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Harris's 13th


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Author Topic: Harris's 13th  (Read 1291 times)
Jim
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« on: March 17, 2013, 10:08:45 pm »

I do find Leonard Bernstein's Kaddish Symphony embarassingly pretentious & with the best will in the world,devoid of any musical merit,whatsoever!.

I couldn't let that pass without comment. Yes, music with a spoken element tends to divide listeners (even the RVW Oxford Elegy - of which I am personally fond). But Kaddish cannot be compared with what I have heard of Harris 13! Those excerpts do not sound promising. In Kaddish, Bernstein develops themes symphonically and cyclically across the work (surely there is merit in that?). There are twelve note elements (used tonally) and a lush melodic ending. Then again I am also a fan of his Mass and both these works have the similar theme of faith in crisis and a search for meaning. Kaddish took longer for me to understand until I remembered Tevye in 'Fiddler on the Roof' - the personal discussions and arguments with God appear to have an element of Jewish tradition. This even surfaces in Gurrelieder when Waldemar curses God after the death of Tove - and this piece also ends with that wonderful spoken text  Wink on nature and the renewal of life.
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