Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Birthday: Pete Townshend (born 1945)

As a hard-core classical music guy, I want to pay tribute across the aisle: Pete Townshend is a very seriously under-rated composer. Take Tommy as an example: what is striking now is how of a piece with operatic history it seems, using vivid music to tell and heighten a theatrical story. Granting the work's brilliance and originality, there is nothing all that terribly radical in the approach. Townshend makes his points musically and wins his arguments musically, like Mozart, like Bizet, like Wagner, like Gilbert & Sullivan, like Schoenberg, like Gershwin, like Sondheim. In the number "Go to the Mirror!", the passage beginning "Listening to you..." strikes me as easily the equivalent of any of the other great climaxes in opera:

Tommy [3 CD/Blu-ray][Super Deluxe Edition]

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