James R. Oestreich, in his NYTimes article "Damning Mozart with Fervid Praise," takes to task Carl Vigeland for both the factual errors and overblown hyperbole of his book The Mostly Mozart Guide to Mozart.
Oestreich's obvious annoyance with this book is finally because "mindless, cliched, indiscriminate cheerleading is the last thing classical music needs just now, as it finds itself increasingly challenged to prove its relevance in the multicultural, anti-elitist, pop-saturated arts climate of the 21st century." I couldn't agree more.
I also especially like Oestreich's writing. I do hope that when he calls Vigeland's description of the "Jupiter" Symphony "one of the most egregious examples of strained puffery," he is being somewhat ironic!
Vigeland's book was done in collaboration with the Lincoln Center and contains anecdotes from festival participants, but is "unworthy of what the Mostly Mozart Festival has...become."
The festival runs from July 28 to August 22, 2009.
Oestreich is always knowledgeable and enjoyable to read.
I would like to invite James R. Oestreich to my soiree.