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'Classical Style' at Ojai Music Festival draws on wit, wisdom

'Classical Style' at Ojai Music Festival draws on wit, wisdom

OJAI — Charles Rosen's "The Classical Style" is an illuminating, academic, occasionally combative, close study of the musical style of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven by a brilliant pianist and scholar who died in 2012. Though a technical tome, it takes on big, universal issues and proved a surprise hit of 1971, winning a National Book Award and reaching a remarkably wide audience.

Rosen's 43-year-old book, never out of print, pulled a bigger surprise Friday as the subject for the first opera commissioned in the 68-year history of the Ojai Music Festival. The rules of musical form attempted a spectacularly absurd leap off the library shelf onto the lyric stage in the form of...

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