A Menotti Premier 1952 – L.A. Phil. , Wallenstein – Past Daily Weekend Gramophone

Gian-Carlo Menotti
Gian-Carlo Menotti – one of the major forces in American Classical Music in the 1950s.

– Gian-Carlo Menotti – The Apocalypse – West Coast Premier – L.A. Philharmonic, Alfred Wallenstein – Nov. 13, 1952 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Gian-Carlo Menotti this week. One of the major forces in American classical Music during the 1950s, Menotti’s career was assured when his one-act opera, Amahl and The Night Visitors, was commissioned by NBC-TV and became a staple in the diet of just about every American home over the Christmas holidays from 1951 on. Because television was new, and because television was also pledged to bringing Arts and Culture to a mass audience, the commission and the popularity were double blessings for the young composer, who was just beginning a long and celebrated career. In 1950 he received the Pulitzer prize for another opera, The Consul and again in 1955 for another opera The Saint of Bleeker Street.

Italian by birth, Menotti migrated to the U.S. in the 1920s and studied at the Curtis Institute where he met and worked with fellow students Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber.

The West Coast premier of his first orchestral work, The Apocalypse was performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic under its then-Music Director Alfred Wallenstein. The work was written in 1951.

Unlike many of the composers I’ve been featuring on this Weekend Gramophone feature, Gian-Carlo Menotti is still very popular, with some 150 recordings of his works still in the catalog. Although his work isn’t performed in concert as much as it used to, his work is still very popular and his operas are considered milestones in American classical music.

Menotti died in 2007 at the age of 95, leaving a lengthy legacy as one of America’s finest composers of the 20th century.


Clocks have turned back – dark before five – traffic everywhere – Thanksgiving quickly followed by Christmas – quickly followed by New Years Eve. Long enough for you to wonder where the time, let alone the year, went. Yep, it’s moving fast and it’s moving crazy.
And you just want things to calm down – take it easy – not be so loud – not feel jostled all the time.

Not sure Past Daily can offer that all the time, but we try. If you’ve been around the past few weeks you noticed we made some changes. Not running concerts and sessions at night anymore. We figured you probably wanted to get to sleep and having your ears glued to something high-voltage is probably not conducive to much needed nods. So we shifted the concerts to the morning, where you are probably staggering out of bed or on your way to work or hitting the gym. It seems to be working, as a lot of you have discovered us (after all these years) – and nighttime is heading off into the gentle direction. Interviews – history that doesn’t blow up or land into hysterics. We’re tinkering with the idea of putting up some ASMR to actually help you sleep, but that might be pushing things a bit far.
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