Who needs the complete works?
All around the world orchestras are presenting Mahler cycles, including the complete symphonies in twelve days. BBC Radio 3 has just finished grinding its way through two and a half days of British light music. In January the same station cleared its schedules for twelve days to air the complete works of Mozart. All of which makes the following comment by the Hungarian composer Sándor Balassa particularly piquant:
'To my mind Bach would be angry if he knew that the first volume of the Wohltemperiertes Klavier is performed nowadays in a single concert. The twenty-four preludes and fugues were not meant as a recital program. Or, just imagine a huge concert with 300 concerti grossi by Vivaldi played one after the other. I think, if he had to listen to it, the composer himself would have a breakdown.What we need instead is more of the uncertainty principle.
A composer does not work for a complete edition of his music. He strews his pieces in time and space. If a Vivaldi concerto is programmed next to Mozart or Bruckner, nobody would be thinking the other 299 were composed in the same spirit'
Quote is from Three Questions for Sixty-Five Musicians by Bálint András Varga. Image credit Garden Theatre, Winter Garden, Florida. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk Also on Facebook and Twitter.