birdwatcher (birdwatcher) wrote,

Весёлый ад!!!

Гениально: сходили не на ту Шехерезаду. Scheherazade.2, John Adams.
Я сослепу решил, что .2 это какая-то опечатка, а Джон Адамс, наверное, дирижер.
Как бы не так: композитор, да еще убежденный массачуссеттский феминист. Сочинил Шехерезаду, неоскорбительную для женщин. Привожу текст из программки целиком, он бесцененен.

John Adams

Born February 15, 1947; Worcester, Massachusetts
Scheherazade.2, Dramatic Symphony for Violin and Orchestra

Ever since his first opera, Nixon in China, drew attention because its subjects were famous living people and its domain was contemporary politics, John Adams has not shied away from difficult and important topics. In subsequent operas, he tackled the Middle East (The Death of Klinghoffer) and nuclear war (Doctor Atomic), and the new opera he is now composing for San Francisco, Girls of the Golden West—the premiere is set for next November—deals with race and women’s rights. His work has inevitably divided listeners and created controversy—the Metropolitan Opera’s 2014 production of Klinghoffer was the target of highly publicized protests and, as Adams recently said, he once got “five minutes of scolding from Rush Limbaugh.” But he continues to address issues that are indispensable to him. (Despite the enduring popularity of his landmark Nixon in China, he told a reporter last month that “the idea of a Trump opera doesn’t interest me in the least.”) Scheherazade.2, Adams’s most recent large-scale orchestral work, deals with one of the central issues of our day—and throughout history: the abuse of women. Responding to the legendary tale of Scheherazade—already given musical voice in Rimsky-Korsakov’s popular 1888 tone poem—Adams set out to portray a modern-day Scheherazade, a strong and independent woman who could “speak back to power,” as Adams has said. He has chosen to call the resulting work a “dramatic symphony,” borrowing the term from Berlioz, even though this new score is dominated by an expansive, concerto-like violin solo to represent the Scheherazade of today. In a recent interview, Adams said that his empathy for women has partly resulted from the years he has spent living with two impressive, accomplished women—his wife Deborah O’Grady, a photographer; and his daughter Emily, a painter. “I do think of the feminine as an archetypal notion of warmth, expressiveness, understanding, and also of power,” he said. “Those are the kinds of energies that are really behind the meaning of music.”

In a short period of time, Adams grew from minimalist upstart to grand statesman of American music. (His storied name makes him a shoe-in to inherit the “president of American music” title Virgil Thomson bestowed on Copland.) He was showered with tributes around the world last month, when he celebrated his seventieth birthday (including being named visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London). Over the years his work has been given many honors, in addition to attracting the kind of large and devoted following that is rare in the arts today. In 1995, his Violin Concerto won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award. On the Transmigration of Souls, which he wrote to honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks, won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Music. In 2004, Adams became the first recipient of the Nemmers Prize in Music Composition from Northwestern University. Like many mainstream institutions, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was slow to endorse his bracing new compositional voice, but it quickly made amends. By now, the Orchestra has played many of his important pieces, from A Short Ride in a Fast Machine to Harmonielehre, one of the few landmarks of late twentieth-century music, performed here in 2007 and again in 2015. Adams himself programmed and conducted two weeks of Chicago Symphony subscription concerts in Orchestra Hall in 1999.

Adams was reared on music of all kinds. His father played clarinet—the instrument his young son would take up as well—and his mother sang with big bands. “In the house where I grew up, we had Mozart and we had Benny Goodman on the record player, and I was not raised to think there was a difference between them,” he once said. In 1965, he went to Harvard, where he studied composition with Schoenberg disciple Leon Kirchner. While at Harvard, he played clarinet in the orchestra for the American premiere of Schoenberg’s opera Moses and Aron in Boston, which was his first hands-on experience with the composer whose famous harmony treatise would lend its title, Harmonielehre, to his own first large-scale symphonic work. In 1971, with a copy of John Cage’s book Silence under his arm, he left the East behind for the Bay Area, where he has lived and worked ever since.

As a composer, Adams was attracted not to the thorny complexities of Schoenberg and his followers, but to the stripped-down purity of musical minimalism. He became a convert in 1974, when he heard Steve Reich and Musicians perform Reich’s landmark Drumming. Adams’s own early works used what he found most appealing in the minimalist vocabulary, but from the start he was trying to say more complicated things. Over time, Adams enriched the minimalist vocabulary almost beyond recognition, even though he has called minimalism “the only really interesting stylistic development” in the musical world at the end of the twentieth century. “It is responsible for a revolution in music.” As he said in a 1992 interview,

Minimalism was a wonderful shock to Western art music. It was like a bucket of fresh spring water splashed on the grim and rigid visage of serious music. I can’t imagine how stark and unforgiving the musical landscape would be like without it. But I think that as an expressive tool the style absolutely had to evolve and become more complex.
And in work after work, Adams’s voice and the minimalist style both evolved. His most recent works include Absolute Jest, for string quartet and orchestra, which references the musk of Beethoven; a saxophone concerto; a second string quartet; and an opera-oratorio, The Gospel According to the Other Mary. Scheherazade.2 is the latest in a substantial family of orchestral pieces that goes back to the very beginning of his career. It is his third score for solo violin and orchestra, following the Violin Concerto of 1993 and The Dharma at Big Sur, composed in 2003.

John Adams on Scheherazade.2

The impetus for the piece was an exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris detailing the history of the Arabian Nights and of Scheherazade and how this story has evolved over the centuries. The casual brutality toward women that lies at the base of many of these tales prodded me to think about the many images of women oppressed or abused or violated that we see today in the news on a daily basis.

In the old tale, Scheherazade is the lucky one who, through her endless inventiveness, is able to save her life. But there is not much to celebrate here when one thinks that she is spared simply because of her cleverness and ability to keep on entertaining her warped, murderous husband.

Thinking about what a Scheherazade in our own time might be brought to mind some famous examples of women under threat for their lives, for example the “woman in the blue bra” in Tahrir Square, dragged through the streets, severely beaten, humiliated and physically exposed by enraged, violent men. Or the young Iranian student, Neda Agha-Soltan, who was shot to death while attending a peaceful protest in Teheran. Or women routinely attacked and even executed by religious fanatics in any number of countries—India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, wherever. The modern images that come to mind certainly aren’t exclusive to the Middle East—we see examples, if not quite so graphic, nonetheless profoundly disturbing, from everywhere in the world, including in our own country and even on our own college campuses.

So I was suddenly struck by the idea of a “dramatic symphony” in which the principal character role is taken by the solo violin—and she would be Scheherazade. While not having an actual story line or plot, the symphony follows a set of provocative images: a beautiful young woman with grit and personal power; a pursuit by “true believers”; a love scene (who knows . . . perhaps her lover is also a woman?); a scene in which she is tried by a court of religious zealots (“Scheherazade and the Men with Beards”), during which the men argue doctrine among themselves and rage and shout at her, only to have her calmly respond to their accusations); and a final “escape, flight, and sanctuary,” which must be the archetypal dream of any woman importuned by a man or men.

I composed the piece specifically for Leila Josefowicz, who has been my friend and champion of my music (and many other composers) for nearly fifteen years. Together we’ve performed my Violin Concerto and my concerto for amplified violin, The Dharma at Big Sur, many times. This work is a true collaboration and reflects a creative dialogue that went back and forth for well over a year and that I expect will continue long after the first performance. I find Leila a perfect embodiment of that kind of empowered strength and energy that a modern Scheherazade would possess. ■

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