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Posted on: Luty 6, 2014

On the 12th of October 1770, in Rome, the brillant English scholar and musician Charles Burney met an elderly Neapolitan composer of operas, Rinaldo di Capua. […] Burney reports part of their conversation, which was more than a little interest for us:

He thinks composers have nothing to do now but to write themselves and others over again, and the only chance they have for obtaining the reputation of novelty and invention must arise either from the ignorance or want of memory in the public — as every thing both in melody and modulation that is worth doing has already been done over and over again.  He confesses that tho’ he has written full as much as his neighbours yet out of all his works perhaps not above one new melody can be found, and as to modulation it mus be always the same to be pleasing. What has not been done is only the refuse of thousands, who have tired and rejected it, either as impracticable or as displeasing. The only chance a man has for introducing new modulation in songs is in a short 2nd part in order to fright the hearer back to the first, to which it serves as a fool by making it comparatively beautiful.

Charles Rosen, How to become immortal, w tomie The Frontiers of Meaning, Kahn & Averill, 2009

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