Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Modern Orchestra

Sunday's edition of the Boston Globe ran an article called "Ears Wide Open: Gil Rose is reimagining the modern orchestra, and taking Boston with him."

Rose says, "'I don't believe in the argument that those masterworks, as the highest expression of Western artistic thought, need to be constantly played over and over again...I think we minimize their impact by doing that. I think Beethoven would be shocked with our current musical culture--shocked and upset. He wouldn't recognize it.'"

"...[W]hile new music is isolated within the classical music world, it is also strangely off the radar screen of many who follow other trends in contemporary visual arts or theater. Then there is the problem of the name. A well-educated friend of mine once confessed that he hadn't realized classical composers still existed. After all, he asked, wasn't classical music an art form of the 18th and 19th centuries?
"This is the murky cultural netherworld in which contemporary music ensembles exist, perform, and fund-raise. What's more, many casual concertgoers associate all 'new music' with the aggressively complex modernism of the postwar avant-garde, but that tradition actually represents a small slice of today's vibrant musical landscape."

He carries the same frame of mind to his work as music director of Opera Boston, which he was appointed to in 2003.
"...he has helped steer the company into its position as the most artistically vital opera organization in the city, with productions of 20th-century classics...and under-explored operas from within the repertory, such as Verdi's 'Ernani' and Mozart's 'Clemenza di Tito.'"

Monday's Boston Globe had an article, "The power of music," in the Health/Science section.

"Just why evolution would have endowed our brains with the neural machinery to make music is a mystery.

'It's unclear why humans are so uniquely sensitive to music - certainly music shares many features with spoken language, and our brains are particularly developed to process the rapid tones and segments of sound that are common to both," said Dr. Oliver Sacks, the neurologist whose latest book, "Musicophilia," is about the brain's sensitivity to music.'"

The healing power of music covers every imaginable arena: stroke (for speech and movement), pain (burn patients, colonoscopy procedure), schizophrenia, premature infants, hospitalized children in general...

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