Opinions are important. They make a critic, or a critique, what they are -- an educated, reflective review and discerning examination of the relative value of a given piece of music or concert. They can also be fun, primarily in challenging standard orthodoxies and bringing new perspectives to common pieces and experiences.
Then again, some opinions are just...inexplicable.
Review | Chamber orchestra season has powerful conclusion
John Heuertz, Kansas City Star, June 13, 2010
The Kansas City Chamber Orchestra’s last concert of the season featured Mozart’s last work. The Mozart piece, his 1791 Requiem Mass, was preceded by Igor Stravinsky’s 1938 “Dumbarton Oaks” chamber concerto.
An interesting combination of pieces. While certainly accessible for a chamber ensemble, the Mozart Requiem (with a very sizable choral component) seems a very large scale work by comparison to the Stravinsky. But, whatever...I'm game.
Conductor Bruce Sorrell kept the 15 or 16 instrumental voices in the score in good balance.
That's good. Plus specifics are overrated.
He conducted with precision and gave the music an appropriately playful feel.
Appropriate is nice.
This cheery little item...
...is often compared to Bach’s Brandenburg concerti.
Yes, I've heard that. In fact, I think Stravinsky even mentioned this himself:
“I played Bach very regularly during the composition of the concerto,and I was greatly attracted to the Brandenburg Concertos. Whether or not the first theme of my first movement is a conscious borrowing from the third of the Brandenburg set, however, I do not know. What I can say is that Bach would most certainly have been delighted to loan it to me; to borrow in this way was exactly the sort of thing he liked to do."
Anywho, so one would do well to compare to this piece to the Bach Brandenburg concerti I would say. Go on...
A better comparison might be to music from the mid-18th century Mannheim school.
A better comparison, eh? Even better than the piece the composer even admitted he stole, er...borrowed themes from?
Mannheim composers wrote the same kind of elegant, polished,...
Elegant, polished...yes yes. These were indeed traits of the neo-classical style, which was the style at the time, that Stravinsky embraced while composing this piece. What else...?
...the same kind of elegant, polished, commercially successful music that Stravinsky did.
Yes, commercially succ...wait...what?
Stravinsky wrote commercially successful music? "Dumbarton Oaks" is a commercially successful piece?
I have no idea what this means. I guess compared to Henri Pousseur Stravinsky wrote commercial music...
And, like Stravinsky’s music, Mannheim music is easy to forget before intermission.
Forgettable?! Stravinsky's music is forgettable? I apparently don't know what the word 'forgettable' means.
Are we talking about the same Stravinsky?
But that matrix of forgettable music has to be there for unforgettable music to be written — and Mozart’s Requiem is unforgettable.
Whew. I thought you were being a tad dismissive at first, but I think I get it now. We need Stravinsky's forgettable music so we can fully appreciate good music from a composer who never wrote forgettable music.
Good call. Really, we should have a term for music like this. Any thoughts?
Thus Sorrell aptly described the Stravinsky as a “palate cleanser” for the Mozart.
Perfect. Stravinsky's music is like an unsalted cracker, or even better, a fruit sorbet.