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Can there be such a thing as music criticism?

John Deathridge, 20 February 1986

Music and Civilisation: Essays in Honour of Paul Henry Lang 
edited by Edmond Strainchamps, Maria Rika Maniates and Christopher Hatch.
Norton, 499 pp., £35, March 1985, 0 393 01677 3
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The Farthest North of Humanness: Letters of Percy Grainger 1901-1914 
edited by Kay Dreyfus.
Macmillan, 542 pp., £25, December 1985, 0 333 38085 1
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Musicology 
by Joseph Kerman.
Collins/Fontana, 255 pp., £10.95, March 1985, 0 00 197170 0
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... from other disciplines. But a dissection of The Rite of Spring adapting from linguistics, say, John Lyon’s version of the theory of semantic structure, or a semiotic analysis of Grainger’s Handel in the Strand are liable to end up, too, as involved technical explanations communicating less real critical insight than the trenchant views of Taruskin and ...
Wagner in Performance 
edited by Barry Millington and Stewart Spencer.
Yale, 214 pp., £19.95, July 1992, 0 300 05718 0
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Wagner: Race and Revolution 
by Paul Lawrence Rose.
Faber, 304 pp., £20, June 1992, 9780571164653
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Wagner Handbook 
edited by Ulrich Müller and Peter Wapnewski, translated by John Deathridge.
Harvard, 711 pp., £27.50, October 1992, 0 674 94530 1
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Richard Wagner’s Visit to Rossini and An Evening at Rossini’s in Beau-Séjour 
by Edmond Michotte, translated by Herbert Weinstock.
Quartet, 144 pp., £12.95, November 1992, 9780704370319
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... in Wagner scholarship (or what passes for it) is congenitally resistant to study.’ Thus John Deathridge, the leading Wagner scholar of the English-speaking world, at the beginning of his chapter on Wagner research in the Wagner Handbook. It so learned and au courant a scholar as Deathridge is daunted by ...

La Côte St André

Julian Rushton, 22 June 1989

Berlioz 1803-1832: The Making of an Artist 
by David Cairns.
Deutsch, 586 pp., £25, February 1989, 0 233 97994 8
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... musical training at an age when Berlioz had never used a piano or heard an orchestra. According to John Deathridge, Wagner wanted posterity to view him as an autodidact; but this claim should not be taken, as it apparently is by Cairns, at face value. He is right, of course, that Berlioz’s early years were not wasted for they contributed indispensable ...

Going Against

Frank Kermode: Is There a Late Style?, 5 October 2006

On Late Style: Music and Literature Against the Grain 
by Edward Said.
Bloomsbury, 176 pp., £16.99, April 2006, 9780747583653
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Late Thoughts: Reflections on Artists and Composers at Work 
edited by Karen Painter and Thomas Crow.
Getty, 235 pp., $40, August 2006, 0 89236 813 6
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... by older biographers as they sought to confer a fitting lateness on the composer, who died at 35. John Deathridge’s chapter on Wagner will probably outlast the other contributions; he shows that Wagner, even when he was working on his last opera, Parsifal, really wanted to be writing symphonies. Deathridge provides ...

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