Anton Bruckner – Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1892)

Recorded June 4th 1979, and filmed on location in the monastery church in St. Florian, Austria with Herbert von Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

1st Movement.
2nd Movement.
3rd Movement.
4th Movement.

Karajan later in an interview related that he was given special access to Bruckner’s underground tomb located beneath the great organ, where he was alone with Bruckner’s sarcophagus for a lengthy amount of time before the performance.

Anton Bruckner ‘s Symphony No. 8 in C minor is the last Symphony the composer completed. It exists in two major versions of 1887 and 1890. It was premiered under conductor Hans Richter in 1892 in Vienna. It is dedicated to the Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. This symphony is sometimes nicknamed The Apocalyptic, but – as with the nicknames The Tragic (for the Fifth Symphony), The Philosophic (for the Sixth), and The Lyric (for the Seventh) – this was not a name Bruckner gave to the work himself. [source]

 

 

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Luis de Pablo – Chamber Concerto (1979)

Luis de Pablo (born 28 January 1930) is a Spanish composer born in Bilbao, but after losing his father in the Spanish Civil War, he went with his mother and siblings to live in Madrid from age six. Although he started to compose at the age of 12, his circumstances made it impossible to consider an artistic career, and so he studied law at the Universidad Complutense. For a short time after graduating in 1952, he was employed as legal advisor to Iberia Airlines, but soon resigned this post in order to pursue a career in music. Although he received composition lessons from Maurice Ohana and Max Deutsch, he was essentially an autodidact in composition. His participation at the Darmstadt courses in 1959 led to the performance of some of his works under Pierre Boulez and Bruno Maderna (Heine 2001). He was awarded Spain’s Premio Nacional de Música for composition in 1991. In Spain, he founded several organizations: Nueva Música, Tiempo y Música, and Alea and organized several contemporary music concert series, for example, the Forum Musical and Bienal de Música Contemporánea de Madrid. He was particularly concerned with promoting understanding in Spain of the Second Viennese School, publishing translations of Stuckenschmidt’s biography of Arnold Schoenberg in 1961, and the writings of Anton Webern in 1963 (Heine 2001). He is much in demand as a teacher, both in Spain and internationally.




LuisdePablo

Philip Glass – Geometry of Circles (1979)

“Geometry of Circles” is a series of unnumbered animation pieces created for Sesame Street in 1979. Cathryn Aison commissioned Philip Glass to write music for animation based on her storyboard which had been submitted to and approved by Edith Zornow of CTW. The shorts consist of the movement of six circles (each with a different color of the rainbow) that are formed by and split up into various geometric patterns. Glass’s music underscores the animation in a style that closely resembles the “Dance” numbers and the North Star vignettes written during the same time period as his Einstein on the Beach opera. [Source]




Alban Berg – Lulu (1937)

She seduces, she kills, she winds up a prostitute and gets murdered by Jack the Ripper. Greed-filled, lusty Lulu is the 20th century’s greatest opera.

I was 14 and in hospital with an appendicitis that had turned into peritonitis. The BBC was broadcasting a piece of opera history – the first ever performance of Alban Berg’s Lulu in its entirety. It was 24 February 1979, and I watched as much as I could. Even though I was feeling terribly ill, the opera made an unforgettable impact on me. Some youthful enthusiasms diminish over time. Lulu never has. It has grown richer and stranger over the years.

The premiere took place at the Opéra Garnier in Paris, and the BBC put it out on prime-time TV; things have certainly changed in the last 30 years. What strikes everyone, on first viewing, is the apparently tawdry quality of Lulu’s subject matter compared with the sumptuous beauty of the score. Lulu is a woman of limitless sexual allure, who takes one man after another, rising in the social scale while killing them or driving them to suicide in turn. She is arrested for the murder of one husband, Doctor Schön, and so begins her descent. By the end, she is prostituting herself in a London garret; her last client is Jack the Ripper, who murders her and her lesbian lover, Countess Geschwitz.

Thirty years on, Berg’s opera seems an indisputable candidate for the greatest opera of the 20th century. But that 1979 performance of the three-act Lulu came 44 years after Berg died, apparently from blood poisoning caused by an insect bite. After the composer’s death, the work was regarded as a decadent oddity – perverse, bizarre and, most importantly, unfinished. The long delay in the work being given a proper performance was a catastrophe for 20th-century music. [Source]



Read the German reviews of the performace at the Berliner Festtage 2012 here, here and here.

There are still tickets for the last three of five performances in Berlin here.