Archive for March, 2009

Gurre-Lieder at the ORG, March 29, 2009

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

“Many people came to the first performance ready to whistle on their house keys (the traditional Viennese method of expressing public displeasure), but the house keys were not used: people wept and cheered, and Schoenberg received an ovation that lasted a quarter of an hour.”

CHARLES ROSEN on the première
of Songs of Gurre, February 23, 1913

M. Theo’s mixed-media presentation of Arnold Schönberg’s Songs of Gurre returns to Berkeley on the last Sunday of March, courtesy of composer Bill Ludtke’s splendid ORG Salon Concerts series. Some consider this immense song cycle (calling for orchestral, choral, and solo resources well beyond those of Mahler’s symphony “of a thousand”) the pinnacle of Romanticism in music. I am one of them. I also consider it the great critique of, and antidote to, Romanticism. Since this work is so rarely performed, I’ve made a practice of presenting it every few years in recorded form, under conditions as close to ideal as I can muster: comfortable hall, excellent sound system, with synchronized German text and updated translation on screen — legibly! — synchronized to the music. I’ll introduce the cycle with plenty of little-known background that will enhance the encounter with the music for first-timer and old hand alike. For further information please contact me by email or phone (see the flyer thumbnailed above). The ORG is at 2601 Durant Avenue, at the corner of Bowditch Street — right across the street from Hotel Durant and Henry’s Publick House. Hope to see you there!