13 January 2009

And He's Beautiful

Perhaps we are at a moment of renaissance for Schoenberg, and in after years we might say it started in Boston, with James Levine’s two-season Beethoven-&-Schoenberg pairings. Levine’s programming drew a great deal of noise, it drew the predictable “protest absenteeism” from a certain percentage of subscribers, and (as Levine himself expected) it drew a hitherto-untapped audience-group of listeners genuinely interested in Schoenberg, and for whom the prospect of hearing The Usual Suspects (nice though they all are) is insufficient magnetism towards Huntington Avenue.

And then, too, Deutsche Grammophon released a disc of Hilary Hahn playing (gasp!) the Schoenberg Concerto — and it has been well received.

Now, Bruce Hodges reports on NY Phil conductor-designate Alan Gilbert’s plans for his first season. And Gilbert points out that, by his reckoning, the NY Phil hasn’t played a premiere in an opener since 1962 (when Bernstein led Copland’s Connotations); and what Bruce calls his secret agenda: Schoenberg is beautiful.

The Press Office would like to calm everyone’s fears, and reassurance is firm that C Major remains alive and well still.

1 comment:

Cato said...

Hi Karl!

I am reminded of the Georg Solti essay in a recording of Schoenberg's Moses und Aron with the Chicago Symphony, where he admits that the work scared him to Walla Walla and beyond.

In his struggles to get the orchestra to perform it the right way, he eventually was inspired to tell them:

"Play it as if you are playing Brahms!"

And it worked!