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Gushing over Modernism, Day 112

August 20, 2010

Despite the lunch I have yet to devour and the many errands I ought to accomplish in the next hour or so, I had to pause and gush again about the under-performed work of genius on tomorrow’s 8pm performance at the Bard Music Festival: Modernism and Its Discontents.  Firstly, I stand thrilled and amazed by the level of musicianship, intelligence,  and dedication of the American Symphony Orchestra and the Bard Festival Chorale as prepared by James Bagwell.  That we have readied such a physically and musically demanding work in one short week speaks volumes about our quality and professionalism; in my opinion, both ensembles deserve a standing ovation before the concert has even begun.

So grateful to take part in singing such an unusual, complex, and moving work such as Franz Schmidt’s Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln (The Book with Seven Seals), I consider myself incredibly fortunate to perform it with my colleagues.  Although Schmidt’s Austrian political life up to the Second World War left a shadow over his reputation as a composer, Das Buch as a musical portrayal of the book of Revelation ought to rise in the hierarchy of repertoire as a great work to hear and perform regularly.  Doubtless our Johannes, tenor Thomas Cooley, and Robert Pomakov, somewhat appropriately cast as the Voice of God, add style, color, excitement, and beauty to the performance’s appeal.  If you can possibly count yourself among the lucky few to grab up one of the remaining few seats, I will see you at the Richard B. Fisher Center tomorrow.  If not, may you have the chance to hear it in the future with performers as excellent as these.


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