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20.9.09

In Brief

Leon Kirchner:
available at Amazon
String Quartets, Orion Quartet


available at Amazon
Works for Solo Piano, P. Serkin, J. Biss, J. Denk, M. Levinson
Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to good things in Blogville and Beyond.
  • American composer Leon Kirchner died on Thursday. Pianist Jeremy Denk has a particularly poignant remembrance of the man, involving how Kirchner convinced him to think anew about the (lovely) poetry of Walt Whitman. [Think Denk]

  • Has anyone ever seen or heard Leon Kirchner's opera Lily? Has it ever been staged? It is apparently an adaptation of Saul Bellow's Henderson the Rain King. [New Music Box]

  • The Getty Villa, the museum's new outpost for Greek and Roman antiquities, has a theater, and they are mounting productions of ancient Greek and Roman plays. I must see that on my next trip to Los Angeles. [Out West Arts]

  • Anne Midgette has some thoughts on the hectic pace of life for Christoph Eschenbach, who will take over as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra next fall. [The Classical Beat]

  • With hat tip to Cronaca, some people in Scotland dug into a toilet that had not been flushed for 500 years. No, really, it's a cool story. [Herald Scotland]

  • Are there really "many critics and scholars" who would "denigrate" performances of Mozart's piano concertos on modern instruments as "inaccurate representations of how Mozart should really sound"? Henry Fogel thinks so, although he does not cite any such critic or scholar who actually thinks that way. [On the Record]

  • Reviews of Alan Gilbert's first concert as music director of the New York Philharmonic were published all over the American press. So will the Gilbert era be an exciting, bright beginning, an earnest but boring disappointment, or somewhere in between? Renaud Machart was there, too, and he thinks that the NYP is still "one of the five best American orchestras." Gilbert "proved his originality" by programming the Messiaen and Lindberg pieces, although the latter was "void of substance behind its beautifully decorated window." Machart "got bored" with the Berlioz because of its "clinical and banal" performance, but he will have more to say when Gilbert takes the NYP to Paris next February. [Le Monde]

1 comment:

Garth Trinkl said...

"Has anyone ever seen or heard Leon Kirchner's opera Lily? Has it ever been staged?"

It was staged by the New York City Opera in the winter of 1977. I believe that is was -- like Andrew Imbrie's Angle of Repose (based upon Wallace Stegner) that premiered at the San Francisco Opera in October 1976 -- an NEA- funded American Bicentennial commission. It featured an anti-Vietnam War sub-text. (Both Wallace Stegner and Saul Bellow were award winning American writers -- Bellow having won the Nobel Prize as well as the National Book Award three times.)

I have an old recording of a suite to the opera (which used some electronic music effects), but unfortunately neither the Imbrie nor Kirchner operas were recorded in full, as I believe that they should have been by an organization such as New World Records, a non-profit organization.

The Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library at the University of California Berkeley has recordings of the full Imbrie opera available for auditioning (and the libretto is widely available), but I do not know whether the Harvard or New York City Public libraries have recordings available of the full Kirchner opera. Musicologist Frank J. Oteri would probably know.