25 October 2023

Mostly about Carter and Dukelsky

For some of those motorists, "COEXIST" actually means "Give Me MY Space—and It's ALL My Space."
Postcards From Red Squirrel Trail

The music always leads you astray and leads you into itself.

— Elliott Carter

In the course of this extract from an interview with Steven Stucky, Elliott Carter mentions meeting Edgard Varèse in a speakeasy. I had the chance to ask for Carter’s autograph in Boston’s Symphony Hall at the première of his Horn Concerto, and I’m honestly tickled that I’ve met someone who has been in a speakeasy. I mean, I suppose it’s possible that either (or both) of my grandfathers had, but I’ll never know. I’ve been reading Taking a Chance on Love, George Harwood Phillips’ wonderfully interesting book about Vernon Duke/Vladimir Dukelsky, and in curious synchronicity one passage I read today is: Elliott Carter Insisted that “Dukelsky's popular songs have absolutely no connection with his original and imaginative serious music in either style or content. In this he is linear and dissonant and frequently violently rhythmic, fond of a dry unresonant orchestration … The ‘End of St Petersburg’ contains some of the best music by this composer since he wrote his exquisite ‘Zephyr and Flora’ for Diaghilev. Although the Soviets went as far as re-christening ‘The End of St Petersburg’ Leningrad,’ Prokofiev wrote to Dukelsky that the piece could not be performed in Russia because only the classics were allowed to be played. (This was in the spring of 1936.)

Well, so what about this Henning in October of 2023? This week I quickly chopped out an  arrangement of Ride On, King Jesus for handbells. I'll mark parts hurriedly tomorrow early afternoon. I see a call for orchestral scores suitable for a university orchestra. Still thinking about that one. And another call for an atypical reedy wind quintet for which I am thinking of adapting The Mask I Wore Before.

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