Critical Entertainments: Music Old and New
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An extraordinarily gifted musician and writer, Charles Rosen is a peerless commentator on the history and performance of music. Critical Entertainments brings together many of the essays that have established him as one of the most influential and eloquent voices in the field of music in our time.
These essays cover a broad range of musical forms, historical periods, and issues--from Bach through Brahms to Carter and Schoenberg, from contrapuntal keyboard music to opera, from performance practices to music history as a discipline. They revisit Rosen's favorite subjects and pursue some less familiar paths. They court controversy (with strong opinions about performance on historical instruments, the so-called New Musicology, and the alleged "death" of classical music) and offer enlightenment on subjects as diverse as music dictionaries and the aesthetics of stage fright. All are unified by Rosen's abiding concerns and incomparable style. In sum, Critical Entertainments is a treasury of the vast learning, wit, and insight that we have come to expect from this remarkable writer. It will delight all music lovers.
him to play for his patron, Count Kaiserling. Essentially a creation of the comic spirit, it also contains some of the most moving passages that Bach ever wrote. A survey of most of the forms of secular music of Bach's time, an encyclopedia like most of Bach's published works, it represents the art of ornamentation at the highest point it ever reached. Baroque variation is above all the art of ornamentation, and here everything is written out, every grace made manifest. Even if the variations
celebration was largely a commercial undertaking. Few advances were made in 1991 in Mozart scholarship. 2 Many books were reissued without being brought up to date. Some of the most distinguished scholars contented themselves with writing prefaces to facsimiles of Mozart's manuscripts, or compiling illustrated souvenir books or short guides to all of Mozart's compositions with anecdotal information tailored to avoid provoking thought or any critical inquiry. There is no need to take a high moral
and, as a result, he observes the dramatic introduction of G major in the finale of the last act, when the Count surprises Figaro making ostentatious love to a woman dressed as the Countess. But Heartz's static conception of tonal order has nothing to say about the preceding shift, which is even more impressive dramatically, from G major to E flat a few minutes before, when Figaro sees the Count leave with a woman he takes to be his wife, Susanna. This introduces a brief nocturne, placid and
find in his works an idea that one has heard before." Oddly, Heartz seems to be trying to prove the opposite by showing how much Mozart's turns of phrase resemble ones by Paisiello and others. Heartz is right insofar as these motifs are commonplace, the stock-in-trade of every contemporary musician-but Weber was right, too, since he was considering the music from a larger viewpoint. Nobody ever controlled music over such a long span of time as Mozart did, not even Beethoven, but it is less by use
finds are consequently trivial. The second theme of the slow movement of Haydn's Drumroll Symphony is remarkably like the folksong that opens the last of Bach's Goldberg Variations, and the principal motif of the coda to the first movement of Beethoven's Sonata in D Major, opus 10 no. 3 (which opens with the same four notes as the above examples), is exactly the same as the beginning of the song "How dry I am;' and 9. ASCH in German musical notes is A-Ep-C-B~. Brahms: Classicism and the