Saturday, April 06, 2013

22 November 1946: Mitropoulos Rehearses Krenek

22 November 1946: Dimitri Mitropoulos prepares the Minneapolis Symphony for the premiere of Ernst Krenek’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

Krenek, at the time a resident of the Twin Cities, composed his Piano Concerto No. 3 for Mitropoulos and the Minneapolis Symphony. Mitropoulos was both conductor and soloist for the work’s first performance.

Krenek’s Piano Concerto No. 3, a tonal composition, was well-received in Minneapolis—in stark contrast to a Minneapolis performance of Krenek’s atonal, hour-long Symphony No. 2, a performance that had received a very frosty reception from the local audience.

Krenek’s time in the Twin Cities was short. He taught at Hamline University for five years until he and the school had a parting of the ways, the sort of contretemps that marked, endlessly, Krenek’s personal life and professional career (an earlier blowup at Vassar College had sent Krenek fleeing to Minnesota).

Shortly before he left the Twin Cities, Krenek wrote a letter to one of the local newspapers, and offered a parting shot to the people of Minneapolis/Saint Paul:

“I wonder what desperation drove people to settle in this latitude.”

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