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Martinů and Julietta

by Leon Botstein

Written for the concert The Key of Dreams, which was performed on March 22, 2019 at Carnegie Hall.

The career of Bohuslav Martinů mirrors the decisive and tragic character of the century in which he lived. Martinů was born in 1890 and came of age as a citizen of a multinational dynastic empire, only to find himself, in his twenties, a patriot of a newly minted national unit: Czechoslovakia. The triumphant nationalism of post-World War I Europe coexisted, however, with a profound sense of cultural discontinuity, a resistance to the claims of late nineteenth-century romanticism, and an internationalist sense of modernity. Martinů chose to become an expatriate artist in Paris, but the Prague-Paris axis vanished when he was forced into exile in America on account of fascism, the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, and a second world war. He died in exile, caught in the Cold War in which his homeland had become a Soviet satellite. Martinů’s music registers the tensions, ambiguities, and ambivalences that inevitably surrounded the writing of original music by a composer caught in the crosscurrents created by the invention of a new nation, the technological transformation of sound reproduction, the carnage of World War II, the display of a uniquely modern barbarism in Europe, the nuclear age, and the psychic toll of involuntary, as well as self-imposed, exile.

In the young, flourishing, nationalist environment in which he grew up, Martinů demonstrated remarkable gifts and quickly was poised to inherit the mantle of a distinctive Czech nationalist tradition—understood in the terms of the late nineteenth century—in the musical culture bequeathed by Bedřich Smetana and Antonín Dvořák. The 1919 re-drawing of the map of Europe according to notions of self-determination may have created independent and relatively homogeneous political nation states, particularly when compared with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but at the same time, a countercurrent of internationalist ideals in culture and politics emerged that redefined the cosmopolitan and re-imagined its aesthetic possibilities. For this reason, in the early 1920s, Martinů settled in Paris.

Paris between the two world wars became the center of transnational movements in dance, theater, painting, and music. Arthur Honegger, Francis Poulenc, Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinsky, and Sergei Prokofiev dominated the scene. Whereas the much older Leoš Janáček drew strength and inspiration from the new Czechoslovak republic, Martinů gravitated toward an international style. Even so, although he settled in Paris and French became his second language, Martinů did not sever his ties to the nascent national entity, the Czechoslovakia of Tomáš Masaryk. Martinů in this way resembled his nearest Polish contemporary, Karol Szymanowski. They both balanced their experiences in cosmopolitan Paris with an increasingly romanticized but limited construct of the native homeland to which they felt allegiance. Consequently, even though Martinů experimented with a variety of widespread, fashionable, international approaches to composition, the Czech language and Bohemian materials were never entirely neglected. As the composition and performance history of Julietta suggest, a delicate balance was continually in play. This opera derived from a French novel that then was turned into a Czech libretto by the composer. It premiered in Prague, only to be retranslated back into French later on. But the subject transcends culture; it is not tied to any particular nativist traditions. What distinguished Martinů from Szymanowski, however, was his exceptional compositional facility and productivity. Of his near contemporaries, perhaps only Darius Milhaud was as prolific; but Martinů’s output was better crafted and more consistent than Milhaud’s, and more of it will remain in the repertory.

Martinů fled to America in 1941. Here he came to the attention of Aaron Copland, who brought him to Tanglewood. Though Martinů enjoyed the support of old friends, among them George Szell, Rudolf Firkusny, and Walter Susskind, America never seemed quite right. He never fit in; moody and reclusive, Martinů was not happy. To make matters worse, Communist Czecholsovakia was anathema. Martinů returned to Europe in the 1950s and spent the final years of his life in Switzerland.

Martinů is now increasingly known for his orchestral music, which includes six symphonies, but it is the field of opera that preoccupied him most. In this he resembled the ambitions of the older Czech role models and masters: Dvořák, Smetana, and Janáček. Julietta is widely regarded as the finest and most daring of Martinů’s sixteen operas. Its story line and libretto fit the period of its creation perhaps a bit too neatly, making quick comparisons to Franz Kafka and Sigmund Freud easy. But the score has also been the object of all too facile critical dismissal; it has been described as hard to like, episodic, too dependent on one character, attractive but not memorable. Indeed, Julietta has never been a true success, whether on the stage or in recording, despite several recent and highly praised revivals, including one in Berlin.

Given the evident and long-overdue Martinů revival now underway, particularly with regard to the instrumental and symphonic music, the operas demand a new look. And that suggests that Martinů’s most celebrated and most uniquely twentieth-century opera, in terms of subject and plot, merits a hearing in the United States. The faint praise and condescending rehearsal of the so-called shortcomings of Julietta demand rebuttal through performance. That places it squarely in the mission of the American Symphony Orchestra. There is ample reason to suspect that the time for Julietta has now come, and that it has languished too long. Julietta deserves a place in the repertory of our opera houses as one of the great twentieth-century operas. It is, in my view, an operatic masterpiece.

Julietta, or Symphonic Music is a Sometime Thing

by Jon Meadow and Michael Beckerman

Written for the concert The Key of Dreams, which was performed on March 22, 2019 at Carnegie Hall.

Born December 8, 1890, in Polička, Czechoslovakia
Died August 28, 1959, in Liestal, Switzerland
Composed in 1936–37
Premiered on March 16, 1938, in Prague, at the National Theatre, conducted by Václav Talich
Performance Time: Approximately 3 hours including intermission

Introductions and Possible Bright Futures

On March 16, 1938, inside the hallowed walls of Prague’s National Theatre, Czechoslovak composer Bohuslav Martinů’s three-act lyric opera Julietta (Snář) [Juliette, or the Key of Dreams] made its successful debut. Audience members immediately recognized the power, warmth, and economy of means of Julietta’s often “jazzy” and undulatory music. The premiere’s conductor, Václav Talich, judged Julietta to be one of Martinů’s “creative peaks.” Similarly, many years later, on his death bed, the composer showed his estimation of the work’s quality by retranslating the libretto back into French. Like Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka (1901) or Leoš Janáček’s The Makopulos Case (1926), the opera maintains an iconic status in the Czech Republic, and the work’s reputation has resulted in several excellent, commercially available recordings, a growing body of related scholarship, and an international proliferation of new and innovative productions outside of Martinů’s homeland, such as the English National Opera staging in 2012 and Oper Frankfurt’s 2014 production.

Musical Recognitions

Julietta is the story of a Parisian bookseller’s (Michel) pursuit of an elusive girl (Julietta) in a seaside town. Given the libretto’s oceanside setting, games of chance, sailors, peddlers of “narcotics,” and the elusiveness of its namesake, it is not entirely unreasonable to think that a discussion of Julietta in light of some of its musical similarities to one of opera’s most provocative and notorious coastal works, George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (1935), might yield something of consequence.

First, Julietta’s raw musical materials occasionally evoke Porgy’s. It is uncertain whether, when he started composing Julietta in May of 1936, Martinů knew the music (and stories) of Gershwin’s opera about a disabled gambling beggar living in an African-American tenement house on the South Carolina coast. However, as the echoes of Rhapsody in Blue (1924) in Julietta’s shopkeeper scene (Act I, scene ii) and the ostinati, syncopations, and accents of the orchestral interlude from Julietta and Michel’s meeting in the woods (Act II, scene v) attest, the composer was certainly no stranger to Gershwin’s globetrotting Jazz Age musical style more broadly. Moreover, even though Martinů had suspended his use of Jazz Age musical commonplaces at the start of the 1930s, his familiarity with Gershwin-esque music is as palpable in stage-works from the previous decade—like 1927’s Kitchen Revue and 1929’s three-act French-language film-opera Three Wishes, or Inconstancy of Life—as it is in select portions of Julietta.

Second, the way that Martinů thought about how symphonic music should interact with actions and words in Julietta shares assumptions with how Gershwin approached Porgy’s symphonic music. Around the summer of 1936, Martinů was able to secure Prague’s grand, late 19th-century National Theatre for Julietta’s premiere. Perhaps the nature of the venue emboldened him to bring into play the elsewhere, or rather the “elsewhen,” of the previous century, from which he salvaged a vaguely (Richard) Wagnerian manner of thinking about symphonic music’s interaction with words and actions that he had jettisoned in the interwar period. In his influential essay The Artwork of the Future (1849), Wagner had summarized the basic ideas of this late 19th-century way of thinking when he claimed that music’s historical progression necessitated that abstract, or absolute, symphonic music, which Wagner figured as a “vast, shoreless ocean” between words and action, would find itself superseded by a symphonic music that resembles a “bridge between [words and action].” Prior to Julietta or Porgy, Martinů and Gershwin had preferred the genres that made Wagner’s manner of thinking obsolete in many interwar circles, because similar to Gershwin with his pre-Porgy Broadway revues and one-act, hokum-filled opera Blue Monday (1922), Martinů had demonstrated a fondness for the one-act opera genre and the revue format with their looser, less-stringent relations between symphonic music and the libretto’s actions and words. Cases in point are stage works like the aforementioned Kitchen Revue, the one-act radio opera The Voice of the Forest (1935), and the prizewinning collection of one-act, Czech-language, neo-medieval opera-ballets The Plays of Mary (Premiered in Brno in 1935). In these pre-Julietta stage works, the manner in which symphonic music reinforces the actions and words of Julietta and Porgy can hardly be found.

Musical Misrecognitions and the Question of Leitmotifs

Regardless of their coastal settings, their common fund of situations and vocational types, the occasional similarity and contemporaneity of their musical “raw” materials, and their composers’ comparable manners of thinking about symphonic music’s role in opera, Julietta and Porgy’s librettos are dissimilar: they treat memory and the laws of physics differently, and their plots locate reality in disparate places and times.

On the one hand, Porgy’s “realist” libretto has a plot with a beginning, middle, and end, and its characters are subject to the laws of physics. This is a realm where bodies expire, and people are unable to bend spoons with their minds. This is the domain of the daytime. Also, the libretto’s words and actions have consequences and accrue meaning across all three acts. Memory, whether of the law, the individual, the community, a song, or a leitmotif, is essential to Porgy and Bess.

On the other hand, Michel’s “surreal” pursuit of who (or what) possibly exists behind an adulterated memory of a song fragment begins in medias res and unfolds moment by moment. The sequences of its situations across acts is not additive; its words (while clearly sung) have different inter-act, intra-act, and even intra-scene meanings, and the consequences of its characters’ actions are either suspended in ambiguity or they are cartoon-like in their denial of the laws of physics. This is the domain of nighttime, where and when memory is elusive.

After accounting for these differences, it stands to reason that the action- and word-reinforcing symphonic musics of librettos that have such dissimilar conceptions of reality, memory, and physical necessity are going to unfold in grossly dissimilar ways across three long acts. Because Gershwin both settles on Porgy’s “realistic” libretto and reverts to a late 19th-century call for symphonic music to reinforce words and action, he is emboldened to weave a network of Wagnerian leitmotifs from and through memorable songs and choral ensembles, and this enables him to ensure that every musical decision of Porgy and Bess will reinforce the drive towards the opera’s end, which is also the beginning of Porgy’s quest for the elusive Bess. Even Jasbo Brown’s often-cut onstage piano blues from Porgy’s opening scene provides ambiance and assists in orienting the audience in Catfish Row’s here and now, which is logically connected to its before and later.

This kind of practice finds no resonance in Julietta’s symphonic music. Throughout Julietta, Martinů employs the orchestra to provide unconventional but skillfully crafted and concretely shaped local operatic forms. Occasionally Martinů repeats melodic figures and sonorities that are appropriately associated in some vague, non-conceptual way with the elusive Julietta, and from time to time Martinů will repeat each act’s prelude whole cloth.  However, because the words and the actions of the libretto do not drive toward some univocal, unanimous meaning across all three acts, the symphonic music—because it is acting in accordance with the manner of thinking that Martinů adopted for the grand occasion of Julietta’s National Theater premiere—has no need for the coalescence of leitmotifs across all three acts.

In the end, it will be up to the listener to discover whether, despite this unreality, or perhaps because of it, Julietta, far from disappearing into the morass of non-memory, actually takes on a corporeality of enormous power.  We may imagine, then, that the “miracle” of Julietta, thinking back to Martinů’s previous opera, The Plays of Mary, is that in Martinů’s capable hands, absence becomes presence, dreams become true, and the lack of recall creates indelible operatic memories.

Jon Meadow is a Ph.D. student in Historical Musicology at New York University. His work is focused on the roles of humor and comedy in Bohuslav Martinů’s Great Depression theatre reforms.

Michael Beckerman is the Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Music at New York University. He is the author of numerous articles and books about Czech music.

Rebecca Jo Loeb, mezzo-soprano

Rebecca Jo Loeb
Photo by Ralph Rühmeier

Appeared in the concert The Key of Dreams, which was performed on March 22, 2019 at Carnegie Hall.

Rebecca Jo Loeb debuts with Los Angeles Opera and Beth Morrison Projects as Lumee in the world premiere of Ellen Reid’s Prism in the 2018-19 season. She also returns to the Deutsche Oper Berlin for a staged production of Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Frasquita in Carmen, and to the New York Festival of Song to reprise Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles on tour to Boston and New Hampshire this season. Last season, she debuted with the Teatro Municipal de Santiago (Gymnasiast/ein Groom in Lulu) and Theater Freiburg (Susan in Love Life) and returned to the Deutsche Oper Berlin (Zweite Magd in Elektra) and New York Festival of Song (Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles) on tour.

Ms. Loeb spent five seasons as an ensemble member of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Hamburgische Staatsoper, where her performances included Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Siebel in Faust, Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, and the Fox in The Cunning Little Vixen. Following her performances of Bellante in Handel’s Almira in Hamburg, she reprised the role at the Innsbrucker Festwochen der alten Musik.

Other recent engagements include joining the Metropolitan Opera (Flora in La traviata); Oper Köln (Fox in The Cunning Little Vixen); Dutch National Opera (Eine Theater Garderoberie/Gymnasiast/ein Groom in Lulu); Festival d’Aix-en-Provence (Second Angel/Marie in Written on Skin); and Dallas Opera (Fyodor in Boris Godunov).

Spring 2019

Philip Cokorinos, bass-baritone

Philip Cokorinos
Photo by Sarah Shatz

Appeared in the concert The Key of Dreams, which was performed on March 22, 2019 at Carnegie Hall.

Philip Cokorinos was winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 1985 and went on to sing his debut during the Metropolitan Opera’s 1987–88 season. Since then, he has appeared in more than 400 performances of 40 operas at the Metropolitan Opera, including “Live from The Met” telecasts of Don Giovanni; the world premiere of The Ghosts of Versailles; and The Met’s premieres of SlyCyrano de Bergerac, The Gambler, and Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk. He has also appeared in their productions of ToscaLa bohèmeLa fanciulla del WestLa traviataAdriana LecouvreurLa rondine, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Macbeth, ManonDon Carlo, Tosca, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Manon Lescaut, and Le Nozze di Figaro.

His recent appearances include several The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD broadcasts including ManonLa fanciulla del WestThe NoseWertherManon Lescaut, Le Nozze di Figaro, La bohème and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. This season, Mr. Cokorinos returns to the Metropolitan Opera for productions of La bohème and Adriana Lecouvreur, and to perform Billy Jackrabbit in La fanciulla del West, Amantio in Gianni Schicchi, and Sacristan in Tosca. He will also perform as 2nd Nazarene in Salome with the Spoleto Festival USA.

Spring 2019

Kevin Burdette, bass

Kevin Burdette
Photo by Simon Pauly

Appeared in the concert The Key of Dreams, which was performed on March 22, 2019 at Carnegie Hall.

Recent highlights include Stefano in Adès’ The Tempest with the Metropolitan Opera (Deutsche Grammophon DVD, 2014 Grammy Award); Beck Weathers in Talbot’s Everest, Eric Gold/Bazzetti’s Ghost in Heggie’s Great Scott, and Ob in Adamo’s Becoming Santa Claus, all world premieres with The Dallas Opera; multiple roles in Shostakovich’s The Nose with the Metropolitan Opera; Doktor in Wozzeck with the Philharmonia Orchestra; Scattergood in The Last Savage, Général Boum in La grande-duchesse de Gérolstein, Sulpice in La fille du régiment, and Stobrod/Blind Man in Higdon’s Cold Mountain (world premiere) with Santa Fe Opera; Leporello in Don Giovanni with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Sulpice with Washington National Opera; Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore with San Diego Opera; and Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Stobrod/Blind Man and Dulcamara with Opera Philadelphia.

Mr. Burdette’s upcoming engagements include performances with the Metropolitan Opera, Utah Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Cincinnati Opera, Central City Opera, Dallas Opera, Austin Opera, and San Diego Opera.

Spring 2019

Raehann Bryce-Davis, mezzo-soprano

Raehann Bryce-Davis
Photo by Jessica Osber

Appeared in the concert The Key of Dreams, which was performed on March 22, 2019 at Carnegie Hall.

Raehann Bryce-Davis is a recipient of the 2018 George London Award. In the 2018-19 season she returns to Opera Vlaanderen for a role debut of Ms. Alexander in Satyagraha and a world tour of Unknown, I Live With You. She also sings Kristina in The Makropulos Affair at the Janáček Brno Festival, makes her role debut as Leonora in La Favorita with Teatro Massimo Palermo, sings Marguerite in La Damnation de Faust with Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica, Verdi’s Requiem with Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra.

Upcoming engagements include her role debut as Eboli with Opera Vlaanderen. Last season included her first performances of Wellgunde in Die Ring-Trilogie (Theater an der Wien), Madeline Mitchell in Three Decembers (Opera Maine), Elgar’s Sea Pictures (Musikverein Vienna), the world premiere of Paul Moravec’s Sanctuary Road (Carnegie Hall, Oratorio Society of New York), and Verdi’s Requiem (Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica and the Greenwich Village Orchestra). While a member of the ensemble of Opera Vlaanderen, Ms. Bryce-Davis sang Nezhata in Sadko, Kristina in The Makropolus Affair, and Mary in Der fliegende Holländer.

Ms. Bryce-Davis is the 1st Place and Audience Prize-winner of the Concorso Lirico Internazionale di Portofino competition, a Prize Winner of the 2016 International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition, and Winner of the 2016 Richard F. Gold Career Grant.

Spring 2019

Tichina Vaughn, mezzo-soprano

Tichina Vaughn

Appeared in the concert The Key of Dreams, which was performed on March 22, 2019 at Carnegie Hall.

Tichina Vaughn began her career as a member of the Lindemann Young Artist Program of the Metropolitan Opera and debuted in Europe as Mistress Quickly in Falstaff at Staatsoper Stuttgart, where she was awarded the title of Kammersängerin. Ms. Vaughn sings regularly with Semperoper Dresden, Teatro alla Scala, Spoleto Festival, the Arena di Verona, and the Metropolitan Opera. Her repertoire includes roles such as Klytämnestra in Elektra, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Amneris in Aida, Herodias in Salome, Fricka in Die Walküre, Waltraute in Die Götterdämmerung, Brigitta in Die tote Stadt, and La madre in Il Prigioniero. Future performances include Mother of Aida/Ritual singer in Caruso a Cuba (Dutch National Opera) and Mère Jeanne in Dialogues des Carmélites (Metropolitan Opera).

Spring 2019

David Cangelosi, tenor

David Cangelosi
Photo by Ken Howard

Appeared in the concert The Key of Dreams, which was performed on March 22, 2019 at Carnegie Hall.

David Cangelosi made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2004 as Mime in Das Rheingold. He has returned in multiple principal roles and Der Ring des Nibelungen-related assignments over the past twelve years.

Recent highlights include a multi-year performance/recording project of the Ring with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, his company debut with Houston Grand Opera (Tosca, Eugene Onegin), his role debut of the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, and reprising his signature role of Mime for the Ring with the Washington National Opera and Boston Wagner Society. Other notable Ring highlights include a recording of the Forging Scene (Siegfried) with Placido Domingo for EMI Classics’ Scenes from the RingSiegfried and full Ring productions with Lyric Opera of Chicago; and the San Francisco Opera, where he reprised both Mime roles in 2018.

Recent performances include The Cunning Little Vixen with the Cleveland Orchestra and Mime in Das Rheingold with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood and the Opéra de Montreal. Mr. Cangelosi sang his role debut of Shuisky in Boris Godunov with the Dallas Opera in 2012 and has returned to the company for Moby Dick and Madame Butterfly. This summer, he makes his debut with Bard SummerScape as the Blind Judge in Das Wunder der Heliane, conducted by Leon Botstein.

Spring 2019

Sara Jakubiak, soprano

Sara Jakubiak
Photo by Ashley Plante

Appeared in the concert The Key of Dreams, which was performed on March 22, 2019 at Carnegie Hall.

In 2018, Sara Jakubiak created the role of Heliane in Christof Loy’s Das Wunder der Heliane at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Other recent highlights include Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Bavarian State Opera, Agathe in Der Freischütz at the Semperoper Dresden, and portrayals of Tatiana in Eugene Onegin and Marta in The Passenger in new productions with the Frankfurt Opera. Other roles have included Marie in Wozzeck at the English National Opera, Polina in The Gambler at the Dutch National Opera, Marietta in Die Tote Stadt at the Hamburg State Opera, Elsa in Johannes Erath’s production of Lohengrin at the Graz Opera, and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus with the Israeli Philharmonic.

In the 2018–19 season, Ms. Jakubiak will sing Marietta in a new production of Die Tote Stadt at the Komische Oper, directed by Robert Carsen. She joins the Bavarian State Opera in a reprise of her role as Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and the Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg in Mahler’s Eighth Symphony. Other concert performances include Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass with the Hallé Orchestra and Erwartung with the Bergen Philharmonic. She will also make a studio recording of Erwartung with the Chandos label.

Ms. Jakubiak was a member of the ensemble at the Frankfurt Opera between 2014 and 2018, and performed as Prima Donna in Ariadne auf Naxos, Marie in Die Tote Stadt, Lina in Stiffelio, Polina in The Gambler, Marie in Der Diktator, Alice Ford in Falstaff, the Goose Girl in Königskinder, and Freia in Das Rheingold.

Spring 2019

Composers, Teachers, and New York

by Leon Botstein

Written for the concert Sounds of the American Century, which was performed on January 25, 2019 at Carnegie Hall.

This concert is exemplary of the original and ongoing mission of the ASO. The four composers on the program are all American, and they represent a thirty-year period, from Pearl Harbor to the Vietnam War, that witnessed unprecedented growth in the concert and classical music world of this country. These composers enjoyed enormous recognition and success in their lifetimes.

With the passage of time, however, memories fade and tastes change. Major figures are remembered largely as names in history books, and perhaps then only with a passing mention or a footnote. Their music is now more widely recorded and low resolution postings of performances can be found on the internet. Such a legacy, however, becomes academic, literally and figuratively.

Live performances of the music of the once central figures who have passed into history become rare, and not because the music falls short. Books can be reissued and paintings from the past taken out of storage and sold, downloaded, and hung in public gallery spaces more easily than music, especially music written for large forces, can be put on the stage. And music must be heard live and with an audience to be realized.

Music in the classical field deals with its history as if it were a winner-take-all proposition. But this is wrong because it distorts history and we rarely get the chance to change our minds. This concert of music by Mann, Fine, Druckman, and Schuman could catch someone’s eye because of the name Schuman, only to realize that it is not Robert, nor spelled the same way. The remaining three are not well enough known to be recognized by the audience we should be reaching. The ASO fights against these trends. We are determined to advocate for the unfairly neglected from the past and to push against the winds of fashion.

All these composers overlapped with one another and knew one another. They were centered, for a great part of their careers, in New York City, although some, like Fine, migrated to New York. And all of them taught. They were profoundly influential. Vivian Fine was a legend at Bennington. She, like Schuman, was a tireless organizer and performer in New York. This concert is a journey to our own past, to a different time, with different cultural ambitions and conflicts, and a time of great excitement, energy, confidence, growth, and faith in future generations of musicians and listeners.

It is a particular honor to perform a work by the late Robert Mann, the legendary violinist, quartet leader, and teacher. He was a fine composer and a great advocate of the new music of his time. Dimitri Mitropoulos, the fabulous conductor and music director of the New York Philharmonic, and also a partisan of the new, was himself a composer. Earlier this month I had the privilege of conducting the first performance of a new edition of a Concerto Grosso by Mitropoulos in Athens. Mitropoulos recognized Mann’s gifts and premiered his Fantasy for Orchestra, which opens tonight’s concert. Years ago Mann mentioned the work to me, in passing and all too modestly. The ASO dedicates this performance to Robert Mann’s memory. I would like to think he would be pleased to see the work revived and performed again in Carnegie Hall.

William Schuman is the best-known composer on this program, and his Symphony No. 3 is the one work being performed tonight to approximate a repertory staple. This symphony is a contender for the status of one of the major American symphonies of the twentieth century. We hope that it is brought back regularly, and that more of Schuman’s music gets played. Schuman, like his contemporary Leonard Bernstein, was a man of many talents. He was, like Fine, a terrific organizer and institutional leader, somewhat in the mold of musicians who devoted their time and energy to creating and leading institutions designed to sustain music. He headed Juilliard and Lincoln Center. If Rimsky-Korsakov and Gabriel Fauré could manage it, why not William Schuman?

Jacob Druckman was a widely admired composer until his untimely death in 1996. He taught for many years at Bard and two of his students later became famous as members of Steely Dan. He then moved to Juilliard, where he remained. In his lifetime he won many prizes and was noted for the subtlety, refinement, and distinctiveness of his structures and sonorities.

Vivian Fine was not only a great teacher and an avid performer, but mentor to many generations of American composers. She exemplifies the spirit of this program: a conviction in the potential of new music in America, great craft and ambition, a determination to reach the public, and an abiding belief in how important musical culture is to this city and the nation.