Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Exciting season forthcoming from PCMS

I've been looking over the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society's prospectus for next season, and I'm finding a lot of can't-miss and shouldn't-miss programs. It's an inviting mix of the modern and the traditional: Martino beside Beethoven, Webern and Kurtag sandwiched between two Mozart quartets, Ligeti beside Britten, Bach next to Crumb. I won't have the time or the money to hear everything, but the temptations are great. Three of Bartok's string quartets are planned, and even some Stravinsky, and you don't hear much of Stravinsky's chamber music anymore.

I was especially happy to that see Elliott Carter's two wind quintets, written sixty years apart, are scheduled for performance next April by the New York Wind Quintet. (The second, titled Nine by Five, was premiered in New York last February. I dug my car out of the snow in Philadelphia just to be able to attend.)

Also listed are premieres of works by David Finko, Richard Wernick, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Bernard Rands and others. There's plenty of Schubert and Brahms, too, but I still wonder how Philadelphia audiences will react. They are inclined to grumble at any inclusion of new music, even if they're offered some chestnuts at the same time as a sweetener. (And by new, I mean a lot of stuff written after 1900.) Listening to modern music live in Philadelphia is rather like seducing a woman in front of her parents. You get what you want, and you might even have a good time, but only if you can endure the withering, accusatory stares.

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