Fall Preview - Twentieth Century Music
September 1, 1999
La rentrée musicale – preview
Twentieth Century Music
by Philip Ehrensaft
Not to be Missed
The 1905 premier of Richard Strauss's expressionist opera Salome sent shockwaves through Germany and was a seminal event in the evolution of 20th century music. It is still profoundly disquieting to watch Salome dance before the severed head of John the Baptist. L'Opéra de Montréal presents Salome on September 18, 20, 23, 25, 29, and October 2, 1999. Richard Strauss also receives homage at the CBC/McGill concert series on September 15th. The ensemble presenting Ein Heldenleben includes the very fine soprano voice of Canada's Donna Brown.
A chance to understand the performance demands of new music and the relation between composers and performers occurs at an open rehearsal of Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne at the Chapelle du Bon-Pasteur on the afternoon of the 25th. Lorraine Vaillancourt will rehearse and comment on Isabelle Panneton's Travaux et jeux de gravité. Panneton will be on hand to respond to questions from the audience.
The new music month concludes with a McGill faculty concert on September 30, featuring compositions by Bruce Pennycook, Bruce Mather, and Alcides Lanza.
Arnold Schönberg, the composer most associated with the weird and forbidding in 20th century music, is enjoying a spontaneous revival as the century ends. Leon Boststein led a remarkable interdisciplinary concert and symposium, "Schönberg and His World", at Bard College (NY) in August. The conclusion of this homage takes place in New York's Lincoln Center on November 20 with a symposium in the morning and concerts in the afternoon and evening. Pierre Boulez's Ensemble Intercontemporain will be in New York at the same time, presenting a Schönberg concert on November 19 at the Weill Recital Hall. The normally staid Metropolitan Opera presents Schönberg's Moses und Aron on September 28 and October 1 and 7. Several other ensembles offer Schönberg compositions early next year; a complete listing appears on La Scena's website.
Closer to home, on October 12-15 the New Music Festival features the works of Louis Andriessen, an important musical voice of the late 20th century. The composer himself conducts the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble at the final concert as well as participating in a roundtable on his works on the 12th. The SMCQ presents the North American premiere of his De Materie on October 14.
"Discovering Szymanowski" is the theme of notable OSM concerts on October 12 and 13. Two major works by this important composer are scheduled, Stabat Mater and King Roger.
Other New Music will be heard later this fall from the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, SuperMémé, Quatuor Molinari, L'Ensemble contemporain de Montréal, and the Nouveau Quatuor de Saxophones du Québec. Watch this space for details.