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Charles Rosen, 1927-2012


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#1 Helene

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:17 PM

Pianist Charles Rosen died Sunday in Manhattan at age 85.

http://www.nytimes.c...?pagewanted=all

He wrote among the most famous books about music, and was a Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard.

RIP, Mr. Rosen.

#2 Quiggin

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:22 PM

Thanks for posting the notice, Helene. I liked this part of the Times obituary –

It was said of Mr. Rosen that when he practiced the piano, a discipline to which he hewed daily well into old age, he might choose to read something — not a musical score but an actual work of literature — at the same time.


Here is a section I find pencil marked in my old copy of Sonata Forms (I wonder how much these parallel developments in ballet) –

Concerto and Aria are closely related forms: often, in fact, identical ... [they] pit individual against mass, solo against tutti; that is the essence of both forms. How the alternation of tutti and solo passages was organized changed radically in the nineteenth century; it became part of sonata style generally. Like the aria, the concerto did not become sonata passively; it also helped shape the sonata forms and contributed some of their most important elements.


Elliott Carter, who Charles Rosen wrote about earlier this year, also died recently. With the loss of Carter (who acknowledged Balanchine as an influence), Rosen, and Oscar Niemeyer, we're losing important links to the cultural past, with nothing of quite that magnitude to take their place. We're a bit at sea.

An appreciation of Charles Rosen by Alastair Macaulay –

http://www.nybooks.c...-charles-rosen/

#3 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:03 AM

Rest in Peace Mr. Rosen!

I still revisit Sonata Forms, The Classical Style, and The Romantic Generation regularly, but the Rosen book I'm most grateful for is his little volume on Arnold Schoenberg. It -- along with Balanchine's Episodes -- led me to love the Second Viennese School.

#4 Helene

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:36 AM

Elliott Carter, who Charles Rosen wrote about earlier this year, also died recently. With the loss of Carter (who acknowledged Balanchine as an influence), Rosen, and Oscar Niemeyer, we're losing important links to the cultural past, with nothing of quite that magnitude to take their place. We're a bit at sea.

The last 30+ years since Balanchine's last great works and death have given us a taste of what that's like.

#5 Paul Parish

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:29 PM

rOSEN WROTE really WELL ABOUT MUSIC -- AS WELL AS TOVEY, WITHOUT BEING QUITE SO...oops caps lock. Well Tovey said that playing Beethoven's last piano sonatas was like rock-climbing, and that is so unbelievably true -- getting your fingers in between the black keys without scraping your knuckles is a notable if annoying fact of the matter while the sublimity of hte music is definitely like "o when I have hung above the raven's nest.

But Rosen was that observant and that imaginative and that insightful. They're wonderful books.

i only heard him play live once, in Berkeley at Hertz hall, the Diballi variations were on hte program -- maybe I came with expectations too high, but I was disappointed. He played all the notes....

[font=Georgia][size=4] Oh! when I have hung[/size][/font]

[font=Georgia][size=4]
Above the raven's nest, by knots of grass[/size][/font]
[font=Georgia][size=4]
And half-inch fissures in the slippery rock[/size][/font]
[font=Georgia][size=4]
But ill sustain'd, and almost, as it seem'd,[/size][/font]
[font=Georgia][size=4]
Suspended by the blast which blew amain,[/size][/font]
[font=Georgia][size=4]
Shouldering the naked crag; Oh! at that time,[/size][/font]
[font=Georgia][size=4]
While on the perilous ridge I hung alone,[/size][/font]
[font=Georgia][size=4]
With what strange utterance did the loud dry wind[/size][/font]
[font=Georgia][size=4]
Blow through my ears! the sky seem'd not a sky[/size][/font]
[font=Georgia][size=4]
Of earth, and with what motion mov'd the clouds![/size][/font]

Wordsworth was born the same year as beethoven, in 1770

#6 dirac

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:18 PM

i only heard him play live once, in Berkeley at Hertz hall, the Diballi variations were on the program -- maybe I came with expectations too high, but I was disappointed. He played all the notes....


This inexpert ear felt similarly after listening to a recording or two of his, although I came to appreciate his Goldberg Variations.

#7 Quiggin

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:02 AM

... although I came to appreciate his Goldberg Variations.


HIs Goldbergs were good, he played them at Symphony Space once. He did an interesting but somewhat dry, oddly flavored recording of the middle Beethoven sonatas. And there's a very good, vinyl only, performance of three Haydn sonatas on Vanguard.

30. Quodlibet or What You Will. This grand and genial finale, by tradition reminiscent of evenings in the Bach household, massively combines two folk songs (a satirical serenade, and a comic complaint about mother's cooking) with the bass of the theme.



#8 ballet_n00b

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:38 PM

Not a pianist I particularly cared for. It's amazing that someone with his pedigree (he studied with Rosenthal afterall) could be so cold. I guess "cerebral" might be a nicer way to say it.
Having said that he did write some fine books.

#9 dirac

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:54 PM

Not a pianist I particularly cared for. It's amazing that someone with his pedigree (he studied with Rosenthal afterall) could be so cold. I guess "cerebral" might be a nicer way to say it.
Having said that he did write some fine books.


Hello, ballet_n00b, thanks for posting. Yes, his approach was somewhat...remote, shall we say.


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