Tanglewood: The Clash Between Tradition and Change

Andrew L. Pincus, Author, Phyllis Curtin, Foreword by Northeastern University Press $28.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-55553-346-5
The legendary musical festival in the Berkshires that served as summer stomping grounds for conductors like Koussevitsky and Bernstein has become something of a tempest in a teapot. Pincus, music critic for the Berkshire Eagle, here paints a portrait of a once idyllic retreat that has been muddled by inflated prices and vicious infighting. Koussevitsky might have disdained the showy popularism of the Boston Pops, but under the baton of Seiji Ozawa, detractors claim, showmanship and popular appeal has become the order of the day, leading to glitzy music-lite productions manufactured for television. Pincus's focus on guest artists thus seems like a diversionary tactic, whether in spotlighting the seeming mercenary greed of concert stars like Itzhak Perlman or by disingenuously noting that ""Tanglewood also made room for [Alfred] Brendel,"" as though he was some esoteric find. The main story is clearly Ozawa, whom one resigning Tanglewood official, the noted pianist and conductor Leon Fleisher, called ""unprofessional, unprincipled, duplicitous, and totally self-serving."" Perhaps in an attempt to be evenhanded (or perhaps anxious over Ozawa's enormous power in the Boston music world), Pincus makes a rather unconvincing attempt to straddle the fence by claiming that ""both views--Ozawa's and Fleisher's--of the Koussevitsky vision were correct."" (June)
Reviewed on: 05/04/1998
Release date: 05/01/1998
Genre: Nonfiction
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