Jeff Dunn wrote:
>Karl Miller wonders:
>>Is Kozzin right telling us that the
>>situation with classical music is great?
>and then provokes us with a "where are the good old days?" film article.
Well, I guess I just don't know who is right about things.
As for the film music...for me, the notion of melody is...difficult.
For me, the term "melody" can be highly subjective. I rather prefer
the notion of the "idea." Much of what I hear with film composers and
the "fluff" concert music composers is gesture without substance. It
is a bit like so many of the motion pictures of today...visual effects
tied together by very little story line.
As for the state of classical music, during a discussion over lunch on
Saturday I was informed that at our University, the Music School, by a
narrow margin, has decided to give commercial music more of a place in
the curriculum. The rationale, as expressed to me was, that they decided
the curriculum needed to be more in alignment with student interests.
Of course one can go on about the notion is the customer always right...and
is a student just a customer.
As the story was relayed to me, it seems that the reason for this shift
of emphasis came from an influx of Yale graduates who joined our faculty.
According to what I was told, Yale is a leader in the thinking of keeping
the curriculum relevant to students.
For me, something as fundamental as education, which is usually behind
the times, can serve as a barometer for the future. It would seem that
the future is, at the least, cloudy.
Again, I wonder if it just isn't my becoming part of greying America or
what...but it does seem to me that "the times they are a changing" a bit
quicker than I can recall in my readings of history.
While doing some research, I was looking over some bits of broadcast
history. Some of the classical music broadcast highlights for the first
week of 1938...from the New York Times...
2 Jan 1938
Ravel Memorial Concert-WJZ
Symphony concert with Kirsten and Karen Flagstad, sopranos...and
the quarrel scene from Julius Caesar with Orson Welles and Martin
New York Philharmonic, Barbirolli with Elman-WABC
Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air-WJZ
Symphony Orchestra, Ezio Pinza bass, with Eugene Ormandy,
Symphony Orchestra, Adele Marcus, piano with Alexander Smallens,
This was at a time when there was no "public broadcasting."
Can you imagine a concert of the Philadelphia Orchestra on CBS these
days? One can argue that "it costs too much." Could it cost too much
because the advertizers think that they would not get enough bang for
Thinking about Mr. Kozinn's article (by the way he is the author
of a book about the Beatles), I believe it is very difficult to really
say if classical music is losing ground. However, as I look around at
things like the changing interests of our music department...our library
favoring the cataloging of commercial recordings of popular music, versus
the preservation of unique Stokowski performances, the changing trends
in "classical" broadcasting, the dumbing down of repertoire, the more
popular composers of "classical" music writing what I find to be insipid
drivel...Torke to name a name...the changing emphasis in music education
...the marketing of classical music...etc.
Jeff...I hope you are right and I am wrong...