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Subject: Re: "Three Doctorate Degrees"
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 31 Aug 2017 09:04:00 -0400
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There's nothing wrong with it; I agree with you about Lang, and
with another posting that deplores didactic musicologists who
exhibit a lack of ordinary aesthetic appreciation of music.

First it was EUGENE ONEGIN, now PELLEAS & MELISANDE.
I don't happen to care as much for Debussy's opera as you and many
others do, but it is recognizably.a masterful work by a major composer;
I know that from the many other of his compositions that I love, but am
not thereby obliged to love his opera as well.   The same is true, for me,
of Janacek and Dvorak; I don't condemn their operas, I just am not
moved by them.

I also prefer anything by Puccini to Donizetti or Rossini, though fully
aware that some musicologists might find that contemptible.  Should I care?

Keep up the good work.

dtmk


On Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 11:19 PM, Genevieve Castle Room <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Ray,
>
>
> >"You badly need to get a life or a shrink"
>
>
> And what is wrong with taking a few moments to point out that Professor
> Lang was not listening carefully enough -- or that he brought IRRELEVANT
> expectations to his judgment of the opera? Also, his implication that an
> opera should be judged by the standards of instrumental music is so
> misguided!
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On Wednesday, August 30, 2017, RAYMOND GOUIN <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > GET A LIFE OR A SHRINK!
> >
> > RG
> >
> > ***
> >
> > > On August 30, 2017 at 10:12 PM Genevieve Castle Room <
> > [log in to unmask] <javascript:;>> wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > > Albert,
> > >
> > > >"Paul Henry Lang earned his third doctorate from Cornell while
> teaching
> > > harmony
> > > and counterpoint at other colleges. It was on French opera"
> > >
> > >
> > > On French opera?
> > >
> > > Ok let's take a look at what Professor Lang wrote about Pelléas in his
> > book
> > > "Critic at the Opera" from 1973.
> > >
> > >
> > > >"As we cast a critical eye on the score of Pelléas et Mélisande we
> > > discover that the musical substance of this opera is slight; sometimes
> > > flickering, sometimes dimmed almost to extinction, yet never dying
> > > completely, it asserts itself to any extent only in the instrumental
> > > preludes and interludes [....] This is indeed a strange musical
> language:
> > > expression hides behind the words, requiring constant alertness to the
> > > niceties of inflection and cadence. The orchestral part may follow its
> > own
> > > rhythms, but the vocal line is purely word-begotten; the music almost
> > > completely abdicates its rights and privileges since the vocal lines
> have
> > > little or no musical substance [....] Is it a fault that Pelléas et
> > > Mélisande is not a real opera? No, only a peculiarity. It was created
> by
> > a
> > > composer to whom sensuous, hedonistic beauty is more important than the
> > > weight of utterances"
> > >
> > >
> > > -----------
> > >
> > >
> > > I must say my mind boggled when I read this last night.... What an
> oddly
> > > ahistorical pronouncement!
> > >
> > > Isn't very weird to see a scholar of French opera taking issue with
> > > Debussy's unique, declamatory style and complaining about the 'musical
> > > substance' of what is certainly one of the greatest operas of all
> time?!
> > >
> > > I certainly don't understand his criticism that Debussy forces one to
> > focus
> > > on the text. And isn't Maeterlinck's language one in which expression
> > often
> > > "hides behind the words"? This is something that Debussy captures so
> > > movingly. And his claim that "the vocal lines have little or no musical
> > > substance" is simply UNTRUE as are other of his seemingly objective
> > > assertions. As I am sure you know Debussy himself answered this charge
> -
> > > and others - in his reply to the critics which he wrote in response to
> > the
> > > reviews of the premiere.
> > >
> > > Lang's remarks also bring to mind something that Joseph Kerman once
> said:
> > >
> > > >"Musicology deals essentially with the factual, the documentary, the
> > > verifiable, the analysable, the postivistic. Musicologists are
> respected
> > > for the facts they know about music.... They are NOT admired for their
> > > insight into music as aesthetic experience"
> > >
> > >
> > > Lang missed the boat, I believe, in hearing the surface but missing the
> > > meat and potatoes below.... Sometimes an initial impression and three
> > > doctorate degrees can mislead an intelligent mind forever.
> > >
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