Music Criticism vs. Fantasy Life
June 17, 2009
It is a perennial accusation made against worshipers that they make their gods in their own image. I’m on record below as being a big fan of Le Poisson Rouge, but in today’s New York Times we are told
So you can imagine how gratified the composer [Arnold Schoenberg] would have been to hear this fresh, keenly dramatic account of “Pierrot Lunaire” presented at an informal club for an eager and receptive audience.
Schoenberg famously put on his ideal concerts for years in Vienna. These were notoriously ernst affairs. Would the man who didn’t even allow applause take to the easy-going Poisson Rouge atmosphere? I think not. Not the man who said, “If it is art, it is not popular. And if it is popular, it is not art.”
Another thing that the chief critic of the Times may be forgetting is that, if Schoenberg had had his way, said critic might not even have been allowed at the Poisson Rouge performance, since Schoenberg customarily posted a sign at the door saying, Kritikern ist der Eintritt verboten (“Critics are forbidden entry”).