While researching another post I came across, completely by chance, a perceptive appreciation of Leonard Bernstein's Mass.
The following was written by a well-known musical figure. But who was it? Answers please to be added as using the comments feature at the foot of the post. I'm interested to see if anyone can correctly identify the author as the tone of the piece is quite surprising once you know who wrote it. On Friday I'll add the next section that the mystery author wrote, which should make the answer clearer.
"Kennedy Centre opened on September 8th 1971. The opening of the Opera House preceeded that of the Concert Hall by one day with Leonard Bernstein's Mass, written for the occassion. The work made a deep impact upon the emotionally pre-charged audience, not least because of the re-emergenceof the Kennedy name and the Kennedy tragedy. This worked-up state of mind of the public was, perhaps, detrimental to a true appreciation of the work, and the fixed date of the production was perhaps detrimental to the work itself, for in my opinion it is quite outstanding and would have merited a premiere unconnected with any occassion whatever.
It represents a dramatic study of the drama of worship and thus also an exploration into the nature of the religous Mass as we know it.
For this reason , I think, the name of the piece is a misnomer. If the word "Mass" was placed within quotation marks, then the title would be correct and significant. But how many ordinary memebers of the public could be expected to read as carefully and thoughtfully as that? The best would have been to use in a sub-title the words that most correctly describe the nature of the piece and to call it:
"Mass" (A Mystery Play)
The work depicts, movingly, the evolution from the improvised laudatio to the ceremony and its subsequent decadence, ending in the hope of a revival, the return of spontaneous, wide-eyed, grateful rejoicing in life's blessings - the true origin and true primary content of all worship.
Be that as it may, the Kennedy Centre Opera House succeeded in presenting at its opening a truly original work - not only an original specimen but, as I see it, a species quite new in our age and times. For mystery plays have been missing from our stages for centuries."
A well known musical figure wrote this - who am I?
No prizes for the right answer. But no black marks for the wrong one either. Use the comments feature below, if you don't want to identify yourself you can post your answer anonymously.
If you enjoyed this post take an overgrown path to Improvisation