Harmonielehre. Full Score. Series: Full Score. Publisher: Associated. Score. Composer: John Boosey & Hawkes Scores/Books – John Adams – Study Score. John Adams – Composer – Harmonielehre () – Music Sales Classical. Worldwide Sales, North American Sales. Score. Well, maybe, but John Adams’s Harmonielehre is, as I will now attempt to argue, one of the most significant and sophisticated commentaries on.
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John Adams – Harmonielehre () – Music Sales Classical
My own relationship to Schoenberg needs some explanation. Leon Kirchner, with whom I studied at Harvard, had himself been a student of Schoenberg in Los Angeles during the s.
Kirchner had no interest in the serial system that Schoenberg had invented, but he shared a sense of high seriousness and an intensely critical view of the legacy of the past. Through Kirchner I became highly sensitized to what Scoge and his art represented.
He was a “master” in the same sense that Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms were masters. That notion in itself appealed to me then and continues to do so. But Schoenberg also represented to me something twisted and contorted. He was the first composer to assume the role of high-priest, a creative mind whose hsrmonielehre life ran unfailingly against the grain of society, almost as if he had chosen the role of irritant.
Despite my respect for and even intimidation by the persona of Schoenberg, I felt it only honest to acknowledge that I profoundly disliked the sound of twelve-tone music. His aesthetic was to me an overripening of 19th-century Individualism, one in which the composer was a god of sorts, to which the listener would come as if to a sacramental altar. It was with Schoenberg that the “agony of modern music” had been born, and it was no secret that the audience classical music during the twentieth harmnoielehre was rapidly shrinking, in no small part because of the aural ugliness of so much of the new work being written.
It hzrmonielehre difficult to understand why the Schoenbergian model became so profoundly scoer for classical composers.
Composers like Pierre Scoe and Gyorgy Ligeti have borne both the ethic and the aesthetic into our own time, and its immanence haromnielehre present day university life and European musical harmonieleyre is still potent.
Rejecting Schoenberg was like siding with the Philistines, and freeing sclre from the model he represented was an act of enormous will power. Not surprisingly, my rejection took the form of parody…not a single parody, but several extremely different ones. In The Death of Klinghoffer the priggish, disdainful Austrian Woman describes how she spent the entire hijacking hiding under her bed by singing in a Sprechstimme to the accompaniment of a Pierrot-like ensemble in the pit.
My own Harmonielehre is parody of a different sort in that it bears a “subsidiary relation” to a model in this case a number of signal works from the turn of the century scoer Gurrelieder and the Sibelius Harmonielenre Symphonybut it does so without the intent to ridicule.
It was a conceit that could only be attempted once. The shades of Mahler, Sibelius, Debussy, and the young Schoenberg are everywhere in this strange piece. This is a work that looks at the past in what I suspect is “postmodernist” spirit, but, unlike Grand Pianola Music or Nixon in China, it does so entirely without irony.
The first part is a seventeen-minute inverted arch form: At the time I was still deeply involved in the study of C. As a critical archetype, Anfortas symbolized a condition of sickness of the soul that curses it with a feeling of impotence and depression.
In this slow, moody movement entitled “The Anfortas Scofe a long, elegiac trumpet solo floats over a delicately shifting screen of minor triads that pass like spectral shapes from one family of instruments to the other.
The final part, “Meister Eckhardt and Quackie” begins with a simple berceuse cradlesong that is as airy, serene and blissful as “The Anfortas Wound” is earthbound, shadowy and bleak.
In the dream, she rides perched on the shoulder harmoneilehre the Medieval mystic, Meister Eckhardt, as they hover among the heavenly bodies like figures painted on the high ceilings of old cathedrals. The tender berceuse gradually picks up speed and mass not unlike “The Negative Love” movement of Harmonium and culminates in a tidal wave of brass and percussion over a pedal point on Harmonielehge major.
The recording by Edo de Waart and the San Francisco Symphony was made only three days after the world premiere in March of I have since revised the ending. Despite the daunting length and rhythmic complexity of the piece, both conductor and orchestra made a totally convincing representation of it, and the recording can testify to the rare instances when a composer, a conductor, and an orchestra create an inexplicable bond among each other.
It might not be called a symphony, but Adams’s work is one of the late 20th century’s most significant and sophisticated examples of the form Adams’s title comes from Schoenberg’s great harmony textbook, an harmoielehre musical tome that gives you the keys not to a theory of composition-withtones Schoenberg’s serialism in other wordsbut to tonal harmonic harmonielrhre from Palestrina to Bruckner. In a way, it’s a book that’s proof positive of one of Schoenberg’s maxims, that there’s still a lot scoree great music to be written in C major.
Adams’s piece is an attempt to do just that well, in E minor and E flat major…yet as well as its passages that are clear love-songs to symphonic and Wagnerian late-romanticism, his Harmonielehre “Harmony Lesson,” composed in when Adams was in his late 30sis full of surreal dreams and post-minimalist rhythms, glitter, and energy.
The sleeper of the dance season may well be ‘Harmonielehre,’ Peter Martins’s new ballet set to John Adams’s music of the same title.
As the eighth premiere in City Ballet’s Diamond Project, ‘Harmonielehre’ [is] suggestive of a cosmic allegory. Adams’s [past] comments translate the title as a treatise on harmony, referring to a book by Schoenberg ‘without intent to ridicule.
Martins has played especially with the lyricism that is in dialogue with the music’s energetic pulse. The choreography has its own strange fascination, with Martins’s use of insistent motifs Another is constantly manipulated by two men, and a teenager is carried on a man’s shoulder and rarely sets her bare feet on the floor.
It was a festive occasion Adams stepped into the pit [and] conducted his own score. One of the [many] surprises is the combination of richly nuanced lighting and striking backdrops. The overall atmosphere resonates with echoes of nature’s turbulence: It is probably premature to label John Adams’ Harmonielehre a classic until the piece has been around long enough to stake a lasting claim to our attention. But Wednesday’s magnificent performance by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony was a reminder of what a towering landmark this score is.
Yes, the music is beautiful, subtle, dramatically forceful and exquisitely scored. But Harmonielehre also reaches beyond its minute span to address larger issues of musical style and history. It does so with thrilling ambition and equally thrilling success. Composed for the Symphony inwhen Adams was the orchestra’s composer-in-residence, this three-movement work — a symphony in all but name — forges a language harmonjelehre once familiar and new.
It manages nothing less than a rapprochement between the motoric repetitions and stripped-down harmonies of minimalism and the lushly textured emotionalism of the late Romantics. It’s evident in the formal shape of the untitled first movement, in which a brisk, jangly minimalist episode is interrupted midway through by a burst of long, yearningly lyrical melodies, first from the cellos and then from the first violins. It’s evident in the slow movement, “The Anfortas Wound,” with its anguished harmonies and huge climax of shrieking pain.
And it’s especially evident in the beatific energy and sense of relief in the final “Meister Eckhardt and Quackie,” which find its way back to the piece’s opening minimalist gestures with renewed vigor and optimism.
And as always with Adams, the orchestral writing is a miracle of resourceful invention. Repeatedly throughout the performance I found myself scanning the stage, desperately trying to deduce what combination of instruments had produced some piquant sonority or burst of tone color.