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Presented by THE LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA as part of Southbank Centre’s THE REST IS NOISE ISSUE 2 OF 4

FREE

F E BRU ARY— M AY 2 0 1 3

MAKERS OF ‘DEGENERATE MUSIC’ FORCED UNDERGROUND

CULTURE OF FEAR

ET AGA IN ST A B ACK -

INS IDE THIS IS S U E

drop of political instability, hyperinflation, advances in technology and influences from America, musical life in Germany in the 1920s and 30s was teeming with precocious talent and cross-artform collaborations. While the political situation in Germany fluctuated and made its fateful turn towards the far right, composers themselves formed a battlefield of polemic, with debates raging about the various different schools of musical thought — from Expressionism to Schoenberg’s strict 12-tone compositions, Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) to Zeitoper (Now Opera, opera of its time). Kurt Weill, possibly the Weimar Republic’s most famous composer, made his name across the world with The Threepenny Opera, an opera set in the CON TINU ED ON PAG E 6

THE JAZZ AGE: AMERICA FINDS ITS VOICE The American musical phenomenon • PAGE 4

SONGS OF SUBVERSION AND SUBMISSION The use and abuse of music during the Third Reich • PAGE 6

VALIUM AND KETTLEDRUMS Drugs empire funds modern masterpieces by musicians in exile • PAGE 8

SEPTEMBER 1939: THE STORM BREAKS MARLENE DIETRICH – in the Blue Angel, 1930. After the rise of the Nazi party, many cabaret artists were exiled, imprisoned or forced into hiding, although several continued to protest through their art, even from within concentration camps.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra continues its 2013 concert series, as part of Southbank Centre’s year-long festival The Rest Is Noise, inspired by Alex Ross’s book The Rest Is Noise (SEE PAGE 2 FOR DETAILS) lpo.org.uk/therestisnoise

Two great composers search for hope • PAGE 10


LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART II (FEB–MAY 2013 )

WELCOME TO THE 20 CENTURY TH

A ROLLERCOASTER RIDE FROM ROMANTICISM TO POP CULTURE

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n 2007 Alex Ross published his first book The Rest Is Noise. Subtitled Listening to the Twentieth Century, Ross’s book tells the story of 20th-century music within its historical context, exploring how the events and ideas of the 20th century shaped the art that was created, and vice versa. Why did musicians write what they did? Why did the world react the way it did? Why, in some cases, were they silenced? Throughout 2013, the London Philharmonic Orchestra appears as the major orchestral partner in Southbank Centre’s year-long, multi-art-form festival The Rest Is Noise. Inspired by Ross’s book, The Rest Is Noise festival looks at the key works of the 20th century through a wide lens, taking in the political happenings, social movements, cultural climates and personal stories that gave rise to these inspiring and sometimes controversial pieces of music. The LPO is thrilled to provide the backbone for this exciting festival programme with a year-long series of concerts taking us from Romanticism and Expressionism through Nationalism, cabaret, jazz, Minimalism, electronic music and pop culture. We’ll explore music of hope, fear, war, peace, protest, liberation, celebration and experimentation in a live soundtrack to the 20th century and we hope you’ll join us along the way for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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SPECIAL OFFER for first-timers!

If you’re new to the LPO, you’ll receive 50% off a second ticket when purchasing your first full-price ticket to one of our The Rest Is Noise concerts. Tickets start at £9.

New to all this? Try out your first concert with us and bring a friend with you for half price.

To book, call the LPO Box Office on 020 7840 4242 (Mon-Fri, 10am–5pm) and quote ‘The Centurion’.

@LPOrchestra, #therestisnoise facebook.com/londonphilharmonicorchestra For the full The Rest Is Noise programme including talks, films, debates and other performances, and for extra online content visit: southbankcentre.co.uk/therestisnoise

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Offer subject to availability. Phone booking only.


LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART II (FEB–MAY 2013 )

‘The Rest Is Noise chronicles not only the artists themselves but also the politicians, dictators, millionaire patrons and CEOs who tried to control what music was written; the intellectuals who attempted to adjudicate style; the writers, painters, dancers and filmmakers who provided companionship on lonely roads of exploration; the audiences who variously revelled in, reviled, or ignored what composers were doing; the revolutions, hot and cold wars, waves of emigration, and deeper social transformations that reshaped the landscape in which composers worked.’ Alex Ross Author of The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century


LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART II (FEB–MAY 2013 )

THE JAZZ AGE: AMERICA FINDS ITS VOICE COMPOSERS THE WORLD OVER INSPIRED BY THE AMERICAN MUSICAL PHENOMENON

E ADORED NEW

York City. He idolised it all out of proportion ... To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin.’ The legendary first lines of Woody Allen’s Manhattan are spoken over a sweep across the famous skyscrapers of the Manhattan skyline accompanied by a recording of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. From its conception 'til the present day, Rhapsody in Blue has been synonymous with the idea of America, and specifically the hustle and bustle of New York.

WHAT THEY SAID MUSIC OF THE PEOPLE ‘The music of the people is like a rare and lovely flower growing amidst encroaching weeds. Thousands pass it, while others trample it underfoot, and thus the chances are that it will perish before it is seen by the one discriminating spirit who will prize it above all else.’ Dvorˇák, ‘Music in America’, 1895

JAZZ MOODS ‘True, it was an easy way to be American in musical terms, but all American music could not possibly be confined to two dominant jazz moods – the blues and the snappy number.’ Copland, The New Music, 1969

JAZZ INFLUENCES

HEAR IT FIRST! Preview these pieces at lpo.org.uk/ therestisnoise ‘HEAR THAT CHORD! THAT’S US.’ – Duke Ellington with his band, 1930.

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But how did Gershwin achieve this lasting effect? By using jazz as a representation of America. In Europe and Russia composers such as Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Dvorˇák had long been turning to the folk music of their homelands not only as a way of giving their works a national style, but also as an invaluable resource of melodic and harmonic material. By the 1920s, American and European composers were realising that African-American jazz was a


LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART II (FEB–MAY 2013 )

‘Hear that chord! That’s us. Dissonance is our way of life in America. We are something apart, yet an integral part.’ –DUKE ELLINGTON

WED 20 FEB, 7.30PM

FRI 22 FEB, 7.30PM

Anon Spirituals – a cappella

Ives Three Places in New England Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue Copland Piano Concerto Joplin (arr. Schuller) Treemonisha Suite

ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

Dvorˇák Symphony No. 9 (From the New World) Milhaud La Création du monde Varèse Amériques Marin Alsop conductor London Adventist Chorale FREE PRE-CONCERT PERFORMANCE 6–6.45pm, ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

Foyle Future Firsts present Les Maries de la Tour Eiffel by Les Six (orch. Constant) – a rare revival of the score to Cocteau’s nonsensical ballet.

ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

Marin Alsop conductor Garrick Ohlsson piano JTI Friday Series

FREE PRE-CONCERT PERFORMANCE 5pm ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

LPO’s fusion ensemble for young musicians, The Band, perform new work inspired by Ives’s Three Places in New England. FREE PRE-CONCERT DISCUSSION 6.15–6.45pm, ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson shares his views on performing works by Gershwin and Copland.

BOOK NOW

BOOK NOW

Tickets from £9 lpo.org.uk | 020 7840 4242

Tickets from £9 lpo.org.uk | 020 7840 4242

WORLD EVENTS FROM THE PERIOD TOMB OF KING TUTANKHAMUN DISCOVERED In 1922, archaeologist Howard Carter made what would become one of the most famous historical discoveries of all time when he uncovered the tomb of the Egyptian King Tutankhamun. Inside this tomb within the Valley of the Kings, Carter discovered a vast array of rooms filled with Egyptian artefacts and treasures which he and his team recorded, with the entire excavation taking all of ten years to complete.

BBC FOUNDED BY JOHN REITH music unique to the States, and could serve as a method of invoking the great country and its people. Not classically trained, Gershwin leant on his experience as a song plugger in Tin Pan Alley to compose his Rhapsody, after having been commissioned by jazz impresario Paul Whiteman to compose something for piano and jazz band for Whiteman’s ‘Experiment in Modern Music’ concert in 1924. The concert was a glitzy affair, although the ‘experiment’ tag was perhaps more relevant to the act of presenting jazz music in the concert hall arena, than it was to the music itself. As jazz fever swept across America to Europe, more and more composers used it to evoke America – and not just American composers. Take for example Czech composer Dvorˇák’s Ninth Symphony (From the New World). Originally said to have been ‘written under the direct influence of the North American Indians’, (a claim made by Dvorˇák in the New York Herald the day before its premiere in December 1893), it has since been argued that the composer was ‘far more strongly drawn to

Negro spirituals and plantation songs than to Indian music’ until the summer of 1893, when he was first introduced to live performances of Native-American folk music. THE JAZZ BUG

Over in Paris, where the Jazz Age was in full swing by the 1920s, a school of modernist, Neo-Classical composers including Milhaud and Françaix had been bitten by the jazz bug. Interestingly, Milhaud first heard jazz in London in 1920, but having visited Harlem on a visit to America, his La Création du monde ‘adopted the same orchestra as used in Harlem, 17 solo instruments, and made wholesale use of the jazz style to convey a purely classical feeling.’ (Milhaud, 1953). American composer Aaron Copland travelled to Paris to learn from the French school, but on arrival became increasingly aware of his developing ‘American’ style. As an expatriate, viewing America from the outside in, Copland now felt willing and able to carry this further to create a truly nationalist style, and used jazz idioms including blue

notes, cross rhythms and polyrhythms to evoke the spirit of jazz, and of America itself. After a string of jazz-influenced compositions in the 1920s, Copland’s Piano Concerto was to be the last of his jazzy works. The composer later said that despite his early career as a freelance popular music pianist, he had never been a true jazz musician because he didn’t play ‘hot jazz’ or improvise like the leading jazz musicians of the 1940s. Indeed, it is worth remembering that the jazz these composers were often drawing inspiration from

was a kind of symphonic jazz, watered down for mass consumption, and nowadays rarely heard. The ‘hot’ jazz of the 1940s and onwards that we know and love today — for example the music of Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker — was born out of the development of AfricanAmerican jazz musicians seeking to carve their own canon apart from the Western classical music scene which, more often than not, had limits to its racial acceptance of AfricanAmerican composers.

Where have I heard this before? Dvorˇák’s ‘New World Symphony’ contains one of the most recognisable solos in classical music, performed on the Cor Anglais. Recently it’s been used in the soundtrack to Four Lions, and was piped into almost every household in Britain in the early 70s via Hovis’s famous ‘Bike’ TV commercial. With its famous opening featuring a wailing jazz clarinet, Rhapsody in Blue lpo.org.uk/therestisnoise

instantly catches the attention. An iconic piece of American repertoire, it is the perfect soundtrack for the opening sequence of Woody Allen’s Manhattan. George Gershwin and his brother Ira were also responsible for so many of the 20th century’s most well-loved musical numbers, including Summertime, Someone to Watch Over Me, They Can’t Take That Away From Me and Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off.

In 1922 the British Broadcasting Corporation was founded by John Reith with the intention ‘to inform, educate and entertain’. This ethos served as the model for public broadcasting around the world and remains so to this very day.

ALEXANDER FLEMING DISCOVERS PENICILLIN In 1928, the scientist Alexander Fleming made a discovery that would change the course of medicine for good. Upon studying influenza, Fleming noticed an unusual mould that had grown inadvertently on a set of Petri dishes. He also noticed that the mould did not have any bacteria around it. Following further experiments and tests, Fleming named his discovery penicillin.

THE ACADEMY AWARDS ESTABLISHED On 16 May 1929 the first Academy Awards took place during an Academy banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The guests numbered around 270 with tickets being sold for a mere $5. There were no surprises on the night, either. The winners had in fact been announced three months earlier.

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LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART II (FEB–MAY 2013 )

WHAT THEY SAID ABOMINABLE AND WORTHLESS ‘... his abominable and worthless Threepenny Opera is rejected everywhere. It is inconceivable that a composer who purveys such totally un-German pieces should again be given the chance to appear at a theatre which is supported by the German tax-payer’s money.’ Völkischer Beobachter (Nazi newspaper), 1932

WHAT IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW IS SO SICK ... ‘I believe that what is going on right now is so sick that I don’t know how this can last longer than a few months’. A letter from Weill to his publisher about the rise in Nazi power, 1933

Where have I heard this before? Orff’s ‘O Fortuna’ from Carmina Burana is arguably one of the most utilised pieces of classical music in pop culture, regularly appearing whenever high drama is required. It was remixed to accompany the opening prologue of Baz Lurhman’s Romeo and Juliet and has also popped up in Glee, X Factor and whenever footage of Dick Cheney was shown on the Conan O’Brien show circa 2007. The dark, witty and provocative songs of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht still strike a chord with listeners today, and have inspired many artists in the decades since their creation. ‘Die Moritat von Mackie Messer’ was transformed into the famous swing number ‘Mack the Knife’ by Frank Sinatra, while ‘Moon of Alabama’ remains a cabaret favourite and has been covered by many, including Nina Simone, The Doors and David Bowie.

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SONGS OF SUBVERSION AND SUBMISSION

THE USE AND ABUSE OF MUSIC DURING THE THIRD REICH

FR O M FR ONT PAGE

criminal underworld of Victorian London. The text, by the Marxist playwright Bertold Brecht, offered a Socialist commentary on the situation of the Weimar Republic and caught the imagination of the public with its jazzy, hummable tunes and gory plot. DEGENER ATE

Sadly Weill’s public acclaim would not help him in the Third Reich: his music was classed as ‘degenerate’, not least because of its jazz influences and his past collaborations with Brecht, but also

because he was Jewish. A systematic programme of disturbances at performances of his works and hateful reviews by Nazi critics, combined with his blacklisting and the arrest of many of his friends led Weill to flee to France on 21 March 1933 – the day the Reichstag was opened and the alliance between Hitler and Hindenburg was confirmed. Weill’s music was banned in Germany, with the only relief from this ban coming in the form of an exhibition of ‘Degenerate Music’ in 1938, which featured listening booths providing examples of the music that was so

strongly abhorred by the Nazi party. Ironically these exhibitions delivered much happiness to the general public who sorely missed Weill’s jazz-influenced music during the ban. Composer Carl Orff fared somewhat better during the Nazi regime, although not without some political tightrope-walking on his part. Orff’s passion was for music education, and the Nazi emphasis on youth and community gave him the opportunity to share the philosophies that he had developed during the Weimar period. Through this connection, he was able to make

‘The human quality that music can articulate has remained the same. But man has changed: he reacts differently to external influences, events and emotions.’ – KURT WEILL

lpo.org.uk/therestisnoise

some useful contacts that cleared the way for his music, despite having previously been a target for the Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur (Militant League for German Culture) after working with texts by the Jewish poet Werfel and Marxist playwright Brecht. During 1935 and 1936, Orff composed what is arguably his most famous and popular piece of music. His spectacular oratorio for choir and orchestra, Carmina Burana, proved to be a huge hit with the public, who loved its immediate, emotive energy. Carmina Burana’s sexually explicit Latin texts and musical influences from Stravinsky were both elements that were cause for concern amongst the Nazi party. However, while it was slated initially in the Nazi press (no doubt because its style is profoundly ‘un-German’), its popular appeal soon swung the Nazi party favour, and eventually even Joseph Goebbels wrote of the cantata’s ‘exquisite beauty’ in his 1944 diaries. This signifi-


LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART II (FEB–MAY 2013 )

HEAR IT FIRST! Preview these pieces at lpo.org.uk/ therestisnoise

SAT 2 MAR, 7.30PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Weill The Threepenny Opera (sung in German with English subtitles) Vladimir Jurowski conductor Mark Padmore Macheath Sir John Tomlinson J J Peachum Dame Felicity Palmer Mrs Peachum Allison Bell Polly Peachum Nicholas Folwell Tiger Brown Gabriela Istoc Lucy Brown Meow Meow Jenny Ted Huffman director

THE THIRD REICH – The flag of the Nazi party dominates the streets of Germany

FREE PERFORMANCES

cant shift in opinion soon went so far as to see a ban against any kind of negative review about Orff, with the composer becoming something of a poster-child for Nazi musical policy. Orff no doubt would have felt quite uncomfortable receiving such an accolade from the party, although it didn’t stop him agreeing to rewrite parts of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer

Night’s Dream, which had been outlawed by Nazis due to Mendelssohn’s Jewish heritage. GRAY-ACCEPTABLE

Interestingly, during the deNazification process, which the US government put into place after the end of the war, Orff’s status as ‘gray-unacceptable’ (which meant his music could not be performed) was changed to ‘gray-acceptable’.

Some part in this surely had to have been played by Orff himself, who claimed that Carmina Burana had been banned in Germany under the Nazi party – clearly untrue. Looking back, it is difficult to square Orff’s actions with those of the anti-Nazi activist he later claimed to be, yet it is equally difficult to understand how Carmina Burana could have

been received so positively by the Nazi party – its racy texts and distinctly un-German compositional style should have surely led to its being dismissed as readily as other composers’ works. Perhaps it is purely down to Carmina Burana’s sheer power and emotional impact that it was so universally popular both politically and publicly, then and now.

‘In the case of Carl Orff we are not at all dealing with an atonal talent. On the contrary, his ‘Carmina Burana’ exhibits exquisite beauty, and if we could get him to do something about his lyrics, his music would certainly be very promising.’ MEOW MEOW – stars as ‘Jenny’ in The Threepenny Opera on Saturday 2 March

6–6.45pm & 9.45–10.15pm THE CLORE BALLROOM AT ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

Foyle Future Firsts present Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel – two chances to hear Weill and Brecht’s first collaboration. LIMITED AVAILABILITY

For details call the box office 020 7840 4242

SAT 6 APR, 7.30PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms Orff Carmina Burana Hans Graf conductor Sally Matthews soprano Andrew Kennedy tenor Rodion Pogossov baritone London Philharmonic Choir Trinity Boys Choir FREE PRE-CONCERT DISCUSSION 6.15–6.45pm, ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

Hans Graf looks at Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and the lasting appeal of Carmina Burana. BOOK NOW

Tickets from £9 lpo.org.uk | 020 7840 4242

– GOEBBELS DIARY ENTRY, 12 SEPTEMBER 1944

lpo.org.uk/therestisnoise

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LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART II (FEB–MAY 2013 )

WHAT THEY SAID A MATTER OF EVOLUTION ‘In art there are only fast or slow developments. Essentially it is a matter of evolution, not revolution.’ Béla Bartók

WHAT WE SAY AN INTIMATE POSITION WITHIN THE ORCHESTRA ‘What makes Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste special? Well, as they say, the clue’s in the title. As there is no brass or woodwind in the piece, we percussionists are able to assume a much more intimate position within the orchestra, right in the body of the strings alongside the piano. It always feels strange to play from a different point on the stage, but there’s something about this piece that makes it feel perfectly natural to be there. True, things sound different from usual and we’re uncomfortably close to the conductor so we have to be on our best behaviour, but the piece is so powerful and intense that it’s always great to perform. We don’t always feel this ‘involved’ in the nitty-gritty of a piece but Bartók writes very perceptively for percussion, and even more so for timpani. This, coupled with Vladimir’s attention to the detail and drama of the work, should make for a taut and thrilling evening.’ Andrew Barclay, Percussion, LPO, 2012

‘A nation creates music — the composer only arranges it’ – BÉLA BARTÓK

VALIUM AND KETTLEDRUMS DRUGS EMPIRE FUNDS MODERN MASTERPIECES BY MUSICIANS IN EXILE

NY SERIOUS MUSIC FAN

knows the problem. Why don’t the big venues put on the artists you admire? Why doesn’t the radio play the music you love? And now that the second-hand record stall down the market has shut up shop, where do you get hold of all those obscure early recordings? Paul Sacher’s answer was simple: he made it all happen for himself. In 1926 he founded his own chamber orchestra in his native city of Basel. And then, over the next six decades, he arranged for it to play the music he wanted to hear. By his death in 1999, he’d commissioned over 200 works, from some of the greatest composers of the 20th century. BILLIONAIRE

HEAR IT FIRST! Preview these pieces at lpo.org.uk/ therestisnoise

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Of course, it helped that he was a billionaire (he owned the pharmaceutical corporation that produced Valium). And some argued that his tastes were too narrow. ‘I’m not the radio’ he responded, ‘I don’t have to be fair’. However he had an unerring knack for spotting composers who would benefit from his

support. In 1936, Béla Bartók was a controversial figure even in his native Hungary. Sacher gave him free rein – with the proviso that he limit his orchestra to string players, plus a handful of ‘extras’. The result – Bartók’s searing Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste – is arguably Bartók’s most personal statement. MASTERPIECE

And as war closed in over Europe, Sacher’s corner of neutral Switzerland became a refuge. The Czech composer Bohuslav Martin˚u was devastated by the betrayal of his country at Munich in 1938. Sacher offered him the same strings, piano and percussion he’d given to Bartók, and Martin˚u responded with his Double Concerto, a shattering song of ‘revolt, courage and unshakeable faith in the future’. The orchestra struggled with the piece at first: ‘Gentlemen’, Sacher told them ‘you do not seem to realise that you have before you a masterpiece’. It was February 1940, and with Europe in darkness, a rich man’s hobby had become a last beacon of artistic freedom. lpo.org.uk/therestisnoise

Where have I heard this before? Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste has featured widely in popular culture over the years (including the film Being John Malkovich) but is perhaps best known from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, adding eerie suspense to scenes such as Danny’s moments outside Room 237, and the famous maze chase towards the end of the film.

SAT 27 APR, 7.30PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Webern Variations Op. 30 Berg Lulu Suite Martin˚u Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano and Timpani Bartók Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste Vladimir Jurowski conductor Barbara Hannigan soprano BOOK NOW

Tickets from £9 lpo.org.uk | 020 7840 4242

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PERCUSSION UP FRONT – in the 20th century, musicians and composers

began to experiment with new sounds and instruments


THE ART OF NOISE THE CHANGING ROLE OF PERCUSSION IN THE 20TH CENTURY

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rior to the 20th century, percussion usage in orchestral music was minimal – a few classical composers wrote timpani parts into their scores, but it wasn’t until the Romantic period (late 18th–early 19th century) that percussion started to become a more regular feature in the orchestra, usually in the form of timpani and a few handheld instruments.

he composed a work called Ionisation which was the first piece in Western classical music history to be composed solely for percussion. The piece requires 13 performers playing 40 different instruments, including sleigh bells, anvils, sirens, maracas, whip and a ‘lion’s roar’.

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y the end of the 19th century composers were edging away from conventional tonality. Throughout the early 20th century composers such as Stravinsky, Bartók and Berlioz began writing works for orchestras with much bigger percussion sections, including cymbals, bells, chimes and more timpani.

nother piece composed by Varèse was Amériques, which echoed sounds from New York along the Hudson River and Brooklyn Bridge such as traffic horns, emergency sirens, foghorns & industrial machines. When Amériques was performed, there was much press coverage on the New York Fire Department siren that featured in the piece.

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n the 20th century, musicians and composers really began to acknowledge percussion as a musical instrument in its own right, and gave percussion instruments a more featured role in many of their compositions.

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everal composers, including Marcel Duchamp (more well-known for his visual art), were recognising everyday sounds as music and trying to replicate these noises using percussion instruments and various other found objects.

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dgard Varèse (1883– 1965), a Parisian composer who moved to New York, was fascinated by Italian futurism and its ‘art of noise’. In 1931

ohn Cage (1912–1992) was another composer who enjoyed composing for percussion. He invented ways of creating new sounds; like lowering a gong into water to bend its pitch, or inserting bolts, screws, coins, etc. inside a piano to create unusual noises. He also manufactured percussive instruments from brake drums, spring coils and other car parts.

BE AFRAID

BE VERY

AFRAID FEATURING PROKOFIEV’S PETER AND THE WOLF

Join our hero, plucky little Peter, as he ventures out into the deep dark forest … who will he meet along the way, and just how afraid should he be of the big bad Wolf?

COME AND JOIN THE PARTY! 10am–2.30pm: Have a go at an orchestral instrument of choice under expert instruction; join our music-making workshops in The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall, a fun and interactive way-in to the concert; explore the site with our activity sheet. 1.15pm: The music continues in The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall – a guest ensemble of young musicians entertain with a selection of great tunes. Generously supported by The Jeniffer and Jonathan Harris Charitable Trust, Stentor Music Co Ltd, Yamaha Music Europe GmbH (UK) and Bell Percussion Limited

lpo.org.uk/therestisnoise

SUN 11 MAY, 12PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Prokofiev Peter and the Wolf Vladimir Jurowski conductor Chris Jarvis presenter FREE ACTIVITIES 10am–2pm, ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

BOOK NOW

Child tickets from £5 lpo.org.uk | 020 7840 4242

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LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART II (FEB–MAY 2013 )

‘The listener is stunned by a deliberately discordant and chaotic stream of sound … Singing gives way to shrieking. This is a meaningless game that may well come to a very bad end.’ – PRAVDA NEWSPAPER, ON SHOSTAKOVICH’S LADY MACBETH OF THE MTENSK DISTRICT, 1936

SEPTEMBER THE STORM TIPPETT AND SHOSTAKOVICH SEARCH FOR HOPE

HE WORLD TURNS ON

WHAT THEY SAID REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT ‘There can be no music without ideology. The old composers, whether they knew it or not, were upholding a political theory. Most of them, of course, were bolstering the rule of the upper classes. Only Beethoven was a forerunner of the revolutionary movement. If you read his letters, you will see how often he wrote to his friends that he wished to give new ideas to the public and rouse it to revolt against its masters.’ Dmitri Shostakovich, New York Times, 1931

HEAR IT FIRST! Preview these pieces at lpo.org.uk/therestisnoise

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its dark side. It is winter.’ Trumpets cry out in pain, then sink wearily downwards. Violins sing a quiet lament, and a chorus murmurs the heartbroken opening words of Michael Tippett’s A Child of our Time. Tippett began writing the music at his home in Surrey on 4 September 1939. The previous day, Britain had declared war on Germany, and sitting in a bar in New York, WH Auden found himself reaching for the same images. ‘Defenceless under the night / Our world in stupor lies’, he wrote in his poem September 1, 1939. The fears and half-truths of what Auden called ‘a low dishonest decade’ had reached their culmination in war: a kind of moral absolute zero. THE TURNING POINT

For Tippett, the turning-point had come the previous year. On 7 November 1938, Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year-old Polish Jew, had walked into the German Embassy in Paris and shot dead a Nazi official. In reprisal, the German government unleashed the an-

ti-Jewish pogrom known as Kristallnacht. Over November 1939, over 1000 synagogues were burned, 7000 Jewishowned businesses attacked and 91 people killed. Grynszpan – the exiled son of a family rendered stateless by anti-semitism – was Tippett’s original ‘child of our time’. But Tippett was determined that his ‘modern oratorio’ should be more than a political gesture. So just as Bach had anchored his great Passions around hymns for the whole congregation, Tippett punctuated the score with African-American spirituals: songs of one oppressed people giving voice to all. He knew all about the hollowness of political promises. Like many idealists of the 1930s, he’d seen Communism as the natural enemy of Fascism, but he’d left the Party in 1936. ‘The Stalinist purges and show trials, and the intimidation of Soviet artists and composers following Stalin’s attack on Shostakovich in 1936, were incompatible with my own humane beliefs’, he recalled. lpo.org.uk/therestisnoise

A VERY BAD END

The details of that attack still make disturbing reading. In January 1936, Stalin attended a performance of Shostakovich’s anarchic opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtensk District. Just days later, the state newspaper Pravda denounced it as ‘Chaos instead of Music’. What followed was interpreted by many as little short of a death sentence for the young composer. ‘The listener is stunned by a deliberately discordant and chaotic stream of sound … Singing gives way to shrieking.’ ‘This is a meaningless game’, it added, chillingly, ‘that may well come to a very bad end’. OFF THE HOOK

It’s possible that Shostakovich’s next major work, his Fifth Symphony, saved his life. At its premiere in November 1937, he declared it ‘a Soviet artist’s response to just criticism’; and its jubilant ending ticked all the official boxes. Shostakovich, frightened and humbled, was off the hook – for now. The USSR was too busy positioning itself for the coming war. In August 1939, Stalin signed a

non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany; overnight, Soviet citizens found that the hated class-enemy had officially become a friendly partner. And if they valued their freedom, they kept their mouths shut. SIXTH SYMPHONY

A few weeks later, Shostakovich completed his Sixth Symphony. It too seemed to toe the party line; it was big, clear, and ended with an exuberant crash. To anyone with a sense of musical form, though, alarm bells ring from every note. It opens with a huge, agonised slow movement, followed not by the three movements of a Classical symphony, but by two short, sick musical jokes: a shrill nightmare waltz and a raucous, raspberry-blowing finale. It’s all wrong. The Sixth is lopsided, disfigured: a symphony by a wounded composer for a time that was profoundly out of joint. Tippett would have recognised its message at once. ‘Is evil then good?’ asks A Child of our Time. ‘Is reason untrue?’ In 1943 Tippett served three months in Wormwood Scrubs prison as a conscientious objector. (His for-


LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART II (FEB–MAY 2013 )

‘The most moving and important work written by an English musician for many years’ THE OBSERVER, ON TIPPETT ‘S A CHILD OF OUR TIME, 1944

1939— BREAKS... COMPOSERS RESPOND TO ‘A LOW, DISHONEST DECADE’

WED 1 MAY, 7.30PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

Vaughan Williams Symphony No. 4 Tippett A Child of our Time Ryan Wigglesworth conductor Rebecca Evans soprano Pamela Helen Stephen mezzo soprano Ben Johnson tenor Matthew Rose bass London Philharmonic Choir FREE PRE-CONCERT DISCUSSION 6.15–6.45pm, ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

Writer and broadcaster Daniel Snowman takes a look at Tippett’s A Child of our Time. BOOK NOW

Tickets from £9 lpo.org.uk | 020 7840 4242

FRI 17 MAY, 7.30PM PROTESTS – Anti-Communist protestors outside the Soviet-sponsored Cultural & Scientific Conference for World Peace in New York, 1949. The previous year, schoolteacher Oksana Kasenkina had defected by jumping out of a window.

mer comrades from the Communist Party, meanwhile, had passed his name to Moscow, where Tippett was blacklisted by Stalin’s secret police). Shostakovich, in later years, is said to have grieved over ‘the bitterness that has turned my life grey’.

Yet when A Child of our Time was premiered in March 1944, listeners felt a note of human warmth – even hope. And as Tippett entered his creative maturity, he’d moved beyond the broken ideals of the 1930s. He described his new vocation as

creating ‘images of reconciliation for worlds torn by division. And in an age of mediocrity and shattered dreams, images of abounding, generous, exuberant beauty’. Because tyrants fall, the world turns, and no winter lasts forever. lpo.org.uk/therestisnoise

ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

Stravinsky Jeu de Cartes Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2 Shostakovich Symphony No. 6 Vladimir Jurowski conductor Patricia Kopatchinskaja violin JTI Friday Series

BOOK NOW

Tickets from £9 lpo.org.uk | 020 7840 4242

WORLD EVENTS FROM THE PERIOD FIRST WOMAN TO SWIM THE ENGLISH CHANNEL On 6 August 1926, Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel at just 19 years of age. It took Ederle just over 14 hours to complete the swim, beating the previous record by two hours.

CLYDE TOMBAUGH DISCOVERS PLUTO For many years it was believed that there were eight planets in our solar system, until the astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto on 18 February 1930. Using new astronomic techniques, Tombaugh was able to confirm Pluto’s existence and the discovery was publicly announced on 13 March 1930.

FIRST FLIGHT OVER MOUNT EVEREST On 3 April 1933 the first manned flight over the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, took place. The two bi-planes set off from Lalbalu aerodrome near Purnea, India and the flight took about three hours in total. The two biplanes were crewed by Colonel LVS Blacker, Lord Clydesdale, Flight Lieutenant DF MacIntyre and Mr SR Bonnet. The planes cleared the mountain by 100 feet and managed to capture photographic evidence to prove the achievement.

NAZI INVASION OF POLAND On 1 September 1939, Adolf Hitler made the decision to invade Poland, triggering the start of World War Two. Poland was split between the Soviets and Nazi Germany and effectively ceased to exist as a country in its own right. Eventually, the Soviets drove the Nazis out of Poland, but this ‘liberation’ was short-lived as the ensuing regime became one of great oppression and fear.

11


IN THE NEXT ISSUE Centurion The

Presented by THE LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA as part of the Southbank Centre’s THE REST IS NOISE

WAR IS OVER!

COMING UP... ˇ

SAT 28 SEP, 7PM

ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Britten Peter Grimes Celebrating the centenary of Benjamin Britten in 2013

WED 2 OCT, 7.30PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

Britten Prelude and Dances from The Prince of the Pagodas Britten Suite on English Folk Tunes (A time there was) Britten Nocturne Britten Cello Symphony Celebrating the centenary of Benjamin Britten in 2013 Supported by the Britten-Pears Foundation

SAT 12 OCT, 7.30PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Britten War Requiem

Celebrating the centenary of Benjamin Britten in 2013

WED 23 OCT, 7.30PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Poulenc Piano Concerto Prokofiev Symphony No. 7 Poulenc Stabat mater

SAT 26 OCT, 7.30PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN NEW BEGINNINGS, NEW BELIEFS

Henri Dutilleux Tout un monde lointain Shostakovich Symphony No. 13 (Babi Yar)

WED 30 OCT, 7.30PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Ligeti Lontano Lutosawski Cello Concerto Schnittke Symphony No. 1 Supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute

STAY TUNED Join our mailing list at lpo.org.uk @LPOrchestra, #therestisnoise facebook.com/londonphilharmonicorchestra For the full The Rest Is Noise programme, plus extra online content visit: southbankcentre.co.uk/therestisnoise Southbank Centre Ticket Office: 0844 847 9920 • southbankcentre.co.uk

Contributors Richard Bratby, Libby Northcote-Green, Isobel King, Claire Lampon Editor Mia Roberts Design Cog Design Quotes sourced from The Rest Is Noise © Alex Ross 2007 & 2009. The Rest Is Noise published by Fourth Estate in 2007 and by Harper Perennial in 2009. First published in 2007 by Farrar Straus and Giroux in the United States. Photographs courtesy of Getty Images and Flickr Commons Meow Meow image © Jim Herrington

Profile for London Philharmonic Orchestra

The Centurion - Feb-May 2013  

The London Philharmonic Orchestra's newspaper for The Rest Is Noise series of concerts. Discover the way 20th century history and politics...

The Centurion - Feb-May 2013  

The London Philharmonic Orchestra's newspaper for The Rest Is Noise series of concerts. Discover the way 20th century history and politics...