The title of Aaron Copland’s most famous piece, far from being a meaningless platitude, is a clear political statement.
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Virgil Thomson, subject of a new Library of America series, produced admirable works. But his offensive statements about Aaron Copland and George Gershwin are cause for scrutiny.
Despite Leonard Bernstein’s fame, questions remain about his personal life and his career. A new collection of his letters answers some of the more vexing ones.
To some lovers of classical sounds, organ music seems irremediably goyish, in spite of achievements by Jewish composers like Aaron Copland and Arnold Schoenberg.
A November of concerts featuring fall colors and Yiddishkeit is available to Manhattan music lovers. On November 3 & 4 at New Brunswick’s State Theatre in New Brunswick and Newark’s NJPAC respectively, explosively expressionistic colors will be conveyed by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and conductor Augustin Dumay in Arnold Schoenberg’s stirring “Transfigured Night.” Also on November 3 at the Ukrainian Institute of America, broodingly autumnal shades will be explored when the Ensemble Made in Canada plays Gustav Mahler’s ultra-romantic Piano Quartet. On the same day at Bargemusic the bountiful musical harvest will continue as Trio 21 offers the New York premiere of an arrangement for piano trio and narrator of Glen Roven’s sensitively fashioned orchestral work for children, “Runaway Bunny.”
As this fall’s concert season kicks off, Manhattanites in search of classical performances with a dollop of Yiddishkeit will have a delightful array of choices, starting with the genial ghost of beloved Austrian Jewish violinist Fritz Kreisler, which presides over the New York Philharmonic’s Opening Gala. On September 27 at Avery Fisher Hall, Itzhak Perlman will play Kreisler’s “Tambourin Chinois,” which some music snobs might see as an unadventurously musty selection for such a high-profile orchestral outing, but Kreisler’s legion of fans will be ever-grateful.
• Aaron Copland owed much of his career to Serge Koussevitzky.
As summertime slowly approaches, concerts of music both minimal and maximal will enchant Manhattanites in search of aural Yiddishkeit. On April 29 at the Walter Reade Theater, flutist Claire Chase will perform Steve Reich’s “Vermont Counterpoint” in its version for flute and tape; the alternate version, for eleven flutes, would doubtless exceed even the gifted Chase’s capacities. She will be joined for other, less minimalist, works on the program by the pianist Jacob Greenberg. On May 1 at Carnegie Hall, Reich’s mini-fluting is exchanged for emotional maxing-out in the form of Gustav Mahler’s songs interpreted by baritone Matthias Goerne with the superstar pianist Leif Ove Andsnes.