A MUSICAL SEASON by Andrew Porter


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Porter's collected criticisms from The New Yorker covering the 1972-73 music season. Few people match a professional reviewer's mighty intake, especially when his beat encompasses Boston, Houston, San Francisco and Washington as well as New York City and other far-off points. Porter is crisp and lively, sometimes given to enthusiasms that should wear well: he espouses the full-length Don Carlos, the recently revised Cooke version of Mahler's Tenth, Elliott Carter's difficult new Third Quartet, and generally has a good word for living composers. Performers and conductors fare less well. How Leinsdorf must quiver over "". . . his conduct of the score was choppy. Tempi did not grow from one another or relate to the basic movement of an act, even of a scene. The string tone was shallow, and the brass tone mat, with mean, tinny sound from the solo trumpet."" Porter does not have the moral force and uplift of Shaw (who does?), with whom he's compared. One misses some kind of strong, spiritual point of view -- a verve more important than scholarship, elegance and wit and for which reviewing is only' the vehicle and not the end.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1974
Publisher: Viking