Musical Motley

Musical Motley

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by Ernest Newman
     
 

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Excerpt:

. . . Composition, it is rather curious that while I was writing on our too great readiness to admire everything a classic does, merely because he is a classic, someone in the Times Literary Supplement should have been regarding much the same fallacy--more particularly in poetry and painting--from a slightly different point of view. The thesis…  See more details below

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Excerpt:

. . . Composition, it is rather curious that while I was writing on our too great readiness to admire everything a classic does, merely because he is a classic, someone in the Times Literary Supplement should have been regarding much the same fallacy--more particularly in poetry and painting--from a slightly different point of view. The thesis of the Times writer is that at this or that stage in every art, professionalism--by which he means the mere way of saying things that a period or a single master has made easy, irrespective of the value of the things that are being said--is apt to get the upper hand of inspiration. Art implies the more or less traditional manipulation of a medium, for no man can begin writing or painting or making music as if he had never read a book or seen a picture or heard a score; and there always comes a stage at which the medium is manipulated in merely professional fashion, at the expense of the higher faculty of personal invention. Examples of this process are to be found in the greatest artists: the Times writer cites, among others, Titian, Tintoretto, Shakespeare, and Beethoven. One result of this professionalism, he goes on to say, is that it spoils not only the artist but the public, that comes to identify difficulty of handling with inm spiration, and is inclined to think too little of the art that is simple, direct, and unencumbered with the visible apparatus of manufacture. The public sees the grand manner in many a passage of Shakespeare or Milton that is the merest platitude phrased with professional pomposity; while it looks down on art so artless as that of Blake in his simpler lyrics . . .

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307830807
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/10/2013
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
File size:
2 MB

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SOMEBODY, either in the Bible or Shakespeare, once expressed a desire that his enemy would write a book obviously in the malignant hope and belief that the enemy, not being quite at home in literary expression, would be unable to open his mouth without putting his foot in it. An old friend of mine, Mr Cyril Scott, has recently written a book no less than a book of poems; and I find Cyril Scott the poet throwing such a flood of light on Cyril Scott the musician that I cannot help wishing that all the musical friends whose psychology I am trying to get to the bottom of would open a similar window for me into their souls. Not, of course, that I should long have the privilege of calling them friends after that; for if nothing pleases a critic more than to find another man out, nothing annoys the other man so much as the consciousness that he has given himself away. But after all, the critic is more at home in enmity than in friendship. The latter is a variable quantity; about the former there is a satisfying finality. No man whose horrible business it is to criticize others can be sure of how long he will keep a friend ; but an enemy, he knows, is a permanent acquisition. To the critic a friend is merely a delicate annual, while an enemy is a hardy perennial; and while the critic cannot get any man's friendship u by merely asking for it, the number of the enemies he can acquire depends entirely on i i/- h1mself. I wish, then, that all my musical friends would write books so informative as this of Mr Cyril Scott's; if they would, I myself should be prepared to milnerize the consequences to our friendship. For here Mr Scott has given himself up naked to his critics. The defects of hispoetry are so unmistakably those of his later music that anyone who may have been in d...

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musical motley 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*Jazz Hands* Tadah! I'm here! (Without Luke or Lex^-^)