Friday, August 12, 2005

Who am I? - attacca

"Whereas the (Kennedy Center) Opera House only had to exist (there had been nothing like it in Washington before), the Concert Hall had to prove its worth, and its superiority to the former hall. Further, the much belittled, even maligned National Symphony Orchestra had to pass the hard test of being found worthy to become the resident orchestra of the new Center.

I chose a programme that showed the acoustical properties of the hall in as many different ways as it was possible in one single evening, and also the orchestra's prowess by asking it to master some of the most demanding works in the repertory from classical to contemporary.

We performed:

Beethoven's Overture, "Consecration of the House"
Mozart's Violin Concerto in G major (K 216) with Isaac Stern as soloist
Stravinsky's Rite of Spring
and
William Schuman's American Song for Tenor Solo Chorus and orchestra

Both the orchestra and the concert hall passed their test brilliantly, and it can be truthfully be added that the success of both became permanent."

A well known musical figure wrote this - who am I?

Post your answers using the comments feature below. No prizes for the right answer. But no black marks for the wrong one either. If you don't want to identify yourself you can post your answer anonymously. This is the second part of the text, follow this link to the first part.

If you enjoyed this post take an overgrown path to What a Facade! invisible hit counter

8 comments:

Garth Trinkl said...

It's interesting, I think, how the NSO 75th Anniversary Web-site describes this celebratory opening concert: "On September 9, 1971, the National Symphony Orchestra christened the Kennedy Center Concert Hall as its new home with a gala opening concert. Featuring Beethoven's Overture "Consecration of the House" and Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring", the program fittingly emphasized youth and sacred beginnings."

No mention of the Mozart concerto with Isaac Stern, or William Schuman's American Song for Tenor Solo, Chorus, and orchestra.

So much for youth (Mozart), sacred beginnings (American composer William Schuman's commission), and the Kennedy Center being a National Showcase celebrating excellence and American creativity in all of the arts!!

Pliable said...

Garth, please stop playing Haydn seek.

Fairhaven Friend said...

Hmmm, my further research says Antal Dorati--I have a whole buncha Haydn thanks to him.

Pliable said...

Fantastic Fairhaven Friend (you may have noticed I like alliteration)- we have a result!

Yes, the mystery author was Antal Dorati. As you say he was a Haydn expert, conducted the first US performance of Messiaen's La transfiguration de notre-seigneur jesus-christ (I came across the reference when researching the Messiaen following a reader post), made a very reasonable job of the poisoned chalice of Music Director of the BBC Symphony, and as the first comment on this post gives away was Music Director of the National Symphony when the Kennedy Center was opened in 1971.

The quote actually comes from page 288 of Dorati's autobiography Notes of Seven Decades. Long out of print, and interestingly fetching $60US (£37) from rare book dealers.

Dorati was also a composer. His compositions include a symphony, a Missa Brevis, a dramatic cantata, and numerous chamber works. He was a true renaissance man. Sadly now he is largely forgotten apart from those pioneering Haydn recordings. A real musician of stature who contrasts strongly with the current generation of media hyped superstar conductors who are scarcely out of their teens.

To finish with really obscure music trivia. In the 1980's we lived for six happy years in the village of Bridge of Allan in Scotland. (One of the delights was our house was on the edge of the University of Stirling campus. The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra were regular visitors to the campus auditorium. At that time their Music Director was a young Jerzy Maksymiuk whp produced some wonderful music. Sir Alexander Gibson also visited, I recall a stunning Sibelius 3 two days after the birth of our daughter). But I have headed off down yet another overgrown path. The bit of trivia was that the wife of the vet in Bridge of Allan was Antal Dorati's daughter!

Well done Fairhaven Friend on divining who am I?. And thanks to everyone who participated in a piece of harmless summer fun.

Garth Trinkl said...

Fairhaven Friend, you may have a whole lot of Haydn thanks to Antal Dorati (including his eight Haydn operas?), but I hope you, pliable, and other readers also have Dorati's recordings of Roberto Gerhard's Symphonies and Gerhard's setting of Albert Camus's The Plague, as well as some of Dorati's own very powerful compositions. Does anyone here know Dorati's Le Chemin (Cantata for speaker, contralto, and bass-baritone soloists, chorus, and orchestra, based upon Paul Claudel's 'Le Chemin de la Croix' from 1955-56 and ca. 100 minutes), his Rilke or Bhagavad gita settings, or his major opera The Chosen (1984), which Dorati based upon his own libretto from Martin Buber's play Elija? Dorati's third to last work, his short drama Jesus or Barabbas?, based upon the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy, should still be available somewhere on BIS CD.

pliable, does your library possess
Dorati's second book "For inner and outer peace" - a subject which interested him greatly during his last years- and which was edited after his death in 1988?

Pliable said...

Garth, thanks for adding all that additional, and valuable, information on Antal Dorati.

I do not know his book "For inner peace and happiness" at all.

I notice that there is a rather good Dorati web site which mentions it, and I will try to find a copy from the source mentioned there. The examples of Dorati's graphic work on the site are worth looking at as well.

Truly a renaissance man, and truly an overgrown path worth following.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

this book is still available.
The prize: Euro 10, - plus mailing 3,50 Euro to the UK.

With best regards

Dr. Peter Hauber
IPPNW-Concerts@t-online.de

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir

I also would like to introduce another book with texts by Antal Doráti:

Concert Tour For Peace
Berlin(West)-Moscow-Dresden-London

A pictoral Documentation german/english

FAB-Verlag, Berlin ISBN 3-927551-07-4

Doráti on his last concert-tour with Beethovens Missa Solemins in 1988 with an All-European (East-West) Symphony-Orchestra. Texts and fotos of the concert-tour. Foreword by Sir Yehudi Menuhin.
The titles of the Doráti-texts: Last Confession / The message as an experience / Attempt at a description of an encounter between god and man.

we accept VISA,Master or AMEX. You also can send your order, your adress and the credtit-card-numbers by fax or mail.

Dr. Peter Hauber/IPPNW-Concerts
Eitel-Fritz-Str.29
D-14129 Berlin
Fax +49-30-8027617


Best regards

Peter Hauber