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CELEBRATORY PARADE

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BILL NEWMAN has been to the 2001 Spoleto Festival
and reports on his impressions of the surroundings,
local artists and international music-making

 

<< Continued from last week

4. CONTRETEMPS

Spoleto Festival 2001

I question the fairness and truth behind a free verse write-up entitled Gian Carlo Menotti: A weary musical warrior skirmishes on by Michael White in the New York Times -- a derisory piece on Menotti's lack of acceptance outside Spoleto in either musical or celebratory terms. White, a typical new generation critic, is not slow to draw attention to his own efforts to create more recognition for Menotti and his colleague Samuel Barber, whilst deploring a lack of activity elsewhere.

This matter is not new: Howard Taubman and John Ardoin, and even Menotti talking to me during last year's festival, have dealt accurately with the responsibilities of mounting an important festival in the context of a busy composer. I am told that Menotti's music is accepted in France and Germany, yet this is not mentioned.

It would be more constructive to attend to the enormous amount of music from the mid-twenties to the late sixties which is never performed, regardless of inclusion by enterprising record companies. Listen to the immediate sparkle of Mascagni's operetta, then wrestle with the fact that London has not heard it in years. It is now fashionable to bundle these superb tunesmiths and master orchestrators together and ignore them.

I am delighted that Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged has come back into circulation. Hopefully, everyone who understands and values fine music -- the way it is crafted, how it sounds and what it stands for -- will eventually be granted the means of judging it through increased hearings.

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Copyright © 27 November 2001 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK

 

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THE SPOLETO FESTIVAL WEBSITE

BILL NEWMAN'S VISIT TO THE 2000 SPOLETO FESTIVAL

 

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