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Subject: Re: 'History's Greatest Composer'
From: Genevieve Castle Room <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Genevieve Castle Room <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 28 Feb 2017 12:03:51 -0500
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Donald,

>"Inanity? or insanity?"

Both inane and insane.

I don't think the question "Who was the greatest composer of all time?" is
a particularly good one -- and I don't think you should go in for age
adjustment. Was Keats a greater poet than Shakespeare? And who knows when
great minds--musical or otherwise--will burn out? Mathematicians for
example do their best work at a relatively young age and coast along after
that unless they reinvent themselves (and note when Gelernter himself
stopped publishing his "hardcore" scientific work).





On Tuesday, February 28, 2017, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> 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]
> <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml',[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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