Musical Portraits

Interpretations of Twenty Modern Composers

Author: Paul Rosenfeld
Published: 1920
Language: English
Wordcount: 71,024 / 218 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 57.3
LoC Categories: CT, ML
Downloads: 847
Added to site: 2006.10.17
mnybks.net#: 14915
Genres: Music, Biography
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Wagner, Strauss, Moussorgsky, Liszt, Berlioz, Franck, Debussy, Ravel, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Rachmaninoff, Scriabine, Strawinsky, Mahler, Reger, Schoenberg, Sibelius, Loeffler, Ornstein, Bloch.

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apart from the remainder of nature, placed him in a category of his own, and pretended that he was both the center and the object of creation. For it called man the consonance and nature the dissonance. The octave and the fifth, the bases of the system, are of course, to be found only in the human voice. They are, roughly, the difference between the average male and the average female voice, and the difference between the average soprano and alto. It is upon those intervals that the C-major scale and its twenty-three dependents are based. But with the coming of a conception that no longer separated man from the rest of creation, and placed him in it as a small part of it, brother to the animals and plants, to everything that breathes, the old scale could no longer completely express him. The modulations of the noises of wind and water, the infinite gradations and complexes of sound to be heard on the planisphere, seemed to ask him to include them, to become conscious of them and reproduce them. He required o

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Average Rating of 4 from 1 reviews: ****
2008.01.27
Alastair Scott
****.

90 years after publication it is remarkable how well the composers chosen have stood the test of time with a couple of exceptions - Ornstein and Loeffler have largely sunk without trace. The author's personal prejudices and, strangely, anti-Semitism are sometimes overt (witness the gratuitous attack on Reger as "... a swollen myopic beetle with thick lips and sullen expression crouching on an organ-bench" for one!) and the detailed opinions have frequently dated or seem superficial in retrospect (the old notion that Mahler imperfectly assembled an incoherent mass of bits and pieces in his symphonies, for one) but, overall, this book is a fascinating period piece.


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