Bard News & Events

Press Release


Mark Primoff
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) is the focus
of the tenth annual Bard Music Festival, which takes place over two weekends, August
13-15, and August 20-22, on Bard College's scenic Hudson River Valley campus.
Codirected by Leon Botstein and Robert Martin, this year's festival, Schoenberg and His
World, features orchestral, choral, and chamber concerts, discussions, preconcert
talks, and a symposium, all offering a multifaceted view of Schoenberg's music and
legacy. The composer's achievements will be presented alongside those of his
contemporaries and successors, including Mahler, Debussy, Zemlinsky, Berg, Webern,
Schreker, Korngold, Pfitzner, Szymanowsky, Wellesz, and Reger, among others.

Schoenberg and His World will present a reconsideration of Schoenberg's place in the
canon of twentieth-century music. With a mixture of performance, scholarship, and
dialogue, the festival will shed light on such aspects of his achievements as his debt
to the German musical tradition, his relationships with Viennese society and Hollywood,
and his legacy to both European and American composers. This latter connection will be
presented in the November 20, 1999 festival concerts at Lincoln Center in New York. By
clarifying Schoenberg's artistic roots and revealing the remarkable expressive range
and variety of his music, the festival will present audiences with a contextual basis
for an appreciation of his work.

Performers for this year's festival include pianists Diane Walsh, Mari Kodama, Dennis
Helmrich, and David Oei; sopranos Susan Anthony and Beverly Hoch; mezzo-sopranos Petra
Lang, Sarah Connolly, and Judith Bettina; tenors Thomas Studebaker, Tony Boutté, and
Steven Tharp; baritones Leon Williams and Paul Houghtaling; bass-baritone Dean Elzinga;
narrator Werner Klemperer; the Canticum Novum and the New York Virtuoso Singers,
directed and conducted by Harold Rosenbaum; the Wihan and Magellan String Quartets, and
the Bard Festival Orchestra conducted by Leon Botstein. A collection of essays by noted
scholars, Schoenberg and His World, is being published by Princeton University Press
and will be available at the festival. 

The Bard Music Festival was established in 1990 as an annual two-week summer festival.
Recitals and chamber concerts take place in Bard's intimate, 370-seat F.W. Olin Hall;
orchestra concerts are presented in an 800-seat acoustical tent on campus grounds. Bard
College is located 90 miles north of New York City on a 600-acre campus overlooking the
Hudson River. For ticket and program information for the Bard Music Festival, call the
box office at (914) 758-3226. Ticket and program information can also be found on the
Bard Music Festival website at

Weekend One August 13-15 

PROGRAM ONE: "Schoenberg Overview." Leon Botstein launches the Festival on Friday,
August 13, in Olin Hall with a preconcert talk at 8:00 p.m., followed by a concert of
Schoenberg's chamber works at 8:30 p.m. The program opens with the Six Pieces for Piano
Duet (1896), one of three published works predating his Opus 1, performed by pianists
Mari Kodama and Dennis Helmrich. Soprano Frances Lucey performs three selections from
Schoenberg's Brettl-Lieder, (1901) followed by three selections from Eight Songs, Op. 6
(1903-05). Two brief 12-tone works, the Three Pieces of 1910 for chamber ensemble and
the Five Piano Pieces, Op. 23, will be performed by the Bard Music Festival Players.
The concert concludes with the String Quartet No. 4, Op 37 (1936), performed by the
Wihan String Quartet. 

PANEL ONE: "The Politics of Identity: Schoenberg as German, Jew, Cosmopolitan." Karen
Painter, Oliver Rathkolb, Alexander Ringer, Mark Weiner, and Pamela Potter share their
opinions at the Bertelsmann Campus Center (Room 144) on Saturday, August 14, at 10:00

PROGRAM TWO: "The Debate over Modern Music." Examines the ways in which Schoenberg and
his contemporaries negotiated conservative and progressive elements in their music
during the first quarter of the twentieth century. The program, on Saturday, August 14,
in Olin Hall, begins with a pre-concert talk by Robert Martin at 1:30 p.m., followed by
a 2:00 p.m. concert. Violinist Eric Wyrick and pianist David Oei perform the Violin
Sonata No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 31a, (1898) by the visionary composer and musical theorist
Ferruccio Busoni. Franz Schreker's Der Wind (1908), a "dance allegory" for clarinet and
piano quartet, features David Oei, piano, the Festival Chamber Players, and Hans
Pfitzner's String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, No. 2, Op. 36 (1925), showcases the Wihan
String Quartet. A performance of Schoenberg's Serenade, Op. 24 (1920-23) by the
Festival Chamber Players featuring baritone Leon Williams concludes the program.

PROGRAM THREE: "Gurrelieder." Saturday's activities conclude in the Festival Tent with
a 7:30 p.m. talk by Ulrich Kramer followed by a performance by the Bard Festival
Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein at 8:00 p.m. The concert is devoted to
Schoenberg's massive Wagnerian orchestral cantata, Gurrelieder, (1900-11) scored for
six soloists, two choruses, and large orchestra, performed by Susan Anthony, soprano;
Petra Lang, mezzo-soprano; Thomas Studebaker and Steven Tharp, tenors; Leon Williams,
baritone; Werner Klemperer, narrator; and the Canticum Novum Singers. 

PANEL TWO: "Schoenberg and the Music of Today." A panel consisting of composers and
music historians, moderated by Richard Wilson, will weigh in on the subject at the
Bertelsmann Campus Center (Room 141) on Sunday , August 15 at 10:00 AM.

PROGRAM FOUR: "Schoenberg in His Viennese Milieu" A program exploring the turbulent
cultural climate of turn-of-the-century Vienna begins in Olin Hall with a pre-concert
talk by Carl Schorske at 1:00 p.m., followed by a 1:30 p.m. concert. The Magellan
String Quartet opens the concert with Schoenberg's youthful String Quartet in D Major
(1897). The Vier Lieder of Alma Mahler (1911), performed by Petra Lang, mezzo-soprano,
provide a look at one of the most prominent and talented women in Viennese artistic
circles. The Magellan String Quartet returns to perform Alexander Zemlinsky's String
Quartet No. 2, Op. 15 (1914). Gustav Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
(1891-96), performed by the Festival Chamber Players, concludes the program.

PROGRAM FIVE "The Society for Private Musical Performances." Later on Sunday, August
15, in Olin Hall, a pre-concert talk at 4:00 p.m., given by Bryan Simms, is followed by
a 4:30 p.m.concert that surveys Schoenberg's Society for Private Musical Performances,
an organization which gave 353 performances of 171 works in 117 separate concerts
between February 1919 and the end of 1921. The program opens with Josef Hauer's Nomos
in Five Parts for Piano, Op. 2, performed by pianist Diane Walsh. Ms. Walsh is joined
at the piano by Peter Vanegrande in an arrangement of Joseph Gustav Mraczek's Max und
Moritz, Symphonic Burlesque for piano four hands. Another piano arrangement (for two
pianos, eight hands), of Alban Berg's Reigen, Op. 6, No. 2, features Diane Walsh and
Dimitri Rachmanov. Karol Szymanowski's Romance for violin and piano in D Major, Op. 23,
features violinist Erica Kiesewetter. Igor Stravinsky's Berceuses de chat, Four Songs
for Voice and Three Clarinets, and Max Reger's Clarinet Quintet in A Major, featuring
clarinetist Laura Flax, violinists Eric Wyrick and Erica Kiesewetter, violist Nardo
Poy, and cellist Robert Martin, complete the program.

Weekend Two August 20 - 22 

SYMPOSIUM: "The Aesthetics of Austro-German Modernism." The second weekend of the
festival begins on Friday, August 20, with a symposium at the Bertelsmann Campus Center
-more- (Room 141) from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Panelists are
Walter Frisch, Lydia Goehr, Stephen Hinton, Esther Da Costa Meyer, and Carl Schorske. 

PROGRAM SIX: "Schoenberg and Operetta." Friday's events continue with a preconcert talk
by Christopher Haileyat 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall, followed by a semistaged performance of
Erich Korngold's arrangement of the music of Johann Strauss Junior and Senior in a
comic operetta, Walzer aus Wien (1930), at 8:30 p.m. Singers include sopranos Beverly
Hoch and Frances Lucey; tenor Tony Boutté; and baritone Paul Houghtaling.

PANEL THREE: "Schoenberg the Painter." On Saturday, August 21, at 10:00 a.m., in the
Bertelsmann Campus Center (Room 141), panelists Klaus Kropfinger, Esther Da Costa
Meyer, and Christian Meyer discuss Schoenberg's contribution to early twentieth century
painting. His numerous self-portraits and "visions" never approached pure abstraction
but are notable for their macabre, expressionistic quality and demonstrate the
versatility of Schoenberg's talent.

PROGRAM SEVEN: "The Lyrical Side of Modernism: Schoenberg's Lieder and Their Context."
Saturday's activities continue with a pr-concert talk by Walter Frisch at 1:30 p.m.,
followed by a 2:00 p.m. concert, both in Olin Hall. This program illustrates how
Schoenberg's circle sought to extend the German lied tradition inherited from Mahler
and Strauss while experimenting with new vocal styles, particularly the speech-song
known as sprechstimme. The concert, with pianist Michael Fennelly accompanying Julian
Milford, Sarah Connolly, and Dean Elzinga opens the concert with Schoenberg's "Dank,"
Op. 1, No. 1 (1898). Richard Strauss was an avid song composer throughout his life, and
the "Traum durch die Dämmerung," Op. 29, No. 1 (1895) is followed by Max Reger's work
of the same title, his Opus 35, No. 3 (1899). Conrad Ansorge's Waller im Schnee, Op. 14
(1900); Alexander Zemlinsky's "Und hat der Tag all seine Qual," Op. 8, No. 2; Franz
Schreker's "Dies aber kann mein Sehnen nimmer fassen," from Five Songs (1900); Karl
Weigl's "Es gross mein volles Leben," Op 12, No. 2; Joseph Marx's "Der Du von dem
Himmel bist"; Alban Berg's Three Songs from "Der Glühende," Op. 2, Nos. 2-4 (1909-10);
and Schoenberg's Three Songs, Op. 48 (1933) conclude the first half. Schoenberg's song
cycle, "Das Buch der häugenden Gärten, Op. 15 (1908-09) is the subject of the second

PROGRAM EIGHT: "The Debt to Tradition." On Saturday, August 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the
Festival Tent, a preconcert talk by Joseph Auner is followed by an all-Schoenberg
concert at 8:00 p.m., featuring the Bard Festival Orchestra conducted by Leon Botstein.
The Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 9b is presented in its full-orchestra arrangement of
1935. Two works of a dramatic nature, Die Glückliche Hand, which features soloist Dean
Elzinga, bass-bartitone, and includes the New York Virtuoso Singers and several actors,
and Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5 (1902-03) an early symphonic poem based on a poem by
Maeterlinck, will be performed.

PANEL FOUR: "Schoenberg in Hollywood." On Sunday, August 22, at 10:00 a.m. in Olin
Hall, a panel consisting of Patricia Carpenter, Sabine Feisst, David Raskin, and
Leonard Stein will discuss Schoenberg's exile in Hollywood, which extended from 1934 to
his death in 1951.

PROGRAM NINE: "Schoenberg and His Berlin Students." Sunday's events resume in Olin Hall
with a talk by Bryan Gilliam at 1:00 p.m. and a 1:30 p.m. concert. The Festival Chamber
Players perform works of Schoenberg's students, beginning with Egon Wellesz's cantata
The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo, Op. 61 (1944), which features mezzo-soprano Judith
Bettina. Nikos Skalkottas's Octet, Op. 30 (1931), Roberto Gerhard's Concert for Eight
(1962), and Hanns Eisler's Palmstrom, Op. 5 "Studies on Twelve-tone Rows" (1924)
follow. The second half of the program is performed by the Festival Players, and
features Schoenberg's String Quartet No. 3, Op. 30 (1927), performed by violinists
Laurie Smukler and Scott St. John, violist Ira Weller, and cellist Robert Martin.

PROGRAM TEN: "Schoenberg: Between Past and Present." On Sunday at 4:30 p.m., Michael
Friedmann gives a preconcert talk, followed by a 5:00 p.m. concert. Both take place in
the Festival Tent. This program challenges the view of Schoenberg as a destroyer of a
venerable tradition by demonstrating how his roots lie in the great German models. Two
of these models, Beethoven and Mahler, are linked in the first selection on the
program, Mahler's orchestration of Beethoven's String Quartet in F minor, Op. 95.
Schoenberg's quasi-tonal Piano Concerto, Op. 42 (1942) follows, with pianist Mari
Kodama joining Leon Botstein and the Festival Orchestra. Schoenberg's historical
awareness is also demonstrated in two orchestrations, of J. S. Bach's Chorale Prelude
"Schmucke dich, O liebe Seele" BWV 654 (1922), and his Prelude and Fugue in E-flat
Major, BWV 552 (1922), performed by the Festival Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein.
The orchestra concludes the program with Schoenberg's Variations for Orchestra, Op. 31
(1926-28), a work that merges 12-tone procedures with the traditional variations form.

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001