Thursday, March 31, 2005

Nibbles

While musician friends- brass players, singers, and choir leaders prepared for Easter, I was struck by the sameness of their activities. There were the popular Requiems, Passions, cantatas, etc for Holy Week. But, for Easter Sunday, the Resurrection, the centerpiece of Christian belief, there were the usual Handel/Beethoven Hallelujahs, various brassy anthems that incorporated Easter hymn tunes, but little else. But, there is plenty else available and useful. There are so many other big Amens and Hallelujas. Bach’s et Resurrexit, is worth the rehearsals, and I have always liked Flor Peeters’ Entrata Festiva, Horatio Parker’s Light's Glittering Morn, Schuetz’s Ich weiss, dass mein Er-loeser lebt, Honegger’s Cantique de Paques for women, and for large, able choirs, The Resurrection (from Christus) – Liszt-and there is so much more. For an extensive list with comments on Easter anthems, and more, see http://choralnet.org/resources/ . While the Requiem offers inspiring texts and mysticism to composers, the Resurrection hasn’t prompted either text or music to match.

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On diminishing audiences, one of the reasons that critics and reviewers are so popular today is because they are surrogates for participation. Many prefer to read about a concert than to attend it. Reading a column allows one to talk, and maybe even to think, about it as though the opinion were theirs. But, the reality is, there is probably as much musical criticism as there is music, but a larger percentage of it is bad.

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While it’s easy to learn who is performing at a concert, it is becoming more difficult to know what is being performed. The business of classical music has become so desperate that it has forgotten the foundation of its business.

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