Musings : The Musical Worlds of Gunther Schuller

3.81 (11 ratings by Goodreads)
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Composer, conductor, educator, jazz critic, and horn virtuoso, Gunther Schuller here brings together his writings on music. There are numerous articles about jazz, dealing with his favourite figures like Duke Ellington and Ornette Coleman and also Schuller's concept of the 'Third Stream', the area where jazz and concert music intersect. Other sections deal with the composition and performance of contemporary music, musical education, and musical aesthetics. All those with an interest in contemporary music, especially more

Product details

  • Hardback | 314 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 30.48mm | 498.95g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • music
  • 0195037456
  • 9780195037456

Review Text

A tedious preachy collection of lectures, musical anthology biographical sketches and program notes, covering both classical and jazz, by the multifaceted musician, composer and music publisher. Schuller addresses his uninspired and blandly generalized voice to an unrelenting defense of the "balance of the old with the new, of the traditional with the experimental, of the expressive with the intellectual, of the need to communicate with the need to try the unheard, the unseen, the unproven." The result reads like the dull introductory lecture to an undergraduate liberal arts symposium. The author chastises everyone, from arrogant purists so addicted to 19th century musical traditions that they are blinded to modern musical innovations, to narrow-minded jazzmen ignorant of the great lessons available from their classical predecessors. He scolds dogmatic educators for their failure to stretch beyond 19th century preconceptions of musical education, thus creating lazy and inept modern musicians, and he berates current symphony conductors for failure to create "ideal" ensembles. He resents the "doomsayers" who gloomily predict the demise of "grand opera" and the symphony orchestra, and warns ominously of the "union" mentality which allows financial concerns to turn ensembles into business conglomerates, thus robbing them of "art." Schuller's self-righteous armchair analysis offers a longwinded, mundane manifesto of generalities. At one point he admits "I have no theories to advance or advocate here, no innovations to propagate or defend," which explains the weakness of this dull collection. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

11 ratings
3.81 out of 5 stars
5 36% (4)
4 27% (3)
3 27% (3)
2 0% (0)
1 9% (1)
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