“…a detailed and explicit exposition of the most horrible, disgusting, revolting, and unmentionable features of degeneracy that I have ever heard, read of, or imagined.”
– New York Times, 1907
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) is appealing to polite society with an advisement that Aucklanders should exercise caution in deciding to attend the controversial Newstalk ZB Series Degenerate, Denounced and Outraged. APO has today issued safety warnings for those wishing to attend the concert series, and has advised it will bear no responsibility for incidents of audible dissent, heckling and brawling.
The programme of music in this series has already been widely panned by music critics and composers alike. Following the premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, respected critic Eduard Hanslick said the concerto “brought us face to face with the revolting thought that music can exist which stinks to the ear”. Despite high levels of ear pollution, this concerto will be played by French violinist Alexandra Soumm in the concert Outraged on 27 October.
Series opener Degenerate, on 7 April, features Schoenberg’s Violin Concerto played by Michael Barenboim, and APO is considering an increased security presence at the concert. Eyewitness reports from the work’s premiere in 1940 claim “one could hear the shrill sound of door keys among the violent clapping, and in the second gallery the first fight of the evening began”.
Sibelius, a composer who features in the Denounced concert on 11 August, received similar invective from peers: “If Sibelius is to be considered a good composer, then we shall have to disregard all of the criteria historically used to evaluate music,” said German philosopher and composer Theodor W. Adorno. “The symphonies of Sibelius will not last,” composer Béla Bartók predicted, though his own Piano Concerto No.3 also features in the same concert, written while the composer was forced into exile by discerning Hungarian audiences.
APO is bracing itself for waves of moral outrage in the wake of each controversial concert, as reported at the reception of Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin. “The savagery and decadence of the works featured in the Newstalk ZB series is such that we can only hope Aucklanders will have the sense to stay away,” a spokesperson said. “While we don’t condone acts of violence, we are prepared for a furore,” the spokesperson added.
Editor’s notes: In addition to musical adventures, APO sometimes engages in satire. APO advises media that no ear pollution has been detected in the Newstalk ZB Series: Degenerate, Denounced, Outraged, and that the safety of concertgoers is assured. For more information about this series visit apo.co.nz.
8pm, Thursday 7 April
Conductor Johannes Fritzsch
Violin Michael Barenboim
Stravinsky Scherzo à la russe
Schoenberg Violin Concerto
Mendelssohn Symphony No.5, ‘Reformation’
8pm, Thursday 11 August
Conductor Eckehard Stier
Piano Javier Perianes
Bartók Piano Concerto No.3
Shostakovich Symphony No.11, ‘The Year 1905’
8pm, Thursday 27 October
Conductor Giordano Bellincampi
Violin Alexandra Soumm
Mozart The Marriage of Figaro Overture
Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
Strauss Salome: Dance of the Seven Veils
Bartók The Miraculous Mandarin Suite