Karl Miller writes
>... We have symphony boards with repertoire
> committees. We have executive directors choosing soloists and repertoire.
> Then we have the expanding role of the artistic administrators. And
> then we have that dreaded Knight report which took a very myopic look
> at the economics of art music. For me, its publication was one of the
> most tragic events in the history of art music. It was a major step in
> the relegation of art to bean counting....
As a longtime attender of concerts and opera I've gotten a feel, I think,
for what audiences like, what they'll abide --and for how long-- and
what they dislike. It's these dispositions, and not what critics or
composers favor or disfavor, that are the ones which decide the game.
Moreover, both the concert halls and the recording companies must try
to respond to established audience taste in order to pay their way. But
they also must insert some new, problematic, stuff into their programs,
to attest to liveliness. The audience does react to this, but only
slowly, and then perhaps less from their concert/opera-going than from
their film-viewing where they often encounter, and become vaguely
accustomed to, music that's "different". Attenders can take astringent
music only to the extent that if affords a helpful change of pace --
as little of it as will serve--from the dulcet or customary. To these
people ten minutes of Webern at best makes 'em feel they've done their
duty to modernity. It's a lucky thing that Webern composed short
pieces--for both Webern and the attenders. They can dutifully be sneaked
into programs without alienating the paying customers.
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