The Unanswered Question: Six Talks at Harvard

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 1976 - Music - 428 pages
7 Reviews

The varied forms of Leonard Bernstein's musical creativity have been recognized and enjoyed by millions. These lectures, Mr. Bernstein's most recent venture in musical explication, will make fascinating reading as well. Virgil Thomson says of the lectures: "Nobody anywhere presents this material so warmly, so sincerely, so skillfully. As musical mind-openers they are first class; as pedagogy they are matchless".

Mr. Bernstein considers music ranging from Hindu ragas through Mozart and Ravel, to Copland, suggesting a worldwide, innate musical grammar. Folk music, pop songs, symphonies, modal, tonal, atonal, well-tempered and ill-tempered works all find a place in these discussions. Each, Mr. Bernstein suggests, has roots in a universal language central to all artistic creation. Using certain linguistic analogies, he explores the ways in which this language developed and can be understood as an aesthetic surface. Drawing on his insights as a master composer and conductor, Mr. Bernstein also explores what music means below the surface: the symbols and metaphors which exist in every musical piece, of whatever sort. And, finally, Mr. Bernstein analyzes twentieth century crises in the music of Schoenberg and Stravinsky, finding even here a transformation of all that has gone before, as part of the poetry of expression, through its roots in the earth of human experience.

These talks, written and delivered when Leonard Bernstein was Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University, are the newest of the author's literary achievements. In addition to a distinguished career as conductor, pianist, and composer, Mr. Bernstein is the recipient of many television Emmys for the scripts of his Young People's Concerts, Omnibus programs, and others, and is the author of The Infinite Variety of Music and The Joy of Music, for which he received the Christopher Award.

  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
6
4 stars
1
3 stars
0
2 stars
0
1 star
0

Review: The Unanswered Question: Six Talks at Harvard (Charles Eliot Norton Lectures) (The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures)

User Review  - Ingrid Fong-Daley - Goodreads

As a musician and as a linguist, I find this some of the more intelligent, sound, and innovative writing I've found on both frontiers. Its style is also very accessible for the layperson; the examples ... Read full review

Review: The Unanswered Question: Six Talks at Harvard (Charles Eliot Norton Lectures) (The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures)

User Review  - Vincent Russo - Goodreads

Leonard Bernstein was an incredibly passionate conductor of classical music, and gave a series of wonderful lectures recorded at Harvard. These lectures present his theory that music can be broken ... Read full review

Contents

Musical Phonology
3
Musical Syntax
53
Musical Semantics
119
The Delights and Dangers of Ambiguity
193
The Twentieth Century Crisis
263
The Poetry of Earth
325
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1976)

Bernstein has founded and directed science education programs for gifted students as well as taught science at the elementary and secondary school levels.

Bibliographic information