René Leibowitz: Schoenberg and His School: The Contemporary Stage of the Language of Music (1947/1949)

Check out this post over here.

In this now-historic study of Schoenberg’s music and its impact on 20th-century composition, composer/conductor René Leibowitz–a student of both Schoenberg and Webern–traces the history of musical thought from the Renaissance through the early part of the 20th century, thus setting the stage for Schoenberg’s revolutionary abandonment of tonality. He also assesses the works of Schoenberg’s two star pupils. Alban Berg and Anton Webern He shows how Schoenberg’s methods were assimilated–conservatively by Berg and radically by Webern–maintaining throughout that theory was handmaiden to compositional artistry and not the other way around.

UK premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s Laterna Magica

BBC has a second installment of Proms on TV (but you can also listen to it on the radio that is available in all regions of the world). I am mostly interested in Saariaho’s piece, but there is of course the opening sequence of Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra which I do not mind, but which I cannot quite enjoy because it was used in the very strange context on the Soviet TV (as an opening music to a popular quiz show) and since then I cannot listent to it seriously. And then there is of course Stanley Kubrick’s choice of music…

Saariaho’s piece is third on the program (after Strauss’ Four Last Songs). The piece – Laterna magica – is inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s films (especially “Cries and Whispers”). Saariaho gives a short explanation of inspiration behind the piece. Continue reading

BBC Proms 2012 Begin!

It’s that time of the year again! BBC Proms 2012 kicked off today with an opening concert (see on BBC):

The 118th season of BBC Proms gets underway at the Royal Albert Hall with a spectacular concert of all-English music. In the year of the London Olympics there is something of a relay race around the podium with no less than four conductors passing the baton in the course of the evening – Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner and Martyn Brabbins. Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel is the soloist in Delius’ evocative Sea Drift, and a quartet of Proms favourite singers feature in Elgar’s Coronation Ode – Susan Gritton, Sarah Connolly, Robert Murray and Gerald Finley. Elgar’s effervescent Cockaigne Overture, Tippett’s Suite for the Birthday of Prince Charles and a brand new virtuosic curtain-raiser by Mark-Anthony Turnage complete the programme. The BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus take their traditional place on stage for a special First Night.

Sort of annoying how they are tying it to the Olympics this summer – I am not looking forward to all the moronic metaphors that the announcers are bound to throw around.

In other news, Barenboim will do all Beethoven’s symphonies, there is a nice expose of Saarijaho and much more!

Stefan Beyst On Luigi Nono’s Prometeo

I came across this essay by Stefan Beyst on Nono’s Prometeo – a revolutionary work, if there was ever one in this century (although calling it “revolutionary” is already lame since everyone who ever comes across it immediately does so). Nono worked on Prometeo for a long time in collaboration with an Italian philosopher (and all-around intellectual) Massimo Cacciari. The result was a performance at San Lorenzo in Venice in 1984 that was quite interesting – a new sort of stage production was constructed with electronic and spacial innovations. Some background info for the curios can be found here.

I thought this section of the essay was curious: Continue reading