Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Bernstein's Mass - not a dishonest piece


The longevity of Overgrown Path articles is amazing. The thoughtful comment below from Movie was added yesterday to my July 2005 article Critical Mass. There have been seventeen comments on the post to date, including this one:

Bernstein's Mass was, back when the album came out, one of my favorite pieces. It has a huge emotional impact, particularly when staged well. Because of its "post-modern" aesthetic (was the term "post-modern" used back then?), the piece certainly IS very eclectic. And yes, there is much sentimentality. But then, wasn't Bernstein himself sentimental? It's not a dishonest piece and I think it still works today. Because it drew from pop rock styles of the times, parts of it DO sound dated today but that doesn't mean the pop rock music of today is any kind of improvement — just different.

My header photo is from another of my Bernstein articles, this time about a not dishonest, but scantily clad Lenny.
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3 comments:

Pliable said...

Rewarding to see such big reader numbers for this post on the server log, although that may just have something to do with the photo.

I was struck by Movies' thoughtful comment, particularly his assertion that Mass is 'not a dishonest piece'.

But what are examples of dishonest pieces of music?

skm said...

In a less judgmental sense of the word ("intended to mislead", according to my dictionary), Eugène Ysaÿe's prelude for solo violin, "Obsession", from his 1922 a-minor sonata for violin solo, gets my vote. For those who haven't heard the piece, it begins with the unmistakable theme of Bach's e-major prelude, before diverging into more modern explorations. I used to begin playing the piece as if it were the Bach just to jolt anyone listening.

Pentimento said...

I'd say much of Strauss's oeuvre is dishonest.