I just received the program for the American Symphony Orchestra’s 2005-2006 season (under Leon Botstein, music director). The program includes works composed in the 1930s by Roger Sessions, Randall Thompson, Ernest Bloch, Frank Bridge, Arthur Bliss, Ralph Vaughan Williams; a memorial program on Polish composer Witold Lutolawski; works written in the 50s and 60s by Swiss composer Othmar Schoeck (actually a US premiere), Frank Martin, Arthur Honegger; a complete Schumann program; and a Russian program including Rimsky Korsakov and one act opera by Dargomizhsky (US premiere), awkwardly marketed with a mention of Amadeus, apparently subscribing to the new Lincoln Center myth that Mozart ‘could have gone to Russia’ although he never did in real life (see this year’s Mostly Mozart program). I wish they could have included a 1990s music program in the series but I guess that wouldn’t be retro enough.

On the positive side, I see a real effort to find material that is not run-of-the-mill. On the other hand, if a 50 year interval (as for the Schoeck piece composed in 1955) is what it takes to get a new orchestral piece premiered, I’d say, let’s keep on writing our orchestral music and write up a will… and choose your executor well!

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