Music at the Limits.

Music at the Limits, Edward W. Said, 2008

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Addressing the work of a wide variety of composers, musicians, and performers – from Mozart to Alfred Brendel – Edward Said analyses music’s social, political, and cultural contexts and, as a classically trained pianist, provides rich and often surprising assessments of classical music and opera.This book offers both a fresh perspective on well-known pieces and a celebration of neglected works. Said laments the way in which opera superstars like Pavarotti have ‘reduced opera performance to a minimum if intelligence and a maximum of overproduced noise’. He also reflects on the censorship of Wagner in Israel; an opera based on the life of Malcolm X; the relationship between music and feminism; the brilliant Canadian pianist Glenn Gould; and the works of Bach, Beethoven, Richard Strauss, Pierre Boulez, and others. Said wrote his incisive critiques as both an insider and an authority. Always eloquent and often surprising, “Music at the Limits” preserves an important dimension of Said’s brilliant intellectual work and cements his reputation as one of the most influential and groundbreaking writers of the twentieth century.

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