Thanks so much Tom for taking the trouble to put this up for us to
I can't recall if I first heard this work when it was broadcast (it would
have been the spring of my junior year of high school) or via the Nonesuch
vinyl (if I had the record, it is now no longer in my collection, though I
may be just thinking of Foss' recording with Buffalo of Xenakis/Penderecki
that has the preceding catalog number, which I do have), but I absolutely
thought it was the best thing I had ever heard at the time. Of course, it
was not too long after I had made certain other discoveries of a
mind-altering nature (think back to your late 1960s experiences if you
can). I can definitely agree with Steve Smolian that the wit is more Spike
Jones than P.D.Q. and I am not able to listen to it in exactly the same way
due to the effects of playing, collecting, listening to and thinking about
music for almost 50 years in the interim, but I still recall the thrill of
having a beloved classic of the baroque being put through the wringer, not
ala Stokie in grand romantic style, but by someone who, at least
theoretically in my imagination, was touched by Bartok, Mossolov, Carl
Stallings, Charlie Christian and Johann Strauss, to name a few, even if I
can not still summon up the same enthusiasm as I once did.
On a personal level, I can attest to Foss' less than reverent attitude
towards contemporary music, which may explain some of his lack of fear in
writing such clearly provocative a work:
During the years that I was an usher at Carnegie Hall (1969-71, I think), I
sometimes was sent down the hallway to officiate at the (pre-Weill) Recital
Hall. There was a series of new music concerts in the hall that were
presented by the University of Buffalo and overseen by Mr. Foss himself.
What I recall the most, other than my first exposure ever to Riley's "In
C", from these concerts was Foss standing just outside of the doors to the
hall during the performance of most of the pieces, chain smoking away in
the lobby (remember those days?). Since the other usher and I were the only
others there, he looked over at us and sheepishly said "who can listen to
this stuff anyway?" (not guaranteed to be an exact quote but I will never
forget his message). Since then, I have always had a soft spot for him and
his music, even in spite of some not entirely flattering commentary that
has come to me from acquaintances of mine who had to work with or for him
in Buffalo, University or Philharmonic.
Happy New Year,
On Thu, Dec 31, 2015 at 4:40 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> It's not often that a scathing review like this gets written:
> or that people jeer at a NY Philharmonic concert!
> Listen and judge for yourself:
> Recording found on a yard-sale reel tape, the review was included in the
> box. Surprisingly good fidelity for quarter-track off-air taping, although
> the channels were reversed and there's considerable edge warp on the
> ancient acetate-backed 1-mil tape.
> Happy New Year!
> -- Tom Fine