Classical Music 101: Epilogue

Of course, much institutional discussion went on to choose these programs and one does not want to draw too much from these data. However, if one compares the two programs with, say, the opening of Philharmonic Hall in 1961 (Beethoven, Mahler, Vaughn-Williams, a world premiere by Aaron Copland) and the 1966 opening of the “new” Metropolitan (the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra), the contrast is quite startling. In Berlin, Claudio Abbado conducted the Berlin Philharmonic in final movements of a number of symphonic works that just barely took its audience into the 20th century — excerpts from the 19th century’s Beethoven and Dvorak, mixed with highlights from Stravinsky’s Firebird (1910), the finale to Mahler’s Fifth Symphony (1902) and Arnold Schoenberg’s super-Romantic Gurrelieder (1900-1911). No Webern, Boulez, Carter, or Morton Feldman. And no world premiere commissions from the living masters. A search in the archives of that night will provide more sobering data on how classical institutions chose to end the century. Those facts directly confront what we read about the 20th century and what was important in it from a philosophical and esthetic point of view.
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Ojai Music Festival to premiere a comic opera by Denk and Stucky

L.A. Opera through the years

(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times) Also By Mike Boehm December 4, 2013, 7:20 a.m. Classical music buffs certainly have heard Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, but we suspect theyve never heard them sing. Next June, the 2014 Ojai Music Festival will give them the chance. The three great composers are among the characters in a new comic opera, The Classical Style, that will have its premiere on June 13, the second night of the four-day annual festival. They wont be singing their own stuff, but music by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky. The librettist putting words in their mouths is Jeremy Denk, the pianist and recent MacArthur Foundation genius award winner whos curating the festival as its music director.
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Classical Music & Opera

Lovelab image

MATTHEW PASSION WITH THE SEATTLE SYMPHONY, CHORALE, AND NORTHWEST BOYCHOIR There is nothing like it in all music, Leonard Bernstein said of the eruptive moment in Bachs St. Matthew Passion when the main choir splits into two and is accented by a third, releasing a torrent of layered sound. The story is taken from the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 26 and 27, tracking the plot against Jesus, and his death and burial. Bach wrote it in the 1720s, for multiple soloists, double orchestra, double choir, organ. The words are in German, written by a poet of the time who went by the name Picander, and Bach prepared it for a church serviceand for the ages. Bach wrote for church every Sunday. His church was the luckiest church that ever was.
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