Music: Giving New Composers a Hearing

Groups like Speculum Musicae perform contemporary works

When Haydn wanted to hear his latest work, he needed only to stroll over to the Esterháazy court orchestra, put the score on the stands and wait a while. Before long, the musicians would give the piece a vigorous tryout. What is more, as a servant of an 18th century prince, Haydn was expected to provide new compositions with regularity. Modern composers no longer have to wear livery, or write on demand, but neither are they assured of having their music performed. Soloists are often indifferent or...

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