January 28, 2013
"The great composers belong among the undisputed geniuses. More questionable is their perpetuity. It depends in the first place on the ever renewed efforts of posterity, to wit performances, which must compete with performance of all subsequent and (each time) contemporary works, while other arts can display their products once and forever; and depends in the second place on the survival of our tone system and rhythm, which is not everlasting. Mozart and Beethoven may become for a future mankind as incomprehensible as might now be to us the Greek music so highly praised by its contemporaries. They will remain great on credit, on the enthusiastic say-so of our times, like, say, the painters of antiquity, whose works have been lost."
Jacob Burckhardt, Reflections on Music (courtesy of John Simon)
Posted January 28, 2013 12:00 AM