Friday, October 16, 2015

I've Been Ranting About This Stuff For a While.

From a review published in 2008, on conductor William Eddins's concert at Berkeley Symphony:
Before the Gilliland, [Eddins] made some droll comments about the different versions of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, calling the full orchestra rendition a "wallowing cow" by comparison with the trimmer Paul Whiteman jazz band version, which he prefers to perform. He also slipped in a quip about Barack Obama that got him a rousing hand.
I can't say I cared for a joke he made at the expense of the Second Viennese School and the austerities of that style, which he implied was completely responsible for the suppression, after World War II, of composers who wrote melodies. It's dismaying to hear important musicians play the style wars game at this late date, when no style is unacceptable in the academy or the concert hall.
Besides, a conductor as persuasive and communicative as Eddins, who has such a great natural feel for the local ebb and flow of rubato, as well as for the larger structures, is in the best possible position to make an eloquent musical case for the many masterpieces of the Second Viennese School.


Phil Fried said...

One can't help but wonder if the continued fascination of the Second Viennese School by those who say they hate it is because, as fanatics, they harbor a secret doubt; That their preferred music will not stand on its own. At best its a marketing technique at worst its censorship.

By the way melody in minimalism? hmmmmmmm

Phil Fried

No sonic prejudice

Dave Nee said...

Funny. "Wallowing cow" aptly describes how I feel about Copland's later orchestrations of Appalachian Spring for Rodzinski (suite) and Ormandy (full ballet).

Lisa Hirsch said...

Sorry, Phil - just published your comment. No notification in my email about it!

Agree - no sonic prejudices!

Anonymous said...

It is the cheapest and least justified of all arguments to suggest that a strong expression of opinion is due to secretly believing it's wrong.

William Bolcom had it right when he wrote of Richard Taruskin expostulating similarly,

"Taruskin's screed against what is now anything but a ccurrent musical style - so many years after its hegemony - must come from a long-pent-up anger at what was, in its time, an almost fascistic doctrine of historical inevitability adopted by some serialists."