Thursday, January 03, 2019

Too much Mozart no longer makes you sick


Fascinated to find Norman Lebrecht including Mozart's Haffner Symphony in a list of what he considers to be ten concert works we need to hear again. Fascinated because in a piece of click bait dressed up as journalism titled 'Too much Mozart makes you sick' Norman had once written:
Mozart is a menace to musical progress, a relic of rituals that were losing relevance in his own time and are meaningless to ours. Beyond a superficial beauty and structural certainty, Mozart has nothing to give to mind or spirit in the 21st century. Let him rest. Ignore the commercial onslaught. Play the Leningrad Symphony. Listen to music that matters.
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3 comments:

Antoine Leboyer said...

Well, on to of this, the Haffner was played by K Petrenko and the Berlin Philh last year. There is hardly better "endorsment".

Best for 2019
Antoine

Philip Amos said...

And just as Lebrecht wrote about Mozart, so has Richard Bratby about J. S.Bach, as I discovered from your recent link thereto. Bratby stimulated the more thought, along a certain line. I looked at his website, and the self-description therein made me think that he was to all intents describing himself as a hack who'll write anything for money and, as he says, doesn't mind if the commissioning party wants to change anything. In other words, like Lebrecht, Bratby is a 'free lance'. I do not for one second think Bratby believed what he wrote; rather, I think he needed to write something or other that would be published, and attacking Bach was obvious publication-bait. Lebrecht's attack on Mozart was just recently set aside as he waxed enthusiastic about a Mozart piano recording in one of his very slim Toronto reviews. He did say, though, that normally he doesn't both with new Mozart piano recordings because he has such a cornucopia of wonderful ones on his shelves. Of course he does. To record reviewers, they come free in the mail. What in Lebrecht's case I think different from Bratby's is that I much doubt if NL listened to all those Mozart recordings he mentions, or much else, including the works on today's list. I think he makes up rubbish using scissors and paste, just as in reporting news he puts up a front as the ultimate insider in the music business. In truth, he's still that Evening Stardard tabloid journalist who gets tips from often-dodgy sources on a quid pro quo basis, the same basis as his record reviews and interviews. I'm ever astonished that so many seem to fall for his egomaniacal pretensions. Bratby is different in that he was an executant musician, albeit not overly successful, and is thus open to the charge of making a mockery of the very art that once, one assumes, he was devoted to. NL seems devoted to Mahler and is steadfast in that, but otherwise I question if he has ever had any loyalties, so can't be accused to betrayal. Both are typical of what 'music criticism' has come to, however, and it is a form of fiction, not far removed from Felix Aprahamian's notorious review of a concert that didn't take place. At the time Artur Schnabel said that music "journalism" is antithetical to the transcendent nature of music, it was perhaps one of his overstatements. But today, never was he more right.

Pliable said...

Thanks Philip. You have developed a line of thought that I believe needs developing. I don't for a minute think you follow Richard on Twitter. But if you do, be prepared to be cast out into the social media wilderness for expressing your opinion. There is another example of him confusing clickbait and journalism here - https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/11/brittens-war-requiem-almost-sounded-like-a-masterpiece-but-its-isnt-is-it/