Music at the Limits

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Columbia University Press, 2008 - Music - 325 pages
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Music at the Limits is the first book to bring together three decades of Edward W. Said's essays and articles on music. Addressing the work of a variety of composers, musicians, and performers, Said carefully draws out music's social, political, and cultural contexts and, as a classically trained pianist, provides rich and often surprising assessments of classical music and opera.

Music at the Limits offers both a fresh perspective on canonical pieces and a celebration of neglected works by contemporary composers. Said faults the Metropolitan Opera in New York for being too conservative and laments the way in which opera superstars like Pavarotti have "reduced opera performance to a minimum of intelligence and a maximum of overproduced noise." He also reflects on the censorship of Wagner in Israel; the worrisome trend of proliferating music festivals; an opera based on the life of Malcolm X; the relationship between music and feminism; the pianist Glenn Gould; and the works of Mozart, Bach, Richard Strauss, and others.

Said wrote his incisive critiques as both an insider and an authority. He saw music as a reflection of his ideas on literature and history and paid close attention to its composition and creative possibilities. Eloquent and surprising, Music at the Limits preserves an important dimension of Said's brilliant intellectual work and cements his reputation as one of the most influential and groundbreaking scholars of the twentieth century.

 

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Music at the limits

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Said (1935-2003), best known for his seminalOrientalism and the author of several books on the Middle East, was not just a literary scholar of high repute but also an acute observer of the classical ... Read full review

Contents

The Music Itself Glenn Goulds Contrapuntal Vision
3
Remembrances of Things Played Presence and Memory in the Pianists Art
11
Pomp and Circumstance on Musical Festivals
23
On Richard Strauss
29
Die Walkure Aida X
36
Music and Feminism
43
Maestro for the Masses review of Understanding Toscanini
48
Middle Age and Performers
52
The Bard Festival
157
The Importance of Being Unfaithful to Wagner
166
Music as Gesture on Solti
175
Les Troyens
182
Childs Play review of Maynard Solomons Mozart A Life
189
32 Short Films About Glenn Gould
195
Bachs Genius Schumanns Eccentricity Chopins Ruthlessness Rosens Gift review of Charles Rosens The Romantic Generation
198
Why Listen to Boulez?
206

The Vienna Philharmonic The Complete Beethoven Symphonies and Concertos
57
The Barber of Seville Don Giovanni
62
Glenn Gould at the Metropolitan Museum
68
Giulio Cesare
72
Bluebeards Castle Erwartung
77
Extreme Occasions on Celibidache
82
Peter Sellarss Mozart
87
Andras Schiff at Carnegie Hall
91
THE NINETIES
97
Richard Strauss
99
Wagner and the Mets Ring
105
Opera Productions Der Rosenkavalier House of the Dead Doctor Faust
115
Style and Stylessness Elektra Semiramide Katya Kabanova
122
Alfred Brendel Words for Music review of Alfred Brendels Music Sounded Out Essays Lectures Interviews Afterthoughts
128
Die Tote Stadt Fidelio The Death of Klinghoffer
131
Uncertainties of Style The Ghosts of Versailles Die Soldaten
140
Musical Retrospection
149
Hindemith and Mozart
212
Review of Michael Tanners Wagner
216
In the Chair review of Peter Ostwalds Glenn Gould and the Tragedy of Genius
220
On Fidelio
229
Music and Spectacle La Cenerentola and The Rakes Progress
242
Review of Gottfried Wagners He Who Does Not Howl with the Wolf The Wagner Legacy An Autobiography
247
Bach for the Masses
250
2000 AND BEYOND
257
Daniel Barenboim Bonding Across Cultural Boundaries
259
Glenn Gould the Virtuoso as Intellectual
265
Cosmic Ambition review of Christoph Wolffs Johann Sebastian Bach The Learned Musician
278
Barenboim and the Wagner Taboo
290
Untimely Meditations review of Maynard Solomons Late Beethoven
299
BachBeethoven
307
Index
311
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About the author (2008)

Edward W. Said (1935-2003) was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He was the music critic for the Nation and the author of numerous books, including Out of Place, Culture and Imperialism, and Orientalism. His books with Columbia University Press include Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography, Humanism and Democratic Criticism, Beginnings: Intention and Method, and Musical Elaborations.

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