I know when I have prepared well for a lesson when my piano teacher starts addressing things like the pedaling, the articulation of a sforzando or of a rolled chord, when we get to talk about the musicality of it all. I am learning Mompou prelude 6 pour la main gauche. I like left hand studies (this one at least) because they are linear.
Charles Rosen is a viciously funny critic. Even when he is handing out praise, he will do so in a semi-malicious way--though sometimes he hold back a criticism a bit. For example, he find the equation of "cadential closure" with "patriarchal domination" to be to "too facile to be convincing"(in Susan McClary). I would say it is intellectually embarrassing. He also gets in a dig about her writing style being "macho," not exactly what a feminist critic would want to hear. By doing so, he is actually making a pertinent point: that we identify things as male in female in a rather arbitrary way.
At another point, he responds to the idea that there is a "conspiracy" against a minor composer that he obviously thinks is mediocre. (I forget who.) He says, "where can I sign up for this conspiracy?" Noting the absence of an article on eroticism in an opera dictionary, he says there is an article on Milwaukee.
At one point, he says he has left in some mistakes in his own writing when reprinting articles as an object lesson. Since he is eager to point out other people's slips this is a good reminder. Reading his books I feel my own ignorance rather keenly. Rosen had a PhD in French as well being a concert pianist and a self-taught musicologist. I cannot even say that I know more about literature than he does, or that my prose is more refined.
Post a Comment