29 November 2012

Mysterious Mountains

Meseems that the inherent danger in a thematic Hovhaness CD, centering on mountains, is the risk of playing into the hand of the It all sounds the same, doesn't it? block. As a consequence, in order to do the composer some modicum of justice, I never listen to this CD in its entirety, but visit it for a single work now and again. Without wishing to seem to put Hovhaness on any par with Monet, one could argue that in any of the French master's great series — the Cathedral at Rouen, the bridge in his Japanese garden, e.g. — it's just the same painting, done two dozen times.

So, viz. Hovhaness, perhaps I am trending towards agnosticism. Maybe half his catalogue is the same piece, written 175 times. Or, maybe there is actual value added in the many shades of a handful of musical packets. I'll listen a while yet, ere I feel at all obliged to find any ruling.


Cato said...

I recall hearing a small section from the RCA recording of the Second Symphony, "Mysterious Mountain," at my high school, where it was being played in the auditorium by two younger students as part of a "Radio Free America" project for Social Studies.

PC said...

Woburn takes on Sommerville.