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Ode To Gravity:
Interviews with Hans Heinsheimer & Tom Johnson

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 76 min
Event Type: Interview and Music  

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From a program first broadcast on December 31, 1975, Charles Amirkhanian interviews two figures who were prominent in promoting contemporary classical and new music during the 20th century. The program begins with a half hour interview, recorded in October 1975, with Hans Heinsheimer, author of “Best Regards to Aida,” and one of 20th century music’s most important music publishing figures. Heinsheimer’s career spanned fifty years beginning with Universal Edition in 1923 and continuing through 1979 with Boosey & Hawkes and Schirmers. At the age of 75, Hans offers his reminiscences about publishing some of the most important modern operas and musical compositions, as well as his personal friendship with such luminaries as Béla Bartók, Ernst Krenek, Kurt Weill, and George Antheil. The program then continues with an interview, also recorded in New York City in October of 1975, with avant-garde composer and music critic Tom Johnson. Amirkhanian quizzes Johnson, who has written for the “Village Voice” and “Musical America,” about his role as one of the country’s only critics who writes exclusively about new music. Johnson remarks how avant-garde music, which was once primarily viewed as a radical challenge to tradition and audience expectations, has, as it becomes more accepted and commercially viable, begun to reexamine and even incorporate elements from the past. Correspondingly Johnson’s own music reviews have evolved from a basic promotion of the new, to now examine what is good about what is new. An example of this renewed focus on older musical forms, albeit in a still distinctly modern style, is Johnson’s own opera “A Masque of Clouds,” which premiered at the Kitchen in New York City in October 1975, a lengthy excerpt of which is included at the very end of this interesting and informative program.

Musical Selections:  Masque of Clouds, An Opera in Three Acts and 132 Variations [excerpt from Act III] (1975) (19:00) / Tom Johnson [in collaboration with Robert Kushner]
Genres:  20th Century Classical; Avant-Garde
Subject:  Heinsheimer, Hans W., 1900-1993; Johnson, Tom, 1939-; Bartók, Béla, 1881-1945; Antheil, George, 1900-1959; Krenek, Ernst, 1900-1991; Weill, Kurt, 1900-1950; 20th century classical; Avant-garde (Music) ; New music; Music publishing; Composers; Music -- History and criticism; Music critics; Operas -- Excerpts; Songs with instrumental ensemble
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Heinsheimer, Hans W., 1900-1993; Johnson, Tom, 1939-; Kushner, Robert, 1949-
First Broadcast Date:  12/31/1975
 
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