THE NEW YORK TIMES – Avoiding ‘Moderato’ Becomes a Style

The composer Christopher Rouse, in an onstage conversation during a concert of his works presented at Zankel Hall on Friday evening, described one of the primary urges in his music with a striking line: “Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess.” He credited the saying to Mark Twain, though evidence points to Edwin H. Land, the inventor of Polaroid instant photography. (Famous quotations, like small children, are irresistible to bring up in conversation and nearly impossible to pin down.)

Regardless, Mr. Rouse’s point was on the money. Responding to what he described as “the moderato, mezzo forte syndrome — everything was kind of not too fast, not too slow, not too loud, not too soft,” he developed a style marked by infectious vitality, abundant energy and dynamic extremes. Diverse as the four works presented during this Making Music program were, each demonstrated those signature traits.

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