Describe your best and worst memories of premiere performances David Del Tredici, Composer

Describe your best and worst memories of premiere performances David Del Tredici, Composer



David Del Tredici
Photo by Robin Holland courtesy Boosey & Hawkes

Best:
1976 premiere of FINAL ALICE in Chicago with Solti conducting and Barbara Hendricks, soprano soloist. Because the piece was so tonal — long stretches in the purest D Major — I was terrified the piece would be ridiculed by the public, press and players. As well, the performance apparatus was huge and unorthodox: winds/brass in 4, a siren, a theremin, complex soprano amplification, orchestral players asked to whisper.

What happened? The audience cheered and stood up, the reviews were ecstatic. I was on my way.

Worst:
Premiere of POP-POURRI for soprano solo, rock group, chorus and orchestra at La Jolla, California in 1968. This was the first piece I’d written with orchestra. The orchestration was a mess and the small orchestra unequal to the task. The conservative audience hearing electric guitars and saxes in a concert hall at this time (1968) were horrified. I felt as though I had just farted in church and then had to bow in recognition.