Sunday, June 30, 2019

ET: Almanac

In the November of 1805 Prince Vassily was obliged to go on a tour of inspection through four provinces. He had secured this appointment for himself, in order to be able and at the same time to visit his estates, which were in a neglected state. He intended to pick up his son, Anatole, on the way (where his regiment was stationed), and to pay a visit to Prince Nikolay Andreivitch Bolkonsky, with a view to marrying his son to the rich old man's daughter. But before going away and entering on those new affairs, Prince Vassily wanted to settle matters with Pierre, who had, it was true, of late spent whole days at home, that is, at Prince Vassily's, where he was staying, and was as absurd, as agitated, and as stupid in Ellen's presence, as a young man in love should be, but still made no offer.

'This is all very fine, but the thing must come to a conclusion,' Prince Vassily said to himself one morning, with a melancholy sigh, recognizing that Pierre, who was so greatly indebted to him (But there! God bless the fellow!) was not behaving quite nicely to him in the matter. 'Youth . . . frivolity . . . well, God be with him,' thought Prince Vassily, enjoying the sense of his own goodness of heart, 'but the thing must come to a conclusion. The day after to-morrow is Ellen's name-day., I'll invite some people, and if he doesn't understand what he's to do, then it will be my affair to see to it. Yes, my affair. I'm her father.'

Six weeks after Anna Pavlovna's party, and the sleepless and agitated night after it, in which Pierre had made up his mind that a marriage with Ellen would be a calamity, and that he must avoid her and go away; six weeks after that decision Pierre had still not left Prince Vasily's and felt with horror that every day he ws more and more connected with her in people's minds, that he could not go back to his former view of her, that he could not tear himself away from her even, that it would be an awful thing, but that he would have to unite his life to hers. Perhaps he might have mastered himself, but not a day passed without a party at Prince Vassily's(where receptions had not been frequent), and Pierre was bound to be present if he did not want to disturb the general satisfaction and disappoint every one. At the rare moments when Prince Vassily was at home, he took Pierre's handoff he passed him, carelessly offered him his shaven, wrinkled cheek for a kiss, and said, 'till to-morrow,' or 'be in to dinner, or I shan't see you,' or 'I shall stay at home on your account,' or some such remark. But although, when Prince Vassily did stay at home for Pierre (as he said), he never spoke two words to him, Pierre did not feel equal to disappointing him. Every day he said the same thing over and over to himself. 'I must, really understand her and make up my mind, what she is. Was I mistaken before, or am I mistaken now? No, she's not stupid; no, she's a good girl,' he said to himself sometimes. 'She never makes a mistake, nor has said anything clear. So she's not stupid. She has never been abashed, and she is not abashed now. So she isn't a bad woman.' It often happened that he began to make reflections, to think aloud in her company, and every ime she had relied either by a brief, but appropriate remark, that showed she was not interested in the matter, or by a mute smile and glance, which more palpably than anything proved to Pierre her superiority. She was right in regarding all reflections as nonsense in comparison with that smile.

She always addressed him now with a glad, confiding smile--a smile having reference to him alone, and full of something more significant than the society smile that always adorned her face. Pierre knew that every one was only waiting for him to say one word, to cross a certain line, and he knew that sooner or later he would cross it. But a kind of uncomprehended horror seized upon him at the mere thought of his fearful step. A thousand times in the course of those six weeks, during which he felt himself being drawn on further and further toward the abyss that horrified him, Pierre had said to himself: 'But what does it mean? I must act with decision! Can it be that I haven't any?' He tried to come to a decision, but felt with dismay that he had not in this case the strength of will which he had known in himself and really did possess. Pierre belonged to that class of persons who are only strong when they feel themselves perfectly pure. And ever since the day when he had been overcome by the sensation of desire, that he had felt stooping over the snuff-box at Anna Pavlovna's, an unconscious sense of the sinfulness of that impulse paralyzed his will.

On Ellen's name-day, Prince Vassily answered laughing. '"Sergey Kuzmitch . . . from all sides." "From all sides . . . Sergey Kuzmitch. . . ." Poor Vyazmitinov could not get any further. Several times he started upon the letter again, but no sooner did he utter "Sergey,' . . . then a sniff . . . "Kuz . . . mi . . . itch"--tears . . . and "from all sides" is smothered in sobs, and he can get no further. And again the handkerchief and again "Sergey Kuzmitch from all sides" and tears, . . . so that we begged some one else to read it. . . .'

'"Kuzmitch . . . from all sides" . . . and tears. . . .' some one repeated, laughing.

'Don't be naughty,' said Anna Pavlovna, from the other end of the table, shaking her finger at him. 'He is such a worthy, excellent man, our good Vyazmitinov.'

Every one laughed heartily. At the upper end of the table, the place of honor, every one seemed in good spirits, under the influence of various enlivening tendencies. Only Pierre and Ellen sat mutely side by side almost at the bottom of the table. The faces of both wore a restrained but beaming smile that had n connection with Sergey Kuzmitch--the smile of bashfulness at their own feelings. Gaily as the others laughed and talked and jested, appetizing as were the Rhine wine, the sauté, and the ices they were discussing, carefully as they avoided glancing at the young couple, heedless and unobservant as they seemed of them, yet it was somehow perceptible from the glances stolen at times at them, that the anecdote about Sergey Kuzmitch, and the laughter and the dishes, really concentrated simply on that pair--Pierre and Ellen. Prince Vassily mimicked the sniffs of Sergey Kuzmitch, and at the same time avoided glancing at his daughter, and at the very time that he was laughing, his expression seemed to say: 'Yes, yes, it's all going well, it will all be settled to-day.' Anna Pavlovna shook her finger at him for laughing at'our good Vyazmitinov,' but in her eyes, which at that second flashed a future son-in-law and his daughter's felicity. Old Princess Kuragin, offering wine to the lady next her with a pensive sigh, looking angrily at her daughter, seemed in that sigh to be saying: 'Yes, there's nothing left for you and me now, my dear, but to drink sweet wine, now that the time has come for young people to be so indecently, provokingly happy!' 'And what stupid stuff it all is that I'm talking about, as though it interested me,' thought the diplomat, glancing at the happy faces of the lovers. 'That's happiness!'

Into the midst of the petty trivialities, the conventional interests, which made the common tie uniting that company, had fallen the simple feeling of the attraction of two beautiful and healthy young creatures to one another. And this human feeling dominated everything and triumphed over all their conventional chatter. The jests fell flat, the news was not interesting, the liveliness was unmistakably forced. Not the guests only, but the footmen waiting at table seemed to feel the same and forget their duties, glancing at the lovely Ellen with her radiant face and the broad, red, happy and uneasy face of Pierre. The very light of the candles seemed concentrated on those two happy faces.

Pierre felt that he was the centre of it all, and this position both pleased him and embarrassed him. He was like a man absorbed in some engrossing occupation. He had no clear sight, nor hearing; no understanding of anything. Only from time to time disconnected ideas and impressions of the reality flashed unexpectedly into his mind.

'So it is all over!' he thought. And how has it all been done? So quickly! Now I know that not for her sake, nor for my sake alone, but for every one it must inevitably come to pass. They all expect it so, they are all so convinced that it will be, that I cannot, I cannot, disappoint them. But how will it be? I don't know, but it will be infallibly, it will be!' mused Pierre, glancing at the dazzling shoulders that were so close to his eyes.

Then he suddenly felt a vague shame. He felt awkward at being the sole object of the general attention, at being a happy man in the eyes of others, with his ugly face being a sort of Paris in possession of a Helen. 'But, no doubt, it's always like this, and must be so,' he consoled himself. 'And yet what have I done to bring it about? When did it begin? Afterwards what reason as there for not staying with him? Then I played cards with her and picked up her reticule, and went skating with her. When did it begin, when did it all come about?' And here he was sitting beside her as her betrothed, hearing, seeing, feeling her closeness, her breathing, her movements, her beauty. Then it suddenly seemed to him that it was not she, but he who was himself extraordinary beautiful, that that was why they were looking at him so, and he, happy in the general admiration, was drawing himself up, lifting his head and rejoicing in his happiness. All at once he heard a voice, a familiar voice, addressing him for the second time.

But Pierre was so absorbed that he did not understand what was said to him.

'I'm asking you, when you heard from Bolkonsky,' Prince Vasily repeated a third time. 'How absent-minded you are, my dear boy.' Prince Vassily smiled, and Pierre saw that every one, every one was smiling at him and at Ellen

'Well, what of it, since you all know,' Pierre was saying to himself. 'What of it? it's the truth,' and he smiled to himself his gentle, childlike smile, and Ellen smiled.

'When did you get a letter? From Olmütz?' repeated Prince Vassily, who wanted to know in order to settle some disputed question.

'How can people talk and think of such trifles?' thought Pierre.

'Yes, from Olmütz,' he answered with a sigh.

Pierre took his lady in behind the rest from supper to the drawing-room. The guests began to take leave, and several went away without saying good-bye to Ellen. As though unwilling to take her away from a serious occupation, several went up to her for an instant and made haste to retire again, refusing to let her accompany them out. The diplomat went out of the drawing-room in dumb dejection. He felt vividly all the vanity of his diplomatic career in comparison with Pierre's happiness. The old general growled angrily at his wife when she inquired how his leg was. 'The old fool,' he thought, 'Look at Elena Vassilyevna; she'll be beautiful at fifty.'

'I believe I may congratulate you,' Anna Pavlovna whispered to Princess Kuragin, as she kissed her warmly. 'If I hadn't a headache, I would stay on.' The princess made no answer; she was tormented by envy of her daughter's happiness.

While the guests were taking leave, Pierre was left a long while alone with Ellen in the little drawing room, where they were sitting. Often before, during the last six weeks he had been eft alone with Ellen, but he had never spoke of love to her. Now he felt that this was inevitable, but he could not make up his mind to this final step. He felt ashamed; it seemed to him that here at Ellen's side he was filling some other man's place. 'This happiness is not for you, ' some inner voice said to him. 'This happiness is for those who have not in them what you have within you.' But he had to say something, and he began to speak He asked her whether she had enjoyed the evening. With her habitual directness in replying, she answered that this name-day had been one of the pleasantest she had ever had.

A few of the nearest relations were still lingering on. They were sitting in the big drawing-room. Prince Vassily walked with languid steps towards Pierre. Pierre rose and observed that it was getting late. Prince Vassily leveled a look of stern inquiry upon him, as though what he had said was so strange that one could not believe one's ears. But the expression of severity immediately passed away, and Prince Vassily taking Pierre's hand drew him down into a seat and smiled affectionately.

'Well, Ellen?' he said at once, addressing his daughter in that careless tone of habitual tenderness which comes natural to parents who have petted their children from infancy, but in Prince Vassily's case it was only arrived at by imitation of other parents. And he turned to Pierre again: '"Sergey Kuzmitch on all sides,"' he repeated, unbuttoning the top button of his waistcoat.

Pierre smiled, but his smile betrayed that he understood that it was not the anecdote of Sergey Kuzmitch that interested Prince Vassily at that moment, and Prince Vassily knew that Pierre knew it. Prince Vassily all at once muttered something and went away. It seemed to Pierre that Prince Vassily was positively disconcerted. The sight of the discomfiture of this elderly man of the world touched Pierre; he looked round at Ellen--and she, he fancied, was disconcerted too, and her glance seemed to say: 'Well, it's your own fault.'

'I must inevitably cross the barrier, but I can't, I can't,' thought Pierre, and he began again speaking of extraneous subjects, of Sergey Kuzmitch, inquiring what was the point of the anecdote, and he had not caught it all. Ellen, with a smile, replied that she did not know it either.

When Prince Vassily went into the drawing-room, the princess was talking in subdued tones with an elderly lady about Pierre.

'Of course it is a very brilliant match, but happiness, my dear . . ."

'Marriages are made in heaven,' responded the elderly lady.

Prince Vassily walked to the furthest corner and sat down on a sofa as though he had not heard the ladies. He closed his eyes and seemed to doze. His head began to droop, and he roused himself.

'Aine,' he said to his wife, 'go and see what they are doing.'

The princess went up to the door, walked by it with a countenance full of meaning and affected nonchalance, and glanced into the little drawing-room. Pierre and Ellen were sitting and talking as before.

'Just the same,' she said in answer to her husband. Prince Vassily frowned, twisting his mouth on one side, his cheeks twitched with the unpleasant, brutal expression peculiar to him at such moments. He shook himself, got up, flung his head back, and with results steps passed the ladies and crossed over to the little drawing room. He walked quickly, joyfully up to Pierre. The prince's face was so extraordinarily solemn that Pierre got up in alarm on seeing him.

"Thank God!' he said, 'My wife told me all about it.' He put one arm round Pierre, the other round his daughter. 'My dear boy! Ellen! I am very, very glad.' His voice quavered. 'I loved your father . . . and she will make you a good wife . . . God's blessing on you! . . .' He embraced his daughter, then Pierre again, and kissed him with his elderly lips. Tears were actually moist on his cheeks. 'Aline, come here,' he called.

The princess went in and wept too. The elderly lady also put her handkerchief to her eye. They kissed Pierre, and he several times kissed the hand of the lovely Ellen. A little later they were again left alone.

'All this had to be so and could not have been otherwise,' thought Pierre, 'so that it's no use to inquire whether it was a good thing or not. It's a good thing because it's definite, and there's none o the agonizing suspense there was before.' Pierre held his betrothed's hand in silence, and gazed at the heaving and falling of her lovely bosom.

'Ellen!' he said aloud, and stopped. 'There's something special is said on these occasions,' he thought; but he could not recollect precisely what it was that was said on these occasions. He glanced into her face. She bent forward closer to him. Her face flushed rosy red.

'Ah, take off those . . . those . . .' she points to his spectacles.

Pierre took off his spectacles, and there was in his eyes besisdes the strange look people's eyes always have when they remove spectacles, a look of dismay and inquiry. He would have bent over her hand and have kissed it. But with an almost brutal movement of her head, she caught at his lips and pressed them to her own. Pierre was struck by the transformed, the unpleasantly confused expression of her face.

'Now it's too late, it's all over, and besides I love her,' thought Pierre.

'I love you!' he said, remembering what had to be said on these occasions. But the words sounded so poor that he felt ashamed of himself.

Six weeks later he was married, and the lucky possessor of a lovely wife and millions of money, as people said; he took up his abode in the great, newly decorated Petersburg mansion of the Counts Bezuhov.

Leo Tolstoy - War and Peace

Saturday, June 29, 2019

ET: Almanac

Prince Andrey mounted his horse but lingered at the battery, looking at the smoke of the cannon from which the ball had frown. His eyes moved rapidly over the white plain. He only saw that the previously immobile masses of the French were heaving to and fro, and that it really was a battery on the left. The smoke still clung about it. Two Frenchmen on horseback, doubtless adjutants, were galloping on the hill. A small column of the enemy, distinctly visible, were moving downhill, probably to strengthen the line. The smoke of the first shot had not cleared away, when there was a fresh puff of smoke and another shot. The battle was beginning. Prince Andrey turned his horse and galloped back to Grunte to look for Prince Bagration. Behind him he heard the cannonade becoming louder and more frequent. Our men were evidently beginning to reply. Musket shots could be heard below at the spot where the lines were closest. Lemarrois had only just galloped to Murat with Napoleon's menacing letter, and Murat, abashed and anxious to efface his error, at once moved his forces to the centre and towards both flanks, hoping before evening and the arrival of the Emperor to destroy the insignificant detachment before him.

'It has begun! Here it comes!' thought Prince Andrey, feeling the blood rush to his heart. 'But where? What form is my Toulon to take?' he wondered.

Passing between the companies that had been eating porridge and drinking vodka a quarter of an hour before, he saw everywhere nothing but the same rapid movements of soldiers forming in ranks and getting their guns, and on every face he saw the same eagerness that he felt in his heart. 'It has begun! Here it comes! Terrible and delightful!' said the face of every private and officer. Before he reached the earthworks that were being thrown up, he saw the evening light of the dull autumn cloak and an Astrachan cap, was riding on a white horse. It was Prince Bagration. Prince Andrey stopped and waited for him to come up. Prince Bagration stopped his horse, and recognizing Prince Andrey nodded to him. He still gazed on ahead while Prince Andrey told him what he had been seeing.

The expression; 'It has begun! it is coming!' was discernible even on Prince Bagration's strong, brown face, with his half-closed, lusterless, sleepy-looking eyes. Prince Andrey glanced with uneasy curiosity at that impassive face, and he longed to know: Was that man thinking and feeling, and what was he thinking and feeling at the moment? 'Is there anything at all there behind that impassive face?' Prince Andrey wondered, looking at him. Prince Bagration nodded in token of his assent to Prince Andrey's words, and said: 'Very good,' with an expression that seemed to signify that all that happened, and all that was told him, as exactly what he had foreseen. Prince Andrey, panting from his rapid ride, spoke quickly. Prince Bagration uttered his words in his Oriental accent with peculiar deliberation, as though impressing upon him that there was no need of hurry. He did, however, spur his horse into a gallop n the direction of Tushin's battery. Prince Andrey rode after him with his suite. The party consisted of an officer of the suite, Bagration's auditor, who had asked to be present from curiosity to see the battle. The auditor, a plump man with a plump face, looked about him with a naive smile of amusement, swaying about on his horse, and cutting a queer figure on his cloak on his saddle among the hussars, Cossacks, and adjutants.

'This gentleman wants to see a battle,' said Zherkov to Bolkonsky, indicating the auditor, 'but has begun to feel queer already.'

'Come, leave off,' said the auditor, with a beaming smile at once naive and cunning, as though he were flattered at being the object of Zherkov's jests, and was purposely trying to seem stupider than he was in reality.

'It's very curious, mon Monsieur Prince, said the staff-officer on duty. (He vaguely remembered that the title prince was translated in some peculiar way in French, but could not get it quite right.) By this time they were all riding up to Tushin's battery, and a ball struck the ground before them.

'What was that falling?' asked the auditor, smiling naïvely.

'A French pancake,' said Zherkov.

'That's what they hit you with, then?' asked the auditor. 'How awful!' And he seemed to expand all over with enjoyment. He had hardly uttered the words when again there was a sudden terrible whiz, which ended abruptly in a thud into something soft, and flop--a Cossack, riding a little behind and to the right of the auditor, dropped from his horse to the ground. Zherkov and the staff-officer bent forward over their saddles and turned their horses away. The auditor stopped facing the Cossack, and looking with curiosity at him. The Cossack was dead, the horse was still struggling.

Prince Bagration dropped his eyelids, looked round, and seeing the cause of the delay, turned away indifferently, seeming to ask, 'Why notice these trivial details?' With the ease of a first-rate horseman he stopped his horse, bent over a little and disengaged his saber, which had caught under his cloak. The saber was an old-fashioned one, unlike what are worn now. Prince Andrey remembered the story that Suvorov had given his saber to Bagration in Italy, and the recollection was particularly pleasant to him at that moment. They had ridden up to the very battery from which Prince Andrey had surveyed the field of battle.

'Whose company?' Prince Bagration asked of the artilleryman standing at the ammunition boxes.

He asked in words: 'Whose company?' but what he was really asking was, 'You're not in a panic here?' And the artilleryman understood that, man sang out in a cheerful voice, as he ducked forward.

'To be sure, to be sure,' said Bagration, pondering something, and he rode by the platforms up to the end cannon. Just as he reached it, a shot boomed from the cannon, deafening him and his suite, and in the smoke that suddenly enveloped the cannon the artillerymen could be seen hauling at the cannon, dragging and rolling it back to its former position. A broad-shouldered, gigantic soldier, gunner number one, with a mop, darted up to the wheel and planted himself, his legs wide apart; while number two, with a shaking hand, put the charge into the cannon's mouth; a small man with stooping shoulders, the officer Tushin, stumping against the cannon, dashed forward, not noticing the general, and looked out, shading his eyes with his little hand.

'Another two points higher, and it will be just right,' he shouted in a shrill voice, to which he tried to give a swaggering note utterly out of keeping with his figure. 'Two!' he piped. 'Smash away, Medvyedev!'

Bagration called to the officer, and Tushin went up to the general, putting three fingers to the peak of his cap with a timid and awkward gesture, more like a priest blessing some one than a soldier saluting. Though Tushin's guns had been intended to cannonade the valley, he was throwing shells over the village of Schöngraben, in part of which immense masses of French soldiers were moving out.

No one had given Tushin instructions at what or with what to fire, and after consulting his sergeant, Zahrchenko, for whom he had a great respect, he had decided that it would be a good thing to set fire to the village. 'Very good!' Bagration said, on the officer's submitting that he had done so, and he began scrutinizing the whole field of battle that lay unfolded before him. He seemed to be considering something. The French had advanced nearest on the right side. In the hollow where the steam flowed, below the eminence on which the Kiev regiment was stationed, could be heard a continual roll and crash of guns, the din of which was overwhelming. And much further to the right, behind the dragoons, the officer of the suite pointed out to Bagration a column of the copse close by. Prince Bagration gave orders for two battalions from the centre to go to the right to reinforce the flank. The officer of the suite ventured to observe to the prince that the removal of these battalions would leave the cannon unprotected. Prince Bagration turned to the officer of the suite and stared at him with his lusterless eyes in silence. Prince Andrey thought that the officer's observation was a very just one, and that really there was nothing to be said in reply. But at that instant an adjutant galloped up with a message from the colonel of the regiment in the hollow that immense masses of the French were coming down upon them, that his men were in disorder and retreating upon the Kiev grenadiers. Prince Bagration nodded to signify his assent and approval. He rode at a walking pace to the right, and set an adjutant to the dragoons with orders to attack the French. But the adjutant returned half an hour later with the news that the colonel of the dragoons had already retired beyond the ravine, as a destructive fire had been opened upon him, and he was losing his men for nothing, and so he had concentrated his men in the wood.

'Very good!' said Bagration.

Just as he was leaving the battery, shots had been heard in the wood on the left too; and as it was too far to the left flank for him to go himself, Prince Bagration despatched Zherkov to tell the senior general--the general whose regiment had been inspected by Kutusov at Braunau--to retreat as rapidly as possible beyond the ravine, as the right flank would probably not long be able to detain his battery, was forgotten. Prince Andrey listened carefully to Prince Bagration's colloquies with the commanding officers, and to the orders he gave them, and noticed, to his astonishment, that no orders were really given by him at all, but that Prince Bagration confined himself to trying to appear as though everything that ws being done of necessity, by chance, or at the will of individual officers, was all done, if not by his orders, at least in accordance with his intentions. Prince Andrey observed, however, that, thanks to the tact shown by Prince Bagration, notwithstanding that what was done was due to chance, and not dependent on the commander's will, his presence was of the greatest value. Commanding officers, who rode up to Bagration looking distraught, regained their composure; soldiers and officers greeted him cheerfully, recovered their spirits in his presence, and were unmistakably anxious to display their pluck before him.

Leo Tolstoy - War and Peace

Thursday, June 27, 2019

New Idea for Podcast Series: The Hall of Underrated Composers



NOTE: This is just partially informed speculation. If I ever do this cast, the list will obviously move around quite a bit, often with new names appearing. 


YES but with provisos of course:

John Foulds 
Peter Maxwell Davies
Michael Tippett
Rued Langgaard
Einojuhani Rautavaara
Charles Koechlin
Rued Langgaard
Silvestre Revueltas
Lou Harrison
Lili Boulanger
Bohuslav Martinu
Gyorgy Kurtag
Alfred Schnittke
Alberto Ginastera
Sofia Gubaidulina
Galina Ustvolskaya
Heitor Villa-Lobos
Alan Hovhanness
Ferruccio Busoni
Karol Rathaus
Rudi Stephan
Alfredo Casella
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Luciano Berio
Nikos Skalkottas
Iannis Xenakis
Krzystopf Penderecki
Karol Szymanowski
Francois Couperin
Jean-Baptise Lully
Jean-Phillippe Rameau
Georg Philipp Telemann
Boris Blacher
Ernest Bloch
Morton Feldman
Lukas Foss
Gottfried von Einem
Carla Bley
Art Ensemble of Chicago
Eric Dolphy
Moises Vainberg
Edison Denisov
Karel Husa
Hans Krasa
Alexander Goehr
Walter Goehr
Artur Schnabel
Charles Tomlinson Griffes
George Butterworth
Pavel Haas
Alois Haba
Karl Amadeus Hartmann
Bernard Hermann
Vagn Holmboe
Joseph Jongen
Miroslav Kabelac
Giya Kancheli
Lev Abeliovich
Anatol Liadov
Anton Arensky
Theodore Akimenko
Ernst Krenek
Louis Andreissen
Henk Badings
Ton de Leeuw
Willem Pijper
Mattheis Vermeulin
Lazlo Dubrovay
Laszlo Lajtha
Istvan Lang
Osvaldo Golijov
Giovanni Gabrieli
Hans Werner Henze
Witold Lutoslawski
Grazyna Bacewicz
Tadeusz Baird
Alexander Glazunov
James MacMillan
Howard Hanson
Meredith Monk
Thea Musgrave
Osvaldus Balakauskas
Ivo Malec
Petr Eben
Libos Fiser
Ivo Jirasek
Jan Kapr
Milan Slavicky
Jiri Valek
Frantisek (Franz) Krommer
Jan Kallivoda
Harry Partch
Conon Nancarrow
Andrzej Panufnik
Gofredo Petrassi
Wolfgang Rihm
Peter Ruzicka
Helmut Lachenmann
Georg Friedrich Haas
Aulis Sallinen
Arne Norheim
Harald Saeverud
Eduard Tubin
Geirr Tveitt
Fartein Valen
Henri Souget
Pierre Schaeffer
Bernd Alois Zimmermann
Dieter Schnabel
Aribert Reimann
Hans Pfitzner
Wilhelm Killmayer
Wolfgang Fortier
Werner Eck
Erwin Schulhoff
Gunther Schuller
Peter Sculthorpe
Malcolm Williamson
Arthur Benjamin
Barry Vercoe
Mattias Seiber
Rodion Shchedrin
Charles-Valentin Alkan
Josef Tal
Victor Ullmann
Egon Wellesz
Judith Weir
Stefan Wolpe 
Peteris Vasks
Veljo Tormis
Luigi Dallapiccola
Henry Cowell
Carlo Gesualdo
Josquin des Prez
Heinrich Isaac
Michael Praetorius
Roger Sessions
Tomas Luis de Victoria
Roland de Lassus
Jacob Obrecht
Adrian Willaert
Jacques Arcadelt
Jan Petersoon Sweelinck
John Wilbye
Thomas Weelkes
Heinrich Schütz
Dietrich Buxtehude
Rebecca Clarke
Jon Leifs
Heinrich Biber
John Zorn
Arnold Bax
TJ Anderson
George Walker
Anthony Davis
George Lewis
William Grant Still
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
William Levi-Dawson
Adolphus Hailstork
George Crumb
Magnus Lindberg
Kalevi Aho
Kaija Saariaho
Erik Bergman
Leevi Madetoja
Ekki-Sven Tuur
Niels Viggo Bentzon
Daniel Bernard Roumain
Hildegard von Bingen
Barbara Strozzi
M. Camargo Guaneri
Antonio Carlos Jobim
Juan Arriaga
Baden Powell
Roberto Sienna
Daniel Gatan
Arturo Marquez
Ariel Ramirez
Antonio Estevez
Innocente Carenńo
Theresa Carenńo
Carlos Lopez Buchardo
Manuel de Sumaya
Isang Yung
Bright Sheng
Zhou Long
Chen Yi
Guy Wenjing
Ye Xiaogang
Priaux Rainer
Cristobal Hallfter
Xavier Benguerel
Frederico Mompou
Joachin Rodrigo
Franghiz al-Zadeh
Mohammed al-Haik
Ziryab
ibn-Bajjah
Solhi al-Wadi
Halim al-Dabh
Toufic Soucer
Saleh al-Kuwaity
Mirza Abdollah
Kayhan Kalhor
Sultan Abdülaziz
Haci Arif Bey
Tanburi Cemil Bey
Ismail Dende Efendi
Gazi Giray Han
Buhurizade Mustafa Han
Buhurizade Mustafa Itri
Dmitri Kantemir
Betkir Sitki Sezgin
Cinucen Tanrikorur
Fizuli
Habibi
Khatai
Gara Garayev
Fikrat Amirov
Uzeyir Hajiberov
Fikret Amirov
Vagif Mustafazedeh
Purandara Dasa
Syama Sastri
Tyagaraja
Muthuswami Dikshitar
Allaudin Kahn
Hariprasad Chaurasia
Bade Ghulam Ali Kahn
Alla Rakha
Tansen
L Subramanian
Shivkumar Sharma
Gesang Martohartono
Rahayu Suppanggah
I Nyoman Windha
Raden Machjar Angga Koesoemadinata
Minamoto no Hiramasa
Zeami Motokiyo
Yatsuhashi Kengyo
Urgami Gyokudo
Papa & Foday Musa Suso
Djeli Moussa Diawara
King Sunny Ade
Ablaye Cissoko
Coumba Gawlo
Hiromori Hiyashi
Nakao Tozan
Michio Miyagi
Gao Ming
Tang Xianzhu
Xian Xinghai
Liu Tianhua
Levi Celerio
Nat Yontararak
Phoon Yew Tien
Miriam Mkeba
Ali Farka Toure
E.T. Mensah
Fela Sowande
Babatunde Olatunji
Joshua Uzoigwe
Godwin Sadoh
Michael Mosoeu Moerane
Francisco Santiago
Nicanor Abelardo
Donald Mor McCrimmon
John Garbh MacLean
Ronald MacDonald
WC Handy
Wayne Shorter
Bill Frisell
Gerry Mulligan
Randy Weston/Melba Liston
Horace Tapscott
Steve Lacy
Grachan Moncur III
Benny Golson
Jason Moran
Ted Nash
Albert Ayler
Tim Berne
Maria Schneider
Henry Threadgill
Harris Eisenstadt
John Hollenbeck
Anthony Braxton
George Russell
Lenny Tristano
George Russell
Andrew Hill
Horace Tapscott
Herbie Nichols
Sam Rivers
Gerald Wilson
Tad Dameron
Booker Little
Paul Motian
Roscoe Mitchell
David Murray
Arthur Blythe
George Russell
Mayo Thompson
Malcolm Arnold
Richard Arnell
Jonathan Harvey
Richard Rodney Bennett
Nikolai Kapustin
Osvaldus Balakauskas
Irving Fine
Girolamo Frescobaldi
Jacopo Peri
Alessandro Striggio
John Dunstable
John Taverner
Roberto Gerhard
Orlando Gibbons
Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Herman, Kraus, and Ravenstine (Pere Ubu)
Klaus Schulze (Faust)
Florian Fricke (Popol Vu)
Alessandro/Benedetto Marcello
Johann Jakub Froberger
Percy Grainger
Clement Janequin
Guillaume de Machaut
Johannes Ockeghem
Christopher Rouse
Beata Moon
Robert Palmer
Franz Schrecker
Michael Daugherty
Lee Hyla
Stephen Albert
Mark Adamo
Timothy Andres
Lera Auerbach
Alexandra Gardiner
Michael Gordon
Stephen Hartke
Nico Muhly
Pauline Olivieros
Ned Rorem
Steven Stucky
Stephen Mackey
Julia Wolfe
Evan Zaporyn
Thomas Ades
Heiner Goebbels
Olga Neuwirth
Salvatore Sciarrino
Jorg Widmann
Frank Martin
Josef Suk
George Antheil
Louis Spohr
Toru Takemitsu
Toshiro Mayuzumi
Florent Schmitt
Robert Wyatt
JG Thirwell (Foetus)
John Fahey
Jon Hassell
Steve Roach
Sandy Bull
Vampire Rodents
Neu!
Neil Haggerty &Jennifer Therema (Royal Trux)
Robert Fripp (King Crimson)
The Residents
Mouse on Mars
His Name is Alive
Xiu Xiu
The Raincoats
Sun City Band
Don Cherry
William Byrd
Thomas Tallis
Peter Phillips
John Bartlet
Hugo Wolf
Tomaso Albinoni
Luigi Boccherini
Arrigo Boito
Per Norgard
Horatiu Radulescu
George Benjamin
Tristan Murail
Nicholas Bacri
Marc-Antoine Charpantier
Marin Marais
Poul Ruders
Bruno Maderna
Luigi Nono
Carl Ruggles
Stefan Wolpe
Alexander von Zemlinsky
Joly Braga Santos
Dag Wiren
Ahmed Adnan Saygun
Leo Brouwer
Gara Garayev
Emil Niklaus von Reznicek
Julius Rontgen
Arthur Berger
Joachim Nikolas Eggert
Kurt Atterberg
Alberic Magnard
Quincy Porter
Gregorsz Gorzycki
Luigi Boccherini
Johann Wagenar
Einar Englund
Joseph Martin Kraus
Joaquin Turina
Igor Markevitch
Zdenek Fibich
Ferdinand Reis
Friedrich Witt
Franz Ignaz Beck
Eino Tambero
Niels Gade
Jan Ladislav Dussek
Johann Nepomuk David
Knudage Risager
Paul Graener
Hendrick Andreissen
Morton Gould
John Bull
Thomas Tomkins
Benjamin Lees
Finn Mortensen
Felix Draeske
Fernando Lopes-Garcia
Charles-Marie Widor
Viteslav Novak
Ruth Crawford Seeger
Frank Bridge
Gaetano Scelsi
Maurice Durufle
Jehan Ariste Alain
Gilbert Amy
Jean Barraque
Henri Dutilleux
Henri Duparc
Pierre Henri
Andre Jolivet
Francois-Bernard Mache
Boris Tischtschenko
Allan Pettersson
Alan Rawthstone
Edmund Rubbra
Franz Schmidt
EJ Moeran
Unsuk Chin
Alexander Tcherepnin
Henri Dutilleux
Milton Babbitt
Amy Beach
Elliott Carter
Carlos Chavez
Dimas Galindo
Rodolfo Halffter
Mario Lavista
Jose Pablo Moncayo
Manuel Ponce
Maurice Ohana
Ethyl Smyth
John Luther Adams
Charles Wourinen
Virgil Thomson
Randall Thompson
Giovanni Pierluigi de Palestrina
Bernd Alois Zimmerman
Frederick Rezewski
Alexander Tansman
Ernst Toch
Egon Wellesz
Ottmar Schoek
Michael Berkeley
Harrison Birtwistle
Havergal Brian
William Matthias
Gerald Finzi
Ivor Gurney
Daniel Jenkyn Jones
Oliver Knussen
William Bolcom
John Cage
John Corigliano
David del Tredici
George Rochberg
George Tsontakis
Roy Harris
Wallingford Riegger
Jaromir Weinberger
Leopold Godowsky
Mauricio Kagel
Mario Davidovsky
Edgar Varese
Henri Pousseur
Phillippe Boesmans
Kaikhosru Sorabji
Giuseppe Tartini
Jan Dismas-Zelenka
Kurt Atterberg
Nikolai Myaskovsky
Berthold Goldschmidt
Irving Berlin
Svjetlana Bukovich
Florence Price
Miklos Rosza
Erich Zeisl
Franz Waxmann
Hans Gal
Walter Braunfels
Szymon Laks
Joseph Achron
Joel Engel
Alexander Krein
Salamone Rossi
Leo Zeitlin
Joel Engel
Mikhail Gnesen
Solomon Rosowsky
Paul Ben-Haim
Paul Dessau
Hanns Eisler
Leo Weiner
Classical Traditions written Anonymously:
Afghan Klasik
Cambodian Pinpeat
Chinese Traditional Music (in opera the poets are known, not the composers)
Javanese Gamelan Music
Korean Court Music
Lao Classical Music
Filipino Kundiman Songs (virtually)
Thai Piphat Music
Sri Lankan Kandyan Dance
Vietnamese Court Music


Maybe But Too Many People Know A Little:
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Arthur Honegger
Zoltan Kodaly
Paul Hindemith
Bedrich Smetana
Gyorgy Ligeti
Olivier Messiaen
Hector Berlioz
Erik Satie
Carl Nielsen
Francis Poulenc
Ottorino Respighi
Manuel de Falla
Gabriel Faure
Gustav Holst
Aram Khatchaturian
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
William Walton
Carl Nielsen
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
George Gershwin
Alexander Scriabin
Camille Saint-Saens
Georg Friedrich Handel
Gustav Holst
Karlheinz Stockhausen
Pierre Boulez
Emmanuel Chabrier
Henryk Gorecki
Frank Zappa
Don Van Vliet
Brian Wilson
Charles Ives
Leos Janacek
Astor Piazzolla
Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn
Henry Purcell
Arcangelo Corelli
Jerome Kern
Cole Porter
Mikis Theodorakis
AR Rahman
Ravi Shankar
Ali Akbar Khan
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Zakir Hussain
Antonio Vivaldi
Fela Kuti
Youssou N'dour
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Moore, Gordon, Ranaldo (Sonic Youth)
Charles Mingus
Herbie Hancock
Ornette Coleman
Mahavishnu Orchestra
Sun Ra
Thelonius Monk
David Brubeck
Keith Jarrett
Chick Corea
Gil Evans
Miles Davis
Cecil Taylor
Django Reinhardt
Sonny Rollins
Jelly Roll Morton
Fats Waller
Fats Domino
Joe Zawinul
Oscar Peterson
John Lewis
Charles Gounod
Mikhail Glinka
Alexander Borodin
Alexander Glazunov
Carl Phillipe Emanuel Bach
Luigi Cherubini
Christoph Willibald Gluck
Samuel Barber
Frederick Delius
John Coltrane
Scott Joplin
Pietro Mascagni
Ruggero Leoncavallo
Claudio Monteverdi
John Dowland
Gregorio Allegri
Martin Luther (yes, that one)
Jules Massenet
Jacques Offenbach
Arthur Sullivan
Steve Reich
John Adams
Benjamin Britten
Gioacchino Rossini
Arnold Schoenberg
Darius Milhaud 
Georges Enescu
Domenico Scarlatti
Johann Pachebel
Randy Newman
Stevie Wonder
Prince
Quincy Jones
James Brown
Pete Townshend
Richard James
Bill Evans
Michael Jackson
Rick Rubin
Phil Spector
Tom Waits
Donald Fagan
Isaac Hayes
Count Basie
Earl Hines 
Art Tatum
Brian Eno
Jimi Hendrix
Christa Päffgen
Nina Simone
Bud Powell
Albert Roussel
Paul Dukas
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Arvo Part
Sibelius: The Lighter Side
early Verdi
late Stravinsky
late Franz Liszt
Richard Strauss: The Other Operas
Early and Late Copland
The Beatles: Together and Separately
The Unknown Dvorak
The Unknown Tchaikovsky
Elgar: Light and Heavy



Are They Worth The Effort?:

Anton Rubinstein
Esa-Pekka Salonen
Viteslav Novak
Herbert Howells
Arthur Bliss
Lars-Erik Larsson
George Lloyd
Elizabeth Maconchy
Walter Piston
John Tavener
Peter Warlock
Giacomo Meyerbeer
Moritz Moszkowski
Fanny Mendelssohn
Antonio Salieri
Jean-Marie LeClaire
Nikolai Medtner
Joseph Marx
Joachim Raff
Karl Goldmark
Leo Brouwer
Domenico Cimarosa
Etienne Mehul
Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Franz Berwald
Nikolai Roslavets
Hugo Alfven
Michael Torke`
Eugene Ysaye
Eduard Lalo
Joachim Turina
Ernst Chausson
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Iannis Xenakis
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Ernst von Dohnanyi
Jakub Jan Ryba
Giuseppe Martucci 
Granville Bantock
Maurice Durufle
LaMonte Young
Vincent Persichetti
Vincent d'Indy
Mikhail ippolitov-Ivanov
Dmitri Kabalevsky
Ignaz Moscheles
Mili Balakirev
Clara Schumann
Cecile Chaminade
Florence Price
Germaine Tallfierre
Elizabeth Luytens
Libby Larsen
Jennifer Higdon
Ellen Taffe Zwilich
Augusta Read Thomas
Reynaldo Hahn
John Field
Joseph Canteloube
George Whitefield Chadwick
Zdenek Fibich
Nicolas Flagello
Carlisle Floyd
Stephen Foster
Leroy Anderson
Eric Coates
Niels Gade
Francesco Geminiani
Umberto Giordano
Mauro Giuliani
Reinhold Gliere
Morton Gould
William Alwyn
Vasily Kalinnikov
Anatole Liadov
Leevi Matedoja
Peter Menin
Gian Carlo Menotti
Viteslav Novak
Paul Paray
Hubert Parry
Hans Pfitzner
Alfredo Casella
Ildebrando Pizzetti
Amilcare Ponchielli
Joaquin Rodrigo
Miklos Rosas
John Philip Sousa
Constant Lambert
Charles Villiers Stanford
Lowell Lieberman
Michael Torke
Johan Svendsen
Sergey Taneyev
Ambroise Thomas
Louis Vierne
Charles Marie Widor

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Times of Israel #36

The Authoritarian Pivot - Chapter 1

When Facebook Becomes Blogging

Another brief press of the pause button on the politics ban before I go to bed. Hopefully still a rare one.

Yes, the concentration camp comparison is legitimate, and we probably don't even know the half of the horrors going on in those places, but of course it's more complicated than that. There were concentration camps in 100 other 20th century regimes, and the overwhelming majority did not end in anything like Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen.

Part of what leaves a bad taste in many Jews' mouths is the fact that until the Trump administration, any invocation of Hitler was dismissed by the Left as irritating hyperbole. It's only three years ago that any talk like this at all was dismissed as Godwin's law by the very people who are now invoking the Hitler comparison. And there were plenty of places where a Hitler comparison would have applied a thousand times more appropriately than anything Trump has done yet, including in Syria under Assad, Serbia under Milosevic, and yes, Iraq under Saddam. And yet, when any kind of humanitarian intervention was mentioned in any of these cases, the kind that perhaps could have saved millions of Jewish lives had the US interfered in the 30s before Germany reached its full military buildup rather than in the 40s when it became a total war; in all three of those cases, Social Democrats a generation older than AOC would dismiss any invocation of Hitler out of hand as a manipulation of crocodile tears to advance an imperial agenda. You may disagree with any proposition of humanitarian intervention if that is what you believe, but if you didn't think the Hitler comparison applied in those cases, you lose the right to invoke it when it becomes more politically convenient for you.

So yes, they're concentration camps, without a doubt. But a lot has to happen before it's worthy of any Hitler comparison. And if this invocation came from someone we might trust to understand that the Shoah is a crime absolutely unique in recorded human history, the majority of Jews would assume that it was being invoked in good faith.

The Holocaust is not just another didactic tragedy in the eternal struggle against oppression, it is an episode in which one group of people was hunted with the aim of complete and total annihilation around the entire world, and the hunters came astonishingly close to success. Genocide has happened many times in history, but the Shoah is absolutely unique, for many reasons past the one I just mentioned. And on this Jewish issue, above all other Jewish issues, there can never be an inch of space conceded. So please realize this, if you don't understand the difference between what happened to Jews and what happened in literally every other genocide and democide in recorded history, the majority of us will not trust that you have good intentions toward us.

There are at least a thousand despicable regimes for whom comparison to them would suffice. Believe me, if or when America gets to Hitler-level, millions and millions of Jews will tell you all at once ...

Monday, June 17, 2019

11 Lessons From the Baltimore Symphony's History to Save the BSO

When Brandon Weigel of the Baltimore Fishbowl first commissioned me to write an article for the BSO, he asked me to put more detail in than I did in a 2500 word article about the BSO I did for the Times of Israel. The editor also said he wanted 1500 words. So, being an ever smarmy journalist, I gave him a 7500 word article and said 'you wanted detail, you got detail...' This is a rough draft, I never fully edited this, and furthermore, nearly none of this is original research - it's either based on old Sun articles from Tim Smith and Stephen Wigler, or from Michael Lisicky's book The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra - A Century of Sound. With yesterday's news of a lockout, I figure today is the day to release it.... It probably doesn't make anybody look good, but hopefully it will at least some productive discussion by... somebody?

--------------------------

There's only one term appropriate to what's happening at the Baltimore Symphony: cultural vandalism. It took seventy years of daily struggle for previous managements to get the BSO out of the place where current management wants to redeposit them. It's as outrageous as if the Board of Directors of the BMA or the Walters deliberately set fire to its collection. 

After all too brief a peak, the cultural lifeblood of Baltimore slowly bleeds. In the 90's, there were 96-98 musicians employed 52 weeks and there was even talk about adding ten more. Now there are 77. The BSO musicians have waved their contractual right to a salary raise nearly every single year. Their reward? The BSO offered their musicians a proposal for a 23% reduction in work weeks and a 17% cut in salary. The Baltimore Symphony would cease to be a major, full-time, symphony orchestra. 

There is no such thing as a great part time orchestra, no such thing as the best part-time musician. The BSO only became a truly great orchestra when they operated full-time, and if their management succeeds, they'll cease to be both full time and great. Their best musicians will seek other positions, an the best young musicians won't even audition here. Is this what the City of Baltimore, whose every other institution has declined, deserves? Is this what Joseph Meyerhoff spent tens of millions of dollars for? Is this the example to set for the hundreds of Baltimore children who play music for the first time every year and see a way out to a better life?

The names of board chair Barbara Bozzuto and CEO Peter J. Kjome will be remembered with as much disgrace as Joseph Meyerhoff's is remembered with honor. If the current board of directors refuses to cough up the money to save an organization with their names on it without renting out a summer home, going abroad three times a year rather than four, bequeathing each of their children with one less million dollars, they need to find board members willing to make those sacrifices and get the hell out of their way. What the hell is the point of lending your names to an institution if you willfully preside over their decline?

The current problems at the BSO are neither accidental nor inevitable. Their problems have authors, and the authors must be named. They also have solutions, and the solutions can come from examining those heroes who lead the BSO out of previous crises and on their way to glory. Let's begin with the obvious:

1. Never Go Nuclear in Labor Negotiations 

Ugly labor negotiations are a fact of orchestral life, so is mismanagement, so are bellicose union negotiators. But never in BSO history has there ever been a proposition remotely so drastic as this one. It is so unbelievably extreme that anyone who reads about it wonders deeply about the good faith of those who made it. They may win drastic concessions, but by making a move like this, the board and management have already lost. Unless they revoke this proposition as soon as possible and accept the loss of face, they will never earn back the good faith of the orchestra and no subsequent organization will want their assistance. Like the management of the Minnesota Orchestra before them, it is probable that the orchestral life would only go back to normal if the current management and board chairman are removed. 
2. The BSO must thrive even if Baltimore doesn't. The Community, The City, and The State Must Be Involved. 

The arts are not a siphoning scheme for valuable dollars that can be put into civic works, the arts are a business that ensures cash flow for the whole city. If the artistic organizations are good enough, they bring people in from the county and foster tourism, which increases restaurant and transit business, and might convince a few hundred people at a time to move back into the city. But art does not make money, art costs money, and the money inevitably must come from the top. The arts, properly administered, are how the rich show that they care enough about the rest of us to give us something beautiful to be contemplated whenever we need it. When Joseph Meyerhoff became BSO board chair in the late-60's, Baltimore began a permanent civic decline, but he made the BSO a glory of the city to set alongside the Orioles and the Colts. When these organizations don't thrive, we lose civic pride. Thousands of people who even don't go to the Symphony take pride in the fact that we have a great one, and when another great organization ceases to be great, you immediately notice, and it deleteriously effects every other walk of life in the city. 

When the BSO had a labor dispute in 1972, no less a personage than Mayor William Donald Schaeffer realized what was at stake, and immediately put together a Blue Ribbon Panel to settle the problem with agreements and recommendations for future growth. In 1975, when the recommendations were not followed closely enough caused another work stoppage, a federal mediator was called in who negotiated between the two sides for 22 days! Neither of these negotiations were successful, but they are the ante from which better solutions are found. It shows that every option has been exhausted, and will eventually motivate the private sector to get involved. 

In 1981 a labor dispute threatened to cancel the entire season just a year before Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall opened, local sports agent Ron Shapiro (later most famous for representing Cal Ripken) was brought in for an emergency 18 1/2 hour negotiating session. By the end of the session, the musicians's weekly base salaries were raised by 50%, and entirely new capital campaigns were begun. After twelve years of work under Comissiona, the beginning of the Symphony's Golden Age had finally begun. 

The decline of the BSO is not just a rich person problem, it's not just a white person problem. The BSO Orchkids (more on them later) is a means by which children are shown that they deserve better lives. The BSO is embedded in the fabric of Baltimore and a diminished BSO is a still more diminished Baltimore and a still more diminished Maryland. The individuals of a country can only thrive as much as their institutions do, and when an institution declines, we all decline with them. 

3. It begins and ends with the vision of the Board Chairman. 

In the late 60's, the BSO was a joke - playing in the pre-renovated Lyric under a leaking roof, rehearsing in the theater of the old Poly high school, under a conductor so incompetent he had to buy its best musicians dinner so they'd teach him how to conduct this week's music. Enter Joseph Meyerhoff as Board President. Meyerhoff was so committed to the orchestra that he chose Sergiu Comissiona after considering 271 different conductors! 

This is the level of 14 hour a day commitment an orchestral board chair needs. If Barbara Buzzuto can't be immediately convinced to put in that level of full-time commitment to finding other solutions to these problems, she must go, and immediately; replaced by someone willing to put in that level of research. 

An organization must always keep swimming or it sinks. Meyerhoff set goals for the symphony and realized them by inspiring musicians and board alike by projects. Through a combination of his own money, capital campaigns, and civic ordinances for public funding, he built our concert hall, raised funds for tours, procured the BSO a semi-annual appearance on PBS, and created a full-time symphony orchestra. Some of his projects, like a $5.5 million state of the art facility at Oregon Ridge, never materialized. Who cares? What mattered was to keep the organization focused on the next step, dreaming of better times and taking the initiative to make dreams a reality. 

The BSO still has one of the best and largest halls in America, what it needs is more musicians to fill it with the proper amount of sound. A serious capital campaign to raise the number of musicians is decades overdue, and the fact that it's never even mentioned shows that BSO management lacked the most basic skills of understanding of what's needed to progress for decades. Similar fundraising campaigns and revenue generators can be initiated which I'll talk about later in this article. If you have the vision, you will keep the organization focused, and then at least some of these projects, or at least one of them, will eventually materialize. Over and over again, Marin Alsop has provided the vision required of a music director in spades, and from management, her vision seems to have been met with nothing but crickets. 

4. Slow and Steady Every Year: Don't Blow Your Money on Bigger Seasons

I have no idea what it costed to put on the BSO centennial season in 2015-16, but I would imagine it was near-astronomical: commissions for least a dozen new pieces of music and 22 works by living composers, Prokofiev's complete ballet music for Romeo and Juliet played simultaneously to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet acted by the Folger Shakespeare Company, Appalachian Spring danced by the Martha Graham Company, a full semi-staged production of Porgy and Bess, Verdi and Brahms Requiems, Bach's B-Minor Mass, bringing Yuri Temirkanov back for the first time in a decade (more on him later too), bringing in John Adams to conduct his own music - the most famous orchestral composer in America, solo spots from Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Leon Fleisher.... along with some of the finest guest conductors on earth. It was one extraordinary concert after another after another after another. Even the popular programming was fantastic: there was even a production of semi-staged version of Hairspray - narrated by John Waters, even a weekend of a circus performances accompanied by the orchestra. After that cocaine binge of a season, there followed two subscription seasons that were mere nubs of the celebrations that just happened, barely two regular subscription weeks in any month, and occasionally less, programmed alongside wall-to-wall popular programming (musicals, movie and video game music, accompanying rock bands and jazz singers, etc.). When i got this year's subscription in the mail, I went weak in the knees with excitement. Finally, we have another real season, only for us all to soon find that the BSO had so little money that this season may be over before its halfway point. 

For a centennial anniversary, some celebrations need to be in order, and I would imagine that the old CEO, Paul Meecham, wanted to be remembered with a blaze of glory. But what in the hell was he thinking? This is the worst kind of deficit spending. Music may be ephemeral, but an orchestra is an organization and organizations are built from solid achievements. A season like that has so few solid achievements to show for itself. All that money that could have been saved to provide for the future, and it was blown on a year long party that will eventually be forgotten. 

5. No Orchestra Has Ever Made Money From a Famous Conductor

In the 1960's, there was a move afoot from the board to rescue the quality of the orchestra by hiring the legendary and still spry eighty-something, Leopold Stokowski (the conductor in Fantasia). But the maestro they eventually settled upon was much better. Sergiu Comissiona was one in two-hundred-seventy-one. He was a conductor of flashy gestures and flashy hair who excelled in flashy music, a Romanian brined in the best traditions of the 19th century culture who conducted more from instinct than intellect. He was one of dozens of European Jewish conductors who plied their trade here to avoid persecution elsewhere, but most of those conductors were authoritarians whose musicmaking reflected their demeanors. Comissiona was not cut from the timber of their batons; he had roughly half the musicians of the old BSO fired, but he was dearly beloved by those who remained. Under Comissiona, Baltimore had a true orchestra. They published their first recording series and went on their first international tours - including to East and West Germany and conducted 21 world premieres of new compositions. The BSO, always full of great musicians, played their best for Comissiona, perhaps in part because he rarely seemed inclined to tell them when they'd gone wrong. As a result, the orchestra was always a little sloppier than most truly great orchestras - and if anything, that's the way Comissiona wanted it. He thought of music in terms of the sound it made, and he cared more that the orchestra played with passion and beauty than with with a sound that was more precise and therefore colder. 

The Comissiona years had all the hallmarks of a springtime romance, and in truth, Comissiona should have never left us. He later confessed as much to the orchestral librarian. He loved it here, he was beloved, he could have stayed another twenty years and no one would have stopped him, but he left us for the Houston Symphony, a more eminent orchestra no better than ours, and found Houston so difficult that he left their orchestra two years later. The international good will from his Baltimore years dried up very quickly, and while he was an honored guest with many good orchestras around the world, he was never again a musical celebrity. He was a mere journeyman conductor, the equivalent of a middle reliever, traveling from city to city, living with his wife in hotel rooms. In 2006, the headline of his New York Times obituary read: "Sergiu Comissiona, Busy Conductor, is Dead." 

Conducting is a brutal lottery in which the best often languish in front of youth orchestras and the mediocre get hired by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Conductors are notorious egomaniacs, more concerned with their own vanity than the music. The most famous do no better in front of an orchestra than the least, and the least famous have more time to  study the music. Just look at Sergiu Comissiona, he exemplified that the best conductors are usually not the most famous. Never taken seriously enough to be a celebrity, but seemingly beloved by every orchestra he ever stood in front of. He raised the platform of the orchestra, and the orchestra's platform raised him. The worst to happen to either was that he cut our partnership short just as it reaped its ripest rewards. If, God forbid, Marin Alsop decides to leave in the midst of this storm, save your money and start over. Take a chance on a young and brilliant unknown out to prove their worth, and hire a lot of veteran guest conductors on the weeks he or she's not there. 

5. Public Platform is Crucial

David Zinman: 5 feet, 3 inches, 150 pounds of volcanic contradictions. Zinman was not a perfect conductor, but everything which made him a less than perfect conductor was what made him a perfect music director for an orchestra in its Golden Age - too perfect for a city as imperfect Baltimore to contain his potential. 

There is a tendency among those of us who loved Zinman to overrate just how amazing he was, but the Zinman years were amazing enough that we shouldn't do them a disservice by exaggerating them with tall tales. David Zinman was and is a giant in field of conducting, but he's not Leonard Bernstein. He's simply a damn good conductor in a profession where mediocrities could advance well past him by being as imperious and unapproachable as he was extraverted and voluble; and depending on the music that week, he could be a very great indeed. 
But Zinman's most important achievement here was what he did with his front to the audience, not his back. If he was not quite of Leonard Bernstein's genius as a musician, he exceeded even Lenny as a musical communicator. If PBS had any sense they'd have given him a weekly music show for fifty years. Zinman grew up in a poor family in the Bronx, and when he was young, he paid for his music education by doing gigs as a standup comic. 

 The greatest thing Zinman ever did was called 'Casual Concerts.' Saturday mornings at 11, a half-concert program with a half-hour of commentary about the music. But it wasn't really commentary, it was comedy in the vain of David Letterman and Garrison Keillor. For a casual concert of Tchaikovsky's Pathetique, he claimed to have discovered a tape of Tchaikovsky narrating his secret homosexuality into an audio-diary. For a concert of Brahms's First Symphony, he hired an actor to play Brahms on a psychiatrist's couch while he played Sigmund Freud complete with a Viennese accent. For one Beethoven concert, he pretended to be Beethoven, still alive and a homeless bum in New York - condemned by the Devil to hear bad performances of his own music outside Carnegie Hall.  And then there was the time he literally played piano with his ass. To think that all this could happen at a stuffy old classical music concert is still unbelievable. So successful was it that for a time, all of them were picked up by NPR to a national audience, and afterwards, Zinman started a separate syndicated radio program as a showcase for the BSO performances, perhaps the only syndicated orchestral program in history for which the conductor himself was the host. 

It's not 1992 anymore, and syndicated radio is not good for anybody who's not a right-wing talk show host. What we have today is Youtube. Many of the most forward thinking orchestras post their concerts online, some even live stream them. Youtube is a huge potential opportunity for advertising revenue, still utilized by hardly anyone in the classical music world. There can be a series of advertisements between every piece. 

6. You Spend Money to Make Money, and What Makes Money is Soloists

Zinman is what's known in the business as an 'orchestra-builder.' The kind of conductor who can drive musicians crazy with his demands for one hundred musicians to play exactly together and in tune at every moment, to respect the exact dynamics the composer wrote to the letter of the law while still balancing the orchestra so that every instrument can clearly be heard. It doesn't do much to inspire the musicians to unleash a musician's inborn creativity, but a hundred years ago, this was the kind of pedantic drillsargentry which created so many of the great orchestras of America. No single performance by Zinman may change the curvature of the earth, but every subsequent performance gets better and better and better. 

When the old European conductors drilled their orchestras, they had a free reign to be as dictatorial as they considered necessary. If Arturo Toscanini stormed out of a New York rehearsal after shouting for twenty minutes and breaking yet another baton, both management and the musicians would beg him to return. If Fritz Reiner didn't like a Chicago musician's playing, he would simply fire the musician in the middle of rehearsal and the musician would simply have to pack his instrument in front of 100 colleagues and leave. If George Szell terrorized his Cleveland musicians every day with insults and tantrums, no union would dare compel Szell to stop. Zinman was a conductor very much in that mold, but he was also their exact opposite, gregarious, collegial, always peppering his unceasing demands with jokes. He explained his relationship to the orchestra by telling them "I'm your boss but I'm also your friend, but I'm also your boss." 

This balance of harsh demands with friendliness makes the ideal partner for soloists, who want a conductor with whom they can have a great time who is also a musician as competent and devoted to the craft as they are. So adept was Zinman as a partner for soloists that famous musicians like Yo-Yo Ma would significantly lower their nightly fee so they could come here to work with Zinman every year. 

It's not rocket science to put on a serious concert that makes money. For three out of every four subscription concerts, you hire a famous soloist to play an easy concerto for 45 minutes, you let the soloist do the work, you allow for no discount purchases, and suddenly your wallet is bulging. The rest of the concert is yours to play whatever you want, and Zinman used those celebrity performances to program more new American music than any conductor of his generation. What made money for the BSO in the 90s was the constant presence of Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, James Galway, Isaac Stern, Alfred Brendel, Pinchas Zukerman, Joshua Bell, Emmanuel Ax, and so many others. In recent years, most of the BSO's soloists have been BSO members. The BSO soloists are excellent musicians who could easily have had solo careers, but this is self-defeating. What sells tickets, now as ever before, is a heavily promoted artist.  If the BSO board is not willing to find the money to hire a famous soloist for 3 out of every 4 weeks of subscriptions, the BSO will never recoup the money and their finance problems become a tailspin. 

7. No Good Decision Was Ever Made Out of Anger

Zinman arrived in Baltimore just as Baltimore got a new executive director, John Gidwitz. When they began to work together, their rapport was clearly quite good, but the longer they working relationship grew, the more difficult they clearly found each other as Zinman grew angry with the slowness of progress.  

You spend money to make money, but recording costs money, tours cost money, and during the Zinman years, annual deficits grew to 2.5 million dollars. Zinman seemed to idealistically believe, wrongly, that eventually the orchestra's achievements would grow them out of their financial problems. Gidwitz was far more realistic in diagnosing the problems, but anything but realistic when choosing solutions. A inevitable battle of wills ensued that no one won. 

In 1996, Zinman announced that he would leave in two years, leaving ample room to hire a successor. However successful the Zinman years, it was only a matter of time before he fled to an orchestra that would give him everything he wanted - secure in the knowledge that Zinman would repay the orchestra's investment in him with unprecedented achievement and prestige. Eventually, Zinman deserted Baltimore for Zurich, the city with the second-highest net annual income in the world, and David Zinman did for the Zurich Tonhalle what he could have done long ago for orchestras in America were they better-financed. 

At this time, the Baltimore Symphony was, in my opinion and many insiders, one of the four or five best orchestras in America. There was Cleveland, there was Los Angeles, there was San Francisco, there was Detroit, and there was us. No guesses for which two are now forgotten for great they were at that time, but even at the time, we never got the credit we deserved, but just to show how far Zinman had brought us: in 1994, the BSO went to the Far East and got the best reviews of a Tokyo concert season that included the greatest orchestras on Earth.  

The real dividend was supposed to be in the 2000's, when the BSO ascended to real classical music stardom in the manner that orchestras of other second-tier American cities like Cleveland and Pittsburgh had long since attained. All it took, so Gidwitz must have reasoned, was a star conductor - one who would give little thought to the day-to-day headaches of management and leave the executive director alone. When it was time to introduce the new music director, Gidwitz called a press conference literally the day Zinman and the BSO were supposed to leave for their second tour of the Far East. It was supposed to be Zinman's crowning achievement, and Gidwitz clearly intended to undermine Zinman's moment with news about a more famous conductor coming to town. 

After Zinman, some shockingly famous names in our little world were mentioned to succeed him: Sir Neville Marriner, Ivan Fischer, Paavo Berglund, Kent Nagano, Jeffrey Tate.... The Californian Nagano would have been the perfect conductor to build on Zinman's achievement, and there were half-a-dozen now famous Americans who could have done nearly as well (including a slightly younger Marin Alsop). But rather than plan for the BSO's future, Gidwitz spent it all on the present and hired the starriest name who expressed interest. What followed had all the highs and lows of an alcoholic bender. 

8. National and International Tours To Second-Tier Cities 

When you think of the old school legend of a conductor/hypnotist who doesn't so much shape music as inflame it, you are speaking of a conductor like Yuri Temirkanov. He was the opposite of Zinman in every way, and no Baltimorean had ever heard musicmaking like that. Temirkanov never spoke to the audience, he didn't even speak English; he had roughly fifty full-scale pieces of music in which he could summon his force of nature, but in his tiny corner of Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and select non-Russian favorites, the very walls would shake. Like Leonard Bernstein's, Temirkanov's musicmaking was so ecstatic that it sounded as though he'd channeled the composers from heaven. Zinman was a great conductor by the definition of what a great conductor is supposed to be, but Temirkanov was an original, a magician who couldn't care less whether the orchestra played new repertoire, or with precision, or about cultivating personal relationships with players. He simply came into town, gave a few performances the likes of which were never heard before, and in five years used up the entire musical capital built up by Zinman in thirteen. He is the perfect guest conductor, but to hire him as a music director was the height of irresponsibility. 

Temirkanov was already music director of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, one of the world's historically great orchestras, and just celebrated his 30th anniversary as their director this year. He was never going to give anything of himself here, and this job clearly attracted him as a paycheck during Russia's 90's economic crisis. But if Gidwitz thought that he would get a hands-off music director in Temirkanov, he could not have been more mistaken. In his diaries, the great pianist Sviatoslav Richter noted that 'Temirkanov is a vicious man.' 

Temirkanov was certainly not vicious, but he was a Soviet accustomed to having to elbow his way in colossally difficult circumstances. Like Comissiona, he embodied all the best traditions of old-world culture, and was an old-world Russian down to his marrow who managed to preserve the best of Russian musicmaking during periods when survival itself was far from a guarantee. Temirkanov was, by all accounts, nearly as funny as Zinman (or at least his translator was), he was friends with nearly every famous figure of Russian culture in his genereation, but he had no understanding of America and no desire to learn how things were done. Everything that made Temirkanov a colossal musician made him colossally wrong for us.  

Shortly after Temirkanov came to town, a number of Zinman's favorite long-time players seemed to retire en masse. Shortly thereafter, the longtime rumors that the Baltimore Symphony Chorus would be disbanded actually happened. The reasons for both never passed the smell test and we never learned the stories behind these machinations, but they all happened in a suspiciously close range of time. Circumstantially, it's difficult to believe that a good number of these actions were made for any other reason than Temirkanov's demand, because what a star wants, a star gets. Temirkanov may have thought he was improving the orchestra's quality in the same manner Comissiona once did, but Comissiona was the music director for sixteen years, Temirkanov was music director for barely five. 

Within two years of Temirkanov's assumption, Zinman had resigned his 'Director Emeritus' status, never to return, announcing it was because Temirkanov forwent Zinman's commitment to new composers, but there were clearly many other complaints that went unmentioned. The new players may have been better, and certainly younger, but Temirkanov was never in town long enough to blend his new personnel into the kind of ensemble he wanted. What was the most underrated orchestra in America was now just another underrated orchestra. Toward the end of his five-and-a-half year tenure, Temirkanov became notorious for cancelling - at one point leaving the orchestra in the lurch for a full month of concerts. 

But let's be at least a little charitable to Temirkanov. No Russian of his generation lead an easy life, and life in pre-Putin Russia was particularly difficult, beset with an economic depression similar in scale to the Great Depression. If Russian orchestras wanted to survive, they had to work in extreme overtime. The solution many Russian orchestras found was to tour for months and months at a time; not to New York or London, but to every second-tier city in the world without a full-time orchestra. No matter how difficult the gig was to get to, if it earned them the slightest amount of money and prestige, they hit the road  The great St. Petersburg Philharmonic was no different in that regard from a couple dozen other Russian orchestras, and they played everywhere. Temirkanov was probably too overworked to ever contribute much here, and even if he used the BSO cynically, he did bequeath us some great nights of musicmaking. 

Now that America stands on the precipice of similar crises, it is time for America's orchestras to hit the road similarly. Orchestras like the BSO don't necessarily have to tour to faraway places in Latin America or East Asia (not yet at least), but there are any number of American cities who don't have great orchestras and probably have people in them who are starving for contact with high art. How often do people hear anything about orchestras in Phoenix, Austin, Jacksonville, Columbus, Sacramento, Albaquercue, El Paso, Charlotte, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Las Vegas? Hire a good publicist and board a Southwest plane! 

9. Solve Your Issues Before They Become Our Issues

Of course, Temirkanov's highest profile hire was the new concertmaster, Jonathan Carney. Jonathan Carney is an extraordinary musician from a family of extraordinary musicians. Like so many people who always knew how extraordinary they are, his ego has clearly reined unchecked for decades. He was always flamboyant, and vague murmurs would exchange among patrons about his bossiness in rehearsals. But now comes a series of reports and accusations about multiple incidents of sexual harassment, verbal harassment, physical intimidation, and extremely unprofessional behavior even when he's feeling more collegial. Some of the accusations are more egregious than others, and in time, Carney will be able to earn public redemption of some kind, provided he learns from his egregious lapses in judgement. But in the meantime, Carney has thoroughly earned his public disgrace. Carney must go, immediately and unconditionally. It is in the interests of the orchestra, the management, the board, the audience, and the Orchkids for whom the musicians are supposed to set an example. This is a potential scandal which the BSO should have handled quietly more than a decade ago, and the orchestra is deservedly humiliated. 

The principal oboeist, Baltimore native Katherine Needleman, deserves credit for having come forward at any time with her allegations. To think that every orchestral tuning for fifteen years was a tense public encounter between harasser and harassed is mindboggling to contemplation. It is by no means her fault that this horrific labor dispute occurred when it did. 

But even those who judge the veracity of Needleman's claim differently have to understand that the longer the Carney issue remains unsettled, the more damaging Carney presence becomes to the musicians' position, and don't think that management hasn't exploited that to the hilt. The fact remains that management waited until the musicians' weakest public relations moment in their history to tell them that their jobs are being gutted. It's a triple belittlement for the musicians. Their bosses deliberately waited for the people who work for them to be at their most humiliated so that their futures can be bled, and now the musicians have to negotiate from the weakest public relations position in their entire history.  

But the BSO musicians are not entirely blameless either. The Board of Directors might have put a stop to this were there not residual resentment from the very beginning of Marin Alsop's tenure, when the musicians' public mutiny against Marin Alsop's hiring created a humiliating international scandal which made the whole city look like a sexist backwater. If Marin Alsop does not speak out more forcefully for the musicians, it may be because many of the musicians never properly supported her. 

So was the mutiny due to sexism? Probably quite a bit of it, but no matter how much of it was due to sexism, Alsop did not put her best foot forward at the time, so Baltimore had yet to learn about her enormous strengths. Her first BSO reviews weren't great, and apparently some comments to the orchestra no more helpful than "I'm not feeling it."  But from the very beginning, Alsop turned out to be every bit the class act that her hiring was not, and worked to win the players over with all too much forgiveness.  

10. Do Not Cut Funding to Orchkids or Rusty Musicians

All that fuss made over the hiring of a music director who turned out to be pretty damn good. 

Even were Marin Alsop a man, she'd be an unconventional conductor. She's nothing short of a visionary when it comes to finding alternative ways to create concert experiences, and when the repertoire is something from the 20th or 21st centuries, her performances can be as inspiring as any conductor's. But in the most traditional concerts, she sometimes sounds as though she'd rather be anywhere else, and the previous CEO, Paul Meecham, insisted that she do plenty more traditional concerts than she'd have ever wanted to do. Her vision sometimes seems in the manner of a Hollywood producer rather than a musician. The large-scale projects she mounts are truly extraordinary, and no one who was in the audience will forget them: semistaged versions of Bernstein's Mass and The Magic Flute in which the singers intermingled with the orchestra, Honegger's Joan of Arc with three full choruses, a full production of A Midsummer Night's Dream accompanied by Mendelssohn's music, a whole 25 minute new orchestral work by Kevin Puts with accompanying video about the City of Baltimore after the riots, bringing the world's greatest composers into town to conduct their own music. She is the orchestra's best asset. Whomever she's replaced with will not be worth losing her. 

So when a Baltimore Sun op-ed appeared on November 27th from co-chairs of the Baltimore Symphony Musicians - Greg Mulligan and Brian Prechtl, suggesting that the two flagship programs of Maestra Alsop's tenure be dramatically cut, my eyes went three inches forward. 

It was never said outright, but the message was abundantly clear when they wrote: "BSO management has de-emphasized the focus on the orchestra itself. Instead, management has invested energy, time, and money into new and/or expanded programs. Many of these programs were and still are noble undertakings, but they have been started or have expanded at the same time that the orchestra itself has literally shrunk." 

All true, but if BSO falls and nobody's there to hear it, does it make a sound? Marin Alsop's two flagship programs are Rusty Musicians, an every year training institute by which amateur musicians who once played well enough to play along with professionals can get their skills back and play in the Baltimore Symphony for a concert. And Orchkids, a program to teach instruments to 1,000 students in public schools around the city. 

Time and time again, research has proven that the most reliable patrons of classical music were once classical musicians themselves. By a million miles, the best way to inculcate a love of classical music into people is to get them to play it. When you play music, you don't just experience music in your ears and minds; you experience it tactilely - physically expending effort in your body and hearing the result of what you have created yourself. Amateur musicians may eventually lose their skills, but every professional concert they attend is a sacred reminder of those accomplishments, emotional experiences bound up in the stories of their lives. If the BSO wants a future, it will expand these programs, not contract them. 

But reading between the lines, the message of this op-ed is abundantly clear. The musician's counteroffer is "Marin's programs must go." If Marin's programs go, Marin goes too, and so will all the audience members inspired to come hear the orchestra thanks to passion reignited by Rusty Musicians and respect for OrchKids's commitment to social justice. It would be cataclysmic to get rid of these programs, it may be a disaster to even cut them. Anyone who remembers the debacle from the elimination of the Baltimore Symphony Chorus knows exactly how this will go. The bad faith this will generate is astronomical. Still more donations gone, still less new people encouraged to go to concerts. The net loss of both revenue and prestige would eventually exceed the amount saved. 

Furthermore, there may be an ulterior motive for this. There's a sizable contingent of the Baltimore Symphony who never warmed to Marin Alsop, resenting (perhaps rightly) that she was imposed on the orchestra by a showboating executive director named James Glicker, hellbent on creating a major statement to the music world by hiring the first woman music director for a major American orchestra but who barely lasted past Alsop's hiring anyway. The scandal of the musicians' resistance to Alsop's appointment was absolutely international. Friends around the world who never knew a thing about classical music would ask me about what the hell kind of town we are. But Marin Alsop proved as much a class act as her hiring was mendacious. Through sterling character, unique vision, and herculean perseverance and patience, her tenure is a magnificent success - long as you liberally use the edit button.

11. You are both an ambassador to us and from us. 

John Gidwitz may have saddled the orchestra with Yuri Temirkanov, but he did leave behind one asset whose value is unquestionable: The Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda. It was clear that the BSO's traditional audience was dying out with no one to replace it. Gone are the days when the Baltimore Symphony could perform three concerts a week in Baltimore, and in its place must come audiences and revenues from other places. 

The Music Center at Strathmore is not an unquestionable success for the BSO, its attendance is even lower than at the Meyerhoff, but nevertheless it is an audience, and the audience will only grow with time. There is no city in America with as many committed amateur musicians as in civically committed Washington DC - it's not even close. if a well-advertised concert ever happened on a night when they all weren't playing in their own concerts, they might show up in droves. 

The BSO already does concerts in Frederick. Why not further afield. The lack of a Purple Line makes it difficult for people in College Park to come to Bethesda, so why not play in College Park? Why not take chamber orchestra contingents to other college towns like in Adlphi, Salisbury, Frostburg, Westminster, even Annapolis? Why not go to other DC suburbs like Gaithersberg, Bowie, Rockville. Wave yourself under their noses! If they don't come to you, you have to come to them! Why not go further afield? Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Scranton, Allentown, Bethlehem, Charlottesville, Roanoke, Blacksberg, Emory, Lexington, Hampden-Sydney, Harrisonburg. In the days of train travel, it used to be that even the greatest orchestras of the world would stop for concerts in even the smallest cities. Even in upstate New York, you could see the Vienna Phliharmonic perform in a high school gym. Even in the bleakest industrial towns of Siberia, you could hear the Leningrad Philharmonic (as Temirkanov's orchestra was then called). 

Before the BSO got truly good, the Philadelphia Orchestra used to do 10 concerts in Baltimore every year, and the subscriptions were so prized and exclusive as to be passed from parent to child. This wasn't just a chance to hear great music, this was a matter of civic pride. It showed that a high-prestige organization cared enough about our city to give it consideration. If the homes in Baltimore and DC combined are not generating the necessary revenue, there's no choice but to go further afield, and do it often. Make every dollar sing. The effort necessary to find a sufficient audience is grueling, but somewhere out there, that audience exists. You can either find it now, when there's still a chance, or let another orchestra find them - perhaps a full time orchestra with a harder working, more creative board, better equipped for future challenges.  

In Conclusion

If you've read this far, you'll surely believe that some of these suggestions seem more realistic than others, but in times of crisis, creativity is needed more than ever. Like so much of American history, the BSO's history is not a history of continual progress, it's a history of emerging from crisis after crisis, often stronger than ever before, and sometimes not. A stronger future than ever before is still possible. Every part of this crisis was absolutely avoidable, but it requires much, much more serious deliberation than anyone has so far given, much more expense of effort and dollars, and much more vision for a legacy to leave behind. To the musicians, please be heartened that you have a community who cares about you and is incredibly grateful for so much that you've done for us for so many years. To the board, we thank you for your contributions and time, but please know that it's nowhere near enough. This is a second job for every one of you which demands not just your your enjoyment but your every single effort in time and money. The history of this city is being written by you all, and a large substance of your legacies are being determined right now. Will you be remembered well? Will the musicians who depend on you be remembered well? 

In every major rust belt metropolis, in Baltimore, in Detroit, in Cleveland, in Cincinnati, in St. Louis, in Minneapolis, in Buffalo, in Newark, in Rochester, in Syracuse, there are a whole bevy of arts organizations that are giving the performances of a lifetime, orchestras, theaters, museums, performing as though their lives depend upon it, because they absolutely do. Every one of them monuments to mid-20th century prosperity and aspiration that currently operate like priceless antiques in an era that lets them collect dust, organizations that are on the precipice of destruction because nobody is willing to take care of them, and nobody thinks they can get anything out of the experience of having them anymore.

It's just barely not too late yet, but the time to save these organizations is drawing to a close. You have no idea what you have until you lose it, and I guarantee that if, as seems likely now, these organizations are allowed to descend into the morass of history en masse, it will be the very same moment this country ceases to be itself. Art is the world's seismograph, helping us interpret what has been, and what is to come. We have new arts today, glorious ones, but if we allow the monuments of old civilizations to crumble, then we lose those lessons of history, and we lose our best very best link with the forces of history - which are so incredibly powerful that they almost seem occult. History will demand our sacrifice and turn us into the old civilization that another civilization will have to preserve just as we preserve the vestiges of Old Europe. 

It may not seem to people as though a diminished BSO can result in the decline of civilization. But it's just one more great American institution that declines to the point that it ceases to fulfill its mission. There's no reason for a symphony orchestra to exist except for us to know that our lives are a little more beautiful because they're there, and whenever a potential concert is replaced by silence, it's a sign that nobody cares enough to make something beautiful, and may not care enough to make anything at all.

If we believe that people in our society deserves dignity and progress, then we'll want to give them as many chances to see and hear beautiful things that uplift them as we can. Symphony orchestras have been with us all through that rise of America to the world stage, and if they all start an irreversible decline, then all sorts of other civic organizations can decline too, organizations whose utility is 1000x more apparent.