Something Alien in Baltimore

W. Somerset Maugham
Operatic issues flow in ‘Alien Corn’
Premiere of work by Peabody pair
By Tim Smith [Baltimore Sun, 12 Mar 05]
Nearly a century ago, the great pianist and intriguing composer Ferruccio Busoni declared that the duty of the performer is to liberate music “from the deadness of the printed page and bring it to life again.”
In The Alien Corn, an opera based on a short story by W. Somerset Maugham and premiered Wednesday night at the Peabody Conservatory, a would-be musician faces the dreadful realization that no amount of study will enable him to conquer that deadness – “Not in a thousand years.” All he can aspire to, he learns after playing for an eminent pianist, is to be “an accomplished amateur.”
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