July 20, 2004

Teasing Tidbit from Terry Teachout
A regular "About Last Night" reader writes:
In general -- and with all exceptions duly noted -- I think your preferences reflect a taste for lightness over heaviness, for charm over depth (as conventionally understood). As I grow older, that is the direction in which my taste is headed. Do you agree that aging has something to do with it?
Very perceptive. But while I think aging may have something to do with it, I think the effects in my case are limited. My taste has always run more or less in those directions: French over German, "comic" (broadly speaking) over tragic, short over long, color over line. In the best of all possible two-kinds-of-people divide, that formulated by Schiller, I tend to opt for "naive" over "sentimental." As Sir Isaiah Berlin explains, "naive" artists are those "who create naturally, who are not troubled by the burden of the tragic disorder of life, who do not seek salvation in art as some people seek personal salvation in religion or Socialism or nationalism." He cited Verdi as the quintessential example of the naive artist of genius. For me, it's Balanchine.

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