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Music and Faith Lecture Series: Music, Religion and the Modern Era: Leonard Bernstein

Tuesday,Dec, 11, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Bernstein by Allen Warren Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%D0%91%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BD%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%B9%D0%BD_%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%BD%D0%BA%D0%B0.jpg

Darien Library presents a new four-week, Tuesday lecture series on music and faith taught by Gil Harel. (Watch his previous lectures.) All lectures take place from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Community Room at Darien Library.

— an announcement from Darien Library

Music, Religion, and the Modern Era: Leonard Bernstein

For many listeners, classical music of the 20th century is polarizing. Beginning with composers such as Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg, dissonance and instability began to supplant traditional approaches to melody and harmony.

Bernstein by Allen Warren Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%D0%91%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BD%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%B9%D0%BD_%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%BD%D0%BA%D0%B0.jpg

Photo by Allen Warren, via Wikimedia Commons

Leonard Bernstein, 1973

This new and somewhat radical style was applied to seemingly every style of music, from ballet to chamber music to concerti, as well as religious music.

For many people, this latter point seemed to suggest a paradox: after all, how could religious music capture the beauty and sublime nature of spirituality if it was filled with crunchy dissonances and incoherent rhythms?

The Jewish-American composer Leonard Bernstein tackled this exact issue in his Chichester Psalms. Composing during the 1960s, Bernstein set no fewer than six psalm quotations, each imbued with memorable musical characteristics ranging from septuple meter (7/4) to harmonies suffused with modernistic qualities while remaining rooted in tonality.

In this work, Bernstein achieves a uniquely modern sound while rooting the work in familiar territory. Surely this is what J.S. Bach might have called “well-regulated church music.”

  • Can’t make one of the live events? Check out the video recording afterward at DarienLibrary.tv.
About the Presenter

Gil Harel (PhD, Brandeis University) is a musicologist and music theorist whose interests include styles ranging from classical repertoire to jazz and popular music, as well as opera, medieval, and renaissance music.

Gil Harel Darien Library music lecturer

Photo from Dr. Gil Harel Lectures Facebook account

Gil Harel

Previously, he has served on the faculty at CUNY Baruch College, where he was awarded the prestigious “Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching”, as well as the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China.

Currently, he teaches at Naugatuck Valley Community College, where he was recently presented with the coveted “Merit Award for Exemplary Service to the College.”

At NVCC, Dr. Harel conducts the college chorale, teaches music history and theory, and serves as musical director of theater productions. Outside of teaching, he enjoys staying active as a pianist and vocalist.

Venue

Darien Library
Darien, CT United States + Google Map