By the age of four he was able to play 40 pieces on the piano and his mother began formally teaching him the next year. In , when he was seven, his father, the director of an agricultural school, died suddenly. Among the pieces he played was his own first composition, written two years previously: a short piece called "The Course of the Danube" de Toth The music of Richard Strauss , whom he met in at the Budapest premiere of Also sprach Zarathustra , strongly influenced his early work Wilhelm ,
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On the debit side, there is the problem that the time-signature of the fugue is constantly changing, so hardly two bars in succession are of the same length; the fifty-fifth bar is consequently not a very exact Golden Section. Fair enough. Having said that, what marvelous theories they are. The introduction of the Golden Series and the math behind it was a gorgeous learning experience for me, as was the Fibonacci series. Furthermore, putting aside some of the "is it or is it not true?
Either way, the story behind this book is fascinating. The first option is: this book is an accurate discovery which then exposes Lendvai as an analytical puzzle-solver extraordinaire. As for Lendvai, his analysis of the music makes him less of a musical theorist, but more of a conspiracy theorist. I envisioned him with sheet music posted on bulletin board, red yarn connecting each push-pin to different parts where the GS principles aligned. The book reads like a Jorge Luis Borges fable about the unraveling of an obsession with a composer and the way he crunched numbers.
In short, if you are open to that glorious area of intellectual malleability known was the willingness to abide ambiguity, this book is a thrilling, brilliant reward.
It is either the work of an obsessive aficionado projecting all kinds of theories to preserve his own love for a composer, or it is an analysis of a thrilling, brilliant, obsessive composer. He rarely if ever spoke of, or written of, these techniques. As a composer there are lovely new ways that this book will inspire you to explore the classic circle of fifths and find what lies beneath.
This read is an inspiring read for the "music as math" types especially cough Duke Ellington cough. Besides that it reinvigorated my admiration for the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion.
Huey rated it it was amazing This book is excellent and will always be in my music theory library.
Bela Bartok: An Analysis of His Music