The critic and psychiatrist Amir Mandel has published a stinging attack in the Haaretz newspaper on the national orchestra, accusing it of failing to renew its repertoire since he first became a subscriber 45 years ago.
I decided to compare what was played in 1966 to what the orchestra is offering next season. One statistic is especially prominent: Over 75 percent of the 2016-17 program contains nothing written in the past 50 years. Quite the opposite was true in 1966, when over 60 percent of the offerings had come from the previous 50 years.
And furthermore: There are even instances when it seems that the IPO is not just treading in place but rather even moving backward, presenting an even more outdated artistic policy than it did half a century ago. For example, in 1966, we find in the program works by William Walton, Michael Tippett and Alban Berg – all 20th-century composers who were part and parcel of the contemporary and vibrant discourse of the world of new music. Not only is a 2016 discourse absent from the upcoming season’s program: Those composers featured in 1966 have almost completely disappeared from its radar screen.
This may have something to do with the IPO having the same maestro and manager team for much of the past 50 years.
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