Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

fall preview | music

Glass and Copland in Spotlight

September 17, 2000|MARK SWED | Mark Swed is The Times' music critic

The millennial year wanes, but it still produces a glow. That potent string of zeros in 2000 has been energizing musical thinking for a season or two, and the biggest bang has been Philip Glass' Fifth Symphony, an epic work that explores world sacred traditions. Commissioned by the Salzburg Festival, where it triumphed last summer, "Requiem, Bardo and Nirmanakaya" will be given its West Coast premiere by the Pacific Symphony on Oct. 13, a few days after it has its American premiere at New York's BAM. A Nonesuch recording will be released Oct. 3.

And there is more from the restlessly prolific Glass. His new chamber opera based on Kafka's "The Penal Colony" and created for A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle, is in production through Sept. 24; it moves to the Court Theater of Chicago in November. Also in November, the American Symphony will premiere Glass' Timpani Concerto in New York, with a local performance by the Pasadena Symphony in June.

Millennial fervor seems to fortify classical music's anniversary fever. This November is the 100th birthday of Aaron Copland, America's first truly popular classical composer. In the Southland, all-Copland programs by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Pacific Symphony occur in November; the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Monday Evening Concerts are all noting Copland this fall. Leonard Slatkin will mount the expected celebratory Copland concert with the National Symphony in Washington, but the most concentrated tribute will be, of all places, in London, when the BBC Symphony hosts a Copland Celebratory Weekend.

After the 10th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein's death last season, a handful of important Bernstein recording projects are now being released. For Deutsche Grammophon, Kent Nagano conducts the first recording of the conductor-composer's "A White House Cantata," a mordant look at presidential history recently assembled from Bernstein's failed but fascinating musical, "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." And from the New York Philharmonic comes a 10-CD set: live Bernstein performances of works he never recorded commercially.

America is used to at least one media-event opera a season; for fall 2000, it will be the world premiere in San Francisco next month of Jake Heggie's "Dead Man Walking," based on the book by Sister Helen Prejean that inspired the popular movie. Meanwhile the millennial year has a tidy ending. John Adams' enthralling quasi-symphony, "Naive and Sentimental Music," premiered by the Philharmonic in 1998, had all the hallmarks of the first great orchestral work for a fin d'si cle. In December, Adams closes the year with a Paris premiere of a nativity oratorio, "El Nino," a collaboration with Peter Sellars; the San Francisco Symphony gets it in January.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|