Contemporary Music in Evolution; 14; 1928
Tonight the second of two programs on music composed in one thousand twenty eight. And our first work will be on Bateman's symphony Opus 21. One of the most important and expressive and perfected compositions of this composer I believe and because of that probably one of his most accessible works. By the time they have been wrote the symphony it seems to me he had solved quite thoroughly the ever present problem of the relationship between technique and content. Invade Britain perhaps for the first time and certainly for the first time in such precise and concise a way technique and content became one all aspects of the symphony are governed by preordained disciplines which are applied with complete rigor and yet the result at least in correct performances of which there are almost none is a pure and control lyricism not the associative romantic
lyricism of earlier times but an unsentimental distilled kind of beauty which was the result of a perfect collaboration between mind and heart. In veterans later music form stripped of all non-essential trappings is distilled into a pure and absolute expression. And to fail to grasp this is to fail to understand vagrants music. Nor is it possible to hear his music without the ability to appreciate the purity and independence that pitch and tone color can attain in music. Any listener who cannot disassociate himself from classical texture classical form and continuity and the classical Association of pitch within a larger frame of reference. The key center and who cannot this is associate himself from the classical concept of tone color as a merely decorative vaguely expressive adjunct of music. I cannot for these very same reasons find an insight into the music of Aban
in the symphony which we shall hear presently. The distillation of form into content or vice versa is achieved by extraordinarily simple means. The piece is in two movements the first a sonata form movement the second a variation movement. However this vagrants an out of form with an exposition that development recapitulation and a coda uses the purest of polyphonic forms namely the strict canon. Everything in this first movement is not only derived from a tone row but is the fulfilment of a strict double canon and conceived in perfect symmetry. To break the obviousness of this device and this design it even brings Schoenberg's concept of melody into the canonical order. That is to say the various polyphonic lines change instrumental and tonal colors continually. That's giving with only nine instruments a richly varied
tapestry of timbre. But again these tone colors are organized functionally within the strict unfolding of the canon. They are NOT have hazard impressionistic additions to the pitches. Let me just show you how this works in a few brief taped extractions from this polyphonic structure. At least it's open. Technically they were in uses a century old device called to be precise. A double cannon in contrary motion in four parts. This means that a certain theme in the example I will show the 12 tone roll is stated and then immediately imitated in this case two measures later. Moreover in the particular approach to the role in this piece the theme is divided into three parts each part containing four notes and all three parts. Therefore add up to the 12 note series or tone row. Listen to this canon and it's
fragmented and dissected shapes. Part 1. And its canonic answer in contrary motion or as we call it in variation. Now part two and then its answer. And finally part 3 followed by its kind onic inversion.
Now while this is going on they bring dovetails into this kind of onyx structure a second cannon making it a double cannon as I have stated. The second theme is treated exactly like the first was a canonic imitation in inversion at a distance of two bars and divided into three parts. Here are the three sections each with its kind on the answer.
Of course these isolated stammering sounding pitches are only the raw materials of this structure and as I said earlier these pitches are then endowed with temporal characteristics organized as precisely as the unfolding of the notes themselves. Now all of this would be mere academic rhetoric if it were not for one thing and that is that vagrants extraordinary sense of structure is balanced against and informed by an equally extraordinary sense of aural refinement. The net result of these opening 14 measures is the music as pure and logical as clear and as clean as nature itself.
Now let us listen to the entire movement. First moment of a band symphony.
The only. Home. More. Than 1. 0.
1. 0. Thank. The Lord. Who.
Are more the. Rule of the world. Why. The.
The second movement employs the variation form. There are seven variations and a coda in which silence always a prominent and functional element and they wins music gradually undermines the texture of musical sound bringing the work to a logical almost natural and internally preordained clothes. Once again absolute symmetry within the theme and the various variations is the governing principle. I dare say I evar that this symmetry and formal perfection cannot be appreciated nor probably even heard on one single hearing. A work of art of such precise relationships as this movement simply due to man's more of the listener. But the effort is well work well rewarded. The second movement of a band's symphony.
One. More. Thing.
You just heard vagrants symphony Opus 21. The other work on tonight's program is called Weil and battle breasts masterpiece by gosh an open Threepenny Opera. I am sure that most of you heard the remarkable bresh series this station produced a few months ago and is still continuing in fact with additional material. And I propose therefore to deal not with the entire work. Time does not permit this in any case. But with those sections of the work that may be of special musical interest in the context of this program series it will necessarily be a matter of sort of picking around in the score. I'd rather play the entire work but that takes a few hours. And in any case the complete recording is available to anyone who wishes to hear it in its entirety. Before we hear these excerpts I would like to say a few words about the evolutionary or if you will revolutionary aspects of violence in open music. And incidentally if I may now to
some extent ignore breast's role in this work it is in full recognition of his importance. But we are not trying to isolate the music momentarily. I'm always surprised how many people still fail to understand this music who call it decadent or naive or what have you. The social and poetic aspects of the text demanded that the music be realized for it which would have the direct and powerful impact message to the world needed. Wild early music at first influenced by Mahler Strauss and the German opera composer Franz shakha eventually moved in the direction of Schoenberg and tonality. Kurt Weill wrote three operas before I got an opera which although innovation will in certain respects were still fundamentally tied to conventional late 19th century opera traditions. Now obviously these conventions would not do as a vehicle for criticizing the
society which had produced them. At any rate not nearly as well as something more actual and related to the times. The cultivated approach of conventional operatic singing would never do for the direct unsophisticated full punch which crashed and vile felt was needed. Therefore two decisions were made to write a music incorporating certain immediately accessible popular elements used in a new way of course. And secondly to write the opera for non operatic singers or singing actors in lot Alania whiles wife the composer found an extraordinarily gifted performer specifically this music took elements from jazz or popular music rhythms and harmonies and used them in a highly stylized distilled manner. He could have done what Stravinsky might have done namely to take the original pepper Bush score of the
Beggar's Opera produced in 1727 on which bresh had based his modern treatment and translate this into a kind of neo classic version. But Kurt Weill needed a more personal way of dealing with the freshest text. The only section of the paper score which while used was the somber morning Korolev Mr Peacham you'll hear that in a little while Kurt Weill fashion his own popular areas and writing for singing actors he naturally had to discipline and simplify his musical style. The seemingly primitive exterior he thus created is often mistaken for a lack of talent or for decadence. Even when in fact this primitive e is only the exterior of a highly complex process of musical thought and feeling. It is also remarkably subtle and in its subtle deviations which are always just removed enough from triviality to be completely original lies the dramatic impact of viles music haunting
profound and pessimistic. The harmonic shifts and modulations so abrupt and so wrong according to the book are so right because they enable us to see these conventions in a new way and because they adroitly avoided the perennial cliches of the popular music. He was using as a point of departure. The amazing thing is that these means which are as far as superficialities go quite dated are so meaningful and so powerfully expressive to this day and may be so for a long time to come. The first excerpt will be the short overture or with it's definite stuff in skin overtones somewhat like the introductory much of the stew I do so done in fact and it's mock sequences straight out of the eighteenth century with its stylized sardonic quality it sets the tone of like lush and open perfectly and concisely.
We now skip the famous Maury tat song which I guess everybody knows by now and moved to the morning corner which while adopted from pushes music of nine thousand seven hundred twenty seven its opening words in brutal directness I do thought that I kissed and then Zenaida's Laban awake Rotting Christ resume your sinful ways. You know I've been in this city enough I stopped and I have yet to reach. The heart. With. Time.
Sure. I have. This. Power. Track. Them in. Their head. To try this. Another even more brutally succinct song is the kind on and song sung by Mack Heath the gangster and brown the police chief reminiscing about good old former time spent together with its head long and clipped rhythms. It's grim irony. Commenting on the
brutality of the world it is one of the strongest moments have a very strong score I'm going to get my hands on the human side. Sing it that way but make peace with it but it's I President but I wanted cut known and song. This.
Week. I think it. Would. Be. Nice. John despite the cheap beers though it looks almost like. The stamina workout I got bored.
By. This Thing. Yeah. Yeah. I got. To. See. The mood changes completely now to leave a sleet for the love song here. The other sentimentality of Mike Heath's and Polly's vision of a love together straight out of a 1920s grade-B movie are satirized by a while and clashed. But notice how all this is imply and yet so much more by the sugary whining orchestration and the marvelously original harmonies not original in themselves but original in the way they are held in suspended attention and are used almost without a consciousness of tonality even sleep.
See. It's. Trying to steer it.
Sure. Barbara song or song from 9 is important not only for itself but in that it is used by while in the finale in the final ending of the opera for a last devastating comment on the inner reality of the pasted on happy ending. Barbara song is here sung by Lata Lenya on an old telephone recording. Unfortunately in abbreviated form she sings only the third verse.
You know I make. You very happy about. What you don't want to. Be there. You are right. I. Hi. Oh.
Well. Week. Here we show here now a longer section of act 2. The marvelous chords that open the act perfectly underline the poignant comic serious atmosphere of the scene. Then Polly's farewell song follows sung in lovely disarming simplicity on this Columbia recording by Johann a fun question. Mickey was an absolute fun party.
Just long life. Lessons. With his handsome eyes were. Just so cool. Goodison called. Home. Is just unfit still. If I get 60 finished. Running.
Week old Eat Eat. Eat. Now comes the powerful BALLAnd of sexual dependency develop it as excellent and hellish kite. The humor of this if it is humor is devastating and shocking. The purposeful guarantee and bluntness of the words is set to a skillfully naive innocent and almost bland tune by a while a fantastic contrast to the words it is sung with tremendous force on this recording by to the hest of that as the English critic David Drew has put it so ably in his notes for the Columbia album. Speaking about this song the song affects a guileless word and
achieves an explosive paradox. And because the ironic detonator is at the very center near the heart and not too far from the lines the devastation is complete. The mission. Of a band and sing. And dance that means the system and it's. Not just dismissed on Monday night. Nice knowing the High Enough fall down NCAA Men's scout and them I stole them snow until I come in. I'm yeah I'm.
A. Nice. Woman you know. Here is my. Sax. Yeah. You need. Me. Yes. Why. Not. Be on. My. Own home and use my in my. In. My home game. How many goal bad moments. Not. Real. Bad. Mind. And I go oh sorry guys.
I'm an old DOS 6. Yeah I hate life. My mom talks five months. After.
My mom got. Me to. Come. Back. Don't tell. Me. I might be young but your mood I'll soon get there will be known soon and maybe not tonight. My sit up. Nice guy put on my. One get on my feet tied and stand on my bare. OS 9.
Feet to. The song of pirate jenny follows. Here the dated rhythms and color of early 1920s jazz banjo and to beat bass and all are used with an effect that could never be confused with conventional jazz in fact a swinging jazz version I heard of this once sounded about as wrong as anything could pirate Jenny's song. Need. I just grind it up punch me in and I feel many can I get any easier way about.
My hair. This man to me. At the. Beginning.
Need. To. Know. Why. I never. Want to. Know. The name our better than findin my. Own I'm telling. You stop the wheel. I think. What I love because I've got. To get emotional I. Belong to something that. It would be something. To be. Good and if I am just. One month proud. Moment that's OK but show me. One man see me. Do gang mob. Or month. That Ingold. Made out. Oh now. I have.
To. Comment on anything in the shop than fun and I don't get. On me. Then. I'll. Help set up now.
I know. You were. Now follows the Sioux had about the procurers BALLAnd. I do it by Jenny and Mike Heath. It is worth mentioning that whiles instrumentation in all the songs is just about perfect. A few instruments was just the right touch of color served to underline the mood of the text and also of course to help the singing actors to keep the tone. An old trick from one thousandth century opera. You are. Make peace would you get my hands on the food.
See the feds won't see. Us all so. Bent on killing me so mad to get us on the bus and let them finish this with. Us.
Don't. Get it. This. Time. Yes. And there. Is this. Good ending. That I. Was. Born.
The sun was getting. Guns. By. As he has not to my steps and slow down. Is this the good stuff. But. Then your stance so that my. Asking. You to let. The boy know David's old. Was. Was was. Was.
Was was. That's after stilts do it. The jealousy duet follows now and is sung by Lucy and Polly Peacham both in love with Keith. The song is response sorry will inform son at a tremendous pace in which the two girls vulgarly insult each other. Then suddenly as they momentarily forget their hatred of each other. The music turns dreamy moves into a major key and the two girls sing in sentimental parallel thirds.
A marvelous touch but they do this not without an ironic undertone as the accompaniment figure of their original insult to music persists in the background. The jealousy do it again son and the old Telefunken recording. Yeah I'm here. Then.
Eat eat eat eat. The finale now and the aforementioned happy ending. As Polly says I am so happy he's been Lish her agonized. Barbara song returns in the saxophone reminding us that her vision of the happy end is unreal as a Paper Moon. While then follows this up with a mock sardonic. And then at least in this Columbia recording the Moreton song returns and fades away into 0 9 ending silence.
He gets me. And you know how I. Am. It was.
10 and. This is it. And. Yeah my friends. Nice. Men fish on them in coins Meadowlark. Y'all don't snore was high and said he. Better be eyeing. The aisle or mun see.
- Episode Number
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Contemporary Music in Evolution is a radio program hosted by Gunther Schuller, which traces the evolution of Western classical music from 1899 to 1961. Each episode focuses on a specific year and chronicles some of the significant works, schools, and composers of the time. Schuller introduces several performance recordings in each episode, and gives commentary and analysis that also touch on previous episodes.
- Media type
Host: Schuller, Gunther
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 64-36-14 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Contemporary Music in Evolution; 14; 1928,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 21, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-dr2p9j7f.
- MLA: “Contemporary Music in Evolution; 14; 1928.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 21, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-dr2p9j7f>.
- APA: Contemporary Music in Evolution; 14; 1928. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-dr2p9j7f