I discover a lot of music as I put together each week's QMF, like David del Tredici, an American neoromantic composer. Here's part 1 of his In Wartime, performed by the Philharmonic Woods of Singapore. Part 2 is after the jump. It's a delightful discovery.
For me, like any composer, if you feel like you're going in a place that has not been gone, it's very exciting. I think that when I set a text that's shocking, I'm thrilled. You can set love poems, but you can't set sex poems, or gay poetry. It's still not O.K. As an out gay composer, I kind of mourn that fact. All the great gay composers of our American past, there has been such a huge number, not one came out. Even today, none are celebrated as gay composers. Copland, Menotti, Barber, Bernstein, Cowell, it goes on and on. It's a remarkable similarity. Why are all these gay men such great composers? Today there are as many distinguished composers who are gay. I just think it's something to be celebrated.
I can do it because I choose to do it by setting gay texts. Creating a body of work which revolves around a "gayness". In fact, last year I wrote "Gay Life" for the San Francisco Symphony. It was a major length song cycle for baritone and orchestra. I've become a militant "out" gay composer, in contrast to Lewis Carroll who was not "out". He was a closeted Victorian young girl lover. (laughter)