Thursday, January 27, 2011

I didn't know Classical music was broken.............

NPR posed the question "How do we fix Classical Music?" and left the window open for folks to comment. A kind of democratic "What should be done about this?" deal. Though I believe the intended question really was - how can the "Classical" music world entice more people to listen - perhaps beyond the comfort zone of popular music? There are some interesting observations and theories. The LP cover above is an example of my own quest - I found a stone mint copy of this great Richard Strauss record at a thrift store this week for 50 cents! Old classical vinyl is plentiful and cheap and often can be found in beautiful shape. It's not all home runs, but for the price one can afford to experiment a little.
Here's one of my favorite responses on the NPR site:

            "G.B. Shaw said the greatest ideas are born as blasphemies and die as dogma. So it goes with the innovations of Stravinsky and Schoenberg. There is a young generation of musicians and listeners who are ready to be transported by anything, if it's compelling. The only real difference between a "composer" and a songwriter is in the degree of challenge the composer is willing to issue to a listener. Contemporaries freaked out over Beethoven's late quartets, and they were right to! It's audacious stuff. Today it might sound more familiar, unless you really listen to it. A composer asks to be really listened to. That's the only distinction I can make between popular and classical music. So compose what you love and expect us to really listen."

       A poster using the pseudonym  "Opervati" wrote the above quote and I think it's quite an astute observation concerning what composers might expect from listeners. Here's a link to the rest of the article - enjoy!

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