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

ISSUE 3 OF 4

SEPTEMBER — NOVEMBER 2013

TIMES THEY ARE A’CHANGING

THE REST IS NOISE

WAR IS OVER : WHERE

DO WE GO FROM HERE?

IN THE LEAD-UP to and during the Second World War, music was appropriated and politicised like never before. The

THE BATTLE OF BENJAMIN BRITTEN: Putting Gossip on Trial PAGE 4 LEST WE FORGET: The World Rebuilds and Remembers PAGE 6 THE PROFOUND & THE PROFANE: Francis Poulenc’s Parisian Point of View PAGE 7

use of music as propaganda was rife in Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia, both sides harsh to the point of deadly with their censorship and discrimination against ‘unsuitable’ artists. Following the War, music began once again to be to be composed for purely musical reasons, rather than political ones, although censorship remained heavy in Russia for several years. Indeed, while many composers chose to document the terrors of the War with their dark and thoughtprovoking compositions, others took another route, looking to move forward and transcend the horrors experienced with glorious celebrations of life and nature. The development of new compositional techniques increased hugely – as French composer Olivier Messiaen put it, ‘Music follows the general movement of humanity that has found and made a thousand CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

ZEITGEIST: What’s Hot, What’s Not in the 1950s and 60s PAGE 8 NEW BEGINNINGS, NEW BELIEFS, NEW MUSIC: Welcome to the Avant-Garde PAGE 10

BRAVE NEW

SOUNDS FOR A BRAVE NEW

WORLD A GROUP OF COMPOSERS AND PERFORMERS known as The Theatre of Eternal Music perform in a private loft, New York, 1965.

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


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LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART 3 (SEPT– NOV 2013)

WELCOME TO TH THE 20 CENTURY A ROLLERCOASTER RIDE FROM ROMANTICISM TO POP CULTURE IN 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. As we approach the second half of The Rest Is Noise festival, we look forward to exploring one of the most dynamic periods in musical history, the latter half of the 20th century. From Minimalism to Hollywood, to pop culture and everything in between, 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.

STAY TUNED Join our mailing list at lpo.org.uk @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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r e f f o l a i c e Sp 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.

Offer subject to availability. Phone booking only. Transaction fees apply.

lpo.org.uk / therestisnoise

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


‘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 lpo.org.uk / therestisnoise

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LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART 3 (SEPT– NOV 2013)

THE BATTLE OF BENJAMIN BRITTEN PUTTING GOSSIP ON TRIAL IN POST-WAR ENGLAND WHEN BENJAMIN BRITTEN’S opera Peter Grimes premiered at Sadler’s Wells Theatre on 7 June 1945, the war in Europe had been over for little more than four weeks. Bunting flut-

WHAT THEY SAID If wind and water could write music, it would sound like Ben’s. Yehudi Menuhin, 1981 [Britten’s room] faced the sea… Something would be happening at sea and everything would stop for quarter of an hour while we watched it… You’d see storms going past, extraordinary. Very sort of Peter Grimes-ish. Jeremy Cullum, Britten’s secretary and friend It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature and everlasting beauty of monotony. Benjamin Britten

HEAR IT FIRST! Preview these pieces at lpo.org.uk/therestisnoise AN ANGRY MOB descends on the home of fisherman Peter Grimes in a scene from the 1946 US premiere of Benjamin Britten’s opera.

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lpo.org.uk / therestisnoise

tered from lamp-posts, and the pubs that hadn’t been bombed to rubble were filled with de-mobbed soldiers. Britons still carried ration books, but London was a city in celebration. But somehow, word had got out that this strange new opera by a controversial young composer really mattered. Alex Ross, in The Rest Is Noise, re-tells the anecdote of an opera-goer who boarded the Number 38 bus at Green Park and asked if it went past Sadler’s Wells. ‘Yes, I should say I do’ replied the conductor. ‘I wish I could go inside instead. That will be threepence for Peter Grimes’. If it’s hard now to imagine the impact that Peter Grimes had in the summer of 1945, it’s easy enough to state its significance. Between Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in 1688 and that summer night at Sadler’s Wells, the only British operas to have entered the international repertoire were by Gilbert and Sullivan. Peter Grimes swept away three centuries of failure in a blast of fresh salt air – and established its composer as one


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LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART 3 (SEPT– NOV 2013)

DID YOU KNOW?

Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, kept a file on composer Benjamin Britten and his partner Peter Pears in the post-war years, listing them as ‘prohibited immigrants’ on account of their sexuality.

SAT 28 SEPT 2013, 7PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Britten Peter Grimes Vladimir Jurowski conductor Stuart Skelton Peter Grimes Pamela Armstrong Ellen Orford Alan Opie Captain Balstrode Pamela Helen Stephen Auntie Malin Christensson / Claire Ormshaw Her ‘Nieces’ Michael Colvin Bob Boles Brindley Sherratt Swallow Jean Rigby Mrs Sedley Mark Stone Ned Keene Brian Galliford Reverend Horace Adams Jonathan Veira Hobson London Voices Daniel Slater director

WED 2 OCT 2013, 7.30PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL FREE PRE-CONCERT EVENTS 2 – 3PM AND 4 – 5PM THE CLORE BALLROOM AT ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL The LPO and Southbank Centre present Britten’s moving setting of the Chester Miracle play, Noye’s Fludde, conducted by Benjamin Ellin. No ticket required.

5.30 – 6.15PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Musicians from the Royal College of Music perform Britten’s String Quartet No. 3 and Phantasy.

BOOK NOW Tickets from £9 (Transaction fees apply) lpo.org.uk | 020 7840 4242

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 Vladimir Jurowski conductor Mark Padmore tenor Truls Mørk cello London Philharmonic Orchestra Supported by the Britten-Pears Foundation

BOOK NOW Tickets from £9 (Transaction fees apply) lpo.org.uk | 020 7840 4242

Supported by members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Peter Grimes Syndicate

WORLD EVENTS

1945 Adolf Hitler commits suicide as German troops are defeated in World War II 1945 America drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 1948 Soviet Union begins blockade of West Berlin

of the leading artistic figures of the post-war world.

Rumours Its story is outwardly simple. Peter Grimes works alone as a fisherman in The Borough, a small fishing town on the east coast of England. In this tightly knit community, he’s unpopular – and when first one and then another of his boy apprentices dies in unexplained circumstances, rumours spread and multiply. The drama is so vivid and believable, and the music so compelling, that if Britten had been run over by that 38 bus the morning after the premiere, he’d still rank as one of the greatest opera composers of the 20th century. London, in June 1945, seemed to sense that. Yet throughout the war years, Britten had been a problematic figure for many of his countrymen. He’d left the UK for America in the spring of 1939, returning only in 1942. To many, that looked like suspiciously good timing. Quite apart from the inevitable whisperings about his (then illegal) relationship with the tenor Peter Pears, Britten’s status as a conscientious objector was also well-known – and ‘conchies’ were not universally admired.

In 1941, the Musical Times had published a correspondence about musicians ‘thriving on a culture which they have not the courage to defend’, and a well-known baritone had written scathingly to the Sunday Times about ‘the Battle of Britain, a programme in which Mr Britten has no part’. If that experience was forgotten in the euphoria of June 1945, it’s written through every bar of Peter Grimes. In The Borough, the poem by George Crabbe (1754 – 1832) upon which Britten’s librettist Montagu Slater had based his text, Grimes is a brutal and coarse figure. In the opera, Grimes’s guilt is never unambiguously proved, and two of The Borough’s most decent citizens make sincere, desperate efforts to salvage his humanity.

Controversy Britten’s Grimes is a man who stands apart – the fisherman who ‘can see the shoals to which the rest are blind’. When, in the bar of the Bear Inn, he sings rapturously about the stars, the locals quickly pass their verdict: ‘He’s mad or drunk … chuck him out’. It’s all too familiar. Grimes is the ‘quiet one’, the loner who ‘keeps himself to himself’, and whom

we read about today every time the tabloids catch a first whiff of sensation in a small town. Britten and Slater’s genius was to turn him into something both more ambiguous, and more timeless than that. Britten’s empathy with Grimes is unmistakable. After all, he’d made a conscious decision to return to Britain: to take his place, even as an outsider, in a national community which was far from guaranteed to welcome him back. And he’d felt that first tug of homesickness in (of all places) a bookshop in Los Angeles, where he first discovered Crabbe’s poem. ‘I suddenly realised where I belonged, and what I lacked’,

he recalled. Britten would face controversy and even open hostility for the rest of his life (homosexuality would not be legalised in England until 1967). But he’d die as Lord Britten of Aldeburgh – the original ‘Borough’ of Peter Grimes.

1951 Transcontinental and colour TV introduced

Deep Roots

1954 First human trials of the birth control pill begin

‘I am native, rooted here’ sings Grimes, when asked why he doesn’t flee The Borough and start anew. Britten, too, seems to have reached that same conclusion, whatever the personal cost. And paradoxically, from ‘familiar fields, marsh and sand, ordinary streets, prevailing wind’ he created a music drama that’s as timeless, and as universal, as humanity itself.

A subject very close to my heart – the struggle of the individual against the masses. The more vicious the society, the more vicious the individual. BENJAMIN BRITTEN, TIME, 1948 lpo.org.uk / therestisnoise

1952 King George VI dies and Queen Elizabeth II succeeds her father 1953 Joseph Stalin dies from a heart attack

1955 Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister of Great Britain 1955 The Vietnam War begins 1959 Cuban President Batista resigns and flees – Fidel Castro takes over 1961 East German troops erect the Berlin Wall 1962 Marilyn Monroe dies from a drug overdose 1963 US President John F Kennedy is assassinated while travelling in a parade in Dallas 1964 Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life imprisonment by the South African government 1965 Voting Rights Act is passed making it illegal to deny any citizen of America the right to vote based on their race or ethnicity

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LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART 3 (SEPT– NOV 2013)

DID YOU KNOW?

During the ban imposed on Shostakovich’s ‘Babi Yar’ Symphony in Soviet Russia, cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich smuggled the score out of the country so it could receive its American premiere by the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1969.

SAT 12 OCT 2013, 7.30PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Britten War Requiem Vladimir Jurowski conductor Tatiana Monogarova soprano Ian Bostridge tenor Matthias Goerne baritone Neville Creed conductor (chamber orchestra) London Philharmonic Choir Trinity Boys Choir London Philharmonic Orchestra FREE PRE-CONCERT EVENTS 2 – 3PM AND 4 – 5PM THE CLORE BALLROOM AT ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL The LPO and Southbank Centre present Britten’s moving setting of the Chester Miracle play, Noye’s Fludde, conducted by Benjamin Ellin. No ticket required.

6 – 6.45PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Musicians from the Royal College of Music perform Britten’s Les illuminations and Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge.

BOOK NOW Tickets from £9 (Transaction fees apply) lpo.org.uk | 020 7840 4242

SPECIAL OFFER Book for Peter Grimes or the War Requiem and receive half price tickets to hear some of Britten’s rarely heard symphonic works on Weds 2 Oct. Call the LPO box office on 020 7840 4242 and mention the Benjamin Britten Offer to book. Concert details pages 5 – 6.

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LEST WE FORGET THE WORLD REBUILDS AND REMEMBERS ON 14 NOVEMBER 1940, Coventry Cathedral was reduced to rubble by the bombs of the Battle of Britain. The very next morn-

ing the decision was made to rebuild the iconic building in the spirit of spiritual resilience and hope for the future. The newly built cathedral was consecrated in May 1962, and an arts festival celebrating peace and reconciliation was constructed around its opening. As part of this festival, composer Benjamin Britten was commissioned to write a work for choir and orchestra, a War Requiem, which since its premiere on 30 May 1962 has been deemed by many as one of the most moving and significant works in British repertoire. Britten’s War Requiem, dedicated to four friends who died as a consequence of the War, stands as a statement of pacifism from the composer, who had registered as a conscientious objector during World War II. Contrasting traditional Latin texts with poems by Wilfred Owen, written from the trenches of the First World War, the War Requiem stands as a poignant reminder of what was lost by both sides during the wars, and its initial reception was one of stunned reflection, with The Times commenting, ‘It is not a Requiem to console the living; sometimes it does not even help the dead to sleep soundly’ (Mann, The Times, 1962).

Vishnevskaya was banned from attending the premiere, the very idea of her involvement being met with outrage and disbelief. She recalled being asked at the time, ‘How can you, a Soviet woman, stand next to a German and an Englishman and perform a political work?’ However, Fischer-Dieskau’s presence at the premiere and his reaction following the performance was surely a moving moment for all involved. ‘I was completely undone’, recalls the singer, ‘I did not know where to hide my face. Dead friends and past suffering arose in my mind.’ The sight of a German experiencing the same sense of loss as his British audience underlined Britten’s plea for compassion and his modestly put intention to ‘make people think a bit’.

Pressure Meanwhile, behind the Iron Curtain, Britten’s friend, the anxious Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, was

working on his Thirteenth Symphony. After Stalin’s terrorinfused reign ended with the dictator’s death in 1953, the Soviet Union’s heavy-handed political censorship eased a little under Nikita Khruschev’s rule. However, the ever-nervous Shostakovich, who had suffered two frightening denunciations under Stalin, continued to be plagued by political pressure. In fact, he faced extreme pressure from all directions. His Russian colleagues were scathing in their criticism when he finally joined the Communist Party in 1960, not understanding his motives for doing so after having always sworn against it. Shostakovich’s own account, however, is disarmingly frank and self-abasing – the words of a man who had been pushed to breaking point. ‘I am scared to death of them …’ he reportedly said after signing up, in a fit of despair and regret. ‘I’m a wretched alcoholic’. But Shostakovich did speak

out against his oppressors, particularly in his powerful Thirteenth Symphony, subtitled ‘Babi Yar’ after the site in Kiev where 34,000 Jewish people had been massacred by Nazi forces. After reading Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s poems about the massacres, which had been subsequently covered up by Nazi officials, Shostakovich decided to set the poems to music, hoping to help break the silence that had gone on for too long. ‘People knew about Babi Yar before Yevtushenko’s poem, but they were silent. And when they read the poem, the silence was broken. Art destroys silence.’ Perhaps predictably, the work was censored by authorities right up until 1971, and even then only a revised version of the text, replacing the ‘most offensive’ lines with pro-Russian sentiments was allowed to be performed. But Shostakovich’s personal silence was broken, even if the political one took longer to thaw.

Tension Britten deepened his message of post-war reconciliation by inviting soloists from three of the warring nations to perform together at the premiere: Englishman Peter Pears, German Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Russian Galina Vishnevskaya. Sadly, due to continuing tensions in Russia, WINSTON CHURCHILL visits the ruins of Coventry Cathedral following its destruction in the Coventry Blitz of 1940.

lpo.org.uk / therestisnoise


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LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART 3 (SEPT– NOV 2013)

THE PROFOUND, THE PROFANE, AND SOME PRETTY GOOD PARTIES

SUN 3 NOV 2013, 12PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

Britten The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra Presented by CBeebies’ Chris Jarvis Generously supported by The Jeniffer and Jonathan Harris Charitable Trust, Stentor Music Co Ltd, Yamaha Music Europe GmbH (UK) and Bell Percussion Limited.

POULENC’S PARISIAN POINT OF VIEW FRANCIS POULENC’S Piano Concerto begins terribly properly. Two broad, elegant movements sing, sweep and let the pianist show off all those carefully practised scales and runs. The audience at its premiere, in Boston in January 1950, thoroughly enjoyed them. Mais naturellement. Hadn’t the composer himself predicted that ‘We’d have to carry away on a stretcher about a hundred American ladies who passed out,

overcome by the voluptuousness of my music’? But now comes the grand finale, and as piano and orchestra gleefully pound out a maxixe – the shameless Brazilian dancecraze that had soundtracked some of the bisexual Francis’s more piquant nights out in 1920s Paris – we hear … what? Is that really Way Down Upon the Swanee River? Seriously? Is this some kind of joke?

Playful Yes: that’s exactly what it is. ‘As opposed to the famous concer-

tos of the past, which require great virtuosos, I decided to write a light concerto, a sort of souvenir of Paris for pianistcomposer’ explained Poulenc. But Swanee River? ‘I was amused and pleased by this handshake with a country [America] that, right now, contains my most numerous and loyal audience’. And, since Poulenc himself was the soloist, why not? After all, it’s exactly what we’d expect from the Poulenc of the 1920s – the sharp-suited, fun-loving pharmaceuticals heir who’d partied with Cocteau and

FRANCIS POULENC (third from left) and the team from his humourous ballet Les animaux modeles (The Model Animals) in 1942.

lpo.org.uk / therestisnoise

Picasso at the Le Boeuf Sur le Toit cabaret, and had sexedup Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes for the jazz age with his flapper ballet Les Biches (1924).

Unexpected It just wasn’t what anyone expected of a composer who’d lived through the Nazi occupation of France, witnessed the deaths of several close friends, and had experienced a very public religious awakening at the shrine of the Black Virgin of Rocamadour. Even today, it’s hard to square this dizzy Piano Concerto with sacred works like the monumental and passionately serious Stabat mater, composed just months later. Poulenc himself acknowledged the two sides of his artistic personality: le moine et le voyou – half monk, half delinquent. ‘The French have a keener sense of proportion’ he explained. ‘Our composers, too, write profound music, but when they do, it is leavened with that lightness of spirit without which life would be unendurable.’ So perhaps we need to be less rigid – less AngloSaxon, maybe – about Poulenc. There was more than one way to face the 20th century. And as often as not, Francis Poulenc chose to do it with a smile.

Have you met all the instruments of the Orchestra? Do you know your trombones from your xylophones? Your clarinets from your castanets? Would you like to say ‘hello’ to a cello and maybe have a go at an oboe? Come and meet the instruments and players of the London Philharmonic Orchestra as they perform Benjamin Britten’s timeless and much-loved classic The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. BOOK NOW Child tickets from £5 Free activities from 10AM (Transaction fees apply) lpo.org.uk | 020 7840 4242

WED 23 OCT 2013, 7.30PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Poulenc Piano Concerto Prokofiev Symphony No. 7 Poulenc Stabat mater Yannick NézetSéguin conductor Alexandre Tharaud piano Kate Royal soprano London Philharmonic Choir London Philharmonic Orchestra FREE PRE-CONCERT EVENT 6.15 – 6.45PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Dr Caroline Potter from Kingston University looks at the life and works of Francis Poulenc.

BOOK NOW Tickets from £9 (Transaction fees apply) lpo.org.uk | 020 7840 4242

SAT 26 OCT 2013, 7.30PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Henri Dutilleux Tout un monde lointain Shostakovich Symphony No. 13 (Babi Yar) Yannick NézetSéguin conductor Jean-Guihen Queyras cello Mikhail Petrenko bass Gentlemen of the London Philharmonic Choir London Philharmonic Orchestra BOOK NOW Tickets from £9 (Transaction fees apply) lpo.org.uk | 020 7840 4242

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LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART 3 (SEPT– NOV 2013)

DID YOU KNOW?

Composer Karlheinz Stockhausen’s face appears amongst others on the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album (he appears fifth from the left in the back row). The group’s experimental track Revolution 9, from their self-titled album was said to be inspired by Stockhausen’s Hymnen. French composer Olivier Messiaen apparently experienced the phenomenon known as synaesthesia, a neurological condition that caused him to see colours when hearing certain notes and chords.

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King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp’s famous ‘Frippertronics’ guitar effect conceived with Brian Eno in 1973, was inspired by a tape delay technique developed by minimalist composer Terry Riley. The effect can be heard on the opening of David Bowie’s Heroes.

Zeitgeist LIGETI VS. KUBRICK

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38 years after the composer’s death, Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony found itself in the 2013 charts and the composer himself nominated in the Best Contemporary Song category at the Ivor Novello awards. Shostakovich was nominated alongside English rapper/singersongwriter Plan B, who sampled the symphony in his track Ill Manors.

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‘I can’t let you do that, Stan’ WHEN COMPOSER György

Ligeti attended the Vienna premiere of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968, he was more than a little surprised to hear almost 30 minutes worth of his music accompanying those now iconic scenes of outer space. Kubrick had originally hired composer Alex North to score the film, with a request for North to emulate Ligeti’s unique, otherworldly sound, but in the end decided to simply use original Ligeti recordings. What he neglected to do was ask the composer’s permission. Ligeti was initially shocked at this brazen move, which

resulted in legal action, although the matter was eventually settled with Kubrick out of court and the two artists went on to work together on future projects, Ligeti apparently admiring and identifying with Kubrick’s artistic pursuits. For whilst his methods in sourcing the 2001 soundtrack may not have been up to scratch, Kubrick’s pairing of imagery and sound was inspired, and brought Ligeti’s work to the attention of enthralled audiences across the globe who may never have stumbled across it otherwise. So a happy ending after all.

lpo.org.uk / therestisnoise

ALFRED SCHNITTKE PRONOUNCED DEAD … then alive, then dead again, then … alive. AT THE AGE OF 51, Russian composer Alfred Schnittke suffered a severe stroke, which left him in a coma. He was apparently declared dead on several occasions, yet eventually awoke fully and continued to compose, rather than decompose. Schnittke is famous for developing ‘polystylism’ and widely hailed as being ‘ahead of his time’ – he was sampling before we even knew to call it that. His

works often combined and contrasted music of wildly different styles, plucking musical sounds from various time periods and contexts and placing them together in one original work. He once stated ‘the goal of my life is to unify serious music and light music, even if I break my neck in doing so’ – not that a broken neck would have stopped him, by the sound of things.


LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART 3 (SEPT– NOV 2013)

The horror of the war seemed to create in this generation a distaste for sentiment, a need to discard the past, and an urge to create utopias of sound. ALEX ROSS THE REST IS NOISE, 2007

People sometimes say that the way things happen in movies is unreal, but actually it’s the way things happen in life that’s unreal. ANDY WARHOL

ONO SHE DIDN’T! THERE IS MUCH MYTH AND CONTROVERSY surround-

ing the breakup of The Beatles and the role Yoko Ono and her experimental tendencies did or didn’t play in the disbanding of the Fab Four in 1970. Particularly divisive of critics and audiences alike was the track Revolution 9 – credited to John Lennon, and written in collaboration with Yoko Ono and George Harrison, apparently inspired by Ono’s own avant-garde style and the music concrète techniques of Edgard Varèse and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Although widely considered the most experimental of The Beatles, Lennon apparently warmed to the avant-garde approach slowly, with the help of Ono, having previously declared ‘avant-garde’ to be ‘French for bullshit’. And whilst Ono and her supposed influence over John have been

famously slated for bringing about the band’s demise, many claim, including Paul himself, that it was actually McCartney – ‘the cute one’ – who was the most musically adventurous of the group and first to delve into sounds inspired by post-war classical composers. This claim was given further weight by McCartney’s recently rediscovered Carnival of Light, which Paul says was also inspired by Stockhausen and the work of John Cage, and had originally been deemed ‘too avant-garde’ for any Beatles releases. Since the breakup, Paul’s even taken some of the heat off Ono, saying ‘she certainly didn’t break the group up, the group was breaking up’ and credits her for inspiring Lennon towards some of his greatest work, including his most wellloved track Imagine.

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What’s HOT? MAKING PEOPLE LISTEN John Cage’s famous 4’33” is premiered in New York in 1952. During the piece the performers sit in silence for 4 minutes and 33 seconds.

AVOIDING SHOWERS Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, complete with nerve-shredding score by Bernard Herrmann, is a hit in 1960.

HAVING A DREAM Dr Martin Luther King delivers his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech in 1963.

BEING FREE (AND WE LOVE TO BE FREE) Lesley Gore’s spine-tingling hit You Don’t Own Me is released in 1963, adding one more powerful voice to the growing Women’s Liberation Movement.

PLAYING WITH YOUR FOOD Andy Warhol reveals his Campbell’s Soup Can worth $1,500 at The American Supermarket exhibit in 1964.

PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES French composer Eliane Radigue raises some eyebrows and breaks away from her teachers’ ideals to pursue her own microphone feedback and tape loop techniques in the mid 1960s.

BEING SUPERSONIC British Airways’ fastest flying plane, Concorde, makes its first maiden flight in 1969.

FLOATING IN A MOST PECULIAR WAY David Bowie’s first hit in the UK – 1969’s Space Oddity – is used by the BBC in its coverage of the moon landing.

RESPECT! Aretha Franklin is widely acknowledged as the ‘Queen of Soul’ by the end of the 1960s – all hail the Queen!

lpo.org.uk / therestisnoise

POLITICAL CENSORSHIP Stalinist authorities ban Lutosławski’s First Symphony for being ‘too elite’ and ‘formalist’ in 1954.

LEAVING A PARTY EARLY The Rite of Spring composer Igor Stravinsky (see issue 2 of The Centurion) apparently has a little too much to drink when the Kennedys invited him and film composer Leonard Bernstein to dinner at the White House in 1962, and has to go home early. Oops.

MUSICAL FALL-OUTS – ARE YOU SERIALIST?! Boulez and Ligeti fall out over Ligeti’s comments on serialist music. ‘He had been very nice with me when we had met before, but suddenly he did not speak to me anymore. For 10 years, he was a complete enemy.’

MORE MUSICAL FALL-OUTS – THE FAB FOUR NO MORE There is controversy and widespread despair over the breakup of world’s most popular boy band, The Beatles, in 1970.

What’s NOT?

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LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART 3 (SEPT– NOV 2013)

DID YOU KNOW?

Ligeti once wrote a piece for an ensemble made entirely of metronomes – 100 of them to be precise. Several of his other works (featuring more conventional instruments) have featured in film soundtracks, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Shutter Island, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Shining.

NEW BEGINNINGS NEW BELIEFS, NEW MUSIC MOVING ON IN A POST-WAR WORLD FROM FRONT PAGE

times more things during the past fifty years than it had found and made during all its previous existence on our planet.’

Debate However, with such artistic freedoms came another kind of politics – musical politics. As part of the de-Nazification process, the American faction in Germany helped to reinstate a summer school for composition at Darmstadt. After helping to reintegrate composers who had fled during the war, Darmstadt soon became a hotbed of artistic debate. A new school of composers, often loosely grouped together under the ‘avant-garde’ banner, were looking for a new direction. Where do we go from here? How do we ensure we create ‘art for art’s sake’, free from politicisation and the attachment of false meaning? These kind of questions were debated at length and by the early 1950s, a technique known as serialism was generally held up as a signpost for the way forward in modern composition. This method, which originated in the 1920s, was developed

WHAT THEY SAID Now there is no taboo; everything is allowed. But one cannot simply go back to tonality, it’s not the way. We must find a way of neither going back nor continuing the avant-garde. I am in a prison: one wall is the avantgarde, the other wall is the past, and I want to escape. György Ligeti I give bird songs to those who dwell in cities and have never heard them, make rhythms for those who know only military marches or jazz, and paint colours for those who see none. Olivier Messiaen

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

10

HIGHLY INFLUENTIAL and somewhat controversial composer Karlheinz Stockhausen in a recording studio in 1971.

lpo.org.uk / therestisnoise


C

LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA / THE REST IS NOISE / PART 3 (SEPT– NOV 2013)

There would be no life without some hope for the better. Each generation was trying … to turn its most secret dream into reality. Sometimes it seemed to be successful. Later on, it fell back into illusion. But it would certainly be impossible to survive without constantly moving the utopian historical horizon into the future.

WORLD EVENTS

ALFRED SCHNITTKE 1990

WED 30 OCT 2013, 7.30PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

WHAT IS SERIALISM? Serialism is a form of composition that begins with a ‘row’, or set, of all 12 notes in the musical scale, laid out in a particular sequence chosen by the composer. This pattern of notes is then manipulated in a variety of ways to create a piece of music, e.g. the sequence may be run backwards, upside down, or the notes may be layered into chords. Total serialism, which was developed in later years, also created patterns of rhythms, dynamics and speeds.

even further by post-war composers into a rigid, dogmatic philosophy, its main exponents being Luigi Nono, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez, all pupils of Messiaen.

Critics The pro-serialist school of thought was not without its critics, however. Messiaen himself quickly rejected it, preferring the influence of birdsong in pursuit of the purest musical statement. Messiaen’s synaesthesia (hearing musical notes as colour), his spirituality and fondness of nature all moved him away from the inflexible, intellectual world of serialism to create works that glorified the natural world, as can be heard in his mammoth work Des canyons aux étoiles (From the Canyons to the Stars), written as a commission to celebrate the bicentenary of America’s Declaration of Independence. Messiaen himself describes it as ‘a work of sound-colours, where all the colours of the rainbow circulate’, which depicts the extraordinary beauty of the canyons of Utah through the use of two keys representing the blue of heaven, and the orange-red of the rocks.

Messiaen was not the only one to steer away from the serialist path. György Ligeti, who fled to Cologne from Hungary in 1956, leaving a large number of his previous compositions behind (‘I considered my old music of no interest. I believed in twelve-tone music!’) was soon swept up in the Darmstadt School philosophy. However, after a short period in the fold, he rejected the group’s approach, coming to the realisation that ‘I am not a dogmatic person … I’m not interested in these power struggles. I’m not interested in power at all’. The forward-thinking Russian composer Alfred Schnittke came to similar conclusions, becoming frustrated with both the creative limitations of the serialist method, and the attitudes of those championing it. ‘The pretensions of the people who created it reached such an extreme that you might think it was a technique that guaranteed quality…’ he once said. ‘In my opinion that is an absolute deviation from the main responsibility that rests upon a composer’. This rejection of dominant trends eventually led Schnittke to the development of his own

‘polystylism’, which hinged on the splicing together of old and new musical styles to create vast canvases of quickly changing musical landscapes, epitomised in his kaleidoscopic First Symphony. Written whilst working on the film score for the documentary film The World Today, Schnittke’s Symphony eventually began to reflect the flickering film montages of 20th-century history that he had been poring over for four years, ‘forming in my mind a seemingly chaotic but inwardly orderly chronicle of the 20th century’.

Freedom Wherever they drew their inspiration from, and however it manifested itself, it was their desire to rise above musical and party politics that united Messiaen, Ligeti and Schnittke. Embodying the spirit of the ‘avant-garde’ in perhaps the purest sense, they stood as individuals in their artistic pursuits, striving for creative freedom and creating some truly original music that manages to be both of its time, and ultimately timeless.

lpo.org.uk / therestisnoise

Ligeti Lontano Lutosławski Cello Concerto * Schnittke Symphony No. 1 Michail Jurowski conductor Johannes Moser cello London Philharmonic Orchestra * Supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the Polska Music Programme – Centenary of Witold Lutosławski 2013.

FREE PRE-CONCERT EVENT 6 – 6.45PM THE CLORE BALLROOM AT ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Professor Alexander Ivashkin plays cello works by Lutosławski and Schnittke, and shares unpublished correspondence between the two composers.

BOOK NOW Tickets from £9 (Transaction fees apply) lpo.org.uk | 020 7840 4242

1967 Dr Christiaan N Barnard and a team of South African surgeons perform the world’s first successful human heart transplant 1968 Dr Martin Luther King is assassinated by James Earl Ray at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis 1968 Two months later US Senator Robert Kennedy is fatally shot in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel 1969 The Eagle lands on the lunar surface. The world watches in awe as Neil Armstrong takes his historic first steps on the moon 1970 Jimi Hendrix dies in London, age 27

SAT 2 NOV 2013, 7.30PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

1971 The first ‘microprocessor’ (computer) is invented

Messiaen Des canyons aux étoiles

1972 US President Nixon visits China for a week to meet with Chairman Mao

Christoph Eschenbach conductor Tzimon Barto piano John Ryan horn London Philharmonic Orchestra FREE PRE-CONCERT EVENT 6 – 6.45PM ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL Colour and Eternity – The music of Olivier Messiaen Exploring the rich sound world of Olivier Messiaen, this talk delves into his musical language, where birdsong, faith and colour collide to produce one of the most original musical styles of the 20th century. A new piano miniature inspired by Des canyons aux étoiles will also be performed. This talk forms part of the Royal Philharmonic Society Bicentenary Celebrations, 1813 – 2013.

BOOK NOW Tickets from £9 (Transaction fees apply) lpo.org.uk | 020 7840 4242

1974 Beverly Johnson is the first African-American model to feature on the cover of Vogue magazine 1975 Bill Gates founds Microsoft Computer Corporation 1977 Elvis Presley is found dead in his home in Graceland, Memphis 1979 Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female Prime Minister in Britain 1980 The Beatles singer, John Lennon, is assassinated in New York City

11


IN THE NEXT ISSUE COMING SOON THE REST IS NOISE CONTINUES AT ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

Arvo Pärt and Henryk Górecki Space, Sprituality and Simplicity Presented by The London Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the Southbank Centre’s The Rest Is Noise

The

the Centurion lpo.org.uk/therestisnoise

WED 6 NOV 2013, 7.30PM A Timeless Beauty Sofia Gubaidulina Offertorium Arvo Pärt Magnificat Arvo Pärt Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten Arvo Pärt Berlin Mass Tõnu Kaljuste conductor Sergej Krylov violin London Philharmonic Choir FRI 8 NOV 2013, 7.30PM The Genius of Film Music 1960 – 1980 Featuring music from Cleopatra, The Godfather, Psycho, Star Trek and more. John Mauceri conductor JTI Friday Series

Minimalism, Movies   Minimalism, Movies and a New Millennium and Millennium

WED 27 NOV 2013, 7.30PM Polish Melodies Krzysztof Penderecki Violin Concerto No. 1 Górecki Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs) Michał Dworzynski conductor Barnabas Kelemen violin Allison Bell soprano FRI 29 NOV 2013, 7.30PM The Genius of Film Music 1980 – 2000 Featuring excerpts from Star Wars, Chariots of Fire, The Mission, Twin Peaks, La Vita è bella, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Matrix and more. Dirk Brossé conductor JTI Friday Series

SAT 7 DEC 2013, 7.30PM Britain in the 90s Julian Anderson The Stations of the Sun James MacMillan Veni, Veni, Emmanuel Mark-Anthony Turnage Evening Songs Thomas Adès Asyla Vladimir Jurowski conductor Evelyn Glennie percussion

STAY TUNED

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@LPOrchestra, #therestisnoise

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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 BOOK NOW Tickets £9 – £39 London Philharmonic Orchestra Ticket Office: 020 7840 4242 |lpo.org.uk Southbank Centre Ticket Office: 0844 847 9920 |southbankcentre.co.uk Transaction fees apply: £1.75 online, £2.75 over the phone. No fee for bookings made in person at Southbank Centre

Contributors Richard Bratby, Libby Northcote-Green, Isobel King, Lily Oram Editor Mia Roberts Design Cog Design Quotes sourced from The Rest Is Noise © Alex Ross 2007 & 2009, other than; Alfred Schnittke on page 11 Ivashkin, Alexander (1996). Alfred Schnittke. London, Phaidon 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, and Wikimedia Commons, other than; Alfred Schnittke p8 The Alfred Schnittke Archive, Goldsmiths, University of London John Lennon p9 Wikimedia Commons John Lennon rehearses Give Peace A Chance by Roy Kerwood / CC-BY-2.5 Darth Vader p12 © LucasFilm

SAT 14 DEC 2013, 7.30PM The Nativity Story Transplanted to Hispanic America John Adams El Niño (Nativity Oratorio) Vladimir Jurowski conductor Artists include Kate Royal soprano Kelley O’Connor mezzo soprano Matthew Rose bass Mark Grey sound designer FULL DETAILS AT LPO.ORG.UK

The Centurion issue 3  

The LPO's newspaper accompanying its festival The Rest Is Noise in 2013

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