The Unanswered Question: Six Talks at Harvard by Leonard BernsteinThe varied forms of Leonard Bernsteins musical creativity have been recognized and enjoyed by millions. These lectures, Mr. Bernsteins most recent venture in musical explication, will make fascinating reading as well. Virgil Thomson says of the lectures: Nobody anywhere presents this material so warmly, so sincerely, so skillfully. As musical mind-openers they are first class; as pedagogy they are matchless.
Mr. Bernstein considers music ranging from Hindu ragas through Mozart and Ravel, to Copland, suggesting a worldwide, innate musical grammar. Folk music, pop songs, symphonies, modal, tonal, atonal, well-tempered and ill-tempered works all find a place in these discussions. Each, Mr. Bernstein suggests, has roots in a universal language central to all artistic creation. Using certain linguistic analogies, he explores the ways in which this language developed and can be understood as an aesthetic surface. Drawing on his insights as a master composer and conductor, Mr. Bernstein also explores what music means below the surface: the symbols and metaphors which exist in every musical piece, of whatever sort. And, finally, Mr. Bernstein analyzes twentieth century crises in the music of Schoenberg and Stravinsky, finding even here a transformation of all that has gone before, as part of the poetry of expression, through its roots in the earth of human experience.
These talks, written and delivered when Leonard Bernstein was Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University, are the newest of the authors literary achievements. In addition to a distinguished career as conductor, pianist, and composer, Mr. Bernstein is the recipient of many television Emmys for the scripts of his Young Peoples Concerts, Omnibus programs, and others, and is the author of The Infinite Variety of Music and The Joy of Music, for which he received the Christopher Award.
Bernstein - Unanswered Question, The (Six Talks at Harvard)
It has been a long four years from the day I made my first notation in the flyleaf of Chomsky's Language and Mind to this moment of publication. From the beginning, these six Norton lectures were intended to be experienced aurally, accompanied by visual aids and extended orchestral performances on a film screen, plus a near-continuous stream of musical illustration at the piano-with never a care for how it might all look some day on the printed page. And with never a care for literary niceties, since it was all to be delivered in the rather casual atmosphere of the Harvard Square Theater, ad-libs and all, to an audience so mixed students, nonstudents, the cop on the corner, distinguished faculty, my mother, experts in music who cared little for linguistics, vice versa, scientists with no interest in poetry, vice versa that any one precise level of diction was unthink- able. The interdisciplinary nature of the material further discouraged stylistic consistency. All in all, not exactly the recipe for an academic publication.
At the beginning of his first Norton Lecture, Leonard Bernstein explained the importance of "inter-disciplinary values - that the best way to 'know' a thing is in the context of another discipline. However, while many of his ideas are intellectually challenging, the great achievement of the lectures is that through their breadth they make complex musical concepts accessible to a general audience. This one-year position had previously been held by such notable musical figures as Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Copland, and by poets such as e. The professorship required Bernstein to live on campus for one school year, counsel students and, most significantly, deliver of a series of six public lectures. Bernstein, a "Harvard man" himself, was pleased and honored to become a part of this distinguished tradition.
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These lectures, Mr. As musical mind-openers they are first class; as pedagogy they are matchless. Bernstein considers music ranging from Hindu ragas through Mozart and Ravel, to Copland, suggesting a worldwide, innate musical grammar. Folk music, pop songs, symphonies, modal, tonal, atonal, well-tempered and ill-tempered works all find a place in these discussions. Each, Mr.