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Friday, July 11, 2008

Defending myself
Googling on myself a while ago, I came upon a review Alan Rich wrote in the San Francisco Classical Voice (July 8, 2003) that takes serious issue with my liner notes for an Andante set of Schubert chamber music. His comments, concerning mine on the C Major Quintet follow:
One flaw in Andante's Schubert album is the error-ridden essay by Paul Turok who claims, for example, that the first movement of this Quintet has no development section. What else, friend Paul, do you call the seething drama in bars 155-266 of that beautifully formed movement.
Friend Alan (we went to graduate school together at Berkeley, later worked together at KPFA, when he was chief music critic of the Herald-Tribune - many years later - he hired me as a stringer) is both a Harvard graduate and a very experienced journalist. Bright as a whip, he has encyclopedic knowledge of everything about music that can be learned from books. Part of this knowledge is knowing where, in traditional sonata form, to look for a development section. He looked there in the Schubert, found something and wrote his snide review. It may or may not be "seething drama," but it certainly does not "develop" materials presented previously, as do most sonata forms in Haydn and Beethoven, Schubert's immediate predecessors. After the double bar (the usual place for the development), Shubert offers a long section based on new materials, which then repeats twice, each time a whole tone lower. This replaces the traditional development section with something completely new. It is a filling of "musical space" that is wildly original for its time and was later taken up by Bruckner. Thus, the first movement of Schubert's C Major Quintet has no development section.
7:46 pm est

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