In Eisenach, Germany, in the early 13th century, the landgraves of the Thuringian Valley ruled the area of Germany around the Wartburg. They were great patrons of the arts, particularly music and poetry, holding contests between the Minnesingers at the Wartburg. Across the valley towered the Venusberg, in whose interior, according to legend, dwelt Holda, the Goddess of Spring. In time, Holda became identified with Venus, the pagan Goddess of Love, whose grotto was the home of sirens and nymphs. It was said that the goddess would lure the Wartburg minnesinger-knights to her lair where her beauty would captivate them. The minnesinger-knight Heinrich von Ofterdingen, known as Tannhäuser, left the court of the Landgrave of Thuringia a year ago after a disagreement with his fellow knights. Since then he has been held as a willing captive through his love for Venus, in her grotto in the Venusberg.
His Brobdignagian utterances were consistent with the rest of the piece, a rather blowsy work full of sound but little substance. If you like this sort of 1930s nightclub thing, then this was a superb version of it. Apparently there is more to Sinding than Rustles of Spring.
Mr. Nygaard has long attracted players to these meagerly paid gigs because he is a born teacher and an inspiring figure. After growing up in Arkansas and studying music at Louisiana State University, he went to Juilliard to pursue conducting but was directed to the piano program. Two years out of school, in 1959, he suffered a mental breakdown and spent several months in a state institution. Then came a period of homelessness, during which he spent nights on a bench in what is now called Richard Tucker Park, just across the street from Juilliard. He recovered, thanks to successful treatment and the support of friends.
On Tuesday night, the festival fellows (students) will showcase their ongoing work with a conductor Scott Yoo orchestra, featuring music by Debussy, Ravel, and Rimsky- Korsakov. But this is just one of dozens of concerts and recitals still on tap. Complete details can be had by visiting 59ce067264