Monday, January 28, 2008

Great Paradoxes of World History

Charles Wood's anthems are tuneful, solidly constructed, and masterpieces of text setting. His evening canticle settings are dull as all get out.

Michael Tippett's Concerto for Orchestra is a clever idea which loses nothing in the execution, and (more importantly) is eminently enjoyable even if you don't figure out the underlying structure. His piano concerto is one of the best of the century. How could this man write dreck like The Vision of Saint Augustine? I don't get it.


Alice said...

Let's face it, even some of Beethoven's lesser works are, well, lesser. Very few composers (or authors, or artists, or whatever) are consistent -- except the ones who are consistently middle-of-the-road.

Osbert Parsley said...

There are a million examples like this when you start thinking about it. For example, all of early Mozart - if Wolfie had died eight years earlier than he did, he would have left almost nothing worth performing. The two composers I cited, though, strike me as particularly dramatic examples because they alternate between such a high level of excellence and such depths of awfulness. It probably shouldn't surprise me, but it does anyway.