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Frequently Used Resources (in order of relevance)
Happy Banned Books Week!
The Music Library celebrated Banned Books Week 2013 (September 23-27) with some controversial music and band literature.
An interactive exhibit
Throughout our exhibit you will see quotations from critics mentioning a variety of composers and their works. Also, if you have a smartphone, download a QR code reader so that you can scan codes that will lead you to audio and video recordings of the various works represented. Enjoy!
Salome and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
Salome by Richard Strauss
- Premiered in Dresden on December 9, 1905
- “The notorious Dance of the Seven Veils was widely regarded as a striptease long before sopranos actually began disrobing to it. The music’s flagrant hootchy-kootchy style signified as much no matter what the staging…” (Kramer, Opera and Modern Culture: Wagner and Strauss)
Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk by Dimitri Shostakovcih
- Premiered on January 22, 1934 in Leningrad
- After the January 17, 1936 performance, which was attended by Stalin and some of his high-ranking officials, a piece appeared in the newspaper titled “Muddle instead of music.” In this article he was accused of going in the opposite direction of natural, human music and also included warnings of future consequences if he failed to change his ways. This shattered Shostakovich and it took years for him to recover its effects.
The Miraculous Mandarin
The Miraculous Mandarin by Bela Bartok
- Premiered in November 1926 in Cologne
- “The unsavoury aspect of the work caused it to be withdrawn immediately after its November 1926 premiere in Cologne, and contribute to the continual postponement of its Budapest premiere until December 1945, after the composer’s death.” (Oxford Music Online)
- Bartok continued to revise the piece until 1931, which resulted in a symphonic work based on musical symbols of desire and love.
Ballet Mechanique by George Antheil
- Premiered on June 19, 1926 in Paris at the Théàtre des Champs-Élysées
- Accompanied Fernand Léger’s experimental film of the same name.
- “The piece began before a silent and attentive audience. After five minutes of it, a few began to fidget; after six minutes a few more began to cough; after seven a few more began to giggle. At the eighth minute precisely, a man in the third row raised his cane, to which he had tied his handkerchief. At the sight of that white flag the entire house simultaneously gave up trying not to laugh. I don't know how Ballet Mécanique ends. I am not even prepared to discuss its possible musical value; but I do know that as a comedy hit it was one of the biggest successes that ever played Carnegie Hall.” (Deems Taylor on the Carnegie Hall debut)
The Rite of Spring
The Rite of Spring (Le sacre du printemps) by Igor Stravinsky
- Premiered May 29, 1913 in Paris at the Théàtre des Champs-Élysées
- “The antis began to hoot and whistle, the pros to cry ‘bravo.’ The New York critic Carl Van Vechten remembered not noticing for the longest time that the man seated behind him was trying to beat time on his head. Nijinsky’s mother fainted. Camill Saint-Saëns, composer of Carnival of the Animals, left the hall… and catcalls so much worse that even Arnold Schoenberg had yet to hear them from an audience.” (Everdell, The First Moderns)
Head of Collection Development, Warren D. Allen Music Library