Back to Norman Schwartz, whom I suspect I've misunderstood.
>>A little too metaphysical for me. A burdensome touring schedule isn't
>And nonsense as well, e.g. Dvorak and Wolfie (and all those "boring"
Dvorak and Mozart indeed wrote a lot. They also did it at a time when
there was a market for sheet music. If you wanted music, you usually
had to make it yourself. Furthermore, there wasn't a vast available
repertory of previous centuries before the historism of the Nineteenth
Century asserted itself, so new music pretty much had most of the field.
By the time of the Russian Revolution and the loss of Rachmaninoff's
estate-derived income, you already had mechanical and electronic
reproduction, leading to the creation of a Standard Repertory that
included not only a period of music lasting roughly a mere two hundred
years, but a list of Top Fifty hits that get played and replayed and
played again. If you hear Bruckner at a concert, it's likely to be a
symphony, rather than a choral or chamber work, and it's likely to be
the Fourth Symphony at that. Certainly not his Helgoland, at any rate.
Beethoven's pretty well-represented as far as his symphonies go, but
have you heard the Piano Sonata No. 20 live? Or the Eroica Variations?
You're far more likely to have heard the Pathetique, the Waldstein, the
Appassionata, and No. 31. Brahms's symphonies are played slightly less
frequently, and I don't believe I've ever heard the First Serenade
(wonderful piece) live.
To get back to Rachmaninoff, he had no patron. He didn't teach. His
living derived from his piano playing. He was a prodigious practicer,
by all accounts. This and touring ate up his time for composition. Even
then, he managed to produce some great, large works, just not all that
many of them.
It always amazes me to learn that people believe composers live on air
or solely for their art, and, indeed, in many cases, expect them to.
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