By Charles Rosen
A very talented musician and author, Charles Rosen is a peerless commentator at the background and function of track. "Critical Entertainments" brings jointly the various essays that experience tested him as the most influential and eloquent voices within the box of tune in our time.
These essays hide a large variety of musical types, historic sessions, and issues--from Bach via Brahms to Carter and Schoenberg, from contrapuntal keyboard track to opera, from functionality practices to track historical past as a self-discipline. They revisit Rosen's favourite topics and pursue a few much less prevalent paths. They court docket controversy (with robust critiques approximately functionality on ancient tools, the so-called New Musicology, and the alleged "death" of classical tune) and provide enlightenment on topics as varied as tune dictionaries and the aesthetics of degree fright. All are unified through Rosen's abiding matters and incomparable variety. In sum, "Critical Entertainments" is a treasury of the huge studying, wit, and perception that we have got come to anticipate from this amazing author. it's going to pride all tune fanatics.
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Additional resources for Critical Entertainments: Music Old and New
L • .. 4 L+~· 42 Critical Entertainments ing registration) were capable of. Registration stops were changed manually in Bach's time (except, perhaps, for a few harpsichords in England which introduced pedals for that purpose). An assistant to pull the stops, used for the more elaborate organ toccatas and preludes, would have been ridiculous for playing a suite of dances. The range of stops available on even the most expensive harpsichords was small; the sixteen-foot was not widespread until Bach's death.
Yet the ideal of contrapuntal purity in the Inventions (and in other works, like the Goldberg Variations and The Art of the Fugue) does not thereby lose in power. It gains instead a pathos-an unattainable goal that is kept alive by the pretense of achieving it. Bach's career was an unavailing protest against the powerful harmonic forces represented in Rameau's new theory, forces of which he was himself such a master. In the Inventions, we are carried along by the surge of these forces with a movement that is consistent and unified: almost in direct opposition, the thin, pure integrity of the individual lines is eloquently sustained as if against heroic odds.
Not that Bach was incapable of the creation of an organic work of massive dimensions, as the great Passion according to St. Matthew can testify, but neither the B Minor Mass nor the Well- Tempered Keyboard are such works. In one sense, "anthology" does not do justice to the full significance of the ordering, which indeed transcends the individual parts. How little this significance has to do with actual performance, however, can be seen from the original edition of the Organ Mass, framed by theE flat Prelude at one end and the fugue (the St.
Critical Entertainments: Music Old and New by Charles Rosen