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The Collected Essays of Milton Babbitt [Anglais] [Broché]

Milton Babbitt , Stephen Peles , Stephen Dembski , Andrew Mead , Joseph Straus

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The recent performance of the String Quartets of Bela Bartok by the Juilliard String Quartet served, by virtue of the stylistic unity of the presentation and the fortuity of nonchronological programming, to emphasize above all the homogeneity and consistent single-mindedness of Bartok's achievement in his works for this medium. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 5.0 étoiles sur 5  4 commentaires
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Give Babbitt a chance! 22 juillet 2007
Par Steward Willons - Publié sur
Babbitt always inspires debate, especially amongst musicians and theorists: is he a bold radical, is his music sterile, is he the future, is he ruining music? Who can say? Ultimately, you'll need to make up your own mind and what better way to do that then with this handsome edition! I've read six or seven thus far and have formed the basis for a number of conclusions.

I believe Babbitt was a brilliant theorist and his work with pitch class theory was seminal in developing serial music. However, his music seems to lack something when I listen to it. It's mathematically complex, formally advanced, and fascinating to analyze; but it doesn't seem to have the passion of Berg or the beautiful mixture of formal perfection and expressive texture of Webern. While I don't particularly "enjoy" his music, I completely respect his ideas and I know music has benefitted from his work.

The only reason for the digression on my take on Babbitt is because I formed this opinions reading his work and listening to his music. I would encourage everyone who his passionate about 20th century music to give Babbitt a chance: read what he has to say about music - it's profound. If you don't like his music, simply consider his ideas and you will see how they are at work in many current composers.

Before I wrap this up, a few words on his style: Babbitt's prose is unwieldy to say the least - half page sentences, needlessly complex sentence structures, awkward wordings, it's all here. I've read widely in aesthetics, philosophy, and musicology and one can quickly tell when a complex style is necessary (Lacan or Deleuze) and when it's the fault of the writer (Hegel never claimed to be a good writer!). Perhaps Babbitt is, at times, being deliberately obscure, but I feel that he simply isn't the greatest at explaining ideas in a way that leads to understanding. There were so many instances where a paragraph could be half the size while still conveying the same meaning - it's actually that bad. Oh well - maybe this is part of the fun. It definitely WAS amusing at times and in all honesty, it's not all THAT hard to understand - just harder than it needs to be.

In short, this is a very welcome collection and it belongs on the shelf of any 20th century theorists or musicologist. You'll enjoy it.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Collected Essays of Milton Babbitt 19 octobre 2008
Par Mark J. Zanter - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Great resource--all of Babbitt's essays in a single source. Includes early writings published before the seminal works on serialism. Must have.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A MOST IMPORTANT TOME!!! 12 octobre 2007
Par Mark J. St Hilaire - Publié sur
No serious student or devotee of music should be lacking a copy of this book in their collection! This is one of the most important collections of writings on serious music to date, alongside George Perle's THE RIGHT NOTES and Elliott Carter's COLLECTED ESSAYS & LECTURES, 1937-1995. The annotations by two leading Babbitt scholars are first rate, as Babbitt's thought provoking insights reveal an extraordinary musical intellect at work, corroborating once again his status as one of the most important musical figures of our time with just that right combination of heart and brain. Just one caveat, though: I only wish the book had included Babbitt's doctoral dissertation THE FUNCTION OF SET STRUCTURE IN THE TWELVE-TONE SYSTEM, written in 1946 but not published until 1992. Though this seminal work is gratefully available from UMI, the print is very hard to make out. Including this 1946 classic text fully annotated into the main body of this new book would have made it the ultimate 'perfect book'.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 seminal, groundbreaking, life-changing essays 20 novembre 2007
Par Zachary Bernstein - Publié sur
A great deal of these essays form the basis for current intellectual music thought: the five great twelve-tone essays, the Stravinsky verticals essay, 'Contemporary music theory as contemporary intellectual history,' and 'The Structure and Function of Music Theory' should be required reading for anyone even considering applying the label of 'composer,' 'theorist,' or 'musician' to themselves. Many of the other essays provide fascinating insight into a whole variety of musical, musico-sociological, and musico-philosophical issues, including the place of the composer in society, the perceptual issues raised by the electronic medium, biographical insights into a myriad of Babbitt's contemporaries, and, most critically, the reason for and role of precise speech in musical discourse. Babbitt's virtuosic use of such precise language, as mentioned above, can make for slow reading. Familiarity with these essays makes one realize that Babbitt's control of language, even if a little opaque at times, makes his writing more powerful, more accurate, and more musical. I can't recommend this book higher; these essays changed my life and they've changed Western music.
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