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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

An Equal Music

This is a novel about a String Quartet group. Now, novels that revolve around the theme of Classical Music are as rare as their film counterparts, so every offering should be prized and given wide exposure. As it is, I read this a few years back following my encounter with the great "A Suitable Boy", Vikram Seth's unqualified masterpiece, one of the key novels of the 1990's. Well, the Quartet theme of this novel is quite apt, just like it's real life manifestation, the feeling is intimate, personal, and shows high contrasts between the group's players.

While Seth isn't a trained musician, he does state in his foreword his long-abiding love of classical, and has some close friends who are bona-fide performers. The portrayal of the modern artist is convincing in the day-to-day details, and will entrance anyone who has had the experience of learning an instrument.

The usual mythology of Classical Music is in abundance - we have lost manuscripts, impending deafness, immortal Beloveds - you know the score.

Verdict? not a Great work, more like a middling opus, good craftsmanship, but not inspired. You can check it out you know where, by clicking here.

Fine Art of Dicing

Today's Sydney Morning Herald has an opinion piece by one of the directors of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In it, he looks at the increasing trend of radio stations and CD-publishers of serving up musical works as individual movements. So called "Best of" CD's, and "Classic 100", and scraps of works played during the "Drive Hour", an attempt to win over a wider audience by cutting out the "boring" bits?

Greg tackles this populist argument, and as I've said before, I'm all for diversity, but when it becomes a race to the bottom, you know you're in trouble.

Read Greg's article here.