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CLASSICAL  March 2007

CLASSICAL March 2007

Subject:

Re: Communication

From:

James Tobin <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 22 Mar 2007 22:17:30 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Because I actually agreed with quite a lot of what Olivier Solinet said
in his initial post, I found it particularly difficult to come to terms
with some of his more provocative (offensive) characterizations--of one
of the greatest of composers and one of the most brilliant of violinists--
but I think I now have a handle on this.  When he said:

>It's amazing how much less time it would take me to learn a piece
>like Gaspard than the months it would take me to painfully hammer
>out any relatively easier Beethoven sonata (except, again, Op. 111,
>which I do adore).

does this perhaps explain why he would pretend to question Beethoven's
ancestry--just because he finds playing his works difficult?

As for Hilary Hahn, enormously successful at a year or two younger than
M.  Solinet, I think I understand his feelings about her performances
in terms of what I said myself here after reviewing one of her performances
(the Barber): her temperament is restrained, classical and neoclassical:
not what anyone in tune with the Russian soul would resonate to.  She
did quite well with the Shostakovich Violin Concerto No.  1, but I am
not looking forward to her Tchaikovsky next season, because I don't hear
it as her kind of piece.  I would like to know Solinet's opinion of
Vasily Petrenko, with whom Hahn played the Britten Violin Concerto
recently.  And speaking as someone also generally bored with Mozart--I
do recommend highly her release of Mozart Violin Sonatas with Natalie
Shu; it is surprisingly satisfying music-making, though not something
that will likely satisfy 18th century style purists.  (As far as the
German standard repertoire goes, I burned on that before I was about
Solinet's age--except for Mahler and Bach--and it took decades for me
to be able to listen with pleasure to Brahms or again.)

What I most agreed with in Olivier's first post was the bleak view
of the repertoire selections of many orchestras and the importance of
interesting young audiences (though it should be considered that for
much of the paying audience nearly everything may be nearly new.) When
I looked at the New York Philharmonic's 2007-2008 season announcement
recently, my reaction was, thank goodness I don't live in New York any
more.  But I can also say that the situation is not so depressing
everywhere.  The 2007-2008 season of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra,
a much under-rated ensemble, might please Karl Miller, who says of the
classical scene:

>...well for me, it just isn't what it once was.  I can remember
>awaiting, with great anticipation, a new piece from the pens of composers
>like Harris, Schuman, Copland, Tippett, Shostakovich, Britten, Mennin,
>Diamond, Barber...

As it happens, the announced schedule includes (the now old but still
good) Roy Harris' Third Symphony, William Schuman's Fifth Symphony,
Barber's First Symphony, Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony (his 1st, 11th
symphonies and 1st Violin Concerto having been played this past year),
Antheil's Jazz Symphony; and newer works: Jennifer Higdon's Percussion
Concerto, Dominick Argento's In Praise of Music, Seven Songs for Orchestra,
and Adams's Schoenbergian Chamber Concerto (not sure what you have against
Adams, Karl).  Also Bach's Mass in B Minor.  Lots of visiting up-and-coming
conductors coming, as Andreas Delfs, after twelve years as Music Director,
plans to move beck to Flensburg near the Danish border where he grew up,
at the end of the 2008-2009 season.

Jim Tobin

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