I'm boarding the Acela today for another visit to the Boston Symphony under James Levine. The program this week includes Ligeti's Lontano, Schoenberg's Five Pieces for Orchestra, and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring — a fearsome phalanx of twentieth-century masterpieces. Let's hope the diabolism in the music doesn't fuse with Red Sox mania to incite a riot. While up there, I'll be giving a talk at Harvard on the musical activities of the Office of the Military Governor, United States (OMGUS) in Germany from 1945 to 1949. It's at 5PM on Thursday at the Barker Center, Room 133 — free and open to the public. The topic may sound kind of snoozy, but it's actually kind of hot. Two years ago I spent a week or so going through the files of OMGUS, and I came away awed by the scope and thoroughness of the effort, not only in the musical field but in every aspect of German life. Military Governor Lucius Clay, a forgotten American hero, conducted himself with adamantine neutrality and showed a fearsome eye for detail. Even before the war had ended, he had taken steps to ensure that Germany's great art collections would remain untouched by looting. When he left, in 1949, hundred of thousands of Germans poured into the streets to wish him goodbye. Readers are invited to draw their own comparisons with the occupation of Iraq.
Anyway, GO SOX!!!