Hello, hello! We’re back with the answer key for our Summary Challenge.
(If you missed the challenge, you can see the test here)
Bach on _X_ record
Play it again
How _X_ recordings have changed _X_ perceptions of _X_ classical music
Sep 15th 2012 | from the print edition
In 1955 _X_ Glenn Gould, a Canadian keyboard genius noted for his interpretations of _X_ Johann Sebastian Bach, made an iconic record of _THE_ composer’s “Goldberg Variations”. It was _X_ one of _THE_ first commercial long-playing discs, _THE_ latest technology for _X_ capturing and replaying music. Soon afterwards he announced that he was giving up _X_ live performance to devote himself entirely to _X_ recording, a remarkably bold decision at a time when _X_ musicians’ reputations were made principally in _THE_ concert hall. Gould stuck to his guns, and his career continued to flourish. In 1981, just before _X_ compact discs took over from _X_ black vinyl, he made another record of _THE_ same piece to mark his 50th birthday _THE_ following year. _THE_ critics fell over themselves to praise it. He died a few days after it was released, having suffered _X_ ill health and _X_ psychological problems for most of his life.
Paul Elie uses _THE_ story of _X_ Gould, along with those of _X_ other outstanding musicians, to argue that _THE_ age of _X_ recordings has allowed _X_ Bach’s music to be reinvented by its interpreters, as well as making it available to everybody and for all _X_ time as “_THE_ ever-expanding collection of _X_ peak experiences”. _X_ Bach’s music, he says, derives its power in _X_ part from its quality of _X_ superabundance; and its superabundance has now been compounded by _X_ recordings.
Interest in Bach has waxed and waned since his death in 1750, and 60 years ago it was in a waning phase; the conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein said you “had to go to certain churches or special little concerts” (5.a) if you wanted to hear his music. (5.c) Mr Elie shows how the development of ever better recording techniques since then has allowed Bach to pop up everywhere, despite a supposed decline in the popularity of classical music (5.e): as a soundtrack to Walt Disney’s animated film, “Fantasia”; as part of the backing in some of the Beatles’ songs; even as a jingle in would-be classy television advertisements.
Albert Einstein, a huge fan of Bach’s, advised others to “listen, play, love, revere—and keep your mouth shut”. (5.b) Mr Elie, clearly every bit as much of an enthusiast, takes the first part of this advice but not the second. His is a book of epic sweep, like a novel made up of multiple strands. One such strand is the life of Albert Schweitzer, a doctor, humanitarian and musician who devoted most of his time to providing medical services to the poor in Africa. In 1935 he made the first recording, on a wax cylinder, of Bach’s sublime “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” for organ (5.d) (Bach’s authorship of which, ironically, has been called into question by some scholars (6.a)), followed by many other Bach pieces on different media.
Another character is Pablo Casals, one of the 20th century’s greatest cellists, who, at the age of 13, discovered a copy of Bach’s six suites for unaccompanied cello (until then forgotten) in a music shop in Barcelona. He proceeded to play the suites almost daily for the rest of his long life, but did not record them until 45 years later. Leopold Stokowski was already a famous conductor with many recordings to his name when he talked Disney into opening “Fantasia” to the sound of the “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor”. Yo-Yo Ma, another outstanding cellist, played Bach at the memorial for his friend Steve Jobs of Apple, who felt a strong affinity with the composer. Interspersed among all these tales of glittering 20th-century musical figures are scenes from Bach’s own personal and professional life (6.b).
Mr Elie deploys considerable scholarship (the more notable since his previous book, about four modern American Catholics who made literature out of their search for God, had nothing to do with music), and he writes beautifully (6.c). He makes a strong case that within less than a century a succession of new recording media—from the wax cylinder to the 78, the LP, various kinds of tape, the CD and now the computer—have brought Bach’s music, in multiple versions, to vast numbers of new listeners at the press of a button. It is a luxury previously unavailable even to princes, who in order to enjoy live performances had to employ entire orchestras. Recording technology has made a monarch of everyone (6.d). A chapter or two into the book, you will find yourself reaching out for your “Goldberg Variations”.
1. Filling in the blanks with “the” where necessary.
1. The expression “waxed and waned” in paragraph 3 can best be replaced by:
a) ebbed and flowed
b) risen and fallen
c) come and gone
d) leaped and bounded
e) ranted and raved
2. Determine if the following statements are true or false (expressions in yellow).
a) The expression stuck to his guns can best be replaced by stood his ground. TRUE
b) The expression fell over themselves can best be replaced by went to great lengths. TRUE
c) The expression pop up can best be replaced by crop up. TRUE
d) The expression deploys considerable scholarship can best be replaced by envisions formidable learnedness. FALSE
3. The term outstanding in paragraph 2 can best be replaced by:
4. Determine if the following statements are true or false (terms are highlighted in blue).
a) The term “since” could best be replaced by “because of”. FALSE
b) The term “ever” is used to exemplify the quality level of the recording techniques. TRUE
c) The term “despite” can best be replaced by “notwithstanding”. FALSE
d) The expression “would-be” can best be replaced by “up and coming”. FALSE
5. Determine which of the following statements is true.
a) Within the past 60 years, Bach’s compositions were rarely heard in public at large.
b) Einstein adamantly rebuffed any formidable criticism of Bach’s works.
c) Bernstein expressed that Bach’s music was more well-fit for religious services and local orchestral shows.
d) Schweitzer was the first musician to successfully record Bach’s music on black vinyl before CDs overtook the music market.
e) Advances in technology opened the door for Bach’s music in more modern media sources, even though admiration for classical music was on the wane.
6. Determine if the following statements are true or false.
a) According to some scholars, Bach’s music composed for the cello is of dubious origin. FALSE
b) Bach fancied the inclusion of his own personal affairs within his symphonic compositions. FALSE
c) Paul Elie has produced important Bach recordings on medias including the wax cylinder, black vinyl, and CDs. FALSE
d) Those artists who have recorded Bach’s musical scores have taken on royal status within the music market. FALSE