Sunday, August 2, 2009

Michael Steinberg

"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." Whoever it was that uttered those words (and I dare you to try to find out; if you do, let me know), probably hadn't read much by Michael Steinberg. The futility of writing about an art that by its definition defies description is keenly and regularly felt by anyone who's ever tried it, including myself. For all I know, Steinberg himself felt that way at least a time or two, but I've found not a shred of evidence that he did in any of the writings he produced as one of the most important writers in the music world. The former Boston Globe critic and Boston Symphony Orchestra program annotator (and that just cites the most obvious of local connections, leaving rest of the iceberg under water) passed away last weekend. I hope you'll get a chance to tune in to our live BSO broadcast from Tanglewood this Sunday afternoon. In between the Beethoven Third Piano Concerto with Leif Ove Andsnes and the Rachmaninoff Second Symphony, all led by Danish conductor Thomas Dausgaard, don't leave your radio during intermission. Brian Bell has prepared a feature that will look back on Steinberg and the immense influence he wielded in the ways people perceived and even felt about music over his 80 years. Other worthy destinations to learn about Steinberg include Jeremy Eichler's heartfelt obituary for the Globe, Mark Swed's very personal remembrance, and a tribute from Performance Today, a program you can hear every weekday on All-Classical WGBH.

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