Thursday, December 18, 2008

If You Were Gilbert Kaplan...

....what would your monomania be? What piece of music would you study, to the exclusion of all others, and, if you had the bucks, as he does, donate or buy your way into conducting with major orchestras?

Post here in the comments, or on your own blog; if the latter, post a link here!

[If you're behind on this, read Dan Wakin's story in the Times and the blog posting that gave rise to the fuss. Me, I'll have some thoughts on the matter and the larger questions it involves in a day or so, I hope.]


Paul H. Muller said...

I criticized Kaplan heavily in a Sequenza21 comment for not diversifying his activities.

But if I had to choose just one piece it would be the St. John Passion by Bach.

Ton Koopman with his Bach Cantata project comes closest to the sort of single-mindedness I can admire in a musician.

Henry Holland said...

Hmmm...some over the top piece of Late Romanticism, absolutely. The Gurrelieder perhaps, with singers like Wingassen and Christa Ludwig and the Concertgebouw? Maybe one of Schreker's operas, like the glorious Der Schatzgraber or Die Tote Stadt. *Sigh* Poverty sucks! :-)

Henry Holland said...

Just to clarify, my appalling grammar above would indicate that I think Schreker wrote Die Tote Stadt. It's Korngold, of course; maybe I would devote myself to his madly overstuffed Das Wunder der Heliane, which I was happy to learn last week will be getting a staging in Kaiserslautern, Germany in 2010.

Michael Walsh said...

Ravel's Bolero. :)

Paul H. Muller said...

Michael Walsh:

Played Bolero last April (trumpet section) and was pretty sure I was gonna get lost with all the repetition. But in fact the piece is laid out very logically - no one section gets over-extended and its easy to keep track of where you are. I now have a real respect for Ravel's orchestration skills - he actually seems to have sympathy for the players.

Also played Mahler's 1st an that is a whole different experience...

calimac said...

I've heard Kaplan's recording (apparently there are two of them - this was the 1988 one with the LSO) and the NYP musicians are right: he's a totally uninspired conductor.

If I had the enormous bucks necessary, I wouldn't want to conduct anything myself. I'd hire an orchestra to play, under a real conductor, a concert of repertoire of my choosing, and ask nothing more than to be able to attend all the rehearsals and performances.

What would the repertoire be? Maybe I'll say that later.

Robert Gordon said...

Anything I want? Really? Ok, then The Trojans. But I have to be director and designer too.

Troy looks like some shattered Balkan country, the women all in black, Cassandra played by Melina Mercouri. When the Greeks arrive, they're Vietnam-era US troups.

Carthage looks like an Henri Rousseau jungle painting inside the London Chrystal Palace. Dido is Helen Mirren, Aeneus is Kirk Douglas.

And Frederick Ashton is the choreographer.

Lisa Hirsch said...


Robert, yes, anything you want, since I'm making up the rules and I don't have to finance the rehearsals and performance myself. I like your production design.

For me, it'd be Tristan und Isolde, and if not, why, I'll take Gurrelieder for $10,000, or whatever. The Trojans is a good choice too! And I like Henry's as well.

David, you are wise.

calimac said...

Vietnam-era US troups

Like Bob Hope and Jill St. John?

Sator Arepo said...

Webern, 6 Bagatelles for String Quartet, Op. 9.

I could write a book about that. Especially #5. Damn.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Nice choice, Sator.