Music and More: Essays, 1975 - 1991
NORTHWESTERN University Press, 1992 - 318 ページ
No matter how great the worldly success it may enjoy, no matter how high the hype that can be purchased, no matter how large the paying audience can be made to seem, classical music today is in deep trouble. It is not clear whether we can do more than bear witness.
With these disturbing words, Samuel Lipman introduces us to his own testimony on the current condition of music - and of our culture itself. His bold essays passionately defend the best in this culture against what Lipman sees as its growing banalization and politicization.
Lipman's expertise in music is unmistakable, but he writes with the general reader in mind - lucidly, nontechnically, arrestingly. His critical range transcends music to address the arts at large, and he never fails to relate the work that he is discussing to its human dimensions and its political context. Lipman's engaging commentary is high-minded, yet never condescending, witty, yet fundamentally serious, polemical, yet subtle and unpredictable. From the many pieces in this collection - on topics ranging from opera to Edward Said, from Mao to Mussolini, from the piano as an instrument to Bartok as a pianist - there emerges a portrait of a colorful critical personality, at once analytical and creative. The author chooses his sides with an intelligence that will give both his supporters and his enemies much to think about. This collection is bound to arouse dissent, but even Lipman's opponents will concede that he argues with skill and vigor and that he makes a case that needs to be answered.
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