Monday, May 07, 2007

Duelling Second Viennese Schools: Finding Time To Think About The Achievements Of Schoenberg, Berg, Zemlinsky, Schreker, Korngold, Webern, Kandinsky

The Austrian Cultural Forum, Washington, D.C., has been producing an exciting Festival of Song, through May 24, at the Austrian Embassy; with one satellite concert, last night, at the National Gallery of Art. Last night's concert, by Anna Maria Pammer, soprano, and Markus Vorzellner, pianist, reprised the Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern recital given last week at the Austrian Embassy. Program notes are available here, at the excellent site of the Concerts Program of the National Gallery of Art. Tonight, the Austrian Embassy (in a duel with the Embassy of France, see below) hosts a promising recital of contemporary song cycles by four composers and features settings by Andreas Wykydal and Julia Tsenova of poems by Ingeborg Bachmann.

While the Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern program was billed as "Music of the Second Viennese School" [the first Viennese school was Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven]; the Embassy also featured a superb earlier evening recital of music of an 'alternative Second Viennese School' -- Berg, Zemlinsky, and Schreker. Of the five "Second Viennese School" composers -- Schoenberg, Berg, Zemlinsky, Schreker, and Webern -- only the last was not deeply involved in the world of opera. Many of the operas by these masters remain to be explored by American opera companies, as these indirectly tax-supported companies also work to nurture an American school of opera to match those of other countries.

Earlier, on March 2, the Library of Congress Concerts celebrated a sixth member of an expanded "Second Viennese School" -- Erich Korngold, another superb opera composer as well as master Hollywood film composer -- in a lecture and a concert, by the Aron Quartett of Vienna, which explored Haydn, Schoenberg, and Korngold. The fine lecture featured Fred Wasserman, curator, the Jewish Museum of New York City, speaking on Schoenberg, Kandinsky, and the Blue Rider (based upon his recent exhibition catalogue of that name).

The Aron Quartett, from Vienna, Austria, European Union, has helped an increasingly musically repressed Washington, D.C. explore the roots of musical modernism the past few months.

Also, Wassily Kandinsky, Improvisation 31 (Sea Battle), 1913, National Gallery of Art, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund.

Photo credits: (c) Martin Vokovtis via the Library of Congress Concerts and the Kids Zone of the National Gallery of Art Website, Washington, D.C. With thanks to both.


[Almost] Run, Don't Walk, to the Washinton National Opera's stunning production of Janacek's Jenufa. As of now, tickets are still available.

Unlike the new Classical WETA-FM Lite, under Sharon Rockefeller, the artistic programming of the National Gallery of Art, founded by Paul Mellon and his family, is professionally and responsibly managed and does not discriminate against American classical art and early modernist classical art.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artists Gallery -- Annual Artists' Sale

Memo item to the new Metropolitan Opera: Czeslaw Milosz was not Czech, but rather Polish.


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