Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Leo Tolstoy Meets Beethoven in New York

A well-reviewed play based on Tolstoy's novella The Kreutzer Sonata has been playing in London for quite some time and now is opening in New York in a few weeks.  The New York Times covers it in the midst of this story.   Of course, the Kreutzer is Beethoven's most popular violin sonata and in the story a man fears that it is helping drive his wife madly into an affair.   Oh, italso leads to murder.  The novella was banned by the Russians for a time.

Tolstoy was a stern critic of Beethoven's late period works, as we note in our new book.  Of the Ninth Symphony he wrote: "I am unable to imagine to myself a crowd of normal people who could understand anything of this long, confused, and artificial production, except short snatches which are lost in a sea of what is incomprehensible. And therefore, whether I like it or not, I am compelled to conclude that this work belongs to the rank of bad art.”

Here's a dynamic, brief video clip of the London version of "The Kreutzer Sonata" play, with music:

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