Composers Who Deserve To Be heard More Often In The Concert Hall

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Composers Who Deserve To Be heard More Often In The Concert Hall

  There is an astonishingly wide variety of classical music on CD now; the sheer amount and variety is little short of mind-boggling.

  But unfortunately, many orchestras around the world tend to stick to the tried-and-true familiar masterpieces of Mozart,Beethoven,Schubert,Mendelssohn,Schumann,Brahms,Tchaikovsky,and Dvorak etc, with some notable exceptions.

  Orchestras have to sell as many tickets as possible to stay alive, and many concertgoers are unfortunately reluctant to hear not only new works by today's composers, but lesser-known ones from the past which are undeservedly neglected, which is a pity.

  But the works of such lesser-known composers as Franz Berwald, Mily Balakirev, Zdenek Fibich, Sergei Taneyev, Wilhelm Stenhammar, Arnold Bax, Franz Schmidt, Ferruccio Busoni, Nikolai Myaskovsky, Hans Pfitzner, Albert Roussel,Alberic Magnard, Karol Szymanowski, Arthur Bliss,George Whitefield Chadwick, and others has much to offer audiences today.

  Fortunately,we can easily obtain recordings of their music, but why don't more conductors program their music at live concerts?  There are some notable exceptions,such as Neeme Jarvi and his son Paavo, Vladimir Jurowski, Gerard Schwarz, Leonard Slatkin, Alan Gilbert and several others, but too many conductors are content to give us the same old same old.

  The composers I listed above are only the tip of the iceberg.

RE: Composers Who Deserve To Be heard More Often In The Concert

I vote for Franz Schmitt, Franz Berwald, Sofia Gubaidulina and especially Karol Szymanowski. Hear you can hear Szymanowski play his own work:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NClu-7OcRqU&fmt=18

 

Rolf

RE: Composers Who Deserve To Be heard More Often In l

I agree with both contributions. I'm a Dubliner, and I'm well aware that the limited available funding, and the marginal position occupied by classical music in my country, make adventurous programming extremely difficult. Having said that our National Symphony Orchestra does try to be adventurous, a staged performance of Bluebeard's Castle was magnificent, but I do feel they could do more. For the life of me I will never understand why their most adventurous programmes are always at lunchtime, thus making it absolutely impossible for any working person to attend them.

I dream of hearing live orchestral performances of Frankel, Simpson, Holmboe, Leifs, Tubin, Markevitch, Malipiero, Martinu, Gerhard, Petrassi, Sessions, Dallapiccola, Hartmann, Lutoslawski, Panufnik, Ginastera, Dutilleux...., but I think I'll have to keep on dreaming, until somebody shows a lot more bravery or comes up with a lot more funding, or both. To be fair they did play Lutoslawski's Novelette this year, but again it was at lunch time. Thankfully the West Cork chamber festival is coming up soon, which in my humble opinion is world class.  

 

RE: Composers Who Deserve To Be heard More Often l

I would list some American composers. Henry Cowell who I have heard only once in concert and that was with Marriner and the Academy in London! Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic revived the works of the American Romantic John Knowles Paine. Both symphonies were rousingly received in concert and New World records successfully recorded the. That was some 15 years ago and I've heard nothing again. Peter Menin's symphonies are also well worth investigating.

On the conductor side we have two fine champions of near forgotten composers no matter what the counrtry. They are Neeme Jarvi (who would have thought we would ever hear the Steinberg symphonies) and Leon Botstein ( recordings of Popov's 1st Symphony and Foulds World Requiem were for years only in our dreams). If only more were so adventurous.

RE: Composers Who Deserve To Be heard More Often In Concert

Certainly those of us who know these composers via recordings would love to hear them live. But in addition I believe the programmers are missing out on an opportunity to attract a new audience. As a rock and pop fan in my teens and early 20s I was first attracted to classical music by the works of 20th century composers, not the mainstream classics. The gap may still be a large one, but it seems to me that the music of Holmboe, Martinu, Walton, Dutilleux, Harris, Szymanowski. Lutoslawski, Sculthorpe etc. etc. is closer to the taste by most teens, than is that of Beethoven, Mozart, Liszt etc..

While we’re talking about seldom-performed music, I’m also puzzled by the world of ballet. Choreographers seem to love tackling bits and bobs of symphonic or instrumental music while works written specifically for ballet, by composers like Roussel, Walton, Tubin, Bliss, even Prokofiev and Ravel, gather dust.

RE: Composers Who Deserve To Be heard More Often

There are many English composers, besides the obvious, who deserve to be heard.  If I had to choose one it would be Edmund Rubbra.  Try the 6th Symphony for starters, in the Boult live recording (if you can find it on Itaglio - along with the world premiere of the 8th with Groves) or Del Mar on Lyrita (along with the 8th Symphony and Soliloquy for Cello & Orchestra). 

Bliss
RE: Composers Who Deserve To Be heard More Often In The Concert

 I vote for Gubaidulina as well. I was particularly impressed with her work Stimmen.

A music lover currently living in the middle of nowhere. 

RE: Composers Who Deserve To Be heard More Often In The Concert

Unfortunately there is a phenomenon known as fashion which distorts the progamming of 20th and 21st century classical music. Some composers suddenly become trendy or fashionable and then that's everyone starts to program (read Golijov, Glass, even Saariaho, etc.). These few composers hog the stage and crowd everyone out. Programmers then forget about all the lessers-known works. Alas!

A music lover currently living in the middle of nowhere. 

RE: Another vote for Tubin!

Good to see some mentions of Tubin, surely one of the most important yet neglected of 20th century composers.  Thank goodness for Järvi's recordings in the 80s which brought this great composer to more attention.  I dream of hearing one of his symphonies (or the first violin concerto, a truly beautiful work) in concert; I suspect that will only be acheived by a trip to Estonia!

This brings me to what seems to be the only solution here: travel.  We are blessed in Aberdeen with a lot of music, but the programs rarely stray off the beaten track (the Scottish Ensemble being a notable exception); to this end I started travelling to other Scottish cities specifically to catch works I had yet to hear live - and not even particularly obscure stuff either!  I realised with a shock some years back that if I ever wanted to hear An Alpine Symphony or Also Sprach Zarathustra in concert I'd have to take action.  Thanks to Alexander Lazarev I finally got to hear these works in concert.

RE: Home

A complete list of underperformed composers would doubtless be very long! Here a few of my own favourites of the top of my head:

Kalinnikov's symphonies

Kabalevsky's concertos

Dvorak's early symphonies, still surprisingly obscure

Barber's symphonies

Hanson's 6th symphony

Lalo's piano concerto

Schubert's 7th symphony needs more live airings

Godar is a talented modern composer who deserves more exposure

Terterian's 3rd symphony is amazing (get the Arte Nova record)

Herrman. Yes, he wrote film scores, so what? It's great music.

'Art doesn't need philosophers. It just needs to communicate from soul to soul.' Alejandro Jodorowsky

RE: Composers Who Deserve To Be heard More Often In The Conce

Bernard Hermann also wrote a Symphony, a String Quartet, and an opera based on Wuthering Heights, all worth a listen.

Last year a friend of mine, who is a keen music lover, asked me for some guidance with 20th century classical music. Only too willing to share my love of this music with anyone who might appreciate it, every week I have been giving hime pieces to listen to, on a chronological basis, starting in 1900 and going year by year. The sad thing for me is how few, if any, of these pieces are performed regularly or at all. Everything I have recommended has floored me on first hearing, but I wait in vain to hear them live.

For examle today's batch was Webern's Variations, Dallpiccola's Canti di Prigonia, and Martinu's Memorial to Lidice, all absolutely spellbinding.

I can't hide my frustration at the fact that orchestras continue to play a majority of music that is from the 19th century. I am in no way saying that this music is inferior or doesn't deserved to be heard, absolutely not. What I am saying is that this music has had it's chance, and it is the duty of modern orchestras to play modern music, or older music that has not been heard. Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky etc are big enough to take care of themselves, and there should always be a place for them in live repertoire, but they should be the minority not the majority. In Beethoven's time audiences listened to music that was hot of the press, not music that was 200 years old. Audiences and orchestras have a responsibility to engage totally with the art of their time. For people who don't agree, that's what recorded music is for.

The notion that modern music is difficult to perform or listen to, doesn't wash with me. However difficult both these may be, it is equally as difficult for a modern composer to write such works, and we have no right to expect them to be easy. We live in difficult times, and their art is a personal and honest reflection of this. This is art not entertainment. If you want the latter, watch X factor, if you want the former, you should expect to hear your local orchestra playing Elliott Carter on a regular basis.

 

 

 

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