David Drew

David Drew formerly music critic of the New Statesman, is Director of Publications at Boosey and Hawkes. He has completed a critical biography of Kurt Weill.

Górecki’s Millions

David Drew, 6 October 1994

About ten years ago, an eminent composer of Schoenbergian leanings unblinkingly remarked that modern music, like socialism, democracy and the BBC, might be among the luxuries which the European middle classes would soon have to live without.

Bernstein and Blitzstein

David Drew, 22 November 1990

The end might have been very different. It was so sudden that it took the outside world by surprise, and neither in the notices that must have been freshly written, nor in those which doubtless had to be drawn from the files and swiftly dusted off, were there many reminders that the business of selling newspapers has for some while been conspiring with the pleasures of iconoclasm and the ancient sport of muckraking to further the cause of demonstratively ‘candid’ obituaries.

War Requiems

David Drew, 12 October 1989

Several million television viewers in Europe and America, and who knows how many newspaper-readers everywhere, have watched and heard or been informed about a monumental concert given in Warsaw’s opera house on 1 September to mark the 50th anniversary of Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Despite the personal narrative with which Samuel Pisar – a survivor from Auschwitz – judiciously and movingly linked the musical episodes in Humphrey Burton’s Unitel film (shown the following day on BBC 2), the nature of the occasion was essentially public – which is to say, a prey to those acts of political and social publicity which can render all such occasions, however solemn, profoundly if not atrociously ambiguous.

From the Other Side

David Drew, 1 August 1985

If the function of music in Bloch’s philosophy is that of parable and metaphor, detour and short-cut, the case against dissociating such excursions from their philosophical base is not inconsiderable. But the 1974 anthology, Zur Philosophie der Musik, was excused from answering it by the personal significance it manifestly had and by the historical one that the Busoni volume enhanced. Moreover it was on every side supported by the Complete Edition and its attendant commentaries.

From the Other Side

David Drew, 18 July 1985

Question: What is the basic idea in your philosophy?

Kurt Weill in Europe and America

David Drew, 18 September 1980

When Weill died in New York 30 years ago at the age of 50, his reputation in America rested almost entirely on his major contribution to the development of the Broadway musical during the 1940s, and on the popularity of such hit-songs as ‘Speak low’ and ‘September Song’. Little was known of his European work apart from the fact that The Threepenny Opera had been a failure on Broadway in 1933, and was none the less, or all the more, respected as some kind of classic by those who had witnessed its European success, or seen the Pabst film, or even, if they were lucky, attended the Group Theatre’s summer camp in 1936 and heard Weill talk about it.

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