Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Subsidization of Classical Music Concerts and the Piper

"Since 1938, a rarefied New York cultural experience -
concerts at the Frick Collection - has been free.
No more. Despite a mini-trend of free or low-cost
performances in the city, the collection will charge $20
a ticket. The Frick, which has an endowment in excess
of $200 million, said it can no longer afford to subsidize
the concerts completely. ... Tickets at another major
museum concert series, at the Metropolitan Museum
of Art, run from $25 to $70."

Daniel J. Wakin, The New York Times, June 30, 2005.


Comment: While I feel sorry for those younger
(or older) people, who in many cases are truly
poor in big or expensive cities like New York,
San Francisco, or Washington due to unemployment,
illness, or other bad fortune, I imagine that other
patrons will take this new development with understanding.
And I would hope those of us who have been the beneficiaries
of free concerts over the years and who can now afford to
do so, will now reach into our wallets and freely donate that
$15, $20, or $10 when a chamber event is free, but a
donation box is available at the door. A fine cultural
experience is indeed worth the price of a pound of
flounder or a moderately inexpensive bottle of California
wine. Don't you agree?

(Sorry Starbucks, but despite your ice-cream promotion,
we Americans have resolved to start saving money and start
supporting, to a much greater extent, live musical and other
cultural events.)


Image of Pieter Bruegel the Elder's (active 1551-1569)
"The Three Soldiers", from the Frick Collection:

Reader Response -- National Orchestral Institute

Sarah took issue with my advocacy for the
incorporation of more American music in the
programming of the prestigious National
Orchestral Institute, held at the University of

"I disagree with your position. As students
facing a future of orchestral auditions, our
audition repertoire consists of - face it -
pieces like the Brahms, Mozart, and Strauss.
It was nice having the experience to play a
Mahler symphony that is rarely programmed
(besides that, it's nearly impossible to work
up a Mahler symphony in a college orchestra
to this level during the school year).
Appalachian Spring is an important, difficult
piece of standard rep we will all probably
need to play at some point. If the programmers
had wanted a "token piece" they would have
chosen something less difficult. Many of these
pieces, not new American works, show up in
the final audition rounds of orchestra auditions
as sight-reading. We need the exposure to these
works, performed under the best conductors.
Since we only have three weeks, only a limited
amount of repertoire could actually be learned.
The point of NOI is to prepare us for careers
in music, not to make a political music statement."

My response:

" Thank you for your comment, Sarah.
You state your position very well.
However, I will stand by my professional --
and not political -- position that young
professional American musicians should be
exposed to a wider variety of American
orchestral music. I disagree with you that
Mahler symphonies are rarely programmed
by school orchestras during the academic
year, and that it is impossible adequately to
prepare such works under academic conditions.
I have heard Mahler symphonies performed by
the university-level orchestras of the University
of California at Berkeley and Harvard-Radcliff
Colleges. Also, two of the high-school youth
orchestras that I was associated with performed
Mahler symphonies -- symphonies #1 and 4.
I will agree with you as to the importance and
difficulty of Copland's Appalachian Spring.
I performed it with my college orchestra during
my freshman year. Comparable works, in my opinion,
should have been on the other NOI programs.

I am also aware of the extract books that
aspiring professional musicians use to prepare
for orchestral auditions. I know that these references
currently feature extracts -- including solo passages
-- from composers such as Mozart,Brahms, Mahler,
Strauss, and Copland. (I do not believe such texts
include extracts from works such as Boulez's
Notations, which was programmed by Mr Robertson.)

I believe that prestigious, high visibility,
publically-funded programs such as the NOI
should strive the reflect the best that the American
orchestral tradition can offer its various current
and potential audiences -- and that includes
some outstanding music from the 19th and 20th
century American symphonic tradition, as well
as newer works -- such as the work by
Gabriela Lena Frank, Three Latin American Dances,
that I mentioned in my orchestral post
-- which reflect the best of 21st century America.

I wish you well in securing a post in the high-paying,
but certainly economically-troubled,
American orchestral industry. (I hope that you read,
on a daily basis, Drew McManus's excellent blog posts,
at -- I will assume you do.)
Alternatively, I wish you well in a career in
chamber music, music teaching, or anything else
you choose to pursue. Thank you again for your strong

By the way, later this morning I plan to post
a comment concerning lack of American
symphonic music on the Baltimore Symphony
Orchestra's special summer season at its new
Strathmore Hall home outside of Washington, D.C.


Here is a link to young American composer Gabriela
Lena Frank. Perhaps you, or other young orchestral
professionals, may be interested in her thoughts
and feelings as reflected in her American works:


I hope that other readers will post a comment if
they also feel strongly about either Sarah's position,
or my position.

Link to my National Orchestral Institute post of June 21:

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Emeryville Shellmound

"The Emeryville Shellmound was a highly remarkable historic,
cultural, and sacred site established by Ohlone Indians over
centuries of use from 500 B.C. to approximately 1700 A.D.
These people were among the earliest inhabitants of the region
now known as the San Francisco Bay Area. They built their
villages on the mound and buried their dead, creating, over
the centures, a sixty foot high mound with a diameter of about
350 feet. This signficant site functioned holistically in both
the secular and sacred realms, and as such, should not have
been disturbed, but honored as a place set apart from the
mundane world. ...

Imagine what we now call the San Francisco Bay Area in an
earlier time, some 2500 years ago, when it was a more natural
landscape, a large estuary where creeks, streams, and rivers
drained into a bay filled with abundant marshlands.
Punctuating this watery landscape were a series of nearly
400 mounds ringing the bay which had been built by the Ohlone."

The University of California Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of
Anthropology gives the dimensions of the Emeryville Shellmound
as 975 feet by 325 feet by 32 feet; and dates the founding of these
mounds to Amerindians in ca. 2300 B.C.E.:


Image of the Southern wall of the Emeryville Shellmound
being leveled in 1924 to make space for a paint factory:

Culture above Earth -- The Marriage of Mir and Atlantis

"On June 29, 1995, the American space shuttle Atlantis and
the Russian space station Mir docked, forming the largest
man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth. Mir (Мир, which
can mean both world and peace in Russian) was humanity's first
permanently inhabited space station. It was constructed in
orbit by connecting different modules, each launched separately
from February 19, 1986 (just over two months before the
Chornobyl catastophe in Ukraine) to 1996. The 100-ton Mir
was as big as six schoolbuses. Inside, it looked more like a
cramped labyrinth, crowded with hoses, cables and scientific
instruments -- as well as articles of everyday life, such as photos,
children's drawings, books, and a guitar. The journey of the
15-year-old space station ended March 23, 2001."


Image of the Mir and Atlantis:

The Mississippians and the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Ionarts' Charles T. Downey offers a wonderful
short piece of summer travel writing in his blog
entry on his visit to the Cahokia Mounds State
Historic Site, outside of St. Louis. Archaeological
finds show that Cahokia was inhabited from about
700 to 1400 C.E. The site has been on the UNESCO
World Heritage List since 1982:

... "As my visit nearly coincided with the summer solstice,
the henge was lined up with the sun’s smoldering
descent as I peered at it from the top of Monks Mound.
The later towers to the American gods, the Gateway Arch
and the skyscrapers of modern St. Louis, were visible in a
view made slightly less spectacular by the haze of heat
and pollution. The area around old Cahokia is less than
savory, as I discovered. Right next to the Cahokia park,
just behind where I took these photographs, is the most
unseemly of sites, a garbage dump. That such things would
one day be visible all around—the interstates cutting
through the countryside, a bustling metropolis in the
polluted distance, the silvery rainbow of the arch—
could surely not have been conceived by the people
who put their sweat to raise this mound toward the sky."...


In April, the State of Illinois announced plans to fund a
feasibility study to help restore this historic site and
develop a world class tourism destination:

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Orpheus Raising Hell: Memories of the late Aleksander Kulisiewicz

"The late Aleksander Kulisiewicz (Alex to his friends) lived
in a world turned topsy turvy. While others did backward
somersaults of denial to compensate for the rude disruption
to their everyday lives, turning a blind eye to the unsightly
reality, thereby deflecting attention from themselves and
feigning normalcy, Alex had the effrontery (foolish or
courageous—take your pick) to stand upright and look the
lies and liars in the eye. Neither Jew nor Gypsy, Communist,
homosexual, Jehovah's Witness, high profile Polish intellectual
or other likely candidate for the Nazi roster of undesirables,
he could, like most of his contemporaries, have kept his mouth
shut and bit his tongue to still the hunger and disgust, but Alex
stuck out his tongue. "Genug Hitler, Heil Butter!"
(Enough Hitler, Heil Butter!) he wrote in an anonymous jibe
entitled "Homemade Hitlerisms" in a student newspaper
subsequently traced by the Gestapo back to its author.
He was arrested in 1939, at the age of 22, and sent to
Sachsenhausen concentration camp, the grim finishing school,
where he spent the next five years (or more precisely,
66 months in Hell) and found his true calling as a modern
day Orpheus, a troubadour of the unutterable. In 54 of his
own songs composed and first performed surreptitiously
during his incarceration, Alex snubbed his nose at the German
authorities to amuse and boost the morale of his fellow inmates.
He also committed to memory hundreds of other songs and
poems gathered from those who suspected that their own
end was near. Following an informant's denunciation and the
subsequent brutal interrogation, he was injected with
diphtheria bacilli to shut him up for good ... "

Opening lines to the essay
Orpheus Raising Hell: Memories of the late Aleksander Kulisiewicz
By Peter Wortsman

The full essay is available on the Web-site of the United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum, at this page (one must click the
link to the Wortsman essay near the bottom of the opening page):


The above link also includes two photos of Aleksander Kulisiewicz,
taken in Krakow, Poland, in ca. 1970 and, I believe, ca. 1980.

The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization (Abridged)

'The Metropolitan Opera, as part of the labor agreement
with its chorus and orchestra announced Monday,
said it would stage a limited run of its new production
of "The Magic Flute" reduced to about 90 minutes.
... The performances, to take place in the winter holidays
of the 2006-7 season, will be aimed at both children
and adults. The shortened production is part of a broader
focus on building audiences, an effort that the Met began
only several years ago, Mr. Volpe said. Just what will
be cut from the production has yet to be negotiated
by the director, Julie Taymor, and James Levine,
the music director."

Daniel J. Wakin, New York Times, June 28, 2005
(with thanks to


Comment: During two recent late autumn and winter holiday
trips to Hamburg, Germany and Vienna, Austria, I have
attended hugely imaginative stagings by, respectively,
Achim Freyer and Marco Arturo Marelli/
Dagmar Niefind, of Mozart and Schikaneder's profound
masterpiece, "The Magic Flute". On both occasions,
the sold-out houses were filled with children, in their
winter and holiday finery. In both cases, the children
remained focused, and enchanted, throughout the near
3 hour productions. I wonder whether children, of both
western and eastern Europe (as well as East Asia) have
greater atttention spans than American children, and
adults, in the 21st century? And I truly hope that this
abridged masterpiece will not replace unabridged MET
performances of Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel",
at holiday time; nor that it absorb financial resources that
should be dedicated to the MET performing one
American opera each and every season.


Image from Achim Freyer's staging of "The Magic Flute"
("Die Zauberflöte") :

Renaissance of Holocaust-era Musical Works

Last Friday, American pianist, Jeffrey Biegel,
blogging over at Sequenza21, commented
on American conductor James Conlon's
distinguished musical leadership efforts on
behalf of Holocaust-era composers, such as
Viktor Ullmann, who perished at Oswiecim/
Auschwitz-Birkenau, and at other Nazi death
camps. He included a link to Dennis Polkow's
strong essay "The Sound of a Lost Generation",
published by NewCity Chicago:

Mr Biegel closes his comment with an
appeal to anyone who has knowledge of, or
access to, these composers' output to please
share these materials.

I certainly hope that anyone with access to
not yet published Holocaust-era composers'
output will share this material, or even
their not yet recorded memories of the lost
composers of that disaster.

Besides forwarding these materials to Mr Biegel,
I would hope that arrangements would be made
to deposit any not yet publically available
musical works in the musical archives of the
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,
or other appropriate professionally-administered
international musical archives.


Link to the USHMM musical archives,
with opening page image of "Piesn Obozowa,"
by Zbigniew Koczanowicz :

A second link to the USHMM's multi-media
feature "Music of the Holocaust: Highlights
from the Collection":

Monday, June 27, 2005

Smithsonian Global Sound Goes Live

"Smithsonian Global Sound delivers the world's
diverse cultural expressions via the Internet
in an informative way for a reasonable price.
It also helps encourage local musicians and
traditions around the planet through international
recognition, the payment of royalties, and support
for regional archives."


To celebrate the launch of Smithsonian Global
Sound, the Smithsonian is offering the following
six FREE downloads:

A mi dulce amada (To My Sweet Beloved)
-- From Jibaro Hasta el Hueso (2003)

-- From Jean Bosco Mwenda (1952)

A la limon (To the Lemon)
-- From Canciones Para el Recreo (2000)

Train That Carried My Girl from Town
-- From Untamed Sense of Control (2003)

When the Moon is Full
-- From Doc Tate, Nevaquaya: Comanche Flute

Chakay and Ching (Instrumental)
-- From Music of Thailand (1959)


To find the music of a specific culture group, see:

The Persistence of Culture on Earth

"[You for] the fragrant-blossomed Muses’ lovely gifts
[be zealous,] girls, [and the] clear melodious lyre:

[but my once tender] body old age now
[has seized;] my hair’s turned [white] instead of dark;

my heart’s grown heavy, my knees will not support me,
that once on a time were fleet for the dance as fawns.

This state I oft bemoan; but what’s to do?
Not to grow old, being human, there’s no way.

Tithonus once, the tale was, rose-armed Dawn,
love-smitten, carried off to the world’s end,

handsome and young then, yet in time grey age
o’ertook him, husband of immortal wife."

-- Sappho

Restoration and translation by Martin West
(c) The Times Literary Supplement of London, 21 June 2005

The TLS issue itself has both Mr West's discussion of the
cultural context of Sappho and her newly discovered poem,
and the original Greek.

Another Day on Earth

"For most of his career, producer-composer
Brian Eno has written and recorded poignant
ambient music more befitting film scores (which
many of them were) than pop records.
"Another Day on Earth" (Rykodisc) is Eno's
first album in 15 years that focuses on the
presence of vocals rather than their absence.
The songs meld his ethereal soundscapes
with grandious vocal choruses, producing a
sound that feels like a cross-pollination
between antiquated chants and a digital-age
Complementing this style are lyrics concerned
with the profound wonder surrounding the
minutiae of everyday life. Admirable ambition
no doubt, but all is not copacetic.
Making grand music to suit grand ideas is a
tough task. ..."

Adam Kosan, The Hartford Courant.

Culture on Earth

Remember, back in public elementary school, those
Nature films showing chimpanzees placing thin
sticks in antholes to collect their morning meal?
Apparently, primates are not alone as animal

"When marine biologists first spotted bottlenose dolphins
cavorting off the coast of Australia wearing sea sponges
on their snouts, they didn't know what to make of the
odd behavior. Now, an international team of researchers
has produced evidence that the animals' antics represent
a form of culture, which would add the dolphins to an elite
group of species that pass traditions down through
generations without being compelled by their genes.
"We define culture as a behavior that is acquired by
imitation and passed on in a population," said Michael
Krutzen, of the University of Zurich in Switzerland,
who led the new research. "We think this behavior
is an example of that. It's very exciting." Krutzen and his
colleagues believe the dolphins, which live in Shark Bay
off the west coast of Australia, wear the sponges while
foraging for small fish, crustaceans and other food along
channels in the sea floor to protect themselves against
sharp coral and stinging critters such as stonefish.
It's a trick that appears to be almost exclusively passed
from mothers to daughters. "They wear them like a
glove," Krutzen said. "When they go down to the sea
floor to probe for prey, there are lots of noxious animals
down there. By using the sponge, it protects them."
... The behavior may be passed almost exclusively to
females because foraging along the seabed is a solitary
activity, and males tend to spend most of their time
traveling in groups searching for mates."

Rob Stein, The Washington Post, June 27, 2005.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The MET Opera and the Modern/Contemporary World

"The Met first approached Mr. Tan [Dun] about writing a
new American opera in 1996. [His new opera -- The First Emperor
-- will receive its MET premiere on December 21, 2006.]
He offered three ideas. One was about the Jews who fled to
Shanghai in the 1930's and 1940's, another about Freud
and dreams. The ultimate choice was the saga of Qin Shi Huangdi,
the visionary and brutal warlord who unified China and
proclaimed himself the country's first emperor in 221 B.C.
The dynasty he founded was eventually brought down by
rebels from Hunan - Mr. Tan's home province,
he proudly notes."

Robert Lipsyte and Lois B. Morris
"Tan Dun's Opera: Special Delivery From the Spirit World"
New York Times, June 26, 2005.

Economics (and Literacy) and the Arts

Extra! Extra! The Washington NATIONAL Opera
has apparently doubled the number of $45 tickets
it is offering for next year's 50th Anniversary
Season! (The company also trumpets lower box
and orchestra seat prices, with the prices for those
seats now ranging from $98 to $290. The company is
apparently learning that many available prices are
necessary, if performing arts organizations
are going to begin to fill their inventories of unfilled,
unwanted seats.)

The drawback concerning the new $45 tickets
is that they are Rear Orchestra seats where English
supertitles are not, usually, visible. This will be a
problem for those new to opera, who should probably
spring for the $68 Second Tier Prime seats, if they
want to read the supertitles. (The $45 Second Tier
Non-Prime seats are sold out in advance, though
returns are possible.) Or art lovers new to opera
can do what opera lovers did for 380 years;
that is, obtain and read a libretto beforehand.

However, given that both my spouse and I are
opera- and libretto- savvy art lovers, I think you'll
start finding us in the rear corners of the orchestra
level. And I expect those rear corners of the house
will begin to be happening cultural places -- rather
than empty lots abandonned by out of touch

Sign us up for Verdi's I Vespri siciliani (that's the one
about stylish motorscooters?), Wagner's Das Rheingold
(that's the Marxist one about German beer with little
flecks in it?), and Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito (that's
the one about war crimes, and military tribunals, in
Serbia and Montenegro?).


Image of Kyiv, Ukraine Monument to the Motherland
(World War II memorial complex) :

No Music Is An Island

The National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute
Orchestra has programmed two FREE concerts for the Kennedy
Center Concert Hall, on Sunday July 10 and Sunday July 24 --
both at 6 PM -- as part of the Kennedy Center's innovative
and popular Millennium Stage commitment to a more democratic
culture. And guess what the young musicians will be performing
on those two occasions? You guessed it -- Beethoven, Weber,
Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Sibelius -- and not a 19th or 20th
century American to be seen. (Perhaps the NSO should rename
itself the District of Columbia Symphony Orchestra, and all
American orchestras could compete for the annual laureate
title "this year's National Symphony Orchestra" -- based upon
the orchestra's commitment to American culture, and connection
to all of its potential audiences.)

At the same time that the NSO and the NSOSMIO are being
reactionary, the Millennium Stage programming forges ahead
into the musical 21st century, this July, with performances by Los
Pleneros de la 21, Cowboy songwriters Chuck Milner and Patrick
Karnahan, Keith Bear and Rita Cantu, the Boys Choir of
Tallahassee, the Jeremy Kittel Trio, Jazz Mantra, classical
organist Charles Pugh, the James King Quintet, D.C Hip Hop
artist Benji Reid in 13 Mics, D.C. Hip Hop artist Jack Ya Body,
Kermit Ruffins, Hairspray Dance Party, Washington NATIONAL
Opera Institute for Young Singers, Cowboy songwriter
D.W. Groethe, Daby Toure of Mauritania, young classical artists
Kimberly Kong and Maureen Walsh, Nigerian Kuku,
Chris Fonseca and Alan Shain, Catfish Hodge, the Broto Roy
Indian Jazz Ensemble, the David Munnelly Band, Latino Caranga
Cakewalk, Afro-funk orchestra Chopteeth, and Ron Diehl
and Friends.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Summertime Watermusick

Critic Anne Midgette writes an interesting article in
today's New York Times entitled "Decline in Listeners
Worries Orchestras". It deals with issues of both
regular seasons, as well as the summer seasons that are
now common ever since major orchestras gave their
musicians contracts for 52 weeks a year.

I was intrigued by the quote from Welz Kauffman, the
President of the Chicago Symphony Ravinia Festival,
who, referring to a July performance last summer of
Deborah Voight singing Act 1 of Wagner's "Walkure",
under James Conlon, had an epiphany when he saw that
attendance was only 50 percent. He said, referring to
the empty seats, "It's a moral issue. There should not be
anyone missing this. There are people who would really
love this. How do we get to them?"

Well, I agree that it is a moral issue, and I am willing to
sign up as an advocate for connecting American orchestras
to American society and culture at large. But perhaps there
are Americans who don't think that an unstaged, single
act of a long Wagner opera, outdoors, is their idea of the
finest of a little summer night music. And maybe there will
be Americans who don't think that next season's NSO
unstaged, concert performance of Mozart's "Abduction from
the Seraglio" is the best use of their entertainment dollars,
considering that there might be a staged version soon in the
Opera house next door, or a staged version by an alternative
opera company.

I'm willing to engage in a serious discussion of current problems
in American orchestral culture. But I will request that
everything be on the table for discussion and rigorous debate.

Friday, June 24, 2005

A Tale of Two Cities' Revivals In-Progress

On my short Metro ride this morning,
I noticed in my free Express newspaper
a story entitled "Historic Opportunities:
As prime building lots grow scarce, old
buildings are getting a new look." To
which I say -- "Finally! Welcome to the
Urban Renaissance!!"

The article cites the Car Barn on Capitol Hill,
an 1896 streetcar depot, which once served
as a trolly repair shop and storage area, which has
been converted into two-story condominium
lofts. Former hospitals, warehouses, churches,
and embassies are, also, all being converted
into condos in the Washington, D.C. - area.

The article cites John Michael Vlach, an
American studies professor at George
Washington University who specializes in
North American traditional architecture:
"There is a sense of decor, a sense of rythm of
openings ... an intriguing asymmetry that
you can't get in the suburbs. Most people
used to 8- to 10- foot ceilings think that they
have died and gone to live in a castle."


Two of my favorite historic reuse projects are new
luxury hotels (in which anyone can go and
enjoy a drink in their lobbies, if not stay):
The first is the Ritz-Carlton on the Georgetown
waterfront, which is located in a former historic
incinerator building -- now a luxury hotel more
stylish and edgy than one would at first imagine.

Last Saturday, after enjoying a drink and light
supper with friends (one of whom was 5 years old),
a manager gave me a tour in which he pointed to
the mechanical conveyor system still in place high
above the dining room, and the private dining room,
for 12, carved out of the base of the former
smokestack. The hotel lobby featured artwork by
the likes of the Starn Brothers and David Nash.

Here is the link to images:
Ritz- Carlton of Georgetown, Washington, D.C.


I am even fonder of the Four Seasons's restoration
of Zsigmond Quittner's Budapest 1907 Art Nouveau
masterpiece, the Gresham Palace, named after the
founder of the London Stock Exchange -- the world's
first -- which is located on Roosevelt Place,
overlooking the Danube river and the Buda sky-line.
As a firm believer in eco-tourism, I am also happy
to report that Hungarian environmentalists
successfully saved the one-hundred year old trees,
next to the Palace, that the developers had wanted
to cut down for parking space.

Here is the link to images:
Four Seasons Budapest Hotel


Budapest, where we spent last Christmas, has to have
some of the most beautiful architecture ever imagined,
and constructed, by mankind.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Tourism and Economic Development

"Berlin may be economically depressed, but tourism is on the rise.
Germany's capital has edged out Rome to become the third
most-visited city in Europe, with 13m visitors per year, according
to the city's official tourist office. London, with its 60m visitors,
is the top tourist destination, followed by Paris with 30m visitors.
But third place does not seem good enough for the city-state's
government, which is pushing a raft of measures to make the city
more tourist-friendly. Moves include creating more parking
places at the new main rail station and near popular attractions.
The city also plans to take better advantage of Berlin's numerous
waterways, though there must first be more boat-refuelling
stations. Local officials are encouraging owners of hotels and
restaurants to train their staff in foreign languages and city
history. From August, the government will offer a three-year
course to teach young people how to deal with tourist groups
and to work at tourist attractions."


Aerial image of new Main Train Station (Lehrter Bahnhof), Berlin:


In the aerial image above, the long glass building, behind
the new Main Train Station, in the former eastern zone
of the city, is the new offices of the Federal
Statistical Office Germany:

Cultural Palaces a Go-Go?

"Iraqi Culture Minister Nouri Farhan al-Rawi urged UNESCO
to help the government transform Saddam's palaces and
government buildings into cultural centers.
''The culture minister supports transforming the palaces
of the former Iraqi dictator ... 170 palaces of despotism,
into cultural palaces for Iraqi people and visitors to Iraq,''
the minister told a news conference."" (AP)


Comment: Maybe Iraq will simply have to do what the
post-communist world did, and slowly and carefully evolve
cultural, economic, and tourism redevelopment strategies
based upon the development of infra-structure and the
restoration of important historical and cultural properties.


UNESCO World Heritage List:

Image of Lviv, Ukraine opera house:

Image of Odesa, Ukraine opera house:

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Another Golden Harp of Ur Replica

"Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari brought a gift
from Iraq for President Bush, aides said: a replica of an
ancient musical instrument. The golden lyre, a replica of
a 4,700 B.C.- era instrument known as the Golden harp of Ur,
was decorated with a lapis lazuli bull's head and engravings
of mythical animals drinking and dancing. Ur, in modern-day
Iraq, was the capital of ancient Sumeria and is mentioned in
the Bible as the birthplace of the Prophet Abraham." (AP)

Images of previous replicas of the Golden Harp of Ur:


"The tablets from the Syrian city of ancient Ugarit
(modern Ras Shamra) were about 3400 years old, had
markings called cuneiform signs in the hurrian language
(with borrowed akkadian terms) that provided a form
of musical notation. One of the texts formed a complete
cult hymn and is the oldest preserved song with notation
in the world. Finally in 1972, Professor Anne Draffkorn
Kilmer, who is professor of Assyriology, University of California,
and a curator at the Lowie Museum of Anthropology at Berkeley
-- working with colleagues Richard L. Crocker and Robert R.
Brown -- developed an interpretation of the song based on
her study of the notation."

Slightly adapted from Robert Fink's essay
"Evidence of Harmony in Ancient Music":


University of Chicago, Oriental Institute, Lost Treasures
from Iraq, Iraq Museum database (updated April 12, 2005):

Reality, Allegory, Space, and Time

"This project examines the fate and legend of a sixteenth-century
Ukrainian woman known in the West as "Roxolana" and in Turkey
as "Hurrem Sultan". Sold into the Ottoman sultan's harem as a
slave and concubine, she quickly reached the pinnacle of power in
the Ottoman Empire -- the beloved wife and close advisor of Sultan
Suleiman the Magnificent. Roxolana's dramatic life and
tremendous impact on Suleiman have excited the imagination
of historians and fiction writers for centuries; she has
become a legend and the site of various cultural fantasies.
This project traces the origins of the Roxolana legend
and examines various representations of her figure in
history and literature, focusing on the disparities
among three varieties of cultural responses: Ottoman,
Western European, and Eastern European."

Galina Yermolenko "Roxolana: From Slave to Legend"

For oil painting representation of Roxolana, see:

For drawn image of Mausoleum of Kanuni Sultan Suleyman
and Roxalana, see:

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

National Gallery Vocal Arts Ensemble -- The Persistence of Renaissance Values During Time of War

The National Gallery Vocal Arts Ensemble, under the
artistic direction of distinguished soprano Rosa
Lamoreaux, will be performing a wonderfully-balanced
FREE program on Sunday evening, at 6:30 PM, in the
West Garden Court, of the National Gallery of Art, West
Building. This performance is the 2,541 free concert
produced with the support of funds provided
by William Nelson Cromwell and F. Lammot Belin. I
recall that this annual series -- now concluding its 63rd
Season -- was originally established in 1942, during time
of global warfare, as a cultural gift to the many Americans
-- including tens of thousands of women -- who had
relocated to Washington, D.C. to join the military,
defense, and government services.

Unlike the National Conducting Institute, discussed below,
the National Gallery of Art music program knows how
carefully to balance the old and the new -- the European
and the American.

For the concert this Sunday, Ms Lamoreaux has programmed
a Brahms first half, and an American and British second half.
Following Brahms's Four Songs Op. 17 and his Liebeslieder
Op. 52, the ensemble will perform works by FOUR living
composers: Ned Rorem's From an Unknown Past (1953),
Judith Weir's Don't Let That Horse (1990), James Quitman
Mulholland's How Do I Love Thee (1995), and John Gardner's
Seven Songs (1957).

The next FREE Sunday concert at the NGA will be on
October 2, 2005; when the National Gallery Orchestra,
under Christopher Kendell, guest conductor, performs
works by Wagner, Elgar, Stravinsky, and living American
composer Paul Schoenfield.

Before then, on Friday evenings through Labor Day,
the NGA hosts in its pleasant, if not profound, sculpture garden,
FREE live jazz performed by a varied mix of top
Washington- area artists.

For program notes to this Sunday's National Gallery
Vocal Arts Ensemble, see:

National Orchestral Institute -- David Robertson Concert and Free Open Rehearsal

David Robertson will be leading the National
Orchestral Institute, at the University of
Maryland, in both a free open rehearsal this
Friday, June 24, from 9:30 AM to noon; as well
as a ticketed concert this Saturday, at 8 PM.
Both the free open rehearsal and the ticketed event
are in the fairly new Dekelboum Concert Hall.
For the concert, adult tickets are $20, student
tickets $7.

The upcoming David Robertson program features:

Sibelius — En saga, op.9
Boulez — Notations
Stravinsky — Petrouchka (1911)

Last week, Roberto Minczuk led a concert, and
free open rehearsal, of a program consisting of:

Strauss — Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, op.28
Copland — Appalachian Spring
Brahms — Symphony no.2, op.73, D major

Two weeks ago, Gerard Schwarz led an especially
ambitious program, for young professionals, of:

Mozart — Symphony no.35, K.385, D major, "Haffner"
Mahler — Symphony no.7, E minor

I do question whether these programs are preparing
young musicians to be responsible musicians in
American orchestras of the twenty-first century.
I question why the National Orchestral Institute --
like the National Conducting Institute, under Leonard
Slatkin, and the American Academy of Conducting at
Aspen, under David Zinman -- can't make a greater
commitment to the American orchestral music created
over the past 200 years. The inclusion of the Copland
Appalachian Spring suite, to me, smacks of tokenism.

And why the Sibelius — En saga, op.9, and the R. Strauss
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, op.28? Are the
administrators of this promising program for young
professionals trying to turn our young musicians into anti-
American musical reactionaries? Where is the MacDowell,
the Ives, the Ruggles, the Crawford-Seeger, the Sessions,
the Harris, the Hovhaness, the Diamond, the Gloria Coates --
among countless others? And yes, I'd also certainly be
willing to substitute a fine American concerto for the Boulez

While I can't now speak to David Zinman's activities in Aspen,
I do know that National Conducting Institute activities,
at the Kennedy Center under Leonard Slatkin, have in the
past consisted of public concerts devoid of any American
symphonic music whatsoever. Way to go, American
cultural center!!


Link to my submission to Drew McManus's Take a Friend to
Orchestra initiative, last month, at

Monday, June 20, 2005

ASCAP Awards to American Orchestras for their Participation in American Culture

As reported by the American Music Center's NewMusicBox,
the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers
(ASCAP) has announced 25 Awards to American orchestras
which prominently feature music composed within the past 25
years; thus attempting to bring the Western orchestral
institution into the late 20th century and early 21st century.

The Award for the strongest innovative programming went
to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, under James Levine.
The Award for strongest commitment to new American music
went to the New York City-based American Composers
Orchestra, under Steven Sloane and Robert Beaser. The Award
for outstanding educational programming went to the
Minnesota Orchestra under Osmo Vanska.

Other Awardees for commitment to contemporary music, among
the largest orchestras, are the San Francisco Symphony under
Michael Tilson Thomas, the Los Angeles Philharmonic
under Esa-Pekka Salonen, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Please see NewMusicBox for the other 19 awards for out-
standing programming by less wealthy orchestras, as well as
youth and festival orchestras.

[Julia Werntz's field report -- "Dusting Off the Cobwebs" --
for NewMusicBox, on James Levine
and the Boston Symphony Orchestra is at]


I am happy to see that the Boston Symphony Orchestra,
under James Levine, is performing two works by living
composers at the Kennedy Center next winter: Elliott Carter's
Three Illusions for Orchestra, and Peter Lieberson's Neruda
Love Songs, with outstanding mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt
Lieberson (a former musical colleague and classmate of mine.)
I am happy that the American orchestral prohibition against
programming two works by living composers on a single program
is finally being breached.

I'm also happy that the Philadelphia Orchestra, under Christoph
Eschenbach, will be performing Jennifer Higdon's Percussion
Concerto at the Kennedy Center next season.

I am less pleased to see that the Award-winning San Francisco
Symphony, under Michael Tilson Thomas, will be travelling all
the way across country, to Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center,
to perform a program of Debussy's Jeux, Berg's Lulu Suite,
Mahler's Adagio from Symphony #10, and an excerpt from
Wagner's Ring. What does MTT think this is, an academic
symposium at Berkeley or Harvard, rather than an American
orchestral concert in the 21st century? I truly hope that when
I next read about these concerts, I will see the name of
John Thow, William Kraft, Andrew Imbrie, or Gloria Coates
as an appropriate substitution.

ASCAP, can you give the SFS a call?


For small images of Fertod Palace, now in Hungary,
where Franz Joseph Haydn composed many of his
early- middle Symphonies (Haydn had a room on the
ground floor of the West wing) :

Friday, June 17, 2005

Hindemith on the Potomac

I notice that the National Symphony Orchestra, under
Leonard Slatkin, is performing Paul Hindemith's Symphony -
Mathis der Maler this evening, Friday, and tomorrow evening,
Saturday, at 8 PM. This is a part of a full-length subscription,
ticketed concert.

I also notice, however, that on Sunday evening, at 6 PM, at the
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, the Kennedy Center Opera
House Orchestra, under Heinz Fricke, will be performing a
FREE hour-long program consisting of two beautiful works --
Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in Eb Major for Violin and Viola,
K. 364 (320d), and Hindemith’s Nobilissima Visione.

What a wonderful opportunity for people new to
classical music -- as well as many younger people,
elderly people, and less affluent people! Maybe some of the
people who caught American conductor David Robertson
conducting the New York Philharmonic on PBS on Wednesday
evening, would like to experience a live classical music concert
in one of America's most beautiful concert halls, which is situated
on the banks of a beautiful American river. And people and
families don't have to worry about getting dressed up for this
special Sunday evening concert in the Concert Hall.


Speaking of Paul Hindemith, I look forward to
either a staged, or a concert, performance of Hindemith's
Mathis der Maler or his Die Harmonie der Welt
(Hindemith wrote the librettos to both works)
someday on the banks of the Potomac River.
Wouldn't such a performance be a wonderful use
of the talents of Washington conductor
Heinz Fricke, the German born conductor who
spent many many years conducting operas in a
then-divided Europe? Possibly German cultural
foundations could help with some of the costs of
such a performance.


Richard Freed's superb, as always, program note to
the Hindemith Symphony - Mathis der Maler is available here
(I expect that notes to the Mozart and
Hindemith works Sunday night will also be available
for use by families and other attendees):

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Cultural Development Strategies for the New Millennium

Late this afternoon, I responded to Charles T. Downey, over
at his superb ionarts music, literature, and culture blog site, on
the subject of "Should Music Have a Place in Museums?".
Charles had responded to Mark Swed's L.A. Times article
noting the cut-back in music programming at the prominent
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
(an arts news item reported by

Here is the reposting of my comment:

Charles, I also read Mark Swed's article yesterday, and I too
have mixed feelings about the Los Angeles County Museum
cutting back on its commitment to contemporary music.
When I think of Los Angeles and Monday nights, I reflectively
think about that city's famous past, progressive Monday night
chamber music series (although I've never attended one).

However, I'm not sure that the situation is comparable to
the much more serious problems at PBS (and NPR, which
I don't know that well). I have visited the LACMA twice in
the past five years, and it is certainly a mess. As one of the
richest and most prominent museums in the country,
it badly needs its "campus renovation", either under
Rem Koolhaas or, now, Renzo Piano. I would hope that
once the renovation is complete, contemporary music would
be invited back in. I think that is what people should be
advocating for. But remember, neither the MET Museum
nor the National Gallery really do justice to modern and
contemporary music either (excepting some jazz).
he Library of Congress and the Freer, of course, are more
progressive in this regard, but both of their progressive
music programs are newer developments.

The LACMA still has its Sunday afternoon emerging
talent concerts, which perhaps aren't of the quality
of the Phillips Gallery recitals or the National Gallery's
programs, but are, to me, an acceptable holding pattern,
especially if they are free and encourage new, younger
audiences. (Am I not correct that all of the MET Museum's
concerts, in NYC, are high quality, but quite expensive,
ticketed events -- as are the few sometimes
contemporary/world music events programmed
in the Temple of Dendur courtyard?)

Charles, as you know, Los Angeles's two new beautiful
"culture palaces or castles" (and I don't mean
that in a bad sense), are the Walt Disney Hall and the
etty Center (and before that the smaller LAMOCA) --
ll beautiful buildings. Does it matter if, for a while, the
music (and new music) activity shifts from LACMA to
he Walt Disney Hall and the MOCA, in the central
downtown? (Isn't this somewhat better than for everyone
to have to drive out to CALARTs, or get up to the
etty Castle, for music concerts?)

Again, I think that a public cultural strategy should be
to hold the renovated LACMA (and the new De Young
Museum, in San Francisco) to the highest standards of
support for music, and new music, when those museums
re-open their doors to the public. I refuse, as of yet, to
give up on the LACMA and music. It is too rich and
important a museum.

(Of course, the National Gallery of Art has also craved
a better mid-size hall for its prestigious and free music
series, and I myself publicly advocated for such a hall
in the late 1990s, at Metro Center; back when the
ashington Opera planned to convert the old Woodies
Department Store into James Ingo Freed's new opera
house. Instead, alas, central downtown D.C became,
under Mayor Williams, largely a "sports and
entertainment destination."


Small image of Renzo Piano's design for the Los Angeles
County Museum of Art:

I personally am still fond of the Rem Koolhaas concept
for the LACMA, though its treatment of the Latin American
Art and Children's Annex was, indeed, problemmatic.
(I first saw the Koolhaas concept for the LACMA at
the Berlin Neue Nationalgalerie:

Eastern Orthodoxy and Creativity

"The largest monastery in Volhynia, and the second largest men's monastery in Ukraine, after the Kyvian Cave Monastery, the Pochaiv Monastery was founded, according to some accounts, by monks who fled from the Kyivan Cave Monastery at the time of the Tatar invasion of 1240. Architecturally, the Pochaiv Monastery appears as a complex of buildings uniquely adapted to the natural environment. The buildings are set on a cliffside, rising to a three-story terrace with a parapet. The terrace is the site of the central Dormition Cathedral, built in 1771–83 in the Rococo style by the Silesian architect G. Hoffman. The vast cathedral (it can accommodate 6,000 people) has eight large and seven smaller cupolas, and two large arches at the front... "

Pochaiv Monastery:

Image of Dormition Cathedral:\P\O\Pochaiv_Monastery_Dormition_Cathedral.jpg

Image of Trinity Cathedral (1910-1913):\P\O\Pochaiv_Monastery_Trinity_Cathedral.jpg

Image of the Fresco on the Dome of the Dormition Cathedral:\P\O\Pochaiv_Dormition_Cathedral_interior.jpg

Tibetan Buddhism and Creativity

"In the first step of the mandala's creation, a ceremonial string is dipped into liquid chalk and plucked to form the initial lines of a design that is seven feet in diameter when completed. This blueprint is laboriously filled out with depictions of 722 Buddhist deities along with Sanskrit syllables, all drawn with multicolored sand, deposited through slender funnels meticulously tapped by the monks to release a tiny stream."

Stephen Holden introducing Werner Herzog's new documentary, "The Wheel of Time":

Image of the composition of a Kalachakra mandala, also called the wheel of time:

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Highlights from A Third of a Century of National Symphony Orchestra Memories

The National Symphony Orchestra has invited
its subscribers and other friends to help it celebrate
its upcoming 75th Anniversary Season by sharing an
NSO Memory with the orchestra's web-site.

Here is the 1,000 character memory which I shared
with the NSO this morning. I believe that I have a
snowball's chance in hell of having my submission
actually published on the NSO's site, given the NSO's memory
of my letter to the Washington Post criticizing the NSO
for publishing a long letter in the Washington Post
stating that many composers, thoughout history, have
used orchestrators to score their compositions.


"I have enjoyed the National Symphony Orchestra for
over a third of a century, beginning when I was in
local public elementary school.
For me, the NSO’s highest peaks of musical achievement,
over this third of a century, have been Antal Dorati
conducting the American premiere of Olivier Messiaen’s
oratorio LaTransfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ;
and Mstislav Rostropovich’s leading the world premieres
of Krystof Penderecki’s Polish Requiem, Alfred Schnittke’s
Symphony #6, and Vyacheslav Artyomov’s Symphonies -
Threshold of Bright Light and Gentle Emanations.
All four of the distinguished composers were in attendance
for these premieres.

Also most memorable was Rostropovich leading
two symphonies by his fellow countryman and colleague,
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony #13 – Babi Yar
(dedicated to the Jews killed by the Nazis in Kyiv, Ukraine),
and Symphony #14, featuring Rostropovich’s wife,
the distinguished soprano Galina Vishnevskaya."

You, too, can share an NSO memory, subject to, of course,
their approval:

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

New American (and British) Classical Music Advocacy Duties

I posted an advocacy comment today to the American
Music Center's NewMusicBox e - magazine concerning
The North Carolina Symphony Orchestra's exciting
forthcoming 75th anniversary season, under the baton
of its new conductor, Grant Llewellyn. This celebratory
season will include six world premieres by American
and British composers.

I contrasted the North Carolinian wholesome
embrace of living composers, with the National
Symphony Orchestra's much greater current disconnect
from contemporary culture. (The NSO is also
celebrating its 75th anniversary season, this
coming year, but it is only programming two
world premieres.)

My post mentioned living and active composers
Roger Hannay, Nicholas Maw, Joseph Schwantner,
Roberto Sierra, Jennifer Higdon, Edgar Meyer,
James MacMillan, Harold Meltzer, Branford Marsalis,
Jeffrey Mumford, and Pamela Z.
I also mentioned conductor Michael Morgan,
who, along with Grant Llewellyn, should,
I believe, be on the short-list to follow Leonard Slatkin
as music director of the NSO.

I would hope that readers would prefer to live in a
functioning culture in which orchestras programmed
six or seven world premieres by living composers
each season, rather than a culture satisfied with
dwindling audiences and an occasional world premiere
or two a season.

My NewMusicBox post is available here:

Roger Hannay's NewMusicBox essay on "The Creative Arts and the Composer"
is available here:

Monday, June 13, 2005

Boris Goudenow, Motezuma, L'Upupa, and Doctor Atomic

Richard Taruskin and Alan Riding write about, respectively, two baroque operas handling -- or rather mishandling -- world history in yesterday's and today's New York Times -- Johann Mattheson's Boris Goudenow and Antonio Vivaldi's Motezuma.

Apparently, Mattheson wrote his own libretto for what would have been the Hamburg premiere, but he "took little from actual history, and what little he took he [or his source] often got wrong."
And, according to musicologists studying the Vivaldi score and libretto to the Motezuma opera, Vivaldi and his librettist (either Alvise Giusti or Giorlamo Giusti) -- writing for the Venetian opera capital -- seemed less interested in history than in a fictional love story between the Aztec princess and Cortez's brother.

Modest Musorgski and Roger Sessions have, of course, followed in the footsteps of Mattheson and Vivaldi, penning grand operas reflecting the 19th and 20th century views of historical accuracy. Both composers themselves consulted with historical documents in preparing to set their historical masterpieces. (The Sessions opera still awaits its MET premiere.)

Also, it is to be noted that John Adams and Peter Sellars are following Musorgski's and Sessions's earlier practice by themselves examining historical documents in preparation for their J. Robert Oppenheimer opera, Doctor Atomic -- for the San Francisco Opera, this coming October. According to Mr Adams's site, the "libretto adapted from original sources by
Peter Sellars". (Thanks to Alex Ross for the direction to Mr Adams's own synopsis to the work.) The San Francisco Opera has a web-site so that music lovers and intellectuals can prepare themselves for this autumn's premiere. (Mr Adams's site.) (San Francisco Opera site.)


And on a non-historical opera note, I tip my hat to Hans Werner Henze for his strong recent (and final?) opera, L'Upupa and the Triumph of Filial Love, for which Henze wrote both libretto and score. The video to the Salzburg Festival premiere of this Mozart, Schikaneder, Goethe, and Arab - inspired work is highly recommended to all friends of opera.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Preparing for Shadowtime

A web-site and a libretto are now available to help prepare viewers, listeners, and imaginers for the British and American premieres -- on July 9, 2005 (in London) and on July 21 and 22, 2005 (at Lincoln Center, in New York City) -- of Brian Ferneyhough's new music-theater piece, in seven scenes, based upon the writings and life of philosopher Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) , which was premiered at the Munich Biennale in May 2004. The libretto to the work is by poet Charles Bernstein.

Mssrs Ferneyhough and Bernstein will be in attendance at a Symposium, moderated by Joel Sachs, at Lincoln Center on July 18, prior to the American premiere (and only scheduled North American performance). Librettist Charles Bernstein will, himself, be moderating an additional Symposium, on July 20, on the subject "Why Benjamin Now?", which features Marjorie Perloff and Jean-Michel Rabate.

The web-site for these premieres is at:

Tess Crebbin, in Music and Vision, has written, "Bernstein's libretto, plain and simple, is the finest contemporary libretto that I know of."

Charles Bernstein's libretto for "Shadowtime" is available from Green Integer at:

Brian Ferneyhough's thoughts, on Music and Words, is available at The Argotist:

Charles Bernstein's interview, with Eric Denut, is also available at The Argotist:

Charles Bernstein, and his wife Susan Bee's, collaboration on the image "Verdi and Post-modernism", part of the limited edition book "Little Orphan Anagram", published by Granary Books (1997), is available at:

Readers may also wish to consult Luc Bondy's libretto to Peter Ruzicka's opera "[Paul] Celan" [Dresden 2001], and Peter Zinovieff's libretto to Sir Harrison Birtwistle's "The Mask of Orpheus" [London, 1986].

-- Garth Trinkl

Patrick Wright's Essay on Sir Harrison Birtwistle's The Last Supper libretto -- by Robin Blaser

Speaking of Milan, Italy, I'd like to share the link to Patrick Wright's essay "Birtwistle: The Last Supper's libretto explored" (September 2001), which was first published by Glyndebourne Festival Opera, in Glyndebourne 2001, and which is now available on the Boosey & Hawkes web-page, cited below.

The libretto for Birtwistle's "The Last Supper" -- also available at Boosey & Hawkes -- was written by a leading North American poet, Robin Blaser. The opera received its premiere in Berlin, Germany, under the baton of Daniel Barenboim.

From Patrick Wright's essay:

"Quite distinct from any amnesiac rush for novelty, Birtwistle’s radicalism consists of going to the root of musical tradition in order to create an historically informed ‘music for now’. Blaser’s libretto is written in a very similar spirit. It is an extraordinary work of cultural archaeology which, far from just retelling the story of Christianity’s inaugural moment, employs it to sound the rhythms of ‘the western heartbeat’ as they echo back and forth between biblical times and the present. ... How are we to think of that ‘religion of life’ in the knowledge of the things that have been done in its name over the last 2000 years? "

Wright points to Blaser's poetic indebtedness to seventeenth century metaphysical poets Richard Crashaw and Thomas Traherne, and also to fragments from the thoughts of contemporary thinkers, from George Steiner to Avital Ronell, the American feminist theorist of "stupidity" and other contemporary conditions.

Link to essay:

Leonardo Da Vinci "The Last Supper" (1498) image:

Stockhausen Ora Prima (First Hour) Milan Premiere

"Will May 5, 2005, become a pivotal date in music history? We could think so, because that Ascension Thursday saw the creation, in Milan Cathedral, of a visionary work by Karlheinz Stockhausen, the only representative of the 1950s avant-garde who has never ceased to be innovative. With Ora Prima (First hour), a section of Klang (Sound), a cycle of pieces corresponding to the 24 hours of day, the German composer (b. 1928) not only propelled music into a new era, he also drew in his wake 2,500 listeners, an exceptional number in the world of contemporary music."

Pierre Gervasoni in Le Monde (June 8, 2005), as translated by Charles T. Downey of Ionarts (June 9, 2005).

-- Garth Trinkl