Arguing for Music, Arguing for Culture: Essays

Samuel Lipman, Author Arts $35 (448p) ISBN 978-0-87923-821-6
Lipman, publisher of the New Criterion and music critic for Commentary , is a curmudgeon and proud of it. He's the kind of critic who, at a John Cage lecture, announces to the exiting public, ``The whole world's gone mad.'' He's a lover of serious music dismayed at the sight of the great Western tradition festering in the same swamp as rock and pop, ``those illegitimate offspring of formerly autochthonous folk cultures.'' This book of 32 previously published essays represents Lipman's one-man war against philistinism, waged mainly through categories of taste: Lipman hates minimalists, Beverly Sills, progressive music education, the ``mindless avant-garde'' and the birth-control pill. He likes the Metropolitan Opera's musical director James Levine, American symphonism and Gian Carlo Menotti. Unabashedly elitist, Lipman would like to do for music what Allan Bloom did for the humanities--that is, slam the doors on everybody not bound by strict classical tradition. Alas, Lipman ( The House of Music ) expresses his very strong feelings in very weak prose, as in the long-winded, self-adulatory confessions regarding his career as an Elliott Carter interpreter. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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