I've been following this thread with great interest.
> One can make a reasonable arguement that there just wasn't room for
> everything. More music was being written, hence some had to fall by the
But notice what gets cut. We has to have our Beethovens, Mozarts, and
Brahmses, don'ts we, Precious? (Gollum, Gollum) I don't mind the Standard
Repertoire. I understand you have to sell tickets and that people just
loves them their familiar. Why shell out for something you have no idea
you're going to like?
The problems are that first, you can probably hear a much better
performance of standard repertoire in recording rather than from your
local symphony. I have very little interest in Levine's Beethoven,
Mahler, or Wagner, for example, even if I were so lucky as to live in
or near either New York or Boston. So what's the point of buying a
ticket for that? Do I really need to hear Lang Lang's Rachmaninoff live
(or recorded, for that matter), when I've heard Ashkenazy, Richter,
Argerich, and Wild? Second, it's not simply a matter of the same composers
played again and again, but *the same pieces.* People might be pleasantly
surprised to hear Brahms's Triumphlied, Bruckner's Helgoland, Beethoven's
Elegaischer Gesang, Mozart's Davide penitente, let alone something by
Bruch, other than the Scottish Fantasy or the g-minor concerto. Notice
that none of this stuff is as far out as Webern. Indeed, none of it is
People complain about Modern music and beyond, and yet few have heard
much of it. Few seek it out, because they've heard they won't like it.
Certainly few orchestras have taken it upon themselves to educate their
audience because -- in art as in politics -- pandering to that audience
is easier. So we get this gap between serious music and the audience
that continues to grow. It has gotten to the point where not only do
people not listen to Wuorinen or Boulez, they don't listen to Nielsen.
And of course the public at large thinks of classical music in general
as relaxing (read "boring") and written by dead guys -- in short, as
irrelevant to their lives.
> As I write this I am reminded of a particular day when I was teaching a
> class in contemporary music. It was back in the 70's. I had just taped
> a broadcast of the Boston Symphony which featured Reich's Music for
> Mallet Instruments Voices and Orchestra. I played the Reich for my
> students. That next semester many of the composition students became
> Reich clones, just as they had been Carter clones some years before.
When I first heard Minimalist music, it shocked the hell out of me. I
was used to hearing Gerhard, Carter, Boulez, and Nono. I sniffed that
the Minimalists simply were "not playing the game." It took me a while
to come to terms with this stuff, and certainly Reich (though not Glass)
helped me along.
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