Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Something Strange About Sharon Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM, In Nation's Capital

I rushed home by taxi from the airport last night (one-tenth of the way after taking the public bus to Rosslyn) in order to listen to the Dina Koston memorial concert, from last August, broadcast on Classical WETA. Dina's Theater Chamber Players (aka Kennedy Center Theater Chamber Players) came into existence at about the same time as Elizabeth Campbell's visionary WETA, so I was pleased that the radio station devoted an hour to remembering Dina.

The memorial concert included two works by Debussy, three works by Dina Koston (including her very wonderful last work, Distant Intervals ), and the Webern Piano Variations Opus 27, insightfully performed by Dina.

A half hour after the tribute, the station broadcast the Adagio from Mahler's Symphony #10 -- the second time I have heard the work on Classical WETA-FM, this month.

I remember lending Dina my copy of Udo Zimmerman's two-person chamber ensemble anti-fascist opera Die Weisse Rose (The White Rose) (in the work's revised Munich version of 1986). She really wanted to stage this work with her ensemble, but was pessimistic that she would ever be able to find the resources in the Nation's Capital to hire the extra musicians required. I remember encouraging her to try.

I doubt that this work has ever been done in the Nation's Capital, either by the Washington National Opera or another opera company. I also wonder whether the larger chamber ensemble, the Argento Ensemble in New York City which is visiting the Nation's Capital now more frequently, has ever performed it. I have their repertoire list somewhere in my studio, from their concert at the Austrian Embassy last spring. I will need to double-check.

Alas, no Paul Hindemith yesterday -- the composer's birthday -- on Classical WETA. (No Paul Hindemith at all in the Classical WETA data-base; whereas I heard Sarah Cahill program Hindemith's Viola Chamber Concerto of 1930 on KPFA on Sunday night. Frederick the Great of Prussia has at least ten hits on the WETA radio search feature, and was featured after the Mahler Symphony #10 Adagio last night.)

Two questions: Which opera by Paul Hindemith would you like to see staged by the Washington National Opera? Also, do you know how Udo Zimmerman changed The White Rose between the 1967 and 1986 versions?

Photo credit: Students of the White Rose anti-fascist group in Munich, Germany, 1942-43.


Blogger JMW said...

Easy. Die Harmonie der Welt. THis great composer still has not gotten his due. he has lots of company.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Garth Trinkl said...

Thanks John. I agree that the composer hasn't gotten his due.

I'm fascinated, too, that you choose Die Harmonie der Welt. I was expecting someone to say Mathis the Painter, which was done by the New York City Opera in the early 1990s (and about the same time the NYCO beat the MET to Janacek's From the House of the Dead).

I'm going to have to listen closely, again, to my recordings to both Mathis and Die Harmonie.
Thanks for the push!

(In high school, we performed the suite from Mathis.)

Thanks again. All best.

10:34 AM  
Blogger JMW said...

Must have been some high school!

7:50 AM  
Blogger Garth Trinkl said...

It did have an excellent orchestra, chorus, and music theater ensemble! -- the orchestra under Baroque oboist Bruce Hayne's father and the leader of the city youth orchestra.

My first year with the high school orchestra concluded with Mozart's Vesperae Solennes, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and West Side Story; and my final year with a performance of Britten's War Requiem (and also Handel's Israel in Eygpt with my youth orchestra).

Also alot of other wonderful repertoire (including a performance of Mahler's Titan Symphony along the way) -- as much as I later covered in college orchestra and three summers with the Berkeley university orchestra.

8:13 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home