By Daniel Hathaway
. Concerts at Trinity and CMA feature young performers
. BBC shoots itself in the foot
. Milestones: Lili Boulanger, My Fair Lady
HAPPENING TODAY ONLINE & IN PERSON:
At 12 noon on the Brownbag Concert Series at Trinity Cathedral, the Choirs of Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights perform a varied program of choral music led by Performing Arts department chair Laura Webster. The concert can be enjoyed in person or watched via live stream.
And at 7 pm, in Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Piano Cleveland, the Cleveland School of the Arts, and The Cleveland Museum of Art present Alex and the Monsters Who Love Classical Music. “Prepare to be wowed by the creativity of these high schoolers as orchestra, visual arts and dance students collaborate to present this original work side-by-side with local professional musicians.” Click here to reserve free tickets.
Check our Concert Listings for details.
DISTURBING NEWS FROM THE BBC:
In an article in The Guardian, Paul Hughes writes, “The BBC announced last week that its great cultural assets are to be savaged so violently that they may never recover…The corporation runs one full-time professional chamber choir, three full-time orchestras in England, and one each in Wales and Scotland. The plan is to axe the BBC Singers before the Proms, on the eve of their centenary, to reduce the headcount by 20% of the three English orchestras, while Simon Webb, the newly appointed fall guy is working with the nations’ orchestras “to consider whether there could be any lessons” for them. A dark warning indeed.”
by Jarrett Hoffman
French composer Lili Boulanger, the first woman to win the Prix de Rome (and the younger sister of Nadia Boulanger), died on this date in 1918 at the age of 24 of what we now know as Crohn’s disease. Her story is remarkable for what she was able to accomplish not only in such a short career, but despite suffering poor health throughout her life.
In fact, her chronic illness played a part in her intense pursuit of a career in composition. In The Life and Works of Lili Boulanger, Léonie Rosenstiel writes that composing
provided Lili with the means to decide her own future as much as possible, and to show her family, her friends, and, above all, herself, that she was capable of being considered a contributing member of the artistic and intellectual community in which she lived. In other words, it gave Lili the chance to develop a positive self-image…Lili’s physical dependence on others, especially her immediate family and their servants, was often total, but she enjoyed complete intellectual and artistic autonomy.
Illness forced her to withdraw the first time she entered the Prix de Rome. A year later, at age 19, she won for her cantata Faust et Hélène, bringing her a contract with an important publisher — meaning a steady income, and a platform on which to grow her career.
By the time of her death five years later, her output numbered over 50 works. Perhaps most famous is her Psalm 24, as Daniel Hathaway noted in a Diary entry on August 21, the anniversary of Boulanger’s birth.
Another standout is the haunting and beautiful Pie Jesu. Listen to a spectacular performance here by Paul Jacobs and Christine Brewer in an arrangement for organ and soprano — four minutes of haunting yet subtle music to give you goosebumps of the soul.
by Daniel Hathaway
Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s Broadway musical My Fair Lady, based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play Pygmalion, and starring Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews, opened on this date in 1956 to run for a then record number of performances. The 1964 film replaced Andrews with the dubbed voice of Audrey Hepburn, thus featuring two actors who really didn’t sing (Harrison spoke his way through most of his part). Click here to watch Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Jeremy Irons, and Warren Mitchell in a concert performance of My Fair Lady with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Mauceri at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1987.