Crash Course on Musical Evolution

By Gerald Carpenter, Noozhawk Contributing Writer |

Musical talent, rare in any given population — except, possibly, the Welsh and the Maoris — nevertheless often makes a startlingly early appearance. Wolfgang Mozart is unique mostly in the magnitude of his gifts, not in them becoming manifest before he was 10. Still, it is such an uncanny experience to hear a teenage composer or instrumentalist showing mature, finished artistry that we are bound to hail the youngster as "a new Mozart."

This is both good and bad — good because it is always good to recognize and encourage talent whenever we encounter it; bad because it tends to establish the beginning of the career as its high point, the peak against which all further achievements are measured, usually to their detriment. (The success of a child actor, and the subsequent failure to make it as an adult in the same profession, is a much different phenomenon. The success of a first novel, and the critical reception of subsequent works, is similar to the career difficulties experienced by the musical prodigy, but we find next to no novelists who publish books when they are 5 — or 10, or 15.)

Casting about, the other day, for arts events I might preview for Noozhawk, I came across the announcement of a "Senior Composition Recital featuring Chavadith Tantavirojn" out at UCSB at 6 p.m. Saturday in Karl Geiringer Hall (Music Building).