Monday, June 29, 2009

Recommended Listening: George Benjamin's "Into The Little Hill" (With Libretto By Martin Crimp)

Two years back, at the beginning of times of trouble regarding my wife's legal residency in the United States (and the 'real' beginning of the recession), I missed the opportunity to go to New York City for the Lincoln Center Festival and the American premiere of George Benjamin and Martin Crimp's excellent new one act opera, 'Into the Little Hill'.

I have now heard it on Nimbus recording, and I highly recommend it.

I recall that 23 years ago, the clerks at Tower Records in Washington, D.C. were surprised when I told them that I was purchasing a CD of George Benjamin's orchestral music (including 'Ringed by the Flat Horizon') and I did not even yet own a CD player. They apparently thought that one's first CD should be something more symbolic and conservative -- such as a recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations or a rare Beethoven Symphony set.

But no, my first and most recent CDs have been of contemporary classical music.


And last night, on Classical WETA FM, they broadcast Gunther Schuller conducting the Saint Louis Symphony and Chorus in John Knowles Paine's Mass in D, recorded about 30 years ago. The announcer commented that it was an American work that one was not to be ashamed of, or something to that effect.

Sadly, this may be the last week to hear American classical music in the Nation's Capital for the next eleven months unless you write to Sharon Percy Rockefeller.

This week at 9 PM, starting Wednesday, are the final American classical 'prime-time' offerings:

July 1: Glass: Symphony #3
July 2: Bernstien [sic]: Serenade for Violin, Strings and Percussion
July 3: Copland: Billy the Kid
July 4: Copland: A Lincoln Portrait
July 5: Thompson: The Testament of Freedom(Choral Showcase)


June 29 10:23 pm: George Templeton Strong: Symphony #2 in G Minor,Op. 50 "Sintram"


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