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Subject: Menotti
From: Rick Teller <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Rick Teller <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 18 Jan 1998 23:47:00 -0500

text/plain (38 lines)

On Sunday, 1/18/98, Paolo wrote:

>While I'm aware there's a good number of listers who despise the music
>of Gian Carlo Menotti, I'm going ahead with this post anyway.

OK, I confess.  Part of my Christmas ritual every year is to take out my
old, slightly scratchy, mono LP of Amahl -- vintage 1952, with the original
cast conducted by Schippers -- and play it at least once.  This year it was

I doubt I am alone on this list in claiming that Amahl was among my "first"
childhood operas.  There was the recording; every Christmas there always
seemed to be a staging of the piece somewhere.  I recall knowing the music
well at a very early age.  It remains a link to my childhood, and I will
defend my right to wallow in nostalgia and sentiment ... well, you get the

But I don't think I'd enjoy revisiting my lost pre-Janacek innocence as
much if Menotti's music and dramaturgy were less well-honed.  Certainly he
had his feet firmly planted in the 19th century (but no more so than his
good friend Samuel Barber), but he knew exactly what effect he wanted and
how to get it.  To do so in an idiom which speaks equally well to children
and adults takes a special skill, as does writing a piece which lends
itself as well to amateur as professional performance.

Rick Teller
Librarian & Archivist
The Williston Northampton School
Easthampton, MA 01027
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"In evolution, sometimes you're a fly, sometimes you're the windshield."

       -- Louie Psihoyos

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