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CLASSICAL  November 2007

CLASSICAL November 2007

Subject:

Re: TNR on Classical Music

From:

Donald Clarke <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Fri, 16 Nov 2007 12:20:50 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (43 lines)

It seems to me that it was more or less a gradual thing during the 20th
century that audiences abandoned contemporary music (as, admittedly, the
music became more challenging).  It seems to me also that there gradually
came to be more and more distraction, until nowadays, with video games,
DVDs, the internet etc.  more and more people are finding it hard to
concentrate on anything.

First thing in the morning at Barnes & Noble, two hours before the mall
opens, I work near the front (mall entrance) of the store putting the
day's newspapers out, and noxious pop music is already pouring from the
ceiling in the mall, ersatz gospel melisma and whining adolescents even
when there is nobody there to hear it, and this seems to me a paradigm
of the world we live in.  It is hard to get away from the rubbish, and
most people are unaware that they are inundated with it, and do not even
listen to music, but treat it as a background noise.

Pictures in a gallery are not time intensive at all, whether abstract
or representational; you can walk past and come back for another look,
and take as long as you like.  Motion pictures and television are just
as time-consuming as music if you pay close attention (and the more
abstract the film the smaller the audience) but people do not really pay
close attention to TV or even DVDs: they pick up enough of what's going
on while often doing other things at the same time.  Whereas worthwhile
music is abstract in the most meaningful sense: you *have* to pay
attention, otherwise you get very little out of it.  And the mass
audience is losing whatever ability it had to do that.

I'm sure that artists hope to communicate with someone, somewhere, but
I am not going to try to define 'enjoyment'.  Among baseball games, video
games, action movies, serious music etc there is an infinite variety of
time-killing going on.  When I contemplate the arts pages of the New
York Times, I'm not sure that the other arts are not also being corrupted
by the superficial entertainment factor; but I don't think I believe in
the 'prolonged dying throes' of 'classical' music.  The hardcore audience
will always be there.

Donald Clarke

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