MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Stockhausen’s Licht

Here’s a chance to get an experience of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s vast cycle of seven operas, LICHT: Die sieben Tage der Woche (“LIGHT: The Seven Days of the Week”). On Sunday, Birmingham Opera is streaming MITTWOCH here, the program book for which is available online.

You can also see a stream of SAMSTAG performed at the Paris Philharmonie.

And in June 2019, Dutch National Opera presented a version of LICHT spread over three days and condensing the original 29 hours into 15. See a 90-minute overview of this epic undertaking.

Certain music awakens that higher being within us who we constantly want to become. We really always want to become a better person than we are at the moment, otherwise our whole life would have no meaning. — Karlheinz Stockhausen, 1975

Filed under: Karlheinz Stockhausen

When the Federal Government Was Serious about Arts Funding

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the Zoom panel talk referenced below.

The Great Depression has been repeatedly invoked of late as we try to gauge the enormous impact of the current pandemic and the related economic crisis. But in the 1930s, Americans had a government in place that recognized the importance of the arts through the Works Progress Administration. These programs employed massive numbers of artists, writers, musicians, actors, dancers, and photographers.

On 5 July, together with Naxos and The American Interest, PostClassical Ensemble (PCE) presents the next installment in its More than Music series: Behrouz Jamali’s documentary on The Plow that Broke the Plains (1936), which focuses on the Dust Bowl, and The River (1938), a modern ode to the role played by the Mississippi River. With scores by Virgil Thomson, both were the first-ever films created by the federal government for commercial release (i.e., not merely informational or educational films). Both champion a distinctly anti-Hollywood aesthetic.

There will be a follow-up Zoom chat on 9 July at 3pm EST. A panel will explore government funding for the arts during the pandemic: conductor Angel Gil-Ordóñez, PCE Executive Producer Joseph Horowitz, historian David Woolner, and film historians Neil Lerner and George Stoney. Also on the agenda is a discussion of how Roosevelt’s New Deal addressed issues of race in the era of Jim Crow. To register, click here.

See also Joseph Horowitz’s blog post “The New Deal, the Arts, and Race — and Today”.

Filed under: American music, history, PostClassical Ensemble, social justice

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