Thursday, October 25, 2007


Ursula Vaughan Williams died on Tuesday. Here's her obituary from The Guardian.

Norman Lebrecht has written a big piece about Korngold. Taster:

Korngold, 110 next month and 50 years dead, richly deserves to be welcomed back to the concert hall. But he deserves even more to be recognised as a pioneer of an allied art, an art that now cries out for a new Korngold to rejuvenate its methodology. The time has come to erase the line between movie and concert music, to encourage the likes of John Adams, Thomas Ades and Mark Anton Turnage to try their hand at lifting film tracks out of the Korngold groove and into 21st century modalities.

Read the whole thing here.

And in The New Republic, Richard Taruskin has published a philosophical tract in the guise of a book review, declaring that classical music's problem is its defenders... and in the 24 online pages, I reckon he makes some very pertinent points. Rather than summarising it here, I suggest you read it and make up your own mind...

...The discourse supporting classical music so reeks of historical blindness and sanctimonious self-regard as to render the object of its ministrations practically indefensible. Belief in its indispensability, or in its cultural superiority, is by now unrecoverable, and those who mount such arguments on its behalf morally indict themselves. Which is not to say that classical music, or any music, is morally reprehensible. Only people, not music, can be that. What is reprehensible is to see its cause as right against some wrong. What is destroying the credibility of classical music is an unacknowledged or misperceived collision of rights. The only defense classical music needs, and the only one that has any hope of succeeding, is the defense of classical music (in the words ofT.W. Adorno, a premier offender) against its devotees.

PS - apologies for lumping all these different meaty topics together. I am up to my eyeballs at present with 400 pages of novel proofs plus preparations for Korngold event on Saturday.