I do place more attention than some to the social context in which art is created, rather than only focusing on the notes on the page. We must begin with those notes, but if that is all we know of the music, we lose some understanding of how a composition is related to others, or what it may have meant to the audience for which it was written. This sounds uncontroversial until one begins to examine music produced under difficult political regimes. Mr. Mackie’s June 19 post on careerism in Germany in the 1930s and in the United States more recently suggests that we may not be so far apart on considering the social element.
On Frommel, I actually rather enjoyed the piano sonatas and do not simply dismiss the music for the background of the composer. I thank Mr. Mackie for calling attention to Frommel’s First Symphony, which may be heard on YouTube.
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