Skip to comments.Death of a great musical mind
Posted on 12/10/2012 7:55:54 AM PST by Borges
Charles Rosen pianist, philosopher, polymath has died in New York.
He was 85.
A pupil of Josef Hoffman, he held authority on the music of Schoenberg and Elliott Carter and spoke with authority on the rest of the canon and, indeed, on French literature, in which he had a doctorate, and much else.
We once crossed swords on a BBC radio programme, discussing declining attendances at classical recitals. Charles said: I remember a concert where I played for an audience of 15. He paused for monent, then added: Of course, 12 of them held Nobel Prizes
May he rest in bliss.
He had a wide range of interests.
A little bit of Shoenberg goes a long ways. Prokofiev went about as far as I would like to go in incorporating semi-modern elements to classical romantic piano pieces. Shoenberg was a bit much. I mean the 12 tone premise that any note can follow any other note is a bit out there.
Like liberalism, as I recall there are special rules that mean it's not really "any" note, right? Aren't certain notes forbidden from following others because the ear will naturally intuit (Eeek!) tonality to the pattern?
The mystery of declining classical audiences was easy to explain following Stravinsky, Schonberg, et al.
A bit out there? Complete lunacy I’d say. He might as well have tried any frequency following any other frequency. As a matter of fact I would have liked to subject him to a “piece” using random frequencies... Little payback for the complete nightmare I had to listen through at a concert of his works many moons ago.
They turned to the tone row when they ran out of musical ideas, so they went on to intellectual ones.
Stravinsky kept tonality alive for a long while. He was Schoenberg’s rival. As for Schoenberg, he was many things but liberal he was not. And he wrote his share of beautiful music. Atonality was inevitable.
Don’t forget that charlatan John Cage. I saw a documentary one time about Cage, and he fervently believe no note meant more than any other note. In short, for Cage there was no such thing as hard-wired musical taste. In fact he was at that time in the process of writing one of his “musical” compositions by throwing dice to determine what note he wrote down. Many supposedly educated people/fools bought his scam.
Cage’s famous line was that “Beethoven was wrong” as the latter constructed music as a harmonic narrative.
A great scholar and teacher. RIP.
As did I. I also got a lot of insight from Piano Notes, in particular Beethoven's tendency to try out ideas in a sonata, move it forward in a symphony, and perfect it in a string quartet.
I read The Romantic Generation recently. Found it very informative.
Dont forget that charlatan John Cage. I saw a documentary one time about Cage, and he fervently believe no note meant more than any other note. In short, for Cage there was no such thing as hard-wired musical taste. In fact he was at that time in the process of writing one of his musical compositions by throwing dice to determine what note he wrote down. Many supposedly educated people/fools bought his scam.”
Cage was many things. But he wasn’t really a charlatan. He believed sincerely in what he promoted. He was wrong, fatally so.
But he was outrageously sincere. And sincerely insane.
OK. But what does it mean?
A polymath is a person with many interests/abilities.
I figured that out the second time.
Then maybe you’re a polymath.
wasn’t there an alien on RED DWARF called a polymorph?
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