First Nights of Musical Performance
Making music is exciting for everyone involved, especially the first performance of a work. This seminar will go behind the scenes and explore the making and reception of the first performance of several works—Handel's Messiah, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring—that have stood the test of time and come accompanied by a great deal of historical and critical baggage. Composers create their work for people. Aware of the particular audience's taste, values and behavior, they know the expectations, but are not limited by them. How do those involved—the composers and performers—expect it to sound? Does it sound that way on the first performance? Why and why not? What experience does the audience bring to the first performance? And what lasting influences do these receptions have?