Julio Ponce de Leon replies to me:
>>This last Saturday, I drove to the new Mexican-American Cultural
>>Center, here in Austin, the capital of Texas and home to one of the
>>country's great universities, for a concert of new music featuring
>>the human voice.
> I am writing from Bogota (Colombia), rather far away from Austin, a
> city I have not visited, but of great beauty according to some friends
> that have been there. I did attend a concert here in Bogota a few days
> ago, performed by a couple of "avant garde" music ensembles and I came
> away feeling pretty much thesame way you did after the concert you went
> to at the Mexican American Cultural Center and thinking similar things.
> After the concert I wondered if my appraisal of it was due to a certain
> character of such music or to a lack of an "open mind" from my part, but
> after reading your note and realizing that two similar but unrelated
> events produced the same feeling in two people so far apart, I came to
> the conclusion that perhaps I do not have a problem with my "mind" but
> rather it is the music that has a problem.
A big fan of the "open mind" when it comes to new music, I have to say
that nobody likes everything. This is one encounter with music I probably
will never hear again. Consequently, I really can't tell if it's the
music or me.
Furthermore, at the beginning of the last century, a psychologist and
critic, I. A. Richards, ran a thought experiment. He visualized the
mind as a complex interaction of magnetic needles that had reached
equilibrium. Great art, he posited, upset that equilibrium so that the
needles would spin until they reached a new equilibrium. He then asked
what would it mean if the needles didn't spin: bad art or defective
needles? He couldn't answer the question.
Neither can I. I can note only that Bach delights some and bores others.
Obviously, no two brains are alike. Why should we expect a reliable
consistency of reaction?
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