Premiers: The Eclectic

Three years ago, Poet W. H. Auden submitted a new libretto based on Euripides' The Bacchae to German Composer Hans Werner Henze. "I read it with great admiration," Henze recalls, "but I had a feeling that I had to grow up to this work." He was then 37, and just "making the important discovery of great 19th century musical forms." So Henze brooded about the libretto, and continued meanwhile to write and conduct, rediscovering other composers and staking out for himself a path "not fully traversed—the distance from Tristan to Mahler and Schoenberg." In Austria last week, Henze finished...

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