The pandemic forced us to focus on the present. Because for six months our future was mortgaged, interrupted. In many cases, even erased dramatically. All we could do was live for the day, amid uncertainty, hesitating every time we set about making plans, scheduling appointments, and moving along once well-defined pathways. Among others who came to the rescue were the artists. And among them, musicians in particular.
That’s because music happens in the present, and as such, music experiences, celebrates and strengthens the present. Music also transcends time and, especially as far as classical music is concerned, becomes a lasting force. Its life expectancy may be years, or even centuries. It remains forever young. By now, we are all well aware of the fact that classical music, by nature, brings together legacies of the past and the quintessence of the present, as it bequeaths them to the future. In this complex set of movements, as they rethink the stuff of what was and at the same time try to imagine what very well may one day be, composers have always had to deal with the future. Sometimes unwittingly, when composing music that melded perfectly with their times, which wound up surviving over the centuries.
Classical music, by nature, brings together legacies of the past and the quintessence of the present, as it bequeaths them to the future.
Other times, with acute awareness, composing for ears that did not yet exist, for listeners whose tastes would only later be shaped and defined. But in one way or another, the inventors of music have always understood the importance of, faced up to, and perhaps even challenged time. They continue to do just that – the world is still brimming with extraordinary composers.
This year’s edition of MITO SettembreMusica, whose theme is Futures, aims to explore the movement and tension I just discussed. Which is to say, the way in which classical music conceived and reconceived itself. For instance, the way Mahler learned from Brahms, and how Rachmaninoff reflected on Beethoven. But also the way in which David Del Puerto, with a commission from by MITO SettembreMusica, created new arrangements for the final sections of Mozart’s Requiem; and how Brad Mehldau writes Lieder, taking his cue from Schumann; while John Adams reconsiders the meaning of dance – just to mention three of the many world and Italian premieres featured on this year’s program.
The 126 concerts slated for the fifteenth edition of MITO SettembreMusica give us the opportunity to explore the way in which classical music conceived and reconceived itself.
The 126 concerts slated for this, the fifteenth edition of MITO SettembreMusica, give us the opportunity to lend an ear to the future that may have frightened Schubert as he composed his Unfinished Symphony – we’ve paired it with Berio’s Rendering, which is based on the fragments Schubert left behind. We’ll discover Tõnu Kõrvits’ musical rendition of Cesare Pavese, bathing the Italian poet and novelist in light (a world premiere), and reflect upon the idea of progress as we reread Brahms before being treated to the Italian premiere of Lera Auerbach’s Icarus. Then there’s Max Reger’s revisitation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, written for two pianos. You get the gist of it.
Sure, open wounds remain, the toll taken by the pandemic. But we’ve begun to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And that’s where an event like MITO SettembreMusica comes in – to help take us there, to guide us toward tomorrow. With faith and hope.