Charles Rosen and Music that Lasts



Charles Rosen (photo: courtesy of Owen White Management)

Renowned pianist and writer Charles Rosen puts one aspect of musical understanding into perspective, suggesting that music needs time before its impact can be fully absorbed and understood.

There is still a question about how long the modernism of the 1950s is going to last. The problem is that in order to absorb any difficult style you have to hear the pieces several times. That was true of Mozart, most of whose work was considered difficult at the time. It was even worse for Beethoven, then worse again for Wagner. Strauss was worse than Wagner, and then Schoenberg and so on. You really have to hear them well played several times, and there are very few music lovers who’ve heard a piece by Boulez more than once. That’s the fact of it. So will it last? I don’t know. Some music doesn’t. Monteverdi was completely forgotten for a time. Vivaldi totally wiped out.

Read more: Charles Rosen: A life in music (Guardian)

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