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 Asunto: Re: La otra ópera
NotaPublicado: 14 Abr 2017 22:24 
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Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) He was born in the village of Kurilovka (Kurilivka), Litin uyezd in the Podolia Governorate, the Russian Empire (the village today is part of the Khmilnyk raion of Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukraine) to Jan Paderewski, a land agent of modest means but noble extraction, and Poliksena Nowicka, who died shortly after he was born. His earliest years were spent with his father and sister in a small manor house near Zhitomir in Podolia, but following the arrest of his father (suspected of participation in the 1863 uprising) he moved to the home of an aunt and from there to Sudyłkow near Szepetowska (now Shepetovka), where his father, now released and remarried, had secured employment. At an early age he took lessons with Piotr Sowiński, but in most essentials he was self-taught, and he quickly gained a reputation as a gifted pianist and outstanding improviser. In the summer of 1872, in his 12th year, he was taken to Warsaw where he was admitted to the Music Institute (Conservatory). He graduated in 1878. For some years Paderewski earned a meagre income in Warsaw from teaching and composing. They were difficult years. He married in 1880, but his wife died in childbirth and their son Alfred was born disabled. Moreover his career showed little sign of taking off, until, in Berlin, he made the acquaintance of Richard Strauss and Anton Rubinstein among others. Rubinstein gave him badly needed encouragement to pursue a career as a pianist and composer, and by the mid-1880s Paderewski was beginning to net a tolerable income from the sale of published salon pieces of admittedly mediocre quality.

The breakthrough in Paderewski's early development was a visit to Vienna, where he took lessons from Leschetizky. This proved the passport to a teaching post at the Strasbourg Conservatoire (1885–1886), and from there to Paris in 1888. He was an immediate success in Paris, and concert tours throughout Europe and America quickly followed. From this point Paderewski rapidly became something of a cult figure, but he drove himself without respite, and the cost to his health was considerable, especially as he suffered badly from nerves and endured a gruelling regime of daily practice when preparing a concert. His appeal to audiences was undoubtedly partly due to his striking appearance and hypnotic stage presence, but it is clear from the testimony of musicians and critics that he was an outstandingly imaginative performer, albeit one whose freedom with text and tempo was extreme even by the standards of his own time. ‘It is not a question of what is written’, he once remarked, ‘it is a question of musical effect’. Without doubt surviving discs and piano rolls do him less than justice. He came to recording in his fifties, and was never comfortable with its culture nor indeed with the very concept of producing a ‘document for all time’.

In 1899 Paderewski married for the second time. Helena Gorska had taken him under her wing during his early years in Warsaw, and she later brought up his son Alfred as part of her own family. Following her divorce from the violinist Władysław Gorski, the couple married and settled in the Villa Riond-Bosson at Morges near Lausanne (Alfred died shortly after their marriage). By this time Paderewski was a wealthy man. He had bought an estate in Poland, and he lived extravagantly and entertained lavishly at Riond-Bosson. Increasingly he behaved like, and was perceived as, a high-profile public figure, surrounded by a ‘court’ of servants and admirers. However, his expensive life style and philanthropy – especially towards Polish causes – made huge inroads to his funds, and to compensate he was obliged to undertake punishing schedules of concerts, at the expense of both his health and his creative work. His opera Manru had been a considerable success when it was performed all over Europe and America in 1901–1902, but the round of concerts prevented him from consolidating this. A break from performing in 1907–1908, due to nervous exhaustion, enabled him to complete his Symphony, but he returned to the platform again in 1909, only to suffer yet another crisis of confidence, saying ‘I no longer wanted to play … It was a kind of torture’.

It was from this point that Paderewski began to play a more prominent part in the political life of Poland, involving himself increasingly in the public discontents of a nation without political status. During the war years he was active in fund-raising and lobbying in the Allied countries, and especially in America. There his charismatic oratory proved an effective political tool, and it eventually secured him an audience with Woodrow Wilson, who was to become a powerful ally to the Polish cause in return for Polish-American electoral support. When the United States entered the war in 1917, Polish independence was one of its stated aims. In the end Poland achieved its independence almost inadvertently, as the three partitioning powers disintegrated. At this point Paderewski was perceived by the Allies as an invaluable mediator between the National Committee (effectively a ‘government in exile’, and trusted by the Allies) and the new Polish head of state, Józef Piłsudski, about whom little was known. The postwar politics were labyrinthine, but in the end Piłsudski appointed Paderewski as Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, in which capacity he represented Poland at the Peace Conference in Paris.

His career as a statesman was relatively short-lived. The Peace Treaty was far from favourable to Poland, and the task of reconstruction proved arduous – fraught with political hazards which were beyond the grasp and sympathy of an idealist such as Paderewski. He resigned in December 1919, only to return the following summer when the Red Army advanced on Warsaw, this time as Polish delegate to the Conference of Ambassadors, effectively the continuation of the Peace Conference. Again Paderewski found himself disillusioned with the treatment meted out to Poland by the Allies, and in December 1920 he resigned from this post too, retreating to Riond-Bosson, where he could successfully play the role to which he was most suited, that of a respected elder statesman. He continued to involve himself with politics in his later years, especially following the death of Piłsudski in 1935, but the inter-war period was devoted mainly to concerts (he resumed his performing career in 1922, but gave up composing altogether). His regime of practice was every bit as demanding as before, and he continued to tour, and to record, right up to the outbreak of World War II, news of which reached him while he was in America. He died in New York on 29 June 1941. Helena had predeceased him by seven years.

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Manru, drama lírico en tres actos (1901). Fragmento.

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 Asunto: Re: La otra ópera
NotaPublicado: 26 May 2017 21:21 
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Benedetto Giacomo Marcello (1686-1739) He was born in Venice. The son of a nobleman, he followed the career path of all Venetian nobles of his time: he was admitted to the Maggior Consiglio of the Republic on 4 December 1706 and, after completing studies in literature and law, served in various magistracies over the next two decades. The last decade of his life is riddled with mysteries: he married the commoner Rosanna Scalfi, his singing pupil, in May 1728; had a religious experience in August of the same year; was exiled to the Istrian city of Pula (then part of the Venetian Republic) for three years (1730–1733) as provincial governor; was absent from civic records for the next five years; and received his final appointment in Brescia as chief financial officer.

It is not easy to segment the musical continuum of Marcello’s life, since he held no regular appointments of a musical nature and the majority of his musical works are undated. This demonstrates how severely separated in social experience dilettante composers were from the common ranks of musical maestri. Nonetheless, Marcello’s cultivated intellect exerted, particularly through his psalm settings and cantatas, a major influence on Italian musical thought and performance throughout the 18th century and, to various degrees, on the musical practices of many other European countries until the end of the 19th century. After a perfunctory involvement with instrumental music, his main interests as a composer, particularly between 1710 and 1720, were the cantata and the chamber duet. Thereafter, his attention turned to works on a larger scale: the 50 Psalms of David, the serenata and the oratorio. The claim that Marcello forwent composition after 1728 cannot be entirely true since two of his oratorios neatly circumscribed his years in Pula.

Marcello’s intent in his Salmi, which were published with etchings by Sebastiano Ricci, was to restore dignity to devotional music by reviving musical practices of antiquity. They are set in texturally differentiated sections and are for the most part through-composed. Numerous testimonials (by Gasparini, Antonio and Giovanni Bononcini, Sarri, Mattheson and Telemann) were included in each of the eight volumes. Caldara, who found the music ‘eccentric’, was one of Marcello’s few detractors. Later Italians, in particular Padre Martini and Giovenale Sacchi, revered Marcello’s Salmi as models of contrapuntal writing. Still more accomplished examples are the six-voice canon In omnem terram, published with the psalms, and the four-voice Missa Clementina, which Marcello composed for his admission to the Accademia Filarmonica, Bologna, in 1711. Being impressed with the fact that women were not permitted to sing in the ancient temple, Marcello favoured low, mainly male, voices in his psalms. Some 16 of the works incorporate sections based on quotations from Greek and Hebrew psalmody; the original sources are interpolated at the appropriate points. Like his secular vocal music of the 1720s, which is inspired by Roman and Greek epics, the melodic content varies from an ambitus which is very restricted to one which is almost impossibly broad, expressing emotional peaks and depths.

In the 1710s, when Marcello was coaching the young Faustina Bordoni and writing music for Roman nobles, such as the Borghese family, he led, in parallel with Apostolo Zeno’s attempted reform of the opera libretto, a movement to reform singing style. Here his goal was to remove ‘tasteless’ ornamentation and to focus more on actual sound. In this phase of his life, his vocal music was much more lyrical and formally structured. Several of his chamber duets were composed for Laura and Virginia Predieri. The vast majority of his lyrical cantatas seem to have been written for performances at weekly academies (social gatherings of the nobility that featured poetry, music, oratory and debate). The texts, many of which were written by the composer, were usually pastoral. Mattheson praised the rhetorical detail of Marcello’s approach to the setting of (lyrical) aria texts. More original are Marcello’s intensely dramatic cantatas on tragic and heroic subjects from antiquity, which feature such figures as Andromeda, Arianna, Cleopatra, Dido, Medea and Timothy (probably mediated through the dramas of Corneille and Racine). Some of these works lack arias: others use abberations of musical notation to express a heroine’s (or hero’s) mental frenzy or anguish. Although the subject matter is again usually from antiquity, Marcello’s serenatas are somewhat more conventional and use obbligato instruments and instrumental figuration to reinforce images and to convey elements of the drama.

The lighter side of Marcello’s nature was expressed in his several satires. Of prime importance among these is the treatise Il teatro alla moda, first published anonymously in 1720, which is concerned especially with the decline of careful composition and well-rehearsed performance, as well as the invasion of Bolognese singers, at the Teatro S Angelo, Venice. It was especially popular in Italy in the 18th century, in France in the 19th, and in Germany in the early 20th, and it appears never to have been out of print from the time of its writing to the present. Comic musical works include the letter cantata Carissima figlia (1718), in which the singing styles of such opera figures as Vittoria Tesi, Faustina Bordoni and Gaetano Berenstadt are imitated; the castrato madrigals, in which it is debated whether the divinity of the singing of (adult) male sopranos and altos can save them from eternal damnation (1715); and the comic intermezzos Spago e Filetta (?1719). Although Marcello’s two late oratorios are not satirical works, a playful mood prevails.

Marcello’s legacy was greatest for those who lived between 1750 and 1875, when recognition of his Salmi led to their translation into many other languages (French, German, Swedish, English, Russian) and their performance, as liturgically generic sacred works, in a host of different liturgical contexts. It was during this period that a great number of the manuscripts in which Marcello’s secular works are now preserved seem to have been copied. In the 19th century the Salmi were sometimes divided into short ‘motets’ or ‘songs’, or stripped of their texts and offered as instrumental works, or retexted and offered as ‘new’ works. Such varieties of psalm progeny seem to number well beyond 10,000 (arrangers included Paer, Mayr, Rossini and Bizet; Verdi was a great enthusiast). Another work of the same period, the oratorio Joaz, is reckoned to have anticipated the reforms of Gluck many years later. Marcello’s call to restore the classical virtue of ‘noble simplicity’ in music, found in the preface to his Salmi, anticipates the analogous invitation of the German archaeologist Winkelmann (who spoke of sculpture) by 30 years. Although little noted today, Marcello’s role in formulating the values of classicism and promoting their musical implementation was his most significant contribution to cultural history. His influence was enormously, if subtly, pervasive.

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Arianna, intreccio scenico musicale (c1727). Aria, È più tenace di vischio.

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 Asunto: Re: La otra ópera
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Erik William Chisholm (1904-1965) He was born in Glasgow. Erik Chisholm was the son of John Chisholm, master house painter, and his wife, Elizabeth McGeachy Macleod. He left Queen's Park School at the early age of 13 due to ill-health but showed a talent for music composition and some of his pieces were published during his childhood. He had piano lessons with Philip Halstead at the Athenaeum School of Music, now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and later studied the organ under Herbert Walton, the organist at Glasgow Cathedral. By the time he was 12 he was giving organ recitals including an important one in Kingston upon Hull. The pianist Leff Pouishnoff then became his principal teacher and mentor. In 1927 he travelled to Nova Scotia, Canada, where he was appointed the organist and choirmaster at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, New Glasgow, and director of music at Pictou Academy. A year later he returned to Scotland and became the organist at Barony Church; however, as he had no School Leaving Certificate, he could not study at a university. Due to the influence of his future wife, Diana Brodie, he approached several influential music friends for letters of support for an exemption to enter university. In 1928, he was accepted to study music at the University of Edinburgh, under his friend and mentor, the renowned musicologist Sir Donald Tovey. Chisholm graduated with a Bachelor of Music in 1931 and a Doctor of Music in 1934. While at university, he had formed the Scottish Ballet Society in 1928 and the Active Society for the Propagation of Contemporary Music in 1929 with fellow composers Francis George Scott and Pat Shannon. In 1930 to 1934 he also worked as a music critic for the Glasgow Weekly Herald and the Scottish Daily Express.

After his education, Chisholm's work was described as "daring and original", according to Sir Hugh Roberton, while also displaying a strong Scottish character in works such as his Piano Concerto No. 1, subtitled Pibroch (1930), the Straloch Suite for Orchestra (1933) and the Sonata An Riobhan Dearg (1939). In 1933 he was the soloist at the première of his Pibroch Concerto in Amsterdam. He also played the Scottish premieres of Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3. From 1930 he was the musical director of the Glasgow Grand Opera Society which performed in the city's Theatre Royal, conducting the British premières of Mozart's Idomeneo in 1934 and Berlioz's Les Troyens and Béatrice et Bénédict in 1935 and 1936, respectively. He was also the founding conductor of both the Barony Opera Society, the Scottish Ballet Society, the Professional Organists' Association, and in 1938 he was appointed music director of the Celtic Ballet. As director he composed four works in collaboration with Margaret Morris, the most famous being The Forsaken Mermaid; the first full-length Scottish ballet. Chisholm had many friends in the music world, including composers like Bartók, Hindemith, Delius, Bax, Medtner, Szymanowski, Ireland and Bush, and invited many of them to Scotland to perform their works. At the outbreak of World War II, Chisholm, a conscientious objector, was declared unfit for military service on the basis of poor eyesight and a crooked arm. During the war he conducted performances with the Carl Rosa Opera Company in 1940, and later joined the Entertainments National Service Association as a colonel touring Italy with the Anglo-Polish Ballet in 1943 and served as musical director to the South East Asia Command between 1943 and 1945. He first formed a multi-racial orchestra in India, however after arguments with his superior, Col. Jack Hawkins, he was removed to Singapore. Here in 1945 he founded the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Many of the musicians were ex-prisoners of War, and from them Chisholm recruited Szymon Goldberg as leader. Goldberg had successfully hidden his Stradivarius violin up a chimney in the prison camp for three and a half years. Chisholm created a truly cosmopolitan orchestra of fifteen nationalities from East and West, which gave 50 concerts in Malaya within six months. After returning to Scotland, Chisholm married his second wife, Lillias, the daughter of Scottish composer Francis George Scott. In 1946 he was appointed professor of music at the University of Cape Town and director of the South African College of Music.

That year, Chisholm revived the South African College of Music where he eventually would teach composer Stefans Grové and singer Désirée Talbot. Using Edinburgh University as his model, Chisholm appointed new staff, extended the number of courses, and introduced new degrees and diplomas. In order to encourage budding South African musicians he founded the South African National Music Press in 1948. With the assistance of the Italian baritone Gregorio Fiasconaro, Chisholm also established the college's opera company in 1951 and opera school in 1954. In addition, Chisholm founded the South African section of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) in 1948, assisted in the founding of the Maynardville Open-Air Theatre on 1 December 1950, and pursued an international conducting career. The South African College of Music's opera company became a national success and toured Zambia and the United Kingdom. In the winter of 1956, Chisholm's ambitious festival of South African Music and Musicians achieved popular success in London with a programme of Wigmore Hall concerts and the London première at the Rudolf Steiner Theatre of Bartók's opera Bluebeard's Castle. The company also performed Menotti's The Consul as well as Chisholm's own opera The Inland Woman, based on a drama by Irish author Mary Lavin. In 1952 Szymon Goldberg premièred his violin concerto at the Van Riebeeck Music Festival in Cape Town. His opera trilogy Murder in Three Keys enjoyed a six-week season in New York City in 1954, and two years later he was invited to Moscow to conduct the Moscow State Orchestra in his second piano concerto The Hindustani. In 1961, his company premièred South African composer John Joubert's first opera, Silas Marner. Chisholm did not support the South African policy of apartheid and had socialist leanings. Chisholm convinced Ronald Stevenson, a fellow Scot, to perform at the University of Cape Town. During a performance of Stevenson's Passacaglia, the programme made references to Lenin's slogan of peace, bread and land and also in salute of the "emergent Africa". The following day, South African police searched Chisholm's study in a failed attempt to link him with working for the USSR.

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Simoon, ópera en un acto (1953). Fragmento.

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