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Subject: Re: 'History's Greatest Composer'
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 28 Feb 2017 09:41:07 -0500
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Inanity? or insanity?

I don't think the professor's question is either, provided one
holds the assumption that what is accomplished by age 31
promises a couple more decades of progressive creativity;
there are in fact hints of continued mastery of Mahlerian
proportions in Schubert's latest compositions, so who knows?

There is no question in my mind that the finished masterpieces
do constitute "greatness' superior to that of Schubert's competitors,
including Mozart and his FIGARO.  "Listen carefully" the professor
pleads, and who can argue against that, or against his ultimate
examples from the late works of Beethoven,  though I would
personally insist on the inclusion of Opus 125.

dtmk


On Tue, Feb 28, 2017 at 12:21 AM, Genevieve Castle Room <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Yale computer science professor David Gelernter asks 'Who is history’s
> greatest composer?'
>
>
> >"Who is history’s greatest composer? (I encourage my students to ask this
> sort of wildly unpopular question because it sharpens one’s critical
> understanding, and forces one to make choices.) The composer is Franz
> Schubert; he died at 31, and none of his three competitors had finished
> masterpieces to compare with his at 31. His three opus posthumous sonatas
> are among the deepest achievements in art. The slow movements of the last
> two might be the most beautiful in all of music—in competition only with
> Mozart’s Requiem and the last movement of Beethoven’s op 111 sonata. And
> what if Schubert’s competitors had each died at 31? Beethoven had finished
> his stupendous C minor piano concerto, op. 37, and several perfect piano
> sonatas; but his great work was yet to come. Bach had finished Herz und
> Mund und Tat und Leben, one of his finest cantatas and his single biggest
> hit (it includes “Jesus Joy of man’s desiring”); but his greatest music all
> came later. Mozart is the toughest competitor, because he finished Figaro
> at 30—Figaro, greatest of his operas, greatest of all operas, the best
> answer in music (better even than Don Giovanni) to the hardest of all
> musical problems--how to come to an end. But listen carefully once more to
> the three sonatas and Schubert wins. (Which doesn’t change the underlying
> truth, that Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, his op 110 and 111 sonatas, his
> string quartet in C# minor and the Gross Fuge are the greatest music of
> all.)"
>
> https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/
> theres-enough-time-to-change-everything/517209/
>
> ---------------------
>
> Sheer inanity..... Professor Gelernter wants to sharpen his students'
> critical understanding by forcing them to make absurd choices, and has a
> pre-packaged answer to boot.
>
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