Mimi Ezust wrote:
>You are depending upon the writings of people who may have had their
>own axes to grind. How can you be sure that you have an accurate picture
>of any person's personality?
I would guess that even if you know someone, you may not have a
complete picture of their personality. The only composer I have
known well, a name that a few might recognize, is Kent Kennan. I have
met and/or visited with many fairly well known like Harris, Schuman,
Copland, et al. Sometimes the music can speak to me of what I know
about the composer...this has been true of Kennan's music, which I love
dearly...however...I am reminded of the few times I spoke with Copland,
the books I have read about him (every book that I have known about) and
talked about him with the like of Bill Schuman, I still can't explain
where my favorite Copland pieces came from...the Variations, Connotations
and Inscape...another favorite, the Short Symphony/Sextet speaks more
of what I would have expected from him. I often wonder what his music
would have been like had he continued in the direction of the Variations...
it seemed like he was getting back to that in Connotations and Inscape.
I remember one incident where almost anyone else would have displayed
anger, yet Copland remained cool and rational...yet in those works of
his I value most, there is almost a sort of rational explosion in them,
coupled with a sense of nobility and majesty, within the context of a
uncompromising harmonic vocabulary. In a sense, I wonder if those pieces
were a way for him to let out in sound, what he was not willing to express
on a personal level, or, if what I am hearing is not what he meant at
all, but only what I am finding in the music.
In a similar light, I find some of the more dissonant passages in the
Shostakovich 4th to be remarkable. For me, it speaks more of a man
who was willing to risk exposing his perspective...yet, at the last
minute...thinking better of it. I hear great anger at times in it,
something I don't hear in his other works.