Thursday, 3 October 2002

Classical music and its future

Listening to:

Mahler, symphony no. 3.

Here's an interesting article from Salon about classical music and its future in the modern world. There's also a link at the bottom of the article to a much older article (in the form of a dialogue) on much the same topic. One point that neither article makes is that classical music probably will survive as long as people continue to want to play and listen to it. It's not a perfect analogy, but people still read and enjoy Shakespeare despite the fact that no-one is writing drama in that style anymore.

Rather, commentators seem to be upset because there is this notorious lack of connection between modern composers and audiences. This situation is blamed on different people depending on who is doing the blaming. Either the masses have turned into Philistines, or the composers are arrogant, and unconcerned with popular appeal in the belief that they are composing for posterity. I don't care which is true. The real question is: are there great works of musical art being created today? If the answer is no, well that's a shame, but there is still lots of classical music out there which I've never heard, and that stuff would be new to me. So, my yen for novel musical sensation should be satisfied, and classical music isn't really dead. Not only would my listening to performances of known works keep the music alive, but so too would the enjoyment that others take in performing these works.

If the answer to the question is yes, then I get all the advantages of the situation where the answer was no, along with the slightly niggling worry about how I'm expected to find the good new stuff without having to listen to too much dross. The population of the world is bigger now, so there's more music in absolute terms, but I'm an optimist so I believe the proportion of good stuff is probably roughly the same as ever it was. The only important principle is that the good new stuff is not going to necessarily come in classical forms. Given a changed society, there is no guarantee that the real artists will be well-represented in the classical arena.

Comments

Classical music has no future in this world of Punk rockers and grapefruits. I wish to express my dissapointment of this as people like RANCID are really good. I am also really tired of eating bike pedals.

Posted by: Luisa at July 10, 2003 07:03 PM

have you ever tried making love to classical music? The beat is so great, and it really helps with my parteners stamina, also, if I get bored, it is easy to just let my mind slip into Bach, of Handle.

Posted by: Luisa at July 10, 2003 07:05 PM

Never try to go on a meal date when classical music is playing because parteners get annoyed when you cry passionately at the music and not at their cooking.

Posted by: Luisa at July 10, 2003 07:06 PM