View RSS Feed

Pierre's Tuesday Blog

Theatre of the Mind

Rate this Entry
En français

The music selections I chose to explore today are, in a sense, speculative works – that is to say, works written (one could think) in anticipation of a stage work. All of the pieces I chose are intended either to depict stage music, or suggest stage music, whilst not necessarily designed to accompany any specific stage work – other, maybe, than the type of stage performance, be it a theatrical play, a ballet or an opera.

Let’s start with the opera selection. Canadian composer Alexina Louie is both fairly prolific and has shown throughoput her work a keen sense of imagination. The work she composed as a commission for the French contemporary Ensemble Court-Circuit is a work that provides both the flow and texture of opera with the Far-Eastern flair that betrays Ms. Louie’s ancestry. An escellent description of the piece is provided by Ms Louie as notes to her socre at the Canadian Music Centre along with more commentary provided in an interview that is part of the clip I chose.

Ballet seems to be a popular subject for “imagined” stage music. I chose works by England’s Samuel Coledridge-Taylor and Canada’s André Mathieu that could very well have been used to accompany both traditional and contemporary dance choreographies.

In the theatrical genre, a pair of works by two composers who produced their fair share of stage music. Canada’s Healey Willan contributed to well over 40 stage works of all kinds (The Beggar's Opera, Brébeuf , Deirdre, many stage works for Hart House Theatre, etc.). His Overture for an Unwritten Comedy was written for a CBC 1940’s radio talent competition Opportunity Knocks.

Aaron Copland also made his fair share of stage and film music contributions: The Tender Land, stage and film version s of plays by John Steinbeck and others. His Music of the Theatre and the Piano Concerto (1926) were both composed for and given their first performance by legendary Boston Symphony conductor, Serge Koussevitzky.

Happy Listening!


Healey WILLAN (1880 – 1968)
Overture to an Unwritten Comedy, B79
CBC Vancouver Orchestra under Mario Bernardi

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990)
Music for the Theatre (1925)
New-York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein

André MATHIEU (1929-1968)
Scènes de ballet, suite pour orchestre (1945)
Tucson Symphony Orchestra under George Hanson

Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875 –1912)
Scenes from an Imaginary Ballet, op.74
Phillip Sear, piano

Finale to an Unwritten Ballet (2011)
Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra of Toronto under Norman Reintamm

Alexina LOUIE (*1949)
Imaginary Opera (2005)
Ensemble Court-Circuit under Denys Boulliane
(From a concert in Montreal, broadcast on the TWO NEW HOURS programme on CBC radio. There is commentary pertaining to this work, with host Larry Lake in conversation with composer Alexina Louie, at the beginning of this sound file. The work itself begins at 4:25, after the commentary.)

October 5th, 2012, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will feature a new podcast "Birthdays: Delius & Montsalvatge" at its Pod-O-Matic Channel. Read more October 5th on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.

Updated Oct-02-2012 at 10:29 by itywltmt

Classical Music , Recorded Music