Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm listening . . .

Over on the "L Train" (Opera-L) a recent discussion on "modern" opera (generally) and "The Rake's Progress" (specifically) elicited some negative opinions on Stravinsky's grand piece of lyric theatre. "Prickly . . . dull" and "pasted together" were some of the criticisms I found confusing (and, from my perspective, rather unwarranted).

The most interesting aspect (in my opinion) turned out to be that a number of fans of Berg's Lulu and Wozzeck were among those who had difficulty with the Stravinsky.

Still, it's refreshing overall to see the championing and proliferation of performances of works once deemed box office poison finally making their mark. In my own lifetime, I can recall several teachers (teachers!) and countless friends and family ridiculing me for citing Wozzeck as a favorite work (this has not changed) - who now (30 years later) get it (finally!)

There is an energy in the arts that opens the world up in ways that only new music, new art, new literature can do. Even the familiar music of my god, Bach, takes on new angles and urgency after time spent with Glass, Reich, Adams and Ligeti – there is a freshness there as cobwebs seem to be dusted out of the ol’ auditory canals. I've noticed an increase in FYF (Fresh Young Faces) at both the opera and symphony.

When the Met put on Satyagraha two seasons back - I was amazed at the uniqueness of the audience - sensing that "new" energy all around me. Wisely, the Met is bringing back that amazing production and putting it on the HD schedule (I'm still going down to New York for this live though!).

I like keeping my musical options open - and find that to be the healthiest way for me to remain involved and listening is to make - as often as possible - a new adventure out of every musical event whether it's Blue Oyster Cult, Eminem or Stravinsky!

I’m looking forward to getting to hear Muhly’s new opera “Two Boys” and getting to know more of this young man’s music.

I can well recall when I was

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Blogger Will said...

The way I see it, it all began almost exactly 100 years ago when music was abandoning standard tonality; art was abandoning pictorial realism for a new visual language of abstraction and symbolism; fashion was beginning to liberate women from foundation garment restraints and allow the actual figure to show along with more skin; architecture abandoned rehashing the past in favor of a streamlined new look; and the millenia-old monarchies were being swept away. So much trauma in so little time.

I remember being schooled by my parents that contemporary music (1950s) was merely unstructured, obnoxious noise and that nothing had any value that could not be whistled or hummed. I nodded politely and then went to the radio to listen the the MET's very first broadcast of Wozzeck.

June 1, 2011 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger Sharky said...

"I nodded politely and then went to the radio to listen to the Met's very first broadcast of Wozzeck."

LOL! That's pretty much my experience as well. And we're not alone. My cousin Carol Jean at 9 years old, appeared as I was watching the Met's "Lulu" telecast to ask what "the pretty music" was. She was perhaps too young for "Lulu" but - she "got" it, and stayed and watched the rest of the telecast. A year later she was discovering Gilbert & Sullivan. I LOVE the order in which she learned things!

June 2, 2011 at 9:17 AM  

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