Norman M. Schwartz replies to Karl Miller:
>>... Some have suggested that for music to be a living art, it
>>must evolve, and that we need to keep it fresh and not hold up the
>>perspectives of the past as encapsulated in our recorded history.
>Nevetheless don't forget most people want to relax to enjoy listening,
>period. After a long day's hard work they are not looking to preserve
>the art or to do more work getting out their encyclopedias to read and
God forbid someone should actually learn something.
>>... I am one who most often prefers that recorded history over the
>>perspectives of the present. I still choose my Koussevitzky recordings
>>of the standard repertoire over any made today...even if the new recordings
>>feature better sound quality. I have also devoted a substantial amount
>>of my professional life to preserving the performance history of the
>>past. But there are times when I wonder if doing so was ultimately in
>>the best interest of the art.
>Well by all means. However you overlook the small fact that you are a
>musicologist. My parents didn't tune in their radio or TV for the same
>reasons you choose to listen. Somehow we have to find the way to stike
>a happy medium (no pun intended).
I agree with this. But I'm not a musicologist, and I'm probably closer
to Karl's listener than to Norman's. We listen for all sorts of reasons
and, I would add, to all sorts of music (I'm currently high on the
Leningrad Cowboys). However, I've noticed that a kind of Gresham's Law
seems to be operating. Vanessa Mae, Three Tenors, Celtic Woman, and New
Age mayonnaise seem to be driving out music traditionally called classical.
There's a tendency to extremes. Thomas Ades and Willem Tanke on the one
hand and Eine kleine Nachtmusik for kazoo band and Silk Road on the
other. I worry that a vast middle ground will be swept away, simply
because you can't sell 100,000 copies of that kind of program. What it
means is that we eventually lose (and, let's face it, most of us have
lost) a connection to living music, because we have little idea of what
happened between 1900 and 1960, or between 1970 and 1990, for that matter.
In that, I strongly agree with Karl. Music becomes less necessary to
culture and more a mark of self-congratulation or consumer status.
The Music as Entertainment vs. Music as Necessary is a battle that's
raged since before the Middle Ages. You can find one or the other
viewpoint expressed in Boethius and in St. Augustine. For me, it's not
a question of one or the other. I want to be entertained, engaged, and
interested, but I also find that the more music I seek out, that my ideas
about the art and about art in general change. I begin to reflect on
points of view other than my own, and inevitably my view alters.
It amazes me that we should limit ourselves so much in what we listen
to. We certainly don't restrict our reading to that extent. A person
who reads only mysteries or only 19th-century novels or Greek tragedies
most of us would recognize as a bit limited, with certain disadvantages.
A library holding only the works of Shakespeare, like the Folger, has
depth but no breadth as a repository of knowledge. As good as Shakespeare
is, he's not the only mind worth knowing.
The CLASSICAL mailing list is powered by L-Soft's renowned LISTSERV(R)
list management software together with L-Soft's HDMail High Deliverability
Mailer for reliable, lightning fast mail delivery. For more information,
go to: http://www.lsoft.com/LISTSERV-powered.html