Wednesday, February 22, 2006

feb 6 2007: ross on beethoven

Starts off a bit slowly. Even for a reader who IS obsessed with manuscripts found in the Philadelphia area, like myself.

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.

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