Karl Miller brings up the notion "that classical music must be enjoyable
to be valued." He then goes on to speculate on why we seem to have
different standards for valuing music in contrast with other arts.
> ... Yet, why is it that we, collectively speaking, seem to reject
>the notion that music can have the same impact and that music that
>stretches our ears be considered worthy of our time. Perhaps it
>is that notion that music is passively consumed?
Interesting thought. But aren't paintings and movies also passively
consumed? I don't know the answer to Karl's larger question, but I
would guess that we can tolerate a disturbing painting more easily than
a disturbing piece of music because the painting does not claim our
attention for any longer than we are willing to give it. Music, on the
other hand, keeps us captive unless we walk out of the concert hall or
turn off the CD player. Then too I believe that music reaches us on a
much more profound and intimate level than any other art, and therefore
its effects are likely to be more long lasting. I suspect that anything
in the world must be enjoyable in order to be valued, but of course we
don't all enjoy the same things or to the same degree. For example, I
might enjoy Messiaen and dislike Palestrina, whereas my neighbor might
have exactly opposite tastes. In the end, however, there is the fact
that far more people enjoy and value Tchaikovsky than, say, Stockhausen.
This is not to say that one is intrinsically better than the other. And
the people who truly value Stockhausen's music must surely enjoy it.
Well, that was a waste of time. I don't think I dealt with Karl's
intelligent question in a very intelligent way. Somebody else can do
better. One final shot: do artists (in general) create their work in
the expectation that it will be enjoyed?
David Lamb in Seattle
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