The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Gian Carlo Menotti’s centennial is the time to ask — How great was he as a composer?

July 11, 2011
2 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

Last Thursday marked the 100th birthday of the composer Gian Carlo Menotti (below).

Menotti, who studied at the Curtis Institute and founded the Spoletto Festival, wrote instrumental music. And he was the longtime partner of American composer Samuel Barber, according to a recent book about Barber. (That must have been some household for music lovers!)

But his reputation continues to rest primarily on his work as a pioneer in bringing opera to television and radio and in creating a certain kind of populist operas — such as the evergreen Christmas opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” — that I also like because it wasn’t five hours long.

Menotti recognizes that the contemporary attention span is what is used to be – or what opera composers would like. (Imagine watching movies as long as so many operas are.)

But how good – or great — a composer is Menotti? And how great and serious is he and work now and will he be seen as in the future?

Those are questions that a recent segment on NPR did fine job of exploring.

Here is a link to that story:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2011/07/07/137649623/making-a-case-for-menotti

What do think of Menotti’s music?

Do you have a favorite Menotti work and why?

Do you think Menotti is a great composer?

The Ear wants to hear.


Posted in Classical music

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