Tuesday, June 2, 2009

SFO: Dawn->twilight w/MTT
Schubert's Unfinished B-minor (D. 759, 1822)
paired with Berg's 3 Pieces for Orchestra (Op. 6, 1913-1929)

Atonal music
gets precious little play by major American orchestras; here in S.F., MTT (Michael Tilson Thomas) is trying his best to shoehorn it in historically as a by-product of war. Think: how better to explain John Cage, Philip Glass, John Adams? The Cold War, Vietnam, Iraq/Afghanistan.

For the first time, I'm going down to Santa Cruz to the Cabrillo Festival in early Aug. to hear even newer music. I already listen mostly to Petris Vasks (1946-, a Latvian Baptist minister's son educated in Lithuania) who describes himself as a 'sad optimist' directly influenced by Poles Lutoslawski, Penderecki, Gorecki, American George Crumb (Sibelius, Messaien their relative common background) & James MacMillan (an R.C. Scot.) btw, I'm no longer a relentlessly progressive optimist (since my wife Carolin Combs died on 27 JAN 07.)

Schoenberg once (amazingly) said: "Someday the workingman will whistle my tunes." For most of us, atonalism's been an intellectually purgatory exercize. Art-wise, Larry Rivers' multi-panel collages are comparable to Berg's 3 Pieces for Orchestra; Harry Partch, Lou Harrison track well with Claes Oldenbourg's comical sculptures (see 2 in an internal/external courtyard of the Cantor Museum on the Stanford campus in Palo Alto CA)..

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