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CLASSICAL  November 2007

CLASSICAL November 2007

Subject:

Re: TNR on Classical Music

From:

Steve Schwartz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Mon, 26 Nov 2007 16:43:33 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (43 lines)

Jim Tobin replies to Karl Miller who quotes John Fiske:

>>  "An artist does not work for years putting his whole heart,
>> soul, and being into his work, merely to furnish people with an
>> aesthetico-intellectual anodyne, -to give them music which they can
>>  passively enjoy without the exertion of thinking."

... and goes on to report:

> Some time ago I wrote about a talkback in
> Milwaukee following the premiere of a new symphony by Wuorinen, which
> the MSO had helped commission.  Someone there indicated that if the
> symphony made a habit of playing this kind of music he was out of there;
> and of course he was not just speaking for himself in that.  Orchestras
> find it hard to resist that kind of response.  Not at all sure that
> telling the audience to think more will work, but that does not mean,
> as a bitter symphony official said privately on another occasion, that
> the only recourse is to play just Tchaikovsky and Beethoven.

Again, I find this symptomatic of a problem larger than music.  I would
say that ANY complicated art in the US, the only country I know about,
is in trouble.  I don't think this means that complicated music won't
get written, but it will probably change, written for smaller forces or
synthesized media, where the expenses are smaller.  On the other hand,
a well-endowed orchestra can play whatever it wants.  If it programs
well -- as Koussevitzky did with Boston -- it may even educate.  I'm
sure the Boston trustees' knees were knockin' when Koussevitzky presented
them with the symphony's 50th season.

My concern is that not that Wuorinen is barred, but that ANY obscure
work, even the obscure work of otherwise popular composers will be
ignored, since at this point we're very close not just to the top fifty
composers, but to the top fifty pieces.  No Bruckner but the fourth and
ninth symphonies, the last three Tchaikovsky symphonies but not the first
three, the last three Dvoraks, and so on.  How friggin' boring.

Steve Schwartz

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