Paper $28.00 ISBN: 9780226038643 Published April 1984


Critical Questions

On Music and Letters, Culture and Biography, 1940-1980

Jacques Barzun

Critical Questions

Jacques Barzun

Edited , selected, and introduced by Bea Friedland
288 pages | © 1982
Paper $28.00 ISBN: 9780226038643 Published April 1984
This collection of writings allows the reader a rare opportunity to see Barzun's lively, engaging, rich, and original mind at work on several strategic areas of cultural inquiry: music and the musical life, esthetics, biography, criticism, and social commentary. Barzun makes use of a variety of contexts as a forum for evidence and opinion, including essays, program notes, letters, and reviews. And he approaches a wide variety of particular and general questions. What is it like to sit in on a recording session with a great orchestra? What is the role of the piano in Western culture? What is art in relation to objective reality and to the perceiving mind? Can one translate music into words? What is cultural history?

For anyone unfamiliar with Barzun's work, Critical Questions will serve as a valuable introduction to one of the most important cultural historians of our time. Others will be glad to have these pieces—most of them no longer easily available—brought together in a single volume. Uniformly insightful, provocative, and a pleasure to read, they show the consistency of Barzun's thought even as they exhibit diversity.
The Musical Life
1. Music into Words
2. The Indispensable Amateur
3. The Passing of a Free Spirit: Erich Kleiber
4. The Playwright as Critic—of Music
5. Men, Women, and Pianos
6. Toward New Musics
Harry Partch and the Moderns
A Request for the Loan of Your Ears
To Praise Varèse
7. The Life of Stendhal-Rossini
8. The Meaning of Meaning in Music
9. Berlioz after a Hundred Years
10. Benvenuto Cellini in Wembley
11. The Postman Rang Thrice
12. Berlioz and the Bard
13. Sketch of the Artist as Musician
14. The Berlioz Style
15. The Misbehavior of Lélio
16. Romeo and Juliet in Music
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