6:12 PM, Jan 27, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
It's worth re-reading Fred Baumann on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was born 259 years ago today:
IN BEYOND Good and Evil, Nietzsche rejoices that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, "the last chord of a centuries-old great European taste . . . still speaks to us" and warns that "alas, some day all this will be gone."
Nietzsche was unsure whether the future held the triumph of the despicable, bourgeois "last man" who is no longer even ashamed of himself or, as he hoped, of the newly heroic and disciplined races that the "new philosophers" would mold. Either way, he thought Mozart would become incomprehensible--though probably not to the new philosophers or Overmen themselves.
So, does Mozart still speak to us? The fact that we are celebrating his 250th birthday this month suggests so, and for some fraction of the elite culture, he surely does. Judging by concert halls, it's an old and shrinking fraction, but there are still a fair number of teenagers learning the "Turkish Rondo," so who knows?
Still, I think that what we got in Peter Shaffer's movie Amadeus roughly represents what the culture generally thinks about Mozart. He was a silly man, but a genius, who produced music that is very pleasant to listen to but somewhat lacking in punch. He liked childish things, like that masquerade The Magic Flute, but he was serious about death (who isn't?) so he started on that spooky Requiem, which does get to us, in a churchy kind of way.
Add a bit more--perhaps "who is this woman who does not kiss me?" from Mozart's child-prodigy phase, maybe his hatred for the archbishop of Salzburg, something about childish pranks, billiards, gambling, his wife Constanze's possible infidelity--and it fills out our picture.
Read the rest here.
1:02 PM, Feb 14, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Millions of people get their music through Pandora and this being the age when no data is left unmined, the preferences of this vast audience will soon be used for political purposes.
7:49 AM, Jan 31, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The State Department is presenting a global webcast on February 4, titled "From the Street to Mainstream: The Evolution of Rap/Hip Hop Music." The host of the webcast, rapper and State Department Music Ambassador Toni Blackman, will be joined by Pras Michel, a founding member of the hip hop group the Fugees, to discuss "how rap and hip hop have increased social awareness of the African-American experience — and raised even broader issues in contemporary society." Some of Michel's more inflammatory comments in the past raise questions about the appropriateness of his appearance with the U.S.'s music ambassador on a government-sponsored webcast representing America to the world.
3:43 PM, Dec 9, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
In the East Room of the White House Sunday night, President Obama hosted the Kennedy Center Honors Reception to recognize five American artists: Martina Arroyo, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Shirley MacLaine, and Billy Joel. The president gave a brief synopsis of each artist's career, including making light of the drug-induced hallucinations of Carlos Santana as he was introduced to the music world at the 1969 Woodstock music festival:
3:03 PM, Nov 13, 2013 • By JEFFREY GEDMIN
There's a black and white photo, a little grainy and slightly out of focus, of Igor Stravinsky greeting Mstislav Rostropovich at the Royal Academy of Music, London, in June 1964. Standing in the background in the upper left hand corner is a tall lanky figure, a 20-year-old music student named John Tavener. Also in the photo, just to the right, is John's brother Roger who was friendly with Ringo Starr.
Lou Reed went down and found a song that will survive.1:03 PM, Oct 28, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
Lou Reed died yesterday in Amagansett, N.Y., thus ending his life on the same island, Long Island, where it began more than 71 years ago in Kings County, better known as Brooklyn.
Joseph Bottum on the guy who knew Jim Morrison
Jun 3, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 36 • By JOSEPH BOTTUM
I met him once. Well, met in the loosest sense: I was introduced to Ray Manzarek at a Los Angeles restaurant in the 1980s and got to shake his hand. No more than that, but even at the time it felt like an encounter with passing greatness, a brush with the fading mythology of the age, and down through the years, I’ve never forgotten it.
12:36 PM, Apr 30, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Willie Nelson turns 80 today. As Kelly Phillips Erb writes in Forbes, it has been an interesting, prolific, and unusual career:
Will White House release guest list?7:34 AM, Apr 9, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
On Barack and Michelle Obama's schedule for today, this event is listed:
8:14 AM, Feb 13, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
This morning, the State Department announced, "Hip Hop Group Audiopharmacy to Tour Southeast Asia and the Pacific with American Music Abroad."
How music and commerce combine to make America.Dec 3, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 12 • By TED GIOIA
Could Mozart write jingles? “Are you kidding,” responds the ad copy for a 1990s music marketing production house. “A Little Night Music had ‘beer commercial’ written all over it.”
A second opinion on Mozart’s final days.
Oct 22, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 06 • By JOHN CHECK
Discussions of what would prove to be Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s last years tend to fixate on his death. Much talk there is—for Christoph Wolff, too much talk—of Mozart’s decline or fall, of the quality of resignation that supposedly crept into his music, even of the “autumnal world” that his late work is said to inhabit.
It’s a long, long while since Kurt Weill got his due. Oct 15, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 05 • By JONATHAN LEAF
Not long ago, a New York Times critic presented his list of the 10 greatest composers of all time. Absent were Handel, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Puccini, and Strauss. Present, though, was Béla Bartók.