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Showing posts from May, 2012

Hemmed in by Language

Charles Rosen is one of a handful of living writers whose work I always look forward to reading, which for me mostly means articles on music that he writes for the New York review of Books. Rosen is a first-class pianist who had a professional career on the concert platform (his recording of the Goldberg variations is one of my favourite interpretations). He writes marvellous articles on the appreciation of composers like Chopin, Ravel and Liszt: since the arrival of Spotify I may sometimes spend a whole evening reading one of these pieces while concurrently listening to each of the performances he mentions (I hope music schools have discovered what a great resource Spotify is).

Rosen also has broader interests beyond music, and occasionally writes about philosophical matters and art theory, with a special interest in Romanticism. For example in the latest NYRB (May 10th 2012) he has a piece called "Freedom and Art" in which he typically digs far deeper than the guff one no…