By Jacob Stockinger
Sequels are not just for books, movies and Broadway shows any more.
Classical music is also starting to generate them — centuries after the originals.
It may be hard to imagine writing sequels to masterpiece sonatas, chamber music, symphonies and concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Igor Stravinsky and others.
But in a kind of musical postmodernism, that’s what is being done with more and more frequency.
The composer Timo Andres (below top, in a photo by Tawny Bannister for The New York Times) wrote a piano concerto based on Beethoven for the great young American pianist Jonathan Biss (below bottom), who has performed with the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Biss, along with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, has commissioned five piano concertos in the spirit of Beethoven’s five piano concertos.
And the great young American violinist Jennifer Koh (below top, in a photo by Loren Wohl for The New York Times) and her equally terrific recording partner, pianist Shai Wosner (below bottom) – who has performed several times in Madison with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra — have commissioned three sonatas based on the work of older composers from three modern composers.
But musicians and especially modern composers, including the important composer John Adams (below), have mixed feelings about such derivative projects.
Here is a fine story about the phenomenon of sequels that appeared in The New York Times: