GRE Reading Comprehension

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Source: CHP

"Popular art" has a number of meanings, impossible to define with any precision, which range from folklore to junk. The poles are clear enough, but the middle tends to blur. The Hollywood Western of the 1930's, for example, has elements of folklore, but is closer to junk than to high art or folk art. There can be great trash, just as there is bad high art. The musicals of George Gershwin are great popular art, never aspiring to high art. Schubert and Brahms, however, used elements of popular music一folk themes一in works clearly intended as high art. The case of Verdi is a different one: he took a popular genre一bourgeois melodrama set to music (an accurate definition of nineteenth-century opera)一and, without altering its fundamental nature, transmuted it into high art.

Question List: 1

The author refers to Schubert and Brahms in order to suggest

  • A that their achievements are no less substantial than those of Verdi
  • B that their works are examples of great trash
  • C the extent to which Schubert and Brahms influenced the later compositions of Verdi
  • D a contrast between the conventions of nineteenth-century opera and those of other musical forms
  • E that popular music could be employed in compositions intended as high art

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