One hears a great deal these days about the decline of the solo recital. To judge by newspaper coverage alone, not just in The New York Times but in other American newspapers, and not just by the American press but by the English as well, recitals come a distant third behind orchestra concerts and, especially, behind opera. Why this should be so is in at least two senses not clear: the monumental solo literature written for the piano and for the violin, and the Lieder and chanson literature written for the voice, lie at the heart of the repertory of the greatest music in the Western tradition. Furthermore, solo recitals, involving as they do just one artist, or an artist and an accompanist, are vastly cheaper to put onstage than large orchestras and opera companies. But in the case of the recital, clearly more is involved than art and money; in the postmodern entertainment world, even in the area of what once was enthusiastically hailed...


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