Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Late Night Schubert

After today, I deserve some Schubert. After finishing listening, I shall continue to work on this arrangement for Kol Rinah that I had planned on finishing last Wednesday.

....though one last thought for the night. We often tend to think of the center of the 'canon' in classical music as revolving around Mozart and Beethoven the way literature revolves around Shakespeare and Cervantes (or the novel around Tolstoy and Dostoevsky), with Bach as the artist who codified what music meant in its golden age much as Dante codified 'modern' literature. But the comparison fails in part because Mozart and Beethoven were separated by a generation. But perhaps the comparison would do much better if we thought (as I sometimes do) that along with Beethoven, the center of everything by which we define music is not in fact Mozart but Schubert. The arguments themselves can wait, but if we think of the of music as either being something epic/dramatic (for which Beethoven would obviously be the prime representative), or something lyric/poetic, then it would be at best difficult to decide whether the best representative is Mozart or Schubert. It was not Beethoven but Schubert who sounded the final notes of Golden Age classicism in 1828. After Schubert, the world was ready for Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique and the full-blown romanticism that went with it.

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