Thursday, December 22, 2016

Announcement: Musicology Now guest post!

Although I haven't updated the blog recently, I've spent a lot of time writing about it. This week, I wrote a post for Musicology Now (yes, the same Musicology Now that I criticized in a previous post, now with a new editorial board). In it, I reflect on my experience with this blog and what I've learned about doing public musicology on the internet, in the hopes of passing along some advice to others who want to try it for themselves. I don't debunk any musical myths in this essay, but if you're interested in learning about my process and goals, please check it out! Here's a preview:
  • Your job is to stimulate enthusiasm, not quash it. Since I threw myself into the business of debunking myths, I’m at risk of being the pedant who derails an interesting conversation with, “Well, actually…” Sometimes I worry I’m so caught up in correcting misconceptions about music that I give the impression I don’t actually like it. That’s motivated me to write more than just corrections, to explain why the history matters and hopefully replace the warm fuzzies of a feel-good false narrative with an awed appreciation for history.
Read more »
Also, in the wake of articles celebrating Beethoven's birthday on December 16th, I've been working on a post about myths pertaining to his deafness. That post will probably be published early in the new year.

Have a merry Christmas, happy new year, and marvelous any other holiday you're celebrating! I look forward to busting more musical myths with you in 2017.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Is this flute concerto a long-lost Mozart composition? (Probably not.)

Last week, my news feeds were full of stories about musical manuscripts and rediscovered compositions:
  1. On November 27, A manuscript of Mahler’s second symphony auctioned at Sotheby’s set a record for the highest sale price of a musical manuscript.
  2. At the same auction, a manuscript of a Beethoven piece failed to sell, and Sotheby’s blames a musicologist for voicing doubts that it’s in Beethoven’s handwriting. 
  3. On December 2, Austria’s Tutti Mozart Orchestra premiered a long-lost flute concerto purported to be by Mozart.
  4. Coincidentally, that same day saw the revival of Stravinsky’s “Funeral Song,” which was lost in the Russian Revolution and recovered in 2015.
Since this blog’s primary purpose is to debunk musical myths, I’m going to focus on event #3: Is this a lost concerto by Mozart? The answer, unfortunately, is: It’s VERY unlikely.