The books of pianist CHARLES ROSEN

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Lance
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The books of pianist CHARLES ROSEN

Post by Lance » Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:31 pm

I've acquired two additional books by the wonderful writer and scholar, Charles Rosen, whose work I knew from his recordings on the Epic and Odyssey labels in the days of LP. I was immediately "hooked" on his art, regardless of composer. His recordings of Schumann, too (Globe label), were some of his finest work on disc. There was a superb Bach "Art of the Fugue" on Columbia/Odyssey that was every bit as scholarly as Glenn Gould's (and others). Rosen was/is a highly effective and gifted virtuoso pianist. That said, I've collected his writings—of which there are many—with great interest all of which broaden one's perspective in the art of music. Two additional books were added over the holidays:

[1] Rosen: Romantic Poets, Critics, and Other Madmen
[2] Rosen: Music and Sentiment

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#1 has been around for a while and is the perfect book to pick up on any occasion and start reading anywhere. Rosen writes in a manner where one learns easily without trying very hard. He has a way of expressing his ideas and thoughts in an encouraging and positive manner. Here's one analysis of #1 book above: "In the first of these essays, Charles Rosen is discussing whether there can be any such thing as a definitive edition of a work of modern literature...His essay takes in a new edition of La Comedie Humaine, Jerome J. McGann's edition of Byron's poetical works and two new books on Wordsworth, but has an even broader agenda than that: the distinction between a definitive edition of an ancient work--a matter of getting it right--and the multiple demands of modern ones, starting as early as Montaigne's marginal entries in his late-16th century essays, in which he observes that 'I am myself the matter of my book'...The piece, like its fellows, will delight the bookish, and the writing is always crisp, salted and peppered with throwaways like 'authors are often no worse than any one else at correcting their works.' That essay kicks off this collection of 10 written over the past 20 or so years...Mr. Rosen's attitude in the book is to see modern works of art, literature and music--by modern meaning that they date from the late-18th century or later--as moving rather than fixed targets...The essay on Walter Benjamin is the book's longest one and a tour de force...The discussion of the problematic nature of criticism and art history in the modern world goes to the heart of Mr. Rosen's critical outlook, first distinguishing between formalist and biographical or historical forms of criticism, then recombining them in the Benjaminesque notion of the work of art in history as a beauty-filled ruin...This [is a] volume of delights." —Colin Walters, Washington Times



#2 was just published (2010). Conductor/composer Pierre Boulez says it like this: "Charles Rosen's qualities as an interpreter are nourished by the range of his knowledge, his vast culture lending his interpretations an intensity and validity that prove that, far from killing spontaneity, cultureenrishes it. It is precisely this combination of culture and a pragmantic approach that lends his personality its exceptional profile. In the end, it is also what makes him and ideal pedagogue in the broadest and least pedantic sense of the term." —Pierre Boulez
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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jbuck919
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Re: The books of pianist CHARLES ROSEN

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:56 pm

Thanks, Lance. I'm a big Rosen fan and have a number of his books but not those (I also still own his Art of Fugue LP--which also has the Goldberg Variations--and his late Beethoven Sonatas).

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: The books of pianist CHARLES ROSEN

Post by Lance » Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:41 pm

Yes, I have those all on LP, too. I loved them so much that when they were reissued on CD, I had to have 'em. FYI, here's the CD information:
[1] Sony Classical 48173: Bach: Goldberg Variations
[2] Sony Classical 53531: Beethoven: Piano Sonatas 27-32 inclusive
[3] Sony Classical 63231: Bach: The Art of the Fugue
Charles Rosen, piano (all cases)

The one Rosen disc I would like to see issued complete on CD is the one he did for Epic Records called Virtuoso. I have a pristine copy of the stereo LP and only a few items from that disc has been reissued.
jbuck919 wrote:Thanks, Lance. I'm a big Rosen fan and have a number of his books but not those (I also still own his Art of Fugue LP--which also has the Goldberg Variations--and his late Beethoven Sonatas).
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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John F
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Re: The books of pianist CHARLES ROSEN

Post by John F » Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:44 pm

I didn't know about "Romantic Poets, Critics, and Other Madmen" and will definitely check it out. "Music and Sentiment" is an illuminating book on an important subject.
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Re: The books of pianist CHARLES ROSEN

Post by fmnewyork » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:55 am

Lance wrote:The one Rosen disc I would like to see issued complete on CD is the one he did for Epic Records called Virtuoso. I have a pristine copy of the stereo LP and only a few items from that disc has been reissued.
That's a great LP. What's been reissued from it and where?

Farhan
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Re: The books of pianist CHARLES ROSEN

Post by THEHORN » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:48 am

I had the good fortune of getting to know Charles Rosen somewhat when I was doing graduate work at Stony Brook university on Long Island where he used to teach during the late 80s and took a course on musical and other criticism under him.
His intellect was rather intimidating ,but the course was very stimulating.
I share the general admiration of his books.

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Re: The books of pianist CHARLES ROSEN

Post by val » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:28 am

I never liked Rosen as a pianist. But I loved his book, "Beethoven Piano Sonatas: a Short Companion", in special regard the indication of the tempos and their meaning in Beethoven's time.

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