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I think the solution for the big orchestras is to not try and be so monolithic. Use the younger, more open-minded, performers to go play Steve Reich in a jazz club, and there is a chance some of the people who hear that will give the more standard stuff a go, and in the very very long term, substantial new connections will be made. Tacking on the odd new work here and there - the LSO have tried to that in the last couple of years and it is a disaster - just feels like telling people they have to take their medicine now, and will get back to the proper stuff in a minute....

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Luigi Dallapiccola's "Canti di Prigonia".

 

See, that's exactly the kind of twelve-tone piece I think audiences would connect with because of its vocal content.

 

I'll be going to Fredric Rzewski that night, but I can't wait to hear how the Dallapiccola goes over.

 

It's a bitch to sing, I'll tell you that. :lol: I bet he wrote it in C major just so that he could make every other note an accidental. But it does sound cool with the percussion.

 

And I agree with H du Bois about the Philharmonic subscriptions being the same old same old. I was bored just reading the booklet. If it wasn't for N, I don't think I would have placed any orders for the '08-'09 season.

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I think the solution for the big orchestras is to not try and be so monolithic. Use the younger, more open-minded, performers to go play Steve Reich in a jazz club, and there is a chance some of the people who hear that will give the more standard stuff a go, and in the very very long term, substantial new connections will be made. Tacking on the odd new work here and there - the LSO have tried to that in the last couple of years and it is a disaster - just feels like telling people they have to take their medicine now, and will get back to the proper stuff in a minute....
I disagree completely, the LSO were including 'new stuff' when we were regulars at the Barbican 10 years ago and more, it's how I became interested in 'new stuff', I now make a point of looking for it, yes, it takes some concentration, and often a completely new way of looking at music, and some of it is dreadful, but then so is some of the 'real' classical music, and can you imagine what some of the compositions that didn't make it down through the ages might have been like, they all had to be premiéred and given a few outings.

 

Most, if not all, of the large orchestras have small units that play music more suitable to small ensembles, this might be modern or chamber or brass or string etc.

 

The problem is; it all costs, venues won't take on modern music as a complete programme as they can't get the audiences but orchestras and conductors know that modern composers need supporting and encouraging, so slipping the occasional piece in is an ideal way of introducing audiences to music they might have ignorantly dismissed or are too scared to approach.

 

And what a stultifying attitude

... and will get back to the proper stuff in a minute....
who can decide what is proper and what is not? All music had to start somewhere, and much of it wasn't appreciated first time round.

 

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I went to the first Paul Simon show at BAM last night.

 

They are devoting a month to this middlebrow popular music artist because one of their board members "suggested" (i.e., made grants of money implicitly or explicitly dependent upon) that they expand their focus on popular music.

 

I am outraged that this governmentally-funded institution is wasting its resources on presentations of middlebrow dreck that would be viable if presented commercially. I am also outraged, as a contributor, that they are wasting my money this way.

 

BAM's presentations of contemporary classical music ("classical" is obviously the wrong word, but nobody's come up with a better one) are minimal. If you live in Brooklyn, you have to make the long schlep up to Harlem for regular institutional presentations of such music (although there's a lot of catch-as-catch can stuff in the borough -- but most of it is sort of underground rock-based contemporary [the kind of stuff they put on in the Issue Project Room, for example] as opposed to what I'd call "institutional" contemporary, if anyone has any slight idea of what I mean). It is an outrage that this supposedly serious venue is deviating from its mission to this extent.

 

The reason I'm saying this in this thread is that it shows how greedy the pop-music faction is. Pop rules the commercial world; now they want to make it rule the non-profit world also. It's like when someone asked in this thread why not have serious conservatories train people to play rock music. Why the hell should they?

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I saw the most amazing piece of film footage last night at the Paley Center - a rediscovered broadcast, aired once exactly 40 years ago, of Glenn Gould discussing and demonstrating why he disliked the later compositions of Mozart and preferred early Mozart (and he threw in a little Beethoven to prove a musical point).

 

My god.

 

I can't believe that this was something that ever aired on American television (even if it was public broadcasting). A wildly intelligent and engaging discussion by one consummate musician about the consummate musicianship of another - and, as the pianist Simone Dinnerstein (one of the panelists) noted, he never spoke down to the audience. He pulled them up with him.

 

In speaking about why he found later Mozart less engaging (in essence, he felt Mozart had begun to rely heavily on his gift for improvisation at the expense of the structure of the music), he talked about 20th century art as becoming more improvisational and less structural, how we, in the 20th century (this was recorded in 1968) tend to ascribe meaning or intent to things even when there is no intent, and oh, it was just a delicious discussion of art in general and music in particular. And even though it had been aired only once 40 years before, it felt modern and alive and very much pertinent to music and art now.

 

Kirk Browning, the director (he'd done Live at Lincoln Center for years) did a one-shot, long-take camera movement during the second Mozart piece that was astounding (and would have been astoundingly difficult to achieve). I am in awe.

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We went to the Wiltshire Music Centre on Sunday night to see the European Union Chamber Orchestra. We also attended the pre-concert talk, which was a mistake, after a few minutes talking about the first piece; Haydn's Symphony No. 26 (Lamentatione) the lecturer then played virtually the whole of the second piece, Mozart's Piano Concerto No 9 (Jeunhomme) badly and left hardly any time for discussion of the third piece, Goncalo Lourenco's Elan which had been specially written for the concert (A celebration of the 10th anniversary of the centre) which, despite having had the score, notes and a recording of some of the rehearsals for several days, he only managed a few words about the style in which it appeared to have been written, he did however find time for a brief exposition of the final piece; Mozart's Symphony No. 29.

 

Now, though I quite like Haydn, I find most Mozart completely tedious, so had to sit through the piano concerto, though quite considerably better played by Freddie Kempf, for the second time that evening. After the interval the new piece was performed but by this time I was in such a state of complete boredom that it passed me by completely and a thoroughly dull evening was rounded off by one of M's more popular, but still utterly boring, symphonies. If it wasn't for the fact that MrsSRD enjoys both Mozart and piano music, I would have gone home before the concert started.

 

We've heard the orchestra before, and they are generally pretty competent if somewhat unadventurous in their choice of programme, and if the faces one or two of them pulled after they had finished the new piece was anything to go by, in their appreciation of anything written less than 200 years ago. Their director, Hans-Peter Hofmann, is a dancer and prancer who also breathes heavily at every intro, I wonder how he managed when an ordinary member of the orchestra?

 

A thoroughly dispiriting evening, although much appreciated by the majority of the audience, of whom I, in my mid fifties appeared to be the youngest member by a dozen years or more.

 

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Now, though I quite like Haydn, I find most Mozart completely tedious ...

You may have found Glenn Gould's interpretation of Mozart not tedious at all. One of the fun things he did in this broadcast was to take on another persona (a British one, with very a stuffy name, wearing a scarf) playing Mozart "correctly." So we see and hear the correct and proper way that the world generally does Mozart, and it's deadly dull. Then he threw himself into it the way that he felt it sounds, and it was alive and passionate (though very different from Horowitz's more romantic interpretations).

 

Whether you may have liked it or not is another matter. But boy, did he knock the dust off it.

 

 

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Now, though I quite like Haydn, I find most Mozart completely tedious ...

You may have found Glenn Gould's interpretation of Mozart not tedious at all. One of the fun things he did in this broadcast was to take on another persona (a British one, with very a stuffy name, wearing a scarf) playing Mozart "correctly." So we see and hear the correct and proper way that the world generally does Mozart, and it's deadly dull. Then he threw himself into it the way that he felt it sounds, and it was alive and passionate (though very different from Horowitz's more romantic interpretations).

 

Whether you may have liked it or not is another matter. But boy, did he knock the dust off it.

I'm not a lover of Gould, I think he makes everything sound like it's been arranged by Liberace, and played by John McEnroe.

 

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