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This is going to show her. As president of the New England Conservatory of Music. I invite you to listen to the series of concerts which represents some of our more interesting efforts in recent months. These concerts involve both faculty and students and encompass a wide variety of performing groups soloists and types of concerts. The New England Conservatory proudly boasts a very broad curriculum encompassing many directions and manifestations of music often considered peripheral by traditional music educational institutions. This curriculum is taught by a faculty which identifies with such a broad educational spectrum. Therefore these few concerts can only give a partial glimpse of the wide range of performances available to our conservatory audiences and the Greater Boston concert going public. We hope however that such a sampling may demonstrate. That although the New England Conservatory is the oldest conservatory in the United States it is in its educational philosophy and in its attitudes. One of the youngest.
I hope you will enjoy this series. Good evening this is Robert Daley welcoming you to another concert from the 1968 69 season here in Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory of Music. Tonight we present an evening of music by Alexander go Charles Warren presented by faculty and students of the New England Conservatory with guest artist Robert Miller pianist and Phyllis Wright. Harvest. On the program we'll hear two works by each of the composers first making ends meet for piano four hands by Charles Warren composed in 1066 and performed by Charles Warren and Robert Mellor. Second on the program Alexander Gerber's three pieces for piano Opus 18 performed by Russell Sherman piano a member of the faculty and chairman of the piano department here at the New England Conservatory of Music. Then Alexander goes piano trio composed in 1066 performed by Eric Rosen Stephen Gaber
cello and Victor Rosenbaum piano. All three members of the conservatory faculty and concluding the program. Charles Warren and chamber concerto for flute players composed in 1964. The ensemble will be under the direction of Paul's of Klasky. It was during the current 1968 69 academic year that the New England Conservatory welcomed to its ranks. These two distinguished composers both Alexander Goh of London and Charles Warren of New York are at the forefront of contemporary music in their respective homes and both have made significant and original contributions to the musical life of their countries. Alexander Gurra who studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music and at the Paris Conservatoire where he was a student of Olivier misyar and Eve on a lot of you know is one of the most widely performed and commissioned composers in Europe today. Son of the late conductor Walter Alexander girl was until recently a member of the
music staff of the British Broadcasting Corporation in which capacity he was responsible for the performance of a great deal of today's important contemporary music. Through his work with the BBC he also bears a great deal of the credit for the resurgence of contemporary American music in Great Britain. Mr Goh has a long list of compositions to his credit including the opera Arden must die. Commissioned by the Hamburg State after. All. In addition he has concertos for violin and cello music for a large and small choruses and chamber music to its credit. His recent mime opera neighbors Vineyard will be performed this summer at both the Stratford Ontario and Edinburg festivals. The Piano Trio which will hear on the second half of tonight's program was commissioned by the menu on. Maurice Ugandan Hepzibah and the new one who first performed it at the bath festival in England in 1966. The three
pieces for piano no less significant in his repertory though of earlier vantage are dedicated to the British pianist John Ogden. Next year Mr Gurr leaves the conservatory but will remain for a short while in this country where he will be teaching composition at Yale University. One has taught for a number of years at Columbia University from which institution he graduated. Having studied there with Jack and Vladimir it was a Cesky. An accomplished pianist and conductor as well as composer. Mr Warren is co-founder and co-director along with the flutist and composer. Of the group for contemporary music at Columbia University. Mr. Warren has a long list of compositions to his credit including commissions from Columbia University the Ford Foundation Music Foundation Berkshire Music Center the University of Chicago and the Koussevitzky foundation. This year his concerto for piano and orchestra was released by composers recordings incorporated with Mr. Warner
has sold us. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the American composers Alliance and the International Society for contemporary music. The Chamber concerto for Luton Town players which will be the last work to be performed this evening was commissioned in 1964 by the Music Foundation for a performance on the festival of contemporary. Music. Trials with. Robert. Smith. Composition dating from 1966. And.
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Thank. Goodness Jordan will consequently go to performances. Charles Molineaux. Making. Any. Channel for. Us. Was in 1966. In performance but. Closer to our. Guest artist. Robert. Thank making ends meet last mission. Control was. Set. Last March. An International Society for contemporary music concert in New York City. The performing artist for this work with the same that evening as this evening Mr. Warren himself and guest artist Robert Miller. In a few moments we'll continue with this Jordan Hall concert we present three pieces for piano opens
18 by the young British composer Alexander good of three pieces for piano are somewhat early work by this composer was dedicated to the British pianist John Ogden. It will be performed this evening by Russell Sherman chairman of the piano faculty here at the New England Conservatory of Music. On tonight's program we're presenting works by Charles Warren and Alexander girl are both visiting composers in residence here at the New England Conservatory of Music. In a few moments we can expect Russell Sherman to appear here on the Jordan all stage and will have three pieces for piano over his 18 by Alexander go. I would. Have.
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You. I'm for third time. Thanks to Sherman's return to the stage and back. Again to Mr. Good. In the audience to stand and stand with you. Thank. Pieces for thankless 18 dedicated to the British past John Alden performed on the Stuart Hall concert by Russell Sherman. Will return to Jordan Hall for the final portion of tonight's concert. But at this point it's our pleasure to speak with Charles Warren and Alexander Gerber. We'll begin with you Mr. go. We've just heard your three pieces for piano Opus 18 and following intermission we'll be hearing the piano trio dated 1966. Some time has elapsed between these two works. What has happened in the meantime. What happened between these two works in your own approach to God. Will the three pieces for piano are actually much earlier than the piano trio.
I should think. I can't remember offhand when they were written I think probably in 1962 or something like that and they were written by my friend John Ogden played them quite frequently in England and they were I regarded them of the time composing rather special studies in certain aspects of musical construction where a trio is a much more elaborate work it was written with the menu in SR and Maurice Johndroe who played it at Bath in 1966. And I have played it. Since. That is a more extended work. Oddly enough just in the juxtaposition of these two work there's a certain similarity in the approach to the piano. I feel and I hope this audience will be bored is the piano your major instrument by the way.
No no I'm an instrumentalist a door closed. I can play the piano part very well. You've been fortunate in having a lot of works commissioned unusually. Fortunate for contemporary music composers. Do you prefer to composers would you like to compose this way. Well if somebody commissioned the work it means somebody wants your work which is always slightly more agreeable than if they manifestly don't want your work. In Europe of course the position for the composer is perhaps a little better in that respect than that his Here in that we are able to semi exist as a profession to some extent and one gets in the habit of writing on commission. What this means is exactly what Stravinsky said is that you want to get as many commissions as you can and then could in fact compose what you want and just accept a commission which corresponds to that. When the question comes to my mind. If a particular person ask you to write a piece now do you assume that he knows your style and that he will.
Accept what you write for him. Or do you feel a responsibility to tailor the work somewhat to the performer wants to commission it. Well both are true. Basically we get two kinds of commissions he gets a sort of neutral commission from radio stations or people who hand out Commission and. Because they have a certain program of doing it and they take you by status not because any individual person thinks it's very nice or very nasty and you're just you write a piece you know such as some of the big foundations commissioned pieces here now they don't particularly want anything in particular. They just want to help a composer. At other times and I rather prefer it I've struck up a very happy relationship with individual artists who have commissioned or Kohls works to be commissioned for them and then I would tailor it for instance to man un. I'm not a star I mean
I don't know what style is and I only compose in one way but if I know John Ogden or Mr. Mannion or on another occasion Jack and pray I'm going to play the piece. The fact that they're going to play to some extent colors the kind of piece it is. I think in that sense you could say well tell the male to mate is. Something they would strenuously. Well for example the three pieces working out what are some of the considerations that went into writing this piece which you did dedicate to John Adams. Well perhaps if I stop you that isn't the best example I'd rather ask if the other way round about the trio. Because those three pieces were dedicated and drawn on because he's an old co student friend of mine. But I didn't particularly think about him or anything to do with him he just happens to be one of the most useful pianists included and another of the most useful pianists is Mr Sherman
a great pianist. Was displayed in the. I'd rather a transfer if I may your question to the trio. Or because there was a definite problem of a collection of artists not known for their sympathy to contemporary music. Not terribly experience in the kind of problems which we deal with now. And I was warned by all my colleagues not to do it because anyway a piano trio tends to sound like pond court ensemble and I thought that I would probably have great difficulties in getting Mr. Emanuel and his friends to do my piece. I certainly I didn't have great difficulties they had great difficulties Mr menu in that arranged I believe originally to rehearsals and when after one rehearsal he picks 12 more and he sweated into the night learning it and I think he did extraordinary well. His wife told me after the performance I'd caused him more trouble than
anyone in the bar talk which gave me great pleasure. But I think I was affected by some aspects of the way he played and the conversations we had before. And. It's very difficult to pin such things down it's more a question of feeling. So each composition is sort of a rule unto itself and in most cases not where that one would hope anyway for others to draw the rules between composition or composer. No. Alexander girl what new pieces on the board now. Well several years I have to write a piece for a bit of it was a solo clarinetist in England which we're doing with my ensemble at the Edinburgh Festival later this year. But my main preoccupation is with a large orchestral piece for the new film and your orchestra. Which will have its premiere in London next year which is being actually has been
commissioned by the orchestra for the expo in the sukkah. We're going on to out of Japan. And that starts in the very advanced age as yet. But that's what's preoccupying you mean. We have such little time left I hesitate to even bring the subject up but you mention the orchestra and that you are composing for the orchestra at this time. On a commission basis but. The question that is constantly seems in everyone's mind these days is the symphony orchestra a dying institution or does it serve some real valid function today. Is it a museum piece or not. Well briefly what if it were a museum piece I'd still be in favor of it because the things that are kept in the museum no worth keeping. Point one. Point two I don't think one can generalize. It depends on the management and it depends on the financing of the orchestra. If you say it's a
dying institution you're merely saying that in the way it's set up economically and socially moment it can't work any longer. And I suggest you change the form. But I see no nothing in this at all. I don't think it's a dying form in any way. So in the end it's simply an organizational question. Basically yes. I mean those who say that the symphony orchestra is a dying form what they're really saying is that the symphony orchestra financed with the set up to the tune of so many pounds or dollars or whatever is a dying form. And I think. On the way orchestras administrator I've been involved in this a great deal myself in my part of my earlier work at BBC. You can create a change of the mood in a day. It's a it's purely a way a question of your aims. What kind of thing you're doing. I think a lot of the let me not be overoptimistic a lot of the orchestras one sees around the world are certainly dying
institutions but that does not reflect on the nature of the thing. Orchestras are such on dying at only certain strokes. And you personally continue hope to continue writing for the orchestra. Oh yes just the relationships which I have with a number of the London orchestras lead me to assume that the works I write will be performed not once of a neighbor several times and I but I know it's difficult they've got to make the money go around and they've got to find audiences and I know the audience prefers trigraphs gets him from his to mine and it's no surprise to me to be told this but nevertheless where a genuine effort is being made ultimately what is valuable comes through. And I don't think there's any generalizations to be made on the subject. All right well thank you very much Mr. Gore for your comments. And now Mr. Warren we've heard your making ends meet and concluding the program will be your chamber concerto for flute and. 10 players.
And actually the last work. Predates the first one by a couple of years. And was written upon commission. Not correct. Please do correct me. And a rather. Loaded question comes to mind. Do you suppose the chamber concerto for flute and 10 instruments. Or something like it. Would have ever gotten written by you if it hadn't been commissioned. Well that's a question with a number of. A number of different possible answers. That particular piece probably would not have been written although it works for us all of it with instruments might very well have because of the rhythm from my colleague Harvey Solberg it was an. Excellent food as. The occasion of the commission was for the first festival of contemporary American music at Tanglewood in 1964 the commissioners by the frum foundation. The reason I say the question to
be answered in several ways is that I. Happen to produce rather more music. Than most people do and so the chances are the piece like that would have come to light anyway. I don't require prodding in order to in order to work but I always appreciate an opportunity to be reimbursed. The other question that comes to mind. Is sort of in general about commissions how specific for example was there this commission. Did they specify instrumentation or length or exactly how does a commission like this come about. Well to answer that question one has to bear in mind that the frum foundation as I think certainly the most enlightened patron of contemporary music in the country is not in the world. And for this reason has a very ready and sympathetic understanding of the needs and inclinations of composers. And in the case of these commissions and I think all the subsequent ones in the same series there's been virtually no stipulation whatever except with and without the composers remain within the bounds of
reason and the resources of the of the forces available. These works that we're hearing tonight were composed within a two year period apart from the obvious differences in instrumentation. Looking back on those works can you see any change in your own approach to composition where there are certain disciplines at work. During these different periods. That. Perhaps throw a little light on your thinking in general about composition. Well the two works are really quite different and compositional approach. Although they're united as all of my music for many years has been by. And gauging and with the 12 tone system in its more extended. Aspects. The Chamber concerto for flute. Makes use of 12 ton materials but in a rather nonstandard way they hear 12 tone set on which the pieces bass doesn't appear explicitly at all and I
don't think there's any need to go into detail but in any event the serial operations of that sort and also in the realm of time are subsumed under general notions. Of large scale shape maker structure and the like which are not necessarily directly derived from 12. System and its implications. On the other hand the forehand pace making ends meet is rather rather more of a what one might call a strict piece in certain respects it partakes its large straight partakes quite a bit more directly in the nature of the 12 time system as a whole. Now as it has for what my present concerns consist of that's of course a little bit harder to define but I think in general one could say that that what I'm engaging in have been engaged in for many years is simply an attempt to generalize the relations that seem to me. Widely valid within the 12 tone system to a point where one can assert
them as being. Say or as. And long as productive long range musical coherence as those in the tonal system. So you can see yourself composing within the discipline of the 12 tone system for years to come then you don't feel that this is simply a phase in your work. No but I will. I don't but I would but I think I should clarify what I mean a little bit. I don't regard the 12 tone system itself as anything special I regard it as a manifestation of more basic principles which were present on coverage and I regard both the 12 tones estimate the tonal system and indeed pre-term the music as well. All three as being. Manifestations admittedly a rather deep level but nevertheless not for sound as one of certain even more basic principles that. Hold together the mainstream of western music and it is my hope to be able to come to grips with some of those more basic principles at some point in my career.
Those are some very encouraging words I must say. I'm sure that you're aware of the numerous critics that have come forth saying that. The 12 tone system. Was a bad step in the first place but it's a dead end road that's been exploited as much as it can be. And the great tradition of Western music just suddenly seems to run dry and here you are telling us that. That no the 12 tone system. Indeed does not run dry as a matter of fact it's simply a further step within the Western culture and can only go on developing further. This is these are very encouraging words. Well I should say that it's incumbent on people who want to be critical. Of things to first inform themselves as to the true nature of what it is they're criticizing and I'm afraid that that most of the most of the dismissal of 12 tone composition and related composition is not a dismissal of of any particular musical system but rather. A Fundamentally
journalistic rejection of serious competition altogether and it has as its complement or concomitant an attempt to elevate entertainment music of one sort or another to serious status I have no objection to entertaining music or so but I do feel that it's selling everyone from the most casual listener to the most dedicated professional with selling everyone short to denigrate serious efforts. Usually as a result of some kind of parochial party parade. And I think the only thing that a composer needs say in response to these objections are that we will we will let the work stand and let time. The only. Sort of overriding thing that I would be curious and hearing your remarks on would be the. Or the basic change that is taking place between say the composer and the public. In really a relatively short time. Within say. 50 years. There has been. Obviously I think a
tremendous breach and. You know how do you account for this. Do you consider it a problem. How does it affect your composition at all. Well first of all nothing except internal needs affects my composition and I think that's been true of every composer practically speaking except those who frankly produce music for specific practical ends to serve specific groups. But the so-called serious composer never can be concerned with such matters but that's not of course the main part of your question. The gap between composer and public is the responsibility of neither the composer nor the public. It's something which began. Perhaps too at the end of the 19th century mainly as a result of the fact that I would say better after the First World War mainly as a result of the fact that the people who were then responsible for distributing music publishers seemed to undergo a kind of change of heart which
meant the cessation of their efforts in promoting contemporary music on any wide scale. Shortly thereafter they broadcast and record industries develop and just as the automobile imitated the carriage marketing its engine in front. Long time. So these new disseminators of musical materials quite irrelevantly imitated publishers in pushing only that which was already saleable as a result of many years of this now. Of course the public at large and the cultivated musical public is almost completely unaware not not of recent music alone but of the critically important works of the around the turn of the century the early Schoenberg and Stravinsky that had so much of a part in shaping our heritage since then. Now I've noticed recently especially within the last two years or so a very interesting. Development in this country. That I've been in a position to witness because of my involvement with universities and that is that young people seem very much engaged by contemporary music by serious music. I see this
all over the place. But unfortunately it's very hard for them to get a hold of it and most of them are completely ignorant unaware of its existence. The problem again lies with the distributors and distributors of records broadcasters commercial and otherwise. And of course publishers all the publishers now are on their last legs and they reap the fruits of their previous irresponsibility to contemporary music and now they have nothing that anyone will buy because everyone's already bought all the Beethoven he's going to. So I think the problem at the moment is a purely practical one we are we have on the one hand a group of composers and the performers of new music were producing the work they have on the other hand I'm convinced a ready receptive fundamentally young flexible audience and in the middle we have a completely outmoded irrelevant and sometimes actively hostile establishment in the concert in dust bravely recording industry in the broadcasting and esprit
whose members seem in general disinclined to promote or disseminate contemporary music as long as that condition remains we will have this gap. But I must emphasize that the gap is something that comes about from a purely external and irrelevant reason it has nothing to do either with the capacity of the public or with the product that's being offered by the composer.
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New England Conservatory
Episode Number
#6 (Reel 1)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Identifier: 70-SUPPL (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 01:01:00
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