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Karl Miller <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 25 Jan 2005 08:13:18 -0600
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Steve Schwartz wrote:

>I've just finished listening to the ten-part Leonard Bernstein radio
>documentary on my local NPR station.  A lot of it seemed empty fawning,
>and I *like* Bernstein.

A friend of mine just gave me the series on CD and I have listened to
the first 30 minutes of the first program...sadly, over produced and
empty fawning.  I was, however, both pleased and surprised to hear my
old friend John Ardoin's somewhat negative comments.  My guess is that
the content of the series was controlled by Jamie Bernstein.  On a related
note, I found it interest to compare a film bio done of Bernstein when
he was still alive, versus the "American Master's" production which left
me wondering if they were trying to have him made a saint...even if he
was Jewish.  On the other hand, I sincerely believe he found music to
be religion and his devotion to it deserves canonization!

And another related note...when working on the Bernstein New York Phil
set, making my suggestions as to what to include, I was saddened to learn
that the family did not want any music by Diamond included...if you have
read the Peyser book, I assume you can guess why.

>Before hearing this CD, I hadn't realized how much Bernstein programmed
>his youth (or at least his adolescence), especially as far as American
>music went.

Having reviewed his entire NY Phil repertoire, it was amazingly diverse,
however it was, in some ways, more conservative than say the Mitropoulos
repertoire.  I have often found it interesting that Bernstein favored
many of the composers favored by Koussevitzky.  In keeping with Bernstein's
notions of serialism, he rarely programmed any 12 tone music...a point
which is true also for the top of my head, I can
recall Koussevitzky did the Berg Concerto with Krasner.

>I'd say the same for the Hill.  Edward Burlingame Hill, at one time a
>respected American symphonist, has just about disappeared from concerts
>and recordings.  This may well be the only CD of his music currently
>available in the U.S. I like his chamber works best, a genre most suited
>to his essentially modest and reticent artistic nature.

Ah...a chance for plug...I am working on a CD of his Hill's chamber
music.  All of the works will be first recordings.  For me, while some
of his music offers less than remarkable thematic material, other works
are remarkable.  I wish I had the money to record his Symphonies.  For
me, Hill is one of the lost American's who deserves a hearing.  Playing
through the 4 hand reduction of the Third Symphony reveals a work of
great beauty.  The first Symphony...I have a broadcast recording with, to my ears, a brilliant, compact (15 minute) gem.

Hill was incorporating jazz into his music before Gershwin wrote his
Rhapsody in blue.  One of the reviews of Hill's piano concertino no.1
called it a Rhapsody in Scarlet!  Most of Hill's music remains
unpublished...his 4th Symphony was never performed!  And on a related
subject...Sowerby's Fifth Symphony was never performed...fortunately his
music is getting a bit more attention these days.

Karl (rambling too much again)