Steve Schwartz replies to Alastair Scott:
>>Certainly the Scottish and Irish songs (from memory, opus 108); the whole
>>approach is completely inappropriate for the material it is based on!
>I totally disagree, but who cares? I find them quite charming, with
>beautiful accompaniments from the piano trio, but, again, who cares?
I'm with Steve on this - a) who cares and b) they were never
intended to be anything like the material they were based on.
Beethoven didn't do "ethnic", he was writing for 19th century middle
But the real significance of the Beethoven week is far more extensive
than what "we" like or dislike. It's an almost revolutionary concept
- blanket radio and TV coverage and downloads, in depth analyses
ertc. It signals a return by the BBC to upmarket, serious art and the
even wider assumption that the public are not dummies. Raising the
bar, instead of lowering it, might be the future. And because it is
the complete work, we get to listen without prejudgement and to,
hopefully, understand the composer in a wider context. As Norman
Lebrecht says "Beethoven is, like the Arctic, always worth
Here's the thoughtful article by Norman Lebrecht:
"Domestically, it signifies an unmistakable breach with the philistine
ethic of Birt and Dyke which all but erased culture from terrestrial
telly and replaced it with the home-and-garden makeover school of
arts programming - look, isn't that lovely, anyone can do it with a
set of coloured pencils. Beethoven, whole and unexpurgated, marks
the beginning of Michael Grade's mission to put public broadcasting
back to rights"
"Globally, there is a new dimension, the untapped interactive. In a
daring innovation, listeners the world over will be invited to download
and collect live performances of Beethoven's nine symphonies. Here's
how it will work. The BBC Philharmonic will play the cycle with chief
conductor Gianandrea Noseda over two weekends at the Bridgewater Hall,
"the Beethoven week is a robust reminder that there is life yet in
the Reithian principle: that broadcasting must educate and inform,
and that there is no better way in the 21st century for nation to
speak peace unto nation."
the exact opposite of dumbing down.
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