Music in 1853: The Biography of a Year

Stephen Walsh writes:

In Judith Weir’s pocket Chinese opera The Consolations of Scholarship, the hero discovers the truth about his father Chao Tun’s unjust disgrace while researching old philosophical texts, and is consequently able to avenge his father and restore the family fortunes. It would be good to feel that one’s own dusty cogitations might have some such tangible, uplifting result. But there isn’t much hope. For the modern scholar, the consolation is a good score in the latest research assessment, some nice trips at someone else’s expense, and a few reassuring footnotes in the publications of other, reciprocally unconsoled rummagers.

(LRB 25 October 2012)

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