Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Five by Five

From Steve Hicken -

1) What five six seven oh, forget it operas would you most like to see performed?

Weinberger, Schwanda the Bagpiper
Saariaho, L'Amour de Loin
Verdi, Re Lear
Dukas, Ariane et Barbe-Bleu
Ades, The Tempest
Pfitzner, Palestrina
Respighi, La fiamma
Reyer, Sigurd
Puccini, La Fanciulla del West
Berlioz, Les Troyens
Schreker, Der ferne Klang
Szymanowski, King Roger
Sessions, Montezuma
Ponchielli, La Gioconda
Mascagni, Isabeau
Hermann, Wuthering Heights
Marschner, Der Vampyr (in honor of the day)

2) What five pieces would you most like to hear performed?

Saint-Saens, Organ Symphony
Messiaen, Des canyons aux etoiles
Schoenberg, Gurrelieder
Sibelius, Eighth Symphony
Carter, String quartet (any)
Dufay, mass (any)

3) What five living performers would you most like to meet?

Claire Chase
Kari Kriiku
Stephen Kovacevich
Dawn Upshaw

4) What five living composers would you most like to meet?


"Meet" isn't the right word, but I'd like to see Harold Shapero again. Perhaps there's a plane ticket to Boston in my future.

5) What five living musicians (composers, performers, writers, scholars, etc) would you most like to play three-on-three basketball with/against?

All the combinations I'm coming up with are too darned mean. However, I agree with Elaine Fine that it would be good to have Taruskin on one's side.

Update: All right, all right, I can't resist: my favorite face-off doesn't include me. I like Boulez, Babbit, and Carter vs. Saariaho, Salonen, and Lindberg, at least if it's something less strenuous than basketball. I'd like Carter to make it to 100....


Robert Gable said...

Maybe 15 years ago, I saw all of the Carter String Quartets played over a weekend at the SF Conservatory of Music, with the composer in attendance. Phenomenal.

Lisa Hirsch said...


Steve said...

At that time there were only four of them, right? I saw the current five on a single, life-changing program by the Pacifica Quartet within the last few years at the Miller Theatre. They'll be doing it again in January for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, launching the centenary year with (fortune willing -- knocks wood) the composer in attendance once more. Lisa, book your tickets now!

Lisa Hirsch said...

(small whimpering sounds)

Steve said...

Unacceptable, my friend, given your wish list. All five Carter quartets with the 100-year-old composer in the same room? I expect to see you there!

(Knocks wood again, harder.)

Steve said...

(Call me out on having missed Appomattox any time you need to, BTW.)

Lisa Hirsch said...

He'll only be 99 in January. :)

Steve said...


Still, the rest applies, no?

Steve Hicken said...

My wife and I were planning to go to NYC for that Carter concert, plus the NYPhil Berio Sinfonia, but finances are going to prevent it.

Lisa Hirsch said...

It's not clear whether I can go. I have already canceled plans to catch Die Frau ohne Schatten in Chicago; I am attending a convention in Seattle in February or March and a jujitsu convention in March. Not sure how much traveling I'm up for next year.

pjwv said...

So you missed the Pacifica doing the complete Carter quartets for SF Performances a few years ago (it was at the Jewish Community Center -- Kanbar Hall?). One of my all-time favorite concerts -- just hours of gorgeousness in the dark.

I liked your desired opera list a lot -- maybe to Verdi's Re Lear you could add Gershwin's Dybbuk, and I once read that Beethoven wanted to write an opera on "William Penn Signing a Treaty with the Indians" -- I guess the universal brotherhood thing appealed to him. It's a shame we can't hear that one.

David B said...

I want to hear live a Henry Cowell symphony. Just about any Henry Cowell symphony, except maybe the Fourth, which I actually did hear live about 20 years ago.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Patrick, yes, I missed that - probably before my period of heavy concert going. I had no idea Gershwin had planned a Dybbuk opera.

David, that would be cool. I was happy to hear that performance of The Banshee in April!

Henry Holland said...

Great list of operas, Lisa! I think Der Ferne Klang is a masterpiece, as are King Roger and L'amour de Loin. I've seen the Schreker (a, needless to say, ghastly production in Berlin that mutilated the score), love to see productions of the other two--ah heck, the Respighi too, a wonderful bit of OTT late romanticism/verismo.

As for Des canyons aux etoiles, you're in luck...or....maybe not, if you can't travel all that much! :-) The LA Phil is doing it as a Green Umbrella concert on Tuesday, 1/15/08 with Mr. Salonen conducting, Andreas Haefliger as the pianist. Strangely, tickets still seem to be available! :-)

Henry Holland said...

Woops, forgot to add:

Mentioning Verdi's never-happened Re Lear reminds me of Britten wanting to write his own King Lear; I believe there's some sketches and the outlines of a libretto from the 1960's, but it was abandoned. The great Finnish opera composer, Aulis Sallinen, has a setting of King Lear that I have a pirate recording of but I can't find a libretto in Finnish or any other language, for that matter.

Of course, there's one of my very favorite operas, Aribert Reimann's wonderfully brutal and utterly bleak setting of Shakespeare's play, which was presented in San Francisco in English twice in the 1980's; I have a tape of the radio broadast (!!) and Thomas Stewart is astonishing as Lear. No, there's no tunes, of course not! :-) The production I saw of Reimann's Lear in Dresden in the 1990's was one of the great nights I've ever had in an opera house.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Re Des canyons, like I need excuses to visit LA!

I missed Reimann's Lear; I was around when it was done at SFO. I now regret it greatly.

Speaking of Sallinen, I heard one of his string quartets in LA last month and was mightily impressed: about five minutes ago I ordered a CD of quartets and his opera Kullervo. He has a Lear too? Oooooh.