Sunday, September 20, 2009

Leon Kirchner, In Memorium ... (Because A Great Nation Deserves Great Art, And Kirchner Provided Us Some Near Great Music)

Leon Kirchner
Photo by Lisa Kirchner Courtesy G. Schirmer/AMP


Suggested listening: Kirchner Music for Cello and Orchestra with Yo Yo Ma, David Zinman, and the Philadelphia Orchestra; and the recorded excerpts from the opera, Lily, based upon Saul Bellow's novel, Henderson the Rain God.


Leon Kirchner's opera "Lily" of 1977 and Andrew Imbrie's opera "Angle of Repose" were two highly ambitious American operas in the severe 12-tone style of the mid-1970s. I recall the critical response to the Imbrie opera being rather more positive than the response to the Kirchner opera.

In revisiting his study "The Language of Modern Music", first published in the 1960s with a burning focus on Arnold Schoenberg (and his school) and Igor Stravinsky, musicologist Donald Mitchell, in 1992, wrote that he now thought that, looking forward, Benjamin Britten would inform 21st century musical language (especially opera) as much as Schoenberg and late Stravinsky.


Post a Comment

<< Home