feb 6 2007: ross on beethoven
But then,"In his later instrumental music, Beethoven sometimes played with vocal stylings, with arialike solos and recitativelike interludes. In the eighteen-twenties, the operas of Rossini were the rage, and Beethoven was both irritated and fascinated by this phenomenon. With the pseudo-operatic gestures of his late works, he seems to be paying half-ironic, half-sincere tribute to the popular music of his day." (82)
Beethoven was irritated and fascinated? I like that, it makes Beethoven sound like a funny uncle.
Better yet, Ross goes on to give a persuasive reading of "The Fugue" as "some kind of crazed opera buffa, full of arguments, misunderstandings, confessions, and reconciliations." With all kinds of nice aural evidence. A kind of comparative approach. Or maybe it appealed to me as a kind of genre analysis.
And the evidence includes the contemporary interpretation of Beethoven's late quartets by the Takacs Quartet. I don't know what these sound like, but I like that Ross uses as evidence the fact that these works CAN be played in certain way as evidence that they might have been intended to played thus. It's a little far fetched and playful to claim that this proves anything, and Ross uses more postive language than I would if I were making a similar claim about intepretation (in my own areas of interest) but that's kind of fun.
Categories: aural, newyorker, surprise/startle, excitement/joy