Steve Schwartz wrote:
>>BTW, an article ("Music's Missing Magic" by Miles Hoffman) in the current
>>issue of the Wilson Quarterly perceptively analyzes just what the "avante
>>garde" threw away when it abandoned tonality in music.
>Does he also perceptively analyze what it gained?
For me, music loses its magic when composers are not true to themselves.
I am reminded of the "people pleaser" personality. Sometimes we can
enjoy those people, yet other times we can feel a sense of sadness as
we observe them defining themselves predicated on their notion of what
someone else wants.
I see two extremes. On one hand, the people pleaser and on the other,
"I don't care if you like it." In an odd way, some of the most radical
music written might actually fall into the category of the "people
pleasers." There was a time when a composer of tonal music wouldn't have
much luck getting a review or a commission. The press would give
visability to the outrageous...consider as of late Stockhausen's helicopter
piece. Is Stockhausen being true to himself...I cannot answer that
question as I cannot read his mind...but there is some of his music that
has meaning for me, both intellectually and emotionally. I can't say I
have "heard" his helicopter piece.
Similarly, has some of the formulaic popular music of today "ruined"
popular music. As for music theater, I find it interesting that there
can be an Andrew Lloyd Weber and a Stephen Sondheim, each with their own
following. I find Weber's music shallow and insipid, and I find Sondheim's
music to be significant art music...even if he doesn't think of it that
In art music, I see insipid classical music programming, in concert and
on radio, having more of a negative effect on art music than even the
most extreme examples of the "avant garde," of the 20th and 21st Centuries.