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Vaughan Williams on Music$
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David Manning

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182392.001.0001

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Sir Donald Tovey

Sir Donald Tovey

(p.71) Chapter 12 Sir Donald Tovey
Vaughan Williams on Music

David Manning

Oxford University Press

Here indeed was the quintessence of Donald Tovey: unfailing memory, encyclopadic knowledge, and unerring artistic insight. Add to this a delightful literary style and a rare sense of humor, and one can understand why the Reid professor has put the town of Edinburgh on the musical map. The programmes of the Reid concerts alone are enough to prove this. Therefore people all rush out to buy, beg, borrow, or steal each of his volumes of essays as fast as they come out; that on the ninth symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven reaches the summit of artistic analysis. Tovey's playing is said sometimes to be “unpianistic.” When he plays, the music seems almost to take visual shape. As a composer, his love and knowledge of the classics has led him along the great lines of musical thought by the narrow way right up the hill, and not along the way of destruction, to stumble, fall, and rise no more.

Keywords:   Donald Tovey, literary style, Reid concerts, ninth symphony, Ludwig van Beethoven, classics, music

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