A couple of months ago, while wondering what to program at NEC’s second First Monday at Jordan Hall, the familiar and beloved host-impresario-guru-cellist Laurence Lesser realized it would be falling on a significant Election Day Eve, and he struggled over whether to the cancel the show. Ultimately his garrulous and liberal nature (as well as conversations with NEC brass) convinced him that silencing the series would constitute an abdication. Lesser told BMInt that celebrating our national diversity would send the right message, whatever happened the next day.
For the November 2nd concert, don’t expect to hear the works of any German or Austrians, and if a European should slip into the mix to comment on the American condition, it would be in the person of a beloved Czech, whose journey to America helped us value our singular natives sources of melody.
In the Negro melodies of America, Antonín Dvořák “discovered all that is needed for a great and noble school of music. They are pathétic, tender, passionate, melancholy, solemn, religious, bold, merry, gay or what you will. It is music that suits itself to any mood or purpose. There is nothing in the whole range of composition that cannot be supplied with themes from this source. The American musician understands these tunes and they move sentiment in him.”