Jeff Dunn <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>But I ask Karl: What 5 pieces, recorded but never or rarely performed
>to live audiences, does he think audiences would love?
If you knew my thinking these days you would not ask such a question.
I read Lebrecht's book on the recording industry and now reading "Who
Killed Classical Music." Reflecting on my reading and my personal
experiences, I really don't know what audiences would love. For many
years I had the Saturday morning shift at was once our local classical
music station. I would program the morning carefully and place something
that I felt for sure would be a winner late in the morning which was the
time the arbitron's said we had our largest audience for that day. Time
and time again, no response. Then, at some off hour, something that I
did not think would be a winner, was. An example of the surprise was the
Yoshimatsu Piano Concerto. Almost new age. Other "hits" were the Cello
Concerto by Malcolm Forsyth. Sometimes Arnold Rosner was a hit, and one
time I got several negative calls when I played his music. If you don't
know Rosner's music, think lovely tunes and conservative harmony. Then
there was the caller who found Amy Beach's music to be revoltingly
dissonant. I wondered if the caller had been listening to another
Then, as I read Mr. Lebrecht, I am reminded how audiences respond to
performers. I wonder how much they are influenced by what they read
and what they are told. There are many of the today's top box office
attractions in classical music that have stellar technique, but say
nothing to me. I wonder, why do people like them...
Typing this I am reminded of the Hindemith Symphonic Dances. I love
the Tortellier recording. When I listen to that last movement where
the main theme returns it still gives me goose bumps. I often wonder
how such noble music could come from a guy who was less than noble. Then
there is that passacaglia from his Nobilissima Visione. I have a Boston
Symphony performance with Monteux that still chokes me up everytime I
hear it. While his chamber music is still done, his major symphonic
works don't often appear in concert these days.
The other day a friend sent me a relatively recent performance of the
Sowerby Organ Concerto in C (not the Classic Concerto-but one with full
orchestra) It was with the LA Phil. The audience response was overwhelming.
I wonder why nobody seemed to think...well maybe we should try another
piece of his...
A few months ago I acquired a recording of the Violin Concerto by EB
Hill. What a knockout of a piece, yet, as far as I know, nothing of
his, with the exception of his work Lilacs (conducted by Schuller) has
been done in MANY years.
So, then the question, what will an audience like...darned if I know.
But I do believe that there is a difference between responding to something
and really liking it. I believe advertizing plays a great part in the
process, as it seems to be a part of molding our tastes and manipulating
society in general.
I remember when I released on my label a recording of the Lopatnikoff
Violin Concerto. I think it is a knock out. All but one reviewer said
it was watered down Prokofieff. Then there is the Piano Quintet by my
friend Kent Kennan. I think it is a wonderful piece. I think we sold
about 50 copies of the disc. Of course, sometimes it is a question of
a public not knowing about a piece, but as a friend of mine said, "in
music, familiarity is the name of the game." How does it become familiar...
As for my list of five works...how about a list of five composers.. I
start thinking about all of that wonderful music that never appears in
concert. It needn't be by obscure composers...how often does one hear
Delius...when was the last time your local orchestra programmed the
Khachaturian Second Symphony, the Vaughan Williams Sixth...
I will think about your question and make a "short" list, but to what
end...increase my frustration?
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