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United States Music


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Author Topic: United States Music  (Read 25946 times)
jowcol
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« on: August 20, 2012, 02:01:04 pm »

Lukas Foss: Exeunt


Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Zdenek Macal, Conductor
Radio Broadcast, Date Unknown

DISSONANCE ALERT


From the collection of Karl Miller


Wikipedia Bio
Lukas Foss (August 15, 1922 – February 1, 2009) was a German-born American composer, conductor, and pianist.

Music career
Foss was born Lukas Fuchs in Berlin, Germany in 1922. His father was the philosopher and scholar Martin Fuchs. He and his family moved to Paris in 1933, where he studied piano with Lazare Lévy, composition with Noël Gallon, orchestration with Felix Wolfes, and flute with Louis Moyse. In 1937 he moved with his parents and brother to the United States, where his father (on advice from the Quakers who had taken the family in upon arrival in Philadelphia) changed the family name from Fuchs to Foss. He studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, with Isabelle Vengerova (piano), Rosario Scalero (composition) and Fritz Reiner (conducting).

At Curtis, Foss began a lifelong friendship with classmate Leonard Bernstein, who later described Foss as an "authentic genius". In 1961 Bernstein would conduct the premiere of Foss's Time Cycle, while Foss would conduct the premiere of Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.[1]

Foss also studied with Sergei Koussevitzky during the summers from 1939 to 1943 at the Berkshire Music Center (now known as the Tanglewood Music Center) and, as a special student, composition with Paul Hindemith at Yale University from 1939 to 1940.[2] He became an American citizen in 1942.[3]

Foss was appointed professor of music at UCLA in 1953, replacing Arnold Schoenberg. While there he founded the Improvisation Chamber Ensemble, which made its Boston debut in 1962 for the Peabody Mason Concert series.[4] He founded the Center for Creative and Performing Arts in 1963 while at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

From 1963 to 1970 he was Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1971-1988 he was Music Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic (formerly Brooklyn Philharmonia). From 1981 to 1986, he was conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.[2] He was a Professor of Music, Theory, and Composition at Boston University beginning in 1991. His notable students include Faye-Ellen Silverman, Claire Polin and Rocco Di Pietro.[3]

He is grouped in the "Boston school" along with Arthur Berger, Irving Fine, Alexei Haieff, Harold Shapero, and Claudio Spies.[3]

He was a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity.[5][not in citation given]

Lukas Foss died at his home in Manhattan on February 1, 2009, aged 86, from a heart attack.[3]


Interesting perspective from eMusic:

The Adequate Genius of Lukas Foss
 
The composer Lukas Foss, who turns 85 in August, has been working long enough to experience all the stages of appreciation: dazzlement at his youthful gifts, inflated hopes for his future, quiet disappointment in his maturity, distinguished oblivion and belated reassessment. Foss's meager discography and his invisibility in most standard accounts of 20th century music belie a thick and high-quality catalogue of works, and a career spent at the heart of American musical life.

Foss committed the unforgivable sin for an American creative artist: He was really quite good. In this country we treasure Bernstein-scaled talents (which Foss doesn't have) and relish failings spectacular enough to hold out the exciting prospect of redemption (which Foss never experienced). But we reserve a special, unjust contempt for the consummate professional, the non-genius who influences nobody but keeps loyally producing fine, quiet novels or satisfying symphonies. We don't easily forgive adequacy.

He was born Lukas Fuchs in 1922, into a Berlin Jewish family that had the double foresight to leave Germany for Paris as soon as Hitler came to power, and then to get to the United States in 1937. The teenager was by then a prodigious pianist, a practiced composer and a budding conductor, and he absorbed the English language and American culture as quickly as he did music (though he still has a brushstroke of an accent). At 22, he had his first major compositional triumph with “The Prairie,” a cantata on poetry by Carl Sandburg that honored Aaron Copland, the American heartland and the wartime self-image of the nation that Foss adopted with gusto.

Already, he was sorting through his kitbag of identities. In 1945, with his native city nearly razed, his people nearly extinguished from Europe, and his new country vigorous and proud, Foss wrote a big, noisy downer of a piece: “Song of Anguish,” a 20-minute orchestral song with text from Isaiah. “Woe unto them that call evil good and good, evil; that put darkness for light and light for darkness,” proclaims the baritone after a fire-and-brimstone orchestral prelude. He must have seemed awfully callow to be the bearer of such forceful gloom.

“Song of Anguish” is a displaced person's response to the grotesque moral inversions of World War II, and it staked a claim for American symphonic music as the expression of an ethical conscience. In the immediate aftermath of the war, few composers of any school, young or elderly, were writing with the expertise and urgency of the young Lukas Foss. Few could bring such overweening clarity and liveliness to bear on such serious, aspirational music. If the cantata has not had much of an afterlife in the concert halls, it's partly because of its utter lack of irony.

People always had trouble deciding how seriously to take Foss, or what file drawer to locate him in — an elusiveness he has been rightly proud of. Was he the Americanist of “The Prairie,” the Biblical tragedian of “Songs of Anguish,” the experimental modernist of the '60s, whose “Time Cycle” and “Echoi” still hold up as triumphs of the moderate avant-garde? Or was he the light-fingered neoclassicist who seemed still to be working out the answers to puzzles proposed by Bach? Is his “Central Park Reel” a genuine tribute to backcountry folk music, or just a form of urbane condescension?

There can be no doubt about the sincerity or effectiveness of his 1989 piano concerto “Elegy for Anne Frank.” A naive melody hesitantly forms itself against a background of melancholy strings, as if a child were sitting at the piano, plunking out the elements of her identity. But a tune, Foss shows, can mutate, acquire character and a destiny, and Anne Frank's morphs into a grim, oppressive march. Foss'musical narrative is so clear, it's hardly even necessary to know that Frank spent her truncated adolescence during World War II hiding in an Amsterdam attic and musing into her diary, before the Nazis deported her to Auschwitz and murdered her there. The piece ends with the tinkle of a toy-like piano petering out into silence.









« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 07:12:56 am by the Administration » Report Spam   Logged

All download links I have posted are for works, that, to  my knowledge, have never been commercially released in digital form.  Should you find I've been in error, please notify myself or an Administrator.  Please IM me if I've made any errors that require attention, as I may not read replies.

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