Rosenberg's modern Top 35
Donald Rosenberg, the classical music critic and correspondent for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, gets the cover of the arts section Sunday with a primer on classical music, an article about the "beloved staples" which form the foundation of classical music. The headline graphic lists the usual suspects -- Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach.
The big shock is when you turn the page and see a huge graphic accompanying the article listing Rosenberg's picks for a representative sampling of the repertoire. Rosenberg lists just three works from the Baroque period and only four from the Classical period. The Romantic period lists 19 works, but for the 20th Century, Rosenberg lists 35 separate composers and works, including Ligeti, Lutoslawski, and Messiaen. It's a really impressive effort on Rosenberg's part to educate readers about modern music. Subversive, almost.
Of course, the fun part about such lists is being able to argue with them. I would have dropped Charles Ives from the starting lineup and inserted Arvo Part, with perhaps "Tabula Rasa" as the representative work. But Rosenberg's list is really well done. The list of recordings is heavy on Cleveland Orchestra efforts, but it's kind of hard to quarrel with his choices, such as Pierre Boulez conducting Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring."
I checked out Margaret Brouwer's "Light" CD from the library recently -- she is possibly Cleveland's most significant composer -- and noticed that Rosenberg penned the liner notes for the album.