Sunday, February 17, 2013

New York Times Defense: Afghani Ensemble Visits "Bolero"

On Wednesday Mara and Colin will be covering Anthony Tommasini’s review of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music rendition“Bolero” by Maurice Ravel.
Tommasini is the chief music critic at the New York Times as of 2000, first joining the staff in 1996.
This music critic actually began as a professor at Emerson College in Boston, but after being denied of tenure he pursued music criticism.
We’re going to analyze how Tommasini targets his audience, and how he introduces new vocabulary of traditional Afghani music and its instruments without alienating his readers.
One of the reasons why we’re defending this piece is because of the word choice used to describe the feelings evoked from the foreign instrumentation.
Tommasini describes the unfamiliar sounds of these instruments with familiar comparisons (“Or the sarod, another plucked Afghan instrument [...] could bend the blue-notes of the melody with the yearning of a Billie Holiday”).
We’re also going to explore the use of diction, assonance and consonance, as well as meter (“plucked like a lute to produce a sound both tender and tart”).
Lastly, we’re going to appraise the cultural context Tommasini adds to the review; he draws awareness to social climate of Afghanistan with quotes from Mohammad Asif Nang.

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