The Washington Post

Rediscoveries, indeed

After an unplanned blog hiatus, what better way to reenter than with the subject of rediscoveries — my story in Sunday’s Washington Post about neglected composers whose work is exhumed on CD, but not necessarily in the concert hall. (Though in fairness, some of the CDs I talked about — notably Kenneth Woods’s recordings of Hans Gal’s symphonies — were live recordings.)

I was struck by how many of the composers I wrote about were active in around the same period — born in the last couple of decades of the 19th century, active until the mid-20th (Alfredo Cassella, Albert Roussel, Hans Gal, George Templeton Strong, Alexander Zemlinsky, and the list goes on). This illustrates, I think, just how far World War II shattered a whole tradition, even for some composers who weren’t direct victims of it.

Above: The conductor Kenneth Woods discusses the neglected Viennese composer Hans Gal.

On a loosely related note (rediscovering old instruments...), Charles T. Downey wrote about the Westfield Harpsichord Competition , which takes place at the Clarice Smith Center this week. If you are suffering withdrawal after the Kapell Competition, here’s your chance to hear yet more keyboards.

And a roundup of a few recent reviews during what used to be a sleepy time of year: Charles T. Downey wrote about the harpsichordist Arthur Haas; the National Youth Orchestra of Canada; and, earlier in the month, The Rake’s Progess at Wolf Trap.. Earlier in the summer, Robert Battey covered the NSO@Wolf Trap, twice, though we did not review the live performance of West Side Story that Carla Broyles previewed in the Post. Cecelia Porter weighed in on a performance of the Washington International Piano Festival at Catholic University’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music. And Patrick Rucker went to Evermay; to the Capitol Hill Chamber Music Festival; and to a performance by Urban Arias that he called “some of the best, most original musicmaking that I’ve heard inside the Beltway in a long time.”

Anne Midgette came to the Washington Post in 2008, when she consolidated her various cultural interests under the single title of chief classical music critic. She blogs at The Classical Beat.

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