Thursday, October 07, 2010

Musical Tastes

We watched two plays together so far, but yesterday was our first joint concert. GH loves the passionate virtuosity of the soloist in concertos, and Joshua Bell was in fine form last night when he played Sibelius's Violin Concerto in D minor with the New York Philharmonic. GH also liked the full-blooded Romanticism of Richard Strauss, in his tone poem Don Juan.

I liked both works but preferred Debussy's languorous Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, which opened the program, and Hindemith's inventive Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes of Carl Maria von Weber, which closed the evening. GH disliked Debussy for his lack of structure, and Hindemith for his lack of direction. He values clear musical design, just as he values clean lines in architecture.  I am biased towards structure and clarity too, but other people have persuaded me that delicacy can be beautiful, and disorder invigorating.

I should not exaggerate the difference in our aesthetic preferences. When we both saw the cover design for my new book, we both liked the concept very much, but thought that some of the photographs need to be changed. He was quicker than I was, however, in putting his feelings into words.

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