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CLASSICAL  April 2007

CLASSICAL April 2007

Subject:

Re: Joshua Bell, Street Musician

From:

William Hong <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 10 Apr 2007 10:13:45 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (54 lines)

Mitch Friedfeld wrote:

>On the front page of the Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/, you can
>now find links to the article, the chat, and audio and video of Bell's
>performance.  Not to mention more than 30 pages of reader comments, still
>growing.  The author, Gene Weingarten, says: "This story got the largest
>and most global response of anything I have ever written, for any
>publication.  I think the enthusiastic classical-music blogosphere
>helped give it a viral life, as did the availability of quality video."

It's not just (classical) music blogs, either.  Perhaps because the
Washington Post is seen as a reflection of the political scene and a
source for news about the US government, some of the political blogs and
websites have run across the article and posted about it as well.

Now, I'll be fairly open and state that my preference is for blogs and
sites of a certain political viewpoint, though with some exceptions.
So I haven't seen what any politically opposing ones might have done
with this article.  But it has been interesting for me to read the
comments on some of the ones I do read, regarding the article and how
they interpret it.

What I find striking, not so much in quantity or in proportion as much
as in vehemence, is that there is an undercurrent in American society
(from what I can tell of the postings) that is openly hostile to classical
music.  CM is, broadly paraphrased, a product of European White (mostly
dead) Male societies, with no relevance to the modern world, etc.  and
propped up by an aging elitist minority.

I guess it has escaped some of these folks that some of the most
vibrant centers of activity for this Dead/European/White/Male hegemony
exists in places such as Latin America (e.g., Venezuela) and Asia--even
if some of the folks on this List in a different thread feel Asian
classical musicians are uninteresting|-).  Indeed, some of the blogreader
comments remind me of the kind of words used by Chinese authorities
during the Cultural Revolution regarding "western" influences.  Chilling.

That said, I don't think this attitude is pervasive, just deeply
held among some.  And as the discussion threads have evolved, many
with opposing views have posted, not only defending classical music in
general (and perhaps the Bach Chaconne in particular) but also accusing
the other side of pop music snobbery, "elitism" and anti-intellectualism.
It also seems there are many other comments that otherwise criticize the
experiment for having chosen the wrong location, time of day etc.  But
that shows they may not have read the article to begin with.  Yet in the
blogosphere, all comment is apparently equal, whether informed or not.....

Bill H.

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