Monday, March 31, 2008

While Pausing To Find Classical Music Direction, John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts Invites Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic To Concert Hall

Carnegie Mellon School of Music: Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic in Concert

April 29, 2008 at 8:00 PM

Concert Hall, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.

Juan Pablo Izquierdo, conductor

Running Time: Approx. 100 minutes

Tickets: $15.00 - $25.00


VARÈSE - Arcana

SCELSI - Four Pieces for Orchestra

STRAVINSKY - The Rite of Spring (1947 revision)

[Program note to the Stravinsky by Kennedy Center musicologist Richard Freed.]

Juan Pablo Izquierdo

"While his interpretations of the Viennese masters of the nineteenth century continue a long-standing European tradition and reflect the brilliance of his teacher and mentor, Hermann Scherchen, Izquierdo is also known internationally for his bold interpretations of avant-garde music of the twentieth century. As music director of the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, he has presented that orchestra in works by Xenakis (Carnegie Hall, New York), Varèse (Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.), Messiaen (Symphony Hall, Boston), and Scelsi (Carnegie Hall, New York). His recordings with the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic appear on the Mode and New Albion labels, and on International Music from Carnegie Mellon, a radio series with international distribution in three languages."

Photo credit: (c) Mode Records. All rights reserved. With thanks.

In Memorium, Conductor and Composer Gerhard Samuel

Joshua Kosman "Conductor, composer Gerhard Samuel dies at 83" San Francisco Chronicle March 29, 2008


I was fortunate to have heard Gerhard Samuel conduct the Oakland Symphony Orchestra in Lou Harrison's Symphony on G. I was not fortunate enough to have heard Maestro Samuel conduct Charles Ives' Symphony #5 (Universe Symphony).

I hope that Samuel's opera based upon Thomas Mann's "The Blood of the Walsungs" will be able to be completed; and that the MET Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the New York City Opera, or the Seattle Opera will give the work a fully-staged production (and will record it).


Photo credit: Gerhard Samuel courtesy of All rights reserved. With thanks.

For Thomas Mann 1937 photograph:

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Van Vechten Collection, reproduction number LC-USZ62-42522 DLC (b&w film copy neg.).

"As the restrictions on this collection expired in 1986, the Library of Congress believes this image is in the public domain. However, the Carl Van Vechten estate has asked that use of Van Vechten's photographs "preserve the integrity" of his work, i.e, that photographs not be colorized or cropped, and that proper credit is given to the photographer."


Classical WETA-FM, so-called public radio in the Nation's Capital.

Cambodian Satellite Maps With Mass Grave And Prison Sites From 1975-1979 And Cambodian Cultural Museum and Killing Fields Museum

Cambodian Satellite Maps with mass grave and prison sites from 1975-1979

Cambodian Cultural Museum and Killing Fields Museum

Photo credits: Photo collage of the living is copyright controlled, maybe by the Tuol Sleng, Cambodia Museum; and is via Wikipedia. Other photos via Yale University Cambodian Genocide Program.


Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot died of natural causes, on April 15, 1998, having never been put on trial.

My informal guide (and member of the Angkor World Heritage cultural site security detail) at Angkor Thom, in 2004, had been, as a boy and teenager, a member of the Khmer Rouge.


Opera coming to the MET in 2009-10 under Finnish conductor/composer Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Extra! Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville Explores 11-Note Melodies Half Century Before Arnold Schoenberg And Josef Mattias Hauer!

... "But the April 1860 phonautogram is more than a squawk. On a digital copy of the recording provided to The New York Times, the anonymous vocalist, probably female, can be heard against a hissing, crackling background din. The voice, muffled but audible, sings, “Au clair de la lune, Pierrot répondit” in a lilting 11-note melody —a ghostly tune, drifting out of the sonic murk." ...

Jody Rosen "Researchers Play Tune Recorded Before Edison" New York Times March 27, 2008.

Pan Cogito plays 1860 and 1931 recordings of a French popular song at the same time ... and develops plan to add overlay of Edison's colleague's 1888 snippet of a Handel oratorio captured on a wax cylinder...


Letter To PBS From Jane Austen Viewing Club Member About Prokofiev's Peter And Wolf And Humperdinck's Hansel And Gretel: Please Sirs, Not Too Much!

Dear PBS,

Good morning.

Don't any of you have children or spouses or grandparents or partners who have to work in the mornings? Back to back, edgy screenings of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf and Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel are, well, you know, too much -- and too late for us workers and caregivers.


Pan Cogito
Lagging Member of the Jane Austen Viewing Club


Great Performances at The Met: "Hansel and Gretel"
Great Performances at The Met: "Roméo et Juliette"
Great Performances at The Met: "Macbeth"
Great Performances at The Met: "The Magic Flute"
Great Performances at The Met: "Manon Lescaut"
Great Performances at The Met: "I Puritani"
Great Performances at The Met: "The First Emperor"
Great Performances at The Met: "Peter Grimes"
Great Performances at The Met: "Eugene Onegin"
Great Performances at The Met: "Tristan und Isolde"
Great Performances at The Met: "The Barber of Seville"
Great Performances at The Met: "La Bohème"
Great Performances at The Met: "Il Trittico"
Great Performances at The Met: "La Fille du Règiment"
Great Moments at The Met: Viewer's Choice
Great Performances at The Met: "L'Elisir D'Amore"
Beverly Sills: Made in America
"The Nightingale"
"The Little Prince"
"The Merry Widow" from the San Francisco Opera


"Peter and the Wolf"


Photo credits: (c) Ken Howard and MET Opera. All rights reserved. [Hansel and Gretel and Peter Grimes]. Heinrich Zille images from Academy of Arts, Berlin via New York Times. With thanks.


"Five district courts in Minsk on March 26 heard the cases of detained participants of the opposition demonstration marking the 90th anniversary of the proclamation of Belarusian People's Republic, RFE/RL's Belarus Service and Belapan reported. Twenty-eight demonstrators were sentenced to terms from three to 15 days in jail and 42 demonstrators were fined from $81 to $489 for participating in an unsanctioned rally. Among those arrested or sentenced are youth activists Zmitser Dashkevich, Artur Finkevich, Ivan Shyla, Krystsina Shatsikava, and Katsyaryna Salauyova. Dashkevich, leader of the unregistered organization Youth Front, received a 15-day jail term. Riot police also detained two journalists from the Minsk-based independent "Nasha Niva" newspaper, staff writer Syamyon Pechanko and photographer Andrey Lyankevich. Both had press cards and were working on the newspaper's online coverage of the demonstration. Pechanko was sentenced to 15 days in jail, while Lyankevich's trial was postponed until March 27. Police also briefly detained Lithuanian reporter Ruta Ribaciauskiene and her cameraman Jonas Griskonis, who had accreditation from the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, and seized a videotape containing footage of the demonstration and its violent dispersal. The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry on March 26 handed Belarusian Ambassador Uladzimir Drazhyn a note demanding an explanation of the detention and the return of the seized tape."

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Newsline

Photo credit: (c) Giancarlo Rosso, 2007, via Wikimedia Commons [New National Library of Belarus, Minsk]; (c) NikolaiLazarenko of Itar-Tass, 2007, via New York Times [Belarus oil depository near Russian Federation border]. All or some rights reserved. With thanks.


The Washington Group Cultural Fund Sunday Music Series, under the patronage of the Embassy of Ukraine, resumes its 2008 season with "Musical Themes and Dreams from Eastern Europe."
On Sunday, April 13 renowned violinist Solomia Soroka will explore Eastern European rhythms, traditions, and sounds through works by Hubay, Bartok, Kreisler, Skoryk, and her newest discovery, Hungarian-American born composer Arthur Hartmann.

The concert will be held at The Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street, Alexandria, VA at 3 pm, with a reception immediately following the performance.

There is a suggested donation of $20, students free, unreserved seating.

For event informaton, please call 301-229-2615.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Snubbing Sharon Percy Rockefeller And Her "Public Classical Station", Kennedy Center To Host 28 Works Of 16 Living Classical Composers In Single Week

American classical artists Lera Auerbach, Bruce Adolphe, Joan Tower, and Langston Hughes

First Annual John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Contemporary Music Week, May 1 to 10, 2009


The Last Letter for Mezzo, Cello, and Piano
(Poetry of Marina Tsvetaeva, written on the death of Rainer Maria Rilke)

Sonata for Cello and Piano

24 Cello Preludes


Three Secret Stories for Violin and Piano

Wind Across the Sky: Settings of Native American Poems
for Soprano and Piano Trio (D.C. Premiere)

The Tiger's Ear: Listening to Abstract Expressionist Paintings
for Flute, Oboe, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano, with Visuals


Night Fields

Big Sky

Dumbarton Quintet


Simply Purple

For Daniel

ZWILICH - Piano Septet

KNUSSEN - Songs Without Voices

BENJAMIN - Piano Figures

CARTER - Mosaic


MATTHEWS - The Island

MAW - Ghost Dances

THOMAS - Helios Choros I

KNUSSEN - Violin Concerto, Op. 30

ANDERSON - Imagin'd Corners

SCHULLER - Of Reminiscences and Reflections

SHEPHERD - Metamorphoses

THOMAS - Carillon Sky

KNUSSEN - Requiem - Songs for Sue

TURNAGE - Dark Crossing

ANDERSON - Alhambra Fantasy


Meanwhile, the reactionary and out of touch with reality classical programming of Sharon Percy Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM, so-called 'public radio' in 'Greater Washington', marks the twilight era of America's Reagan-Bush-Clinton years.

Photo credits: (c) Copyright controlled via Kennedy Center Web-site [and Wikipedia Commons]. All rights reserved.

Lost In Reagan-Bush-Clinton's America: A Generation Of Modern American Operas Including Peter Paul Fuch's Darkness at Noon, White Agony, The Heretic

"When composer and conductor Peter Paul Fuchs died on March 26, 2007, I marked his passing with two tributes written with John McLaughlin Williams. At the end of the second article I wrote the following - We now have information on Fuchs’ music, but don’t have any photographs of him. Any photos for publication would be very gratefully received.

After writing that a student of Fuchs, Adrian McDonnell, who is now conductor of the Orchestre de la Cité Internationale in Paris, emailed me. He is in contact with the composer's widow Mrs. Elissa Fuchs in North Carolina who kindly supplied the photographs and biography that I am publishing to mark the first anniversary of his death. This is the only comprehensive resource on Fuchs on the internet...

In 1938 he sailed for America with a letter of recommendation from Felix Weingartner, a tooth brush, $5.00, and a basic change of clothes. When he arrived in the US he supported himself by accompanying singers and instrumentalists, and playing for ballet classes. He toured with a small Ballet company in 1939-40 and in October 1940 he was hired as accompanist for the Ballet at the Metropolitan Opera.

Fuchs arranged for his parents to leave Nazi occupied Austria in 1940, and brought them to America; two years later he was inducted into the army and automatically became an American citizen. Following the end of hostilities in 1945, he returned to the Metropolitan Opera as a full time staff conductor until 1950 working with Bruno Walter, George Szell, Fritz Reiner, Erich Leinsdorf and Ettore Panizza and others. He also conducted at the San Francisco Opera, the Cincinnati Summer Opera, the Central City Opera, and the Berkshire Summer Music Festival where he was assistant conductor to Leonard Bernstein....

In Baton Rouge in the 1960’s he conducted his opera “Darkness at Noon” at Louisiana State University. Then, in the late 80’s and early 90’s, excerpts from his opera “White Agony” were produced at the Komische Opera in Berlin (where Felsenstein had directed). In 1992, the Greensboro Opera produced a staged version of “White Agony” staged by his wife, Elissa Minet Fuchs, former ballerina of Ballet Russe and the Metropolitan Opera" ...

[His third opera was "The Heretic"] ...

On An Overgrown Path

Peter Paul Fuchs


"In 1946, about a year after the American and British liberation of France from German occupation, Jan Meyerowitz [1913-1998] immigrated to the United States, where he became an assistant to Boris Goldovsky at the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood. He later joined the music faculty of Brooklyn College, after which he taught at City College of New York (C.C.N.Y.), soon establishing himself in America as a composer. His second opera, The Barrier (1949), with a libretto by Langston Hughes — based on Hughes's play about racial tensions in the South, The Mulatto — was premiered in 1950 at Columbia University. It was revived at several Italian opera houses during the 1970s and at the Darmstadt Staatsoper in 1996.

In 1956 Meyerowitz was awarded the first of two Guggenheim fellowships, and that same year he completed his opera Esther, based on the biblical Book of Esther also with a libretto by Hughes, which was commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation for the eighth Festival of Contemporary Arts held at the University of Illinois (1957).

Other collaborations with Hughes included a cantata, The Five Foolish Virgins; and The Story of Ruth, for coloratura soprano and piano. Among Meyerowitz's other operas are Eastward in Eden, with a libretto by Dorothy Gardner, about Emily Dickinson's love for a married minister... Simoon, with a libretto by P. J. Stephens after a Strindberg play; Godfather Death, also with a Stephens libretto; and Winterballade, apparently his last opera, after the play by Gerhart Hauptmann." ...


American classical artists Peter Paul Fuchs, Langston Hughes, and Emily Dickinson

Photo credits: (c) Copyright controlled.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"China's Security Chief Calls For Stepping Up "Patriotic Education" In Tibet's Monasteries" ... How About "Human Rights And Culture Education"?

"China's security chief called for stepping up "patriotic education" in Tibet's monasteries, the state-run Tibet Daily said Tuesday, as prosecutors for the first time charged demonstrators in the largely peaceful, monk-led protests that later exploded into riots in the region.

Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu led the first high-level central government visit to Tibet since the riots broke out this month. In the face of international criticism of China's crackdown, he stressed that the government would "fight an active publicity battle" and solicit the help of Communist Party cadres.

His call for broader "patriotic education" indicated the party would also move to exert greater control over religion in Tibet, requiring more Tibetans to accept the region as an inalienable part of China, denounce the Dalai Lama as a separatist and recognize the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama. Such campaigns were first launched in 1996." ...

Maureen Fan "China Calls for 'Patriotic Education' for Tibet Monks" Washington Post March 25, 2008

Amnesty International

Inernational Campaign for Tibet



Nicholas Roerich wrote the scenario and designed the sets and costumes for Весна священная, 1913.

Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York City, United States of America.

Header image credit: With thanks.

In Springtime, Especially, American Classical Visual And Musical Culture Should Be Ageless, Open, Vibrant, And Friendly

American composer Jack Reilly in performance in the Johns Hopkins Medical Center Weinberg ceremonial lobby as part of the Art of Healing series; which, since 2001, has featured vocalists, musicians, dancers and others in Weinberg’s soaring atrium space. The monthly series seeks to offer, through the performing arts, a respite to patients, families and staff. (above)

"Evening Glow" by Japanese-American artist Chiura Obata. (middle)

John Muir and U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt at Grizzly Giant Sequoia in Yosemite National Park." (below)


Subject: A track from your CD is featured as Song of the Day at
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2008 23:39:24 +0000


At we only review tracks (not entire CDs), and five days per week we pick a Song of the Day from a recent release.

Your version of "All the Things You Are" has just been selected. You will find the review at the link below. It will also be featured on the home page ( for the next couple days.

Best regards,

Ted Gioia

American Jazz and Classical Pianist - Composer - Author - Recording Artist


"East meets West in this exciting new exhibition of prints by Chiura Obata, one of the earliest Japanese artists to live and work in the United States. Born in Japan in 1885, Obata moved to San Francisco in 1903. He visited Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada in 1927 and recalled the visit as "the greatest harvest for my whole life and future in painting." Obata transformed some of the numerous watercolors and sketches made on his trip into a series of intricate woodblock prints, some requiring more than 150 separate working proofs. The prints resemble watercolors, with lines like brush strokes and delicately layered color. This exhibition is the first time these prints have been publicly displayed on the East Coast."

Obata's Yosemite Gallery Talk

Thursday, March 27, 5:30 p.m.

Joann Moser, senior curator for graphic arts, details Obata's technique of producing colorful woodblock prints and his travels to Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada. Free and open to the public; meet in the F Street Lobby, Smithsonian American Art Museum.


John Muir: Man of the Mountains

"John Muir National Historic Site preserves the Victorian home of the noted author and preservationist. Surrounded by almost 9 acres of fruit orchards and 326 acres of oak woodland, the site today is just a small piece of the original 2,600 acre ranch.

The United States is forever indebted to the "Father of the National Park Service" for helping to preserve this country's greatest treasures."


Distinguished American writer Garry Wills speaks on American Paintings, April 26, 2008.


Photo credits: (c) Estate of Chiura Obata. All rights reserved. (c)Peter Tully Owen. All rights reserved.

Unlike Sharon Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM, Beaux Art Trio, NSO, And Phillips Collection Celebrate A United And Ageless World Of Classical Music

On behalf of the Beaux Arts Trio, young violinist Daniel Hope (left) has commissioned works for Piano Trio by living classical composers György Kurtág, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Uri Caine, Jan Müller-Wieland, and Mauricio Kagel. Menahem Pressler, founding member and pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio, is in the center.

The György Kurtág "Music for Piano Trio" will be performed by the Beaux Arts Trio at the Library of Congress, next Tuesday, April 1. A snowball's chance in hell that WETA-FM President and CEO Sharon Percy Rockefeller has any interest in united and ageless classical music.


On March 14, the Post-Classical Ensemble and Mexican classical and popular singer Eugenia Leon performed the music and songs of Mexican Modernist classical composer Silvestre Revueltas at the Library of Congress. Ms. Leon has also performed living classical music at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.


German cellist Alban Gerhardt -- guest soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra -- recently performed the late Mstislav Rostropovich's own composition, Moderato for Cello, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts -- an arts center built to celebrate the living classical and popular performing arts.


Washington, D.C. - born living American classical composer Jeffrey Mumford has received a recent classical music commission from the historic chamber music recital program of the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. The museum celebrates Impressionist and Modern Art and humanism, and commissions works of visual art and classical music from living American artists and composers.


Sharon Percy Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM, taxpayer-supported, so-called 'public radio' for 'Greater Washington'

Photo credits: (c) Individual artists' Websites. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Warfare, Welfare, Markets, Healing: "I No Longer Believe In The Market's Self-Healing Power": - Josef Ackermann, Chief Executive, Deutsche Bank, 2008

"Forty-one American Nobel laureates in science and economics issued a declaration yesterday [January 27, 2003] opposing a preventive war against Iraq without wide international support. The statement, four sentences long, argues that an American attack would ultimately hurt the security and standing of the United States, even if it succeeds.

The signers, all men, include a number who at one time or another have advised the federal government or played important roles in national security. Among them are Hans A. Bethe, an architect of the atom bomb; Walter Kohn, a former adviser to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency at the Pentagon; Norman F. Ramsey, a Manhattan Project scientist who readied the Hiroshima bomb and later advised NATO; and Charles H. Townes, former research director of the Institute for Defense Analyses at the Pentagon and chairman of a federal panel that studied how to base the MX missile and its nuclear warheads.

In addition to winning Nobel prizes, 18 of the signers have received the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest science honor.

The declaration reads:

''The undersigned oppose a preventive war against Iraq without broad international support. Military operations against Iraq may indeed lead to a relatively swift victory in the short term. But war is characterized by surprise, human loss and unintended consequences. Even with a victory, we believe that the medical, economic, environmental, moral, spiritual, political and legal consequences of an American preventive attack on Iraq would undermine, not protect, U.S. security and standing in the world.''

... The signers included Democrats and Republicans alike." ...

William J. Broad "THREATS AND RESPONSES: DISSENT; 41 Nobel Laureates Sign Declaration Against a War Without International Support" New York Times, January 28, 2003.


"THE Iraq war has cost the US 50-60 times more than the Bush administration predicted and was a central cause of the sub-prime banking crisis threatening the world economy, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

The former World Bank vice-president yesterday said the war had, so far, cost the US something like $US3trillion ($3.3 trillion) compared with the $US50-$US60-billion predicted in 2003.

Australia also faced a real bill much greater than the $2.2billion in military spending reported last week by Australian Defence Force chief Angus Houston, Professor Stiglitz said, pointing to higher oil prices and other indirect costs of the wars.

Professor Stiglitz told the Chatham House think tank in London that the Bush White House was currently estimating the cost of the war at about $US500 billion, but that figure massively understated things such as the medical and welfare costs of US military servicemen." ...

Peter Wilson "Iraq war 'caused slowdown in the US'" The Australian February 28, 2008

An American soldier in Northern Iraq has apparent trouble holding both his military weaponry and the small Spring-time corn-flowers given him by a young Iraqi and human girl.

Photo credit: (c) Maricio Lima and Agence France Presse via Getty Images. All rights reserved. With thanks.


Sergei Prokofiev's "The Enemy God And the Dance Of the Black Spirits"

Monday, March 24, 2008

In Ancient Olympia, About 1,000 Police Unsuccessful In Keeping Pro-Tibetan Protesters Away From The International Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony

Amnesty International

Reporters Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders


"Leni" Riefenstahl and the spirit of 20th century totalitarianism live on...


Photo credits: (c) European Press Agency and Vassilis Psomas 2008. All rights reserved. (c) Agence France Presse. All rights reserved. (c) Corbis-Bettman Archives via the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. All rights reserved.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Library Of Congress Celebrates American Classical Music Culture, While Sharon Rockefeller's WETA-FM Represses American Classical Music Culture

"The Music Division of the Library of Congress is pleased to announce the first in a series of lectures highlighting musicological research conducted in the Division’s collections.

The initial talk, scheduled for 7:00 p.m., 26 March 2008, will feature Judith Tick, who will speak about aspects of her work on Ruth Crawford Seeger in a lecture entitled "Ruth Crawford Seeger, Modernist Composer in the Folk Revival: Biography as Music History."

Open to the public, the program will be held in the Library’s famed Coolidge Auditorium in the Jefferson Building.

"Shortly after the death of the musicologist Charles Seeger, his children gave his papers and those of their mother, the composer Ruth Crawford Seeger, to the Music Division of the Library of Congress," said Tick. "Without yet knowing what to look for or why, I mad-dashed through one box after another. The boxes contained manuscripts of unpublished songs and chamber music, typescripts of unpublished scholarship on American folk music, Christmas card-photos of the Seeger family, unfinished thank-you notes, grant applications, and personal diaries through which an obscure artist and woman spoke directly to my scholar’s instincts and feminist heart.

"I would return to these documents many times, and I ended up editing some of the unpublished scores. As time passed, the documents slowed me down into considering the relation between narrative truth and historical truth. They said to me: ‘Handle us with care. We are combustible. We set off chain-reactions. One thing leads to another.’ Through music to life; through a life to history. The goal of my lecture is to revisit content and process in practicing musical biography in relation to Crawford Seeger’s legacy. Music validates a composer. Our experience of that music shapes the questions we ask about a composer’s life. As life and art intertwine, so biographical narrative illuminates the history of culture."

Music Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C

Classical WETA-FM, so-called 'public radio' for 'Greater Washington'

Different Trains.... Ruth Crawford Seeger and Sharon Percy Rockefeller

Photo credits: (c) Library of Congress and (c)WETA. All rights reserved.

The Mockings

International Campaign for Tibet

Amnesty International


Image and Photo credits: (c) National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. All rights reserved. (c) Associated Press. 2008. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Springtime Odes Not To Hitler (0), But To Napoleon (1) And Franklin D. Roosevelt (3): Post-Classical Ensemble Programs International Musical Culture

Post-Classical Ensemble Investigates Artists in Exile

Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Gildenhorn Recital Hall, University of Maryland, College Park
Sunday, April 6, 2008, at 3pm.
Pre-concert Prelude (on film-maker Fritz Lang) at 2pm.
Angel Gil-Ordóñez, Musical Director and Conductor; and Joseph Horowitz, Artistic Director.

"Aligned with Joseph Horowitz’s forthcoming book "Artists in Exile" (HarperCollins February 2008 -- see below), this upcoming program explores the impact of immigration on two major German and Austrian composers: respectively, Kurt Weill and Arnold Schoenberg. The program provides "before and after" snapshots of the composers, both of whom, upon exile to America, created patriotic musical responses to Pearl Harbor and America’s declaration of war: Weill’s "Walt Whitman Songs" (1942-47) and Schoenberg’s "Ode to Napoleon" (1942).

The program's 'before' snapshot of German composer Kurt Weill includes "Die Morität vom Mackie Messer (Mack the Knife)" (1928) and "Kleine Dreigroschenmusik (Little Threepenny Music)" (1928), which epitomizes Weill's scathing Berlin style. By contrast, the "after" portrait includes the American orchestral premiere of the full set of little known "Walt Whitman Songs." Weill sets four Civil War poems — "Beat! Beat! Drums!" (1942); "Oh Captain! My Captain!" (1942); "Come up from the Fields, Father" (1947); and "Dirge for Two Veterans" (1942) — as breezy Broadway ballads that serve as a grateful wartime tribute to Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The second half of the program features Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg's "Three Piano Pieces, Op. 11" (1909), juxtaposed with another wartime tribute to FDR, his "Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte, Op. 41" (1942), based on a poem by Lord Byron and scored for piano, string quartet and a reciter. Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon, composed in Los Angeles, is (again) a grateful wartime tribute to FDR composed in English, and all the more moving for applying the Expressionist idiom he brought with him from Austria.

With the participation of baritone Chris Pedro Trakas in “Mack the Knife,” the Whitman Songs, and the Ode, and the Left Bank String Quartet (David Salness and Katherine Murdock, violins; Sally McLain, viola; and Evelyn Elsing, cello)."


During Paul Hindemith's wartime exile in the United States, conductor Robert Shaw commissioned Hindemith to set the text of Walt Whitman's Abraham Lincoln elegy "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" [see poem below] to music in his 1946 "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd (A Requiem for Those We Love)." Hindemith, who taught in exile at Yale University, dedicated his Requiem to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Americans who fought and died in World War II [Americans known to U.S. Public Broadcasting System television viewers -- if not Classical WETA-FM listeners -- as "The Greatest Generation").

American classical composer Roger Sessions also set the Walt Whitman Abraham Lincoln elegy in his cantata "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd", 1971, which was commissioned by the University of California at Berkeley and dedicated by the composer to the memories of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

American classical composer George Crumb composed his powerful song cycle "Apparition" in 1979, using mostly the "Death Carol" section of the Walt Whitman elegy to Abraham Lincoln.

Despite its tax-payer supported status, Sharon Percy Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM, so-called 'public radio' in 'Greater Washington', has never programmed the Paul Hindemith, Roger Sessions, nor George Crumb American classical music settings of Walt Whitman's elegy to Abraham Lincoln. It is expected that this will change after January 2009, when Ms. Rockefeller is replaced as President and CEO of Classical WETA-FM.



How Refugees from War and Revolution
Transformed the American Performing Arts

by Joseph Horowitz
(HarperCollins, due Spring 2008)

“What today is the meaning of foreign, the meaning of homeland? . . . When the homeland becomes foreign, the foreign becomes the homeland.”
- Thomas Mann, 1941 (Santa Monica, California)



St. Petersburg and Sergei Diaghilev educate George Balanchivadze – Balanchine invents an American ballet – Igor Stravinsky eyes America – The Balanchine /Stravinski synthesis – Returning to Russia

Rudolf Serkin and the “Berlinerisch”spirit – The German-American juggernaut – Strangers in America: Otto Klemperer and Dimitri Mitropoulos – Composers on the sidelines: Arnold Schoenberg, Paul Hindemith, Bela Bartok – Erich Korngold wows Hollywood – Kurt Weill tackles Broadway

Edgard Varese and the sirens of Manhattan – Leopold Stokowski invents himself – Serge Koussevitzky in search of the Great American Symphony – Arturo Toscanini and the culture of performance

Marlene Dietrich and “The Blue Angel” – The New German Cinema relocates to California – Fox’s “German genius”: F. W. Murnau – The Lubitsch touch – Garbo laughs – Fritz Lang’s American exile – Four who came and went: Victor Sjostrom, Rene Clair, Jean Renoir, Max Ophuls – Inside operator: Billy Wilder – Salka Viertel’s salon and the blacklist

Max Reinhardt: an unattainable opportunity - Bertolt Brecht and HUAC – Alla Nazimova inhabits Hedda Gabler – The Stanislavski influence – Rouben Mamoulian’s choreographic touch – Boris Aronson and the Meyerhold ideal – Immigrants and American musical theater

Summarizing cultural exchange: Thomas Mann and Vladimir Nabokov – Postscript: The Cold War – Cultural exchange and the twenty-first century


When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd by Walt Whitman [Leaves of Grass/Book XXII]

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd,
And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night,
I mourn'd, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.

O powerful western fallen star!
O shades of night—O moody, tearful night!
O great star disappear'd—O the black murk that hides the star!
O cruel hands that hold me powerless—O helpless soul of me!
O harsh surrounding cloud that will not free my soul.

In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash'd palings,
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle—and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-color'd blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break.

In the swamp in secluded recesses,
A shy and hidden bird is warbling a song.

Solitary the thrush,
The hermit withdrawn to himself, avoiding the settlements,
Sings by himself a song.

Song of the bleeding throat,
Death's outlet song of life, (for well dear brother I know,
If thou wast not granted to sing thou wouldst surely die.)

Over the breast of the spring, the land, amid cities,
Amid lanes and through old woods, where lately the violets peep'd
from the ground, spotting the gray debris,
Amid the grass in the fields each side of the lanes, passing the
endless grass,
Passing the yellow-spear'd wheat, every grain from its shroud in the
dark-brown fields uprisen,
Passing the apple-tree blows of white and pink in the orchards,
Carrying a corpse to where it shall rest in the grave,
Night and day journeys a coffin.

Coffin that passes through lanes and streets,
Through day and night with the great cloud darkening the land,
With the pomp of the inloop'd flags with the cities draped in black,
With the show of the States themselves as of crape-veil'd women standing,
With processions long and winding and the flambeaus of the night,
With the countless torches lit, with the silent sea of faces and the
unbared heads,
With the waiting depot, the arriving coffin, and the sombre faces,
With dirges through the night, with the thousand voices rising strong
and solemn,
With all the mournful voices of the dirges pour'd around the coffin,
The dim-lit churches and the shuddering organs—where amid these
you journey,
With the tolling tolling bells' perpetual clang,
Here, coffin that slowly passes,
I give you my sprig of lilac.

(Nor for you, for one alone,
Blossoms and branches green to coffins all I bring,
For fresh as the morning, thus would I chant a song for you O sane
and sacred death.

All over bouquets of roses,
O death, I cover you over with roses and early lilies,
But mostly and now the lilac that blooms the first,
Copious I break, I break the sprigs from the bushes,
With loaded arms I come, pouring for you,
For you and the coffins all of you O death.)

O western orb sailing the heaven,
Now I know what you must have meant as a month since I walk'd,
As I walk'd in silence the transparent shadowy night,
As I saw you had something to tell as you bent to me night after night,
As you droop'd from the sky low down as if to my side, (while the
other stars all look'd on,)
As we wander'd together the solemn night, (for something I know not
what kept me from sleep,)
As the night advanced, and I saw on the rim of the west how full you
were of woe,
As I stood on the rising ground in the breeze in the cool transparent night,
As I watch'd where you pass'd and was lost in the netherward black
of the night,
As my soul in its trouble dissatisfied sank, as where you sad orb,
Concluded, dropt in the night, and was gone.

Sing on there in the swamp,
O singer bashful and tender, I hear your notes, I hear your call,
I hear, I come presently, I understand you,
But a moment I linger, for the lustrous star has detain'd me,
The star my departing comrade holds and detains me.

O how shall I warble myself for the dead one there I loved?
And how shall I deck my song for the large sweet soul that has gone?
And what shall my perfume be for the grave of him I love?

Sea-winds blown from east and west,
Blown from the Eastern sea and blown from the Western sea, till
there on the prairies meeting,
These and with these and the breath of my chant,
I'll perfume the grave of him I love.

O what shall I hang on the chamber walls?
And what shall the pictures be that I hang on the walls,
To adorn the burial-house of him I love?
Pictures of growing spring and farms and homes,
With the Fourth-month eve at sundown, and the gray smoke lucid and bright,
With floods of the yellow gold of the gorgeous, indolent, sinking
sun, burning, expanding the air,
With the fresh sweet herbage under foot, and the pale green leaves
of the trees prolific,
In the distance the flowing glaze, the breast of the river, with a
wind-dapple here and there,
With ranging hills on the banks, with many a line against the sky,
and shadows,
And the city at hand with dwellings so dense, and stacks of chimneys,
And all the scenes of life and the workshops, and the workmen
homeward returning.

Lo, body and soul—this land,
My own Manhattan with spires, and the sparkling and hurrying tides,
and the ships,
The varied and ample land, the South and the North in the light,
Ohio's shores and flashing Missouri,
And ever the far-spreading prairies cover'd with grass and corn.

Lo, the most excellent sun so calm and haughty,
The violet and purple morn with just-felt breezes,
The gentle soft-born measureless light,
The miracle spreading bathing all, the fulfill'd noon,
The coming eve delicious, the welcome night and the stars,
Over my cities shining all, enveloping man and land.

Sing on, sing on you gray-brown bird,
Sing from the swamps, the recesses, pour your chant from the bushes,
Limitless out of the dusk, out of the cedars and pines.

Sing on dearest brother, warble your reedy song,
Loud human song, with voice of uttermost woe.

O liquid and free and tender!
O wild and loose to my soul—O wondrous singer!
You only I hear—yet the star holds me, (but will soon depart,)
Yet the lilac with mastering odor holds me.

Now while I sat in the day and look'd forth,
In the close of the day with its light and the fields of spring, and
the farmers preparing their crops,
In the large unconscious scenery of my land with its lakes and forests,
In the heavenly aerial beauty, (after the perturb'd winds and the storms,)
Under the arching heavens of the afternoon swift passing, and the
voices of children and women,
The many-moving sea-tides, and I saw the ships how they sail'd,
And the summer approaching with richness, and the fields all busy
with labor,
And the infinite separate houses, how they all went on, each with
its meals and minutia of daily usages,
And the streets how their throbbings throbb'd, and the cities pent—
lo, then and there,
Falling upon them all and among them all, enveloping me with the rest,
Appear'd the cloud, appear'd the long black trail,
And I knew death, its thought, and the sacred knowledge of death.

Then with the knowledge of death as walking one side of me,
And the thought of death close-walking the other side of me,
And I in the middle as with companions, and as holding the hands of
I fled forth to the hiding receiving night that talks not,
Down to the shores of the water, the path by the swamp in the dimness,
To the solemn shadowy cedars and ghostly pines so still.

And the singer so shy to the rest receiv'd me,
The gray-brown bird I know receiv'd us comrades three,
And he sang the carol of death, and a verse for him I love.

From deep secluded recesses,
From the fragrant cedars and the ghostly pines so still,
Came the carol of the bird.

And the charm of the carol rapt me,
As I held as if by their hands my comrades in the night,
And the voice of my spirit tallied the song of the bird.

Come lovely and soothing death,
Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving,
In the day, in the night, to all, to each,
Sooner or later delicate death.

Prais'd be the fathomless universe,
For life and joy, and for objects and knowledge curious,
And for love, sweet love—but praise! praise! praise!
For the sure-enwinding arms of cool-enfolding death.

Dark mother always gliding near with soft feet,
Have none chanted for thee a chant of fullest welcome?
Then I chant it for thee, I glorify thee above all,
I bring thee a song that when thou must indeed come, come unfalteringly.

Approach strong deliveress,
When it is so, when thou hast taken them I joyously sing the dead,
Lost in the loving floating ocean of thee,
Laved in the flood of thy bliss O death.

From me to thee glad serenades,
Dances for thee I propose saluting thee, adornments and feastings for thee,
And the sights of the open landscape and the high-spread shy are fitting,
And life and the fields, and the huge and thoughtful night.

The night in silence under many a star,
The ocean shore and the husky whispering wave whose voice I know,
And the soul turning to thee O vast and well-veil'd death,
And the body gratefully nestling close to thee.

Over the tree-tops I float thee a song,
Over the rising and sinking waves, over the myriad fields and the
prairies wide,
Over the dense-pack'd cities all and the teeming wharves and ways,
I float this carol with joy, with joy to thee O death.

To the tally of my soul,
Loud and strong kept up the gray-brown bird,
With pure deliberate notes spreading filling the night.

Loud in the pines and cedars dim,
Clear in the freshness moist and the swamp-perfume,
And I with my comrades there in the night.

While my sight that was bound in my eyes unclosed,
As to long panoramas of visions.

And I saw askant the armies,
I saw as in noiseless dreams hundreds of battle-flags,
Borne through the smoke of the battles and pierc'd with missiles I saw them,
And carried hither and yon through the smoke, and torn and bloody,
And at last but a few shreds left on the staffs, (and all in silence,)
And the staffs all splinter'd and broken.

I saw battle-corpses, myriads of them,
And the white skeletons of young men, I saw them,
I saw the debris and debris of all the slain soldiers of the war,
But I saw they were not as was thought,
They themselves were fully at rest, they suffer'd not,
The living remain'd and suffer'd, the mother suffer'd,
And the wife and the child and the musing comrade suffer'd,
And the armies that remain'd suffer'd.

Passing the visions, passing the night,
Passing, unloosing the hold of my comrades' hands,
Passing the song of the hermit bird and the tallying song of my soul,
Victorious song, death's outlet song, yet varying ever-altering song,
As low and wailing, yet clear the notes, rising and falling,
flooding the night,
Sadly sinking and fainting, as warning and warning, and yet again
bursting with joy,
Covering the earth and filling the spread of the heaven,
As that powerful psalm in the night I heard from recesses,
Passing, I leave thee lilac with heart-shaped leaves,
I leave thee there in the door-yard, blooming, returning with spring.

I cease from my song for thee,
From my gaze on thee in the west, fronting the west, communing with thee,
O comrade lustrous with silver face in the night.

Yet each to keep and all, retrievements out of the night,
The song, the wondrous chant of the gray-brown bird,
And the tallying chant, the echo arous'd in my soul,
With the lustrous and drooping star with the countenance full of woe,
With the holders holding my hand nearing the call of the bird,
Comrades mine and I in the midst, and their memory ever to keep, for
the dead I loved so well,
For the sweetest, wisest soul of all my days and lands—and this for
his dear sake,
Lilac and star and bird twined with the chant of my soul,
There in the fragrant pines and the cedars dusk and dim.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Minotaur [Pan Cogito Suddenly Realizes That -- Like The War In Iraq -- A Half-Decade Of Jet-Setting May Not Have Been Such A Great Idea Afterall]


$150,000, payable over three years, to the ROYAL OPERA HOUSE FOUNDATION, London, U.K., for the commission and production of a new opera, The Minotaur, by Sir Harrison Birtwistle [with libretto by David Harsent].

$150,000, payable over three years, to the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY ART MUSEUM & PACIFIC FILM ARCHIVE, Berkeley, Ca., for Rare Art, a commissioning and exhibition project involving four contemporary art museums, a conservation organization, and sixteen artists working with sixteen UNESCO World Heritage sites. The goal of the project is to use contemporary art to investigate the relationship between natural environments and human culture, with an emphasis on human attitudes towards nature and the urgent need for sustainable development.

$150,000, payable over three years, to the YERBA BUENA CENTER FOR THE ARTS, San Francisco, for continuing support of its newly restructured performing arts program.


Source: Columbia Foundation of San Francisco.

Harrison Birtwistle in 1995 with sculpture by Beth Carter, London, UK.

Theseus, Ariadne, and The Minotaur, Washington, D.C., March 19, 2008 C.E.

Photo credits: (c) Malcolm Crowthers via ROH Web-site. All rights reserved. (c) Bill O'Leary and the Washington Post. All rights reserved. With thanks.

"The world premiere of a new work commissioned by The Royal Opera [and supported by the Columbia Foundation of San Francisco] brings to the stage a famous character of Greek myth. Part man, part beast, the Minotaur is trapped in a labyrinth and constrained by his violent role there, yet he longs to discover his own identity and his own voice. Among the innocents of a blood sacrifice Athens must pay to Crete is Theseus, who has come to challenge the violent Minotaur, but also attracts the attention of Ariadne – and it is her help that ensures his success in the labyrinth."

Royal Opera House, London April 15 - May 3, 2008


San Francisco Opera, War Memorial Opera House [Home to The Bonesetter's Daughter and Three Decembers (Last Acts) ... and the American premiere of The Minotaur??]


Carbon-offset calculator (meaningful small footprints for humankind)

Amnesty International


The Mask Of Gilgamesh

"The one who saw all [Sha nagba imuru ] I will declare to the world,
The one who knew all I will tell about
[line missing]
He saw the great Mystery, he knew the Hidden:
He recovered the knowledge of all the times before the Flood.
He journeyed beyond the distant, he journeyed beyond exhaustion,
And then carved his story on stone. [naru : stone tablets ]"

The Epic of Gilgamesh

Ishtar Gate, Procession Street and Throne Façade from Babylon (Iraq). Glazed terracotta, reign of Nebuchadrezzar II (604 B.C.E.–562 B.C.E.).


Amnesty International


Bilmes, Linda. "Iraq’s 100-Year Mortgage." Foreign Policy [Carnegie Endowment for International Peace] (March/April 2008): The price tag for caring for the Americans who fight this war could exceed what it costs to wage it.


Photo and text credits: (c) Richard Hooker and World Civilizations: An Internet Classroom and Anthology. (c) Vorderasiatisches Museum: Museum of the Ancient Near East [National Museums of Berlin] and (c) James Thresher and the Washington Post. All rights reserved. With thanks.


Poetry Reading: Edward Hirsch
March 19, 2008, 8:00 PM
Katzen Arts Center, Abramson Family Recital Hall, American University, Washington, D.C. Free.

Blitzkrieg … Shock and Awe … Satyagraha [सत्याग्रह]

Amnesty International


Photo credits: 1 and 4 [Melancholia] (c) Anselm Kiefer. All rights reserved. 2 (c) Agence-France Press. All rights reserved. 3 (c) Al-Jazeera. All rights reserved.