Synopses & Reviews
How does a work of music stir the senses, creating feelings of joy, sadness, elation, or nostalgia? Though sentiment and emotion play a vital role in the composition, performance, and appreciation of music, rarely have these elements been fully observed. In this succinct and penetrating book, Charles Rosen draws upon more than a half century as a performer and critic to reveal how composers from Bach to Berg have used sound to represent and communicate emotion in mystifyingly beautiful ways.
Through a range of musical examples, Rosen details the array of stylistic devices and techniques used to represent or convey sentiment. This is not, however, a listenerand#8217;s guide to any and#8220;correctand#8221; response to a particular piece. Instead, Rosen provides the tools and terms with which to appreciate this central aspect of musical aesthetics, and indeed explores the phenomenon of contradictory sentiments embodied in a single motif or melody. Taking examples from Chopin, Schumann, Wagner, and Liszt, he traces the use of radically changing intensities in the Romantic works of the nineteenth century and devotes an entire chapter to the key of C minor. He identifies a and#8220;unity of sentimentand#8221; in Baroque music and goes on to contrast it with the and#8220;obsessive sentimentsand#8221; of later composers including Puccini, Strauss, and Stravinsky. A profound and moving work, Music and Sentiment is an invitation to a greater appreciation of the crafts of composition and performance.
"A marvellous textand#8212;a civilized, provocative and delightful extended essay [in which] Rosen points the reader in the direction of old friends, musically speaking, and finds new things to say about them, all without a shred of unnecessary jargon."and#8212;Nigel Simeone, University of Sheffield
"Excellent. . . convincing. . . written in a highly-accessible style that will appeal to specialist and generalist alike."and#8212;Mark Sealey, Classical Net
"Rosen has taken a different path in this excellent and, this time, convincing book."—Mark Sealey, Classical.net Classical Net
"There are not many musicians who can convey the essence of music in an exciting way, and even fewer can support their opinions with knowledge of the practical, theoretical, and historical aspects of music. Charles Rosen is one of the few examples of the 'Renaissance Man' in musical matters, eminent not only as pianist but also as author and music critic. . . . He brings convincing arguments and through his immense knowledge he has no trouble finding interesting contradictions to commonly held views."and#8212;American Record Guide
About the Author
Charles Rosen is an internationally renowned writer and pianist. His numerous books include Beethovens Piano Sonatas, published by Yale University Press in 2002, and he frequently reviews for the New York Review of Books. As a pianist, he has performed and recorded a wide repertoire (notably Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, and Debussy) and has been invited by Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez, and Elliott Carter to record and give first performances of their works. He lives in New York City.