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CLASSICAL  April 2008

CLASSICAL April 2008

Subject:

Re: Atonal Music

From:

Steve Schwartz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Thu, 3 Apr 2008 14:33:37 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (56 lines)

Denis Fodor replies to me:

>>... Another question I have is why does it matter how many people like it?
>> After all, classical music-lovers are a niche market anyway.  Christina
>> Aguilera sells more than Alfred Brendel.
>
> As great concert ochestras cost millions to sustain and the sustenance
> of great houses in which they play cost an additional pile, it seems to
> me that it not only matters, but is crucial, to have programs that draw
> enough people to pay the tab.  And I think I have observed that there
> simply aren't sufficient concert goers to fill a great hall, and pay a
> high prices, to attend concerts consisting of, say, Hindemith, Schonberg,
> and Britten--and certainly not a season consisting of only that kind of
> music.

As to this, we'll never really know.  The Cleveland Orchestra has fairly
adventurous programs.  They're lucky enough to have a hefty endowment
and don't break even on ticket sales alone.  But then again conservative
programming doesn't bring in the crowds either, as I've noticed in several
cities.  You may argue that standard programming fills more seats, but
we're still left with the uncomfortable situation that classical symphonic
music simply does not pay unless subsidized by donors and, more often
than not, by the musicians themselves.

I've never argued for exclusively Modern or Contemporary programming.
To me that's just as bad as the Top Fifty programming in vogue now.
However, it strikes me as both strange and unhealthy for the long-term
survival of classical music that we hear so little of it live, and mostly
stuff within a certain 150-200 year period.  In my opinion, it's not
because the pieces played are necessarily superior (although most of
them are), but because the audience simply doesn't know how to listen
to anything outside that period.  *That* state of affairs won't improve
until orchestras are willing to stop ignoring the necessity to educate
-- both themselves and the customers.  It's a sad state of affairs indeed
when I have heard more music than many professional musicians.  It really
seems to me that I'm witnessing a slow, protracted death of a product
called Classical Music, rather than the promotion of a living art.

Since I love classical music, I can't figure out why others don't, so
please don't take my suggestions as practical.  However, if serious music
is going to die, I'd much prefer it did so as itself, rather than as the
simulacrum currently promoted.

> As for Beethoven's Second,
> a large-house audience I think would be pleased to hear it.  Tastes do,
> repeat do, change...over the span of 200 years.

But what about taste changed and how?

Steve Schwartz

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