when I came to write this three movement piano piece, I wanted to use the material from the Velvets and do my own violence to their work.
I chose different approaches for the three movements: for the first, I took the piano part from “All Tomorrow’s Parties” and a chunk of the melody and ran from there; for the second, I took their most famous song “Pale Blue Eyes” and used it as a kind of palimpsest, writing my piece as a kind of accompaniment and then removing the original material; and for the final movement, I rounded to a strict quotation from “Beginning to See the Light.”
This newer version corrects a few youthful indiscretions.
Composer Daniel Felsenfeld has been commissioned and performed by Simone Dinnerstein, Opera On Tap, The Chorus of Trinity Wall Street, UrbanArias, Metropolis Ensemble, Transient Canvas, The Crossing/ICE, Meerenai Shim, the New York Philharmonic New Music Biennial, NANOWorks Opera, Kathleen Supovè, Two Sense (Lisa Moore and Ashley Bathgate), ASCAP, San Jose Opera, ETHEL, Great Noise Ensemble, American Opera Projects, The Secret Opera, the Da Capo Chamber Players, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, Transit, Redshift, Nadia Sirota, Jennifer Choi, Lara Downes, Blair McMillen, Metropolis Ensemble, Two Sides Sounding, Kristin Elgersma, Eleanor Taylor and Jen Devore, Alcyone Ensemble, Parhelion Trio, Bryan Haslettm Xanthos Ensemble, Friction Quartet, Momenta Quartet, Nouvelle Ensemble Moderne, Cornelius Duffallo, Emily Manzo, Stephianie Mortimore, Mellissa Hughes, Corey Dargel, Jenny Lin, New York City Opera (VOX), ACME, New Gallery Concert Series, Gabriella Diaz, Jody Redhage, Caroline Worra, Kristin Chambers, Marcy Richardson, Kamala Sankaram, The Jessold Consort, New England Conservatory Philharmonic in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Galapagos Art Space, The Kimmell Center, Jordan Hall, the Kitchen, Miller Theatre, Merkin Hall, Wigmore Hall, Stanford University, Harvard University, National Sawdust, The Stone, Brown University, Le Poisson Rouge, City Winery, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C, and as part of the BEAT Festival, MATA Festival, Make Music New York, 21c Liederabend, Ecstatic Music Festival, Opera Grows in Brooklyn, New Brew, Serial Underground, and John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders. When rapper Jay-Z performed in Carnegie Hall, along with Alicia Keys and Nas, backed by a full orchestra, Felsenfeld was asked to do all of the orchestrations and arrangements. He also collaborated with The Roots (offering music on their Grammy-nominated record Undun, appearing with them and the Metropolis Ensemble on the Jimmy Fallon Show) and ?uestlove with Keren Ann and David Murray. He also wrote arrangements for noth ShuffleCulture and Electronium, shows at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with ?uestlove, Sasha Grey, Deerhoof, Reggie Watts, and How to Dress Well and the Metropolis Ensemble. He is also the Court Composer for John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders, for which he wrote the theme—and which can be heard as an NPR Podcast. Residencies include Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, The Hermitage, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts.
Felsenfeld is also an accomplished essayist, annotator, and author, with eight books to his name as well as articles for the New York Times, Listen, Playbill, Time Out New York, Symphony Magazine, Strings Magazine, New Music Box, and Early Music Magazine; program notes for the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Philadelphia Orchestra, Miller Theatre, Wigmore Hall, and Carnegie Hall; liner notes for Naxos, Bridge, Koch, EMI, Sony, and Adjustable Music. He served as curator for The Score in the Opinionator Section of the New York Times, he co-founded the New Music Gathering (an annual conference-concert series hybrid) which took place in San Francisco in 2015, as well as for Music After, a marathon concert on 9.11.11 he co-produced with Eleonor Sandresky. He is a teaching artist at the New York Philharmonic’s Very Young Composers program, and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.