SO WHO NEEDS ANOTHER PLANET?

Gustav Holst had four years to add a Pluto movement to his suite “The Planets” before he died. He didn’t do it, of course, and the suite has never suffered in popularity for it. Now the Halle Orchestra will premiere a “Pluto” movement, newly composed by Collin Matthews, and some are asking if it’s just a publicity stunt. In fact, a bit of a mini-trend is brewing in finishing dead composers’ works. – The Scotsman

  • Composer dedicates “Pluto” to Holst’s daughter: “I suspect she would have been both amused and dismayed by this venture,” says Matthews. – BBC 03/17/00

THE TYRANNY OF THE AVANT-GARDE

Composer Frederick Stocken is no fan of Pierre Boulez. Stocken acknowledges that Boulez was a revolutionary in his younger days, fighting to throw off the repression of tonality. But as the 20th Century progressed, “it was the old story of the revolutionaries becoming as repressive as the masters they had sought to overthrow. In the musical world, the Young Turks became a powerful, “anti-establishment” establishment in which all that was subversive was acceptable and anything deemed traditional was banned. Far from fulfilling its emancipatory promise, atonality became just another dogma, an “official” art. If the parallels between communism and modernism have any truth, how is it that the Marx-influenced aesthetic of Boulez did not collapse with the downfall of communism?” – New Statesman

THE STREETS ARE ALIVE …

Is that Julie Andrews you hear singing in the streets of Leicester? Yes! Along with scores of Londoners singing along to the 1965 film as it’s being displayed on a huge outdoor screen with accompanying karaoke-style lyrics. Also available at the event are sing-along kits, which include “a foam nun (to wave during the opening nun sequence), a fake edelweiss flower (for Christopher Plummer’s solo number) and Ricola mints for the ensuing sore throat.” – Singapore Straits Times (USA Today)

DOES HE HAVE THE CHOPS?

“Ross Stretton, the sixth director in the Royal Ballet’s 70-year history, may at first seem a rank outsider. His career as both a dancer and a director has been confined to America and Australia. Yet Stretton trained in Melbourne under Peggy van Praagh and Robert Helpmann, whose links with the Royal Ballet could hardly be more gold-plated. So even if he is a Covent Garden outsider, he is the insiders’ outsider.” – London Times