Monday, February 26, 2007

Maybe I shouldn't agree ...

... because I guess I'm a critic, but I do agree: On Getting It Wrong .

Yesterday, I was listening to Granville Bantock's Sappho, a grand late romantic work that, like most of Bantock's work, is simply ravishingly lovely to listen to. How backward of me, to enjoy music that is melodic, emotional, accessible. Why not spend my time listening to Elliott Carter's ghastly string quartets? (I once spent a week listening to those over and over, just to get a handle on them - by means of which I was able to toss them out of my life forever. And I am a big fan of Bartok's string quartets - I think they're among the monuments of 20th-century music - so don't conclude that I just don't like "modern" harmonies. Bartok's music isn't "modern." It's just highly original and good, which makes it perennial.)

I think too many critics are afraid of being thought old-fashioned or insuffciently hip - or something. Of course, if you're just trying to be hip, well - you're not really hip.


  1. Anonymous3:47 PM

    Last year the first time reading the very definitely not modernist or critically cool Dickens, and allowing for his occasional lapses, found I loved him. Read Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and Bleak House, and must allow myself the pleasure of something else soon. Perhaps a bit over-familiar with the basic story of Great Expectations so any other recommendation.

  2. Anonymous4:44 PM

    I haven't heard of Carter or Bantock, I am afraid, but I do like Bartok, so I must try listening to Bantock (but not Carter!)