Author Topic: The five myths about contemporary classical music  (Read 7094 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Sequentia

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #40 on: April 30, 2012, 08:12:00 AM »
Nor does it follow that possessing those qualities will guarantee that someone will like how contemporary music sounds. 

I've spent a majority of my life listening to and studying new music and while there are some composers (Carter, Boulez are two) whose music I can admit an appreciation for, I do not enjoy listening to it anywhere as much as any work by Haydn, and countless other "old" music composers.  And there are many more new music composers whose music is of absolutely no interest to me whatsoever.

I fail to see why the issue of whether more people enjoy it or not is the subject of debate.  People gravitate to the music they like more than other music.  Many people like Mahler, I don't.  Many people like Wagner, I don't.  I love Haydn and Mozart, many people find them boring.  The same is true for 20th and now 21st century music.

Perfectly natural state of affairs, IMO.

 :)

This discussion deals with stereotypes, not preferences.

Offline Sequentia

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #41 on: April 30, 2012, 08:15:41 AM »
What is this supposed to mean? They're all alive. Composing classical music. Therefore etc.

They are not contemporary because their works are fairly conservative, when compared to compositions such as Boulez's 2nd Piano Sonata or Stockhausen's 10th Piano Piece - works that are several decades old. I was making reference to musical progress, not chronology.

Philoctetes

  • Guest
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #42 on: April 30, 2012, 08:17:15 AM »
They are not contemporary because their works are fairly conservative, when compared to compositions such as Boulez's 2nd Piano Sonata or Stockhausen's 10th Piano Piece - works that are several decades old. I was making reference to musical progress, not chronology.

LOL! Ho, is this supremely ironic given your previous post.

Offline Sequentia

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #43 on: April 30, 2012, 08:18:35 AM »
LOL! Ho, is this supremely ironic given your previous post.

The one about stereotypes? Please explain.

Philoctetes

  • Guest
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2012, 08:23:04 AM »
The one about stereotypes? Please explain.

You have a stereotype in your mind about what contemporary classical music should sound like, which I would also wager is a preference.

Outside of the fact that you're simply wrong about what contemporary classical music means. You can't simply fix a definition to suit your prejudicial needs. While language can be used in such a fashion, it shouldn't be.

Offline James

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8362
  • Currently Listening to:
    from JS Bach to Stockhausen
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #45 on: April 30, 2012, 08:25:54 AM »
They are not contemporary because their works are fairly conservative, when compared to compositions such as Boulez's 2nd Piano Sonata or Stockhausen's 10th Piano Piece - works that are several decades old. I was making reference to musical progress, not chronology.

When we're talking about contemporary music it should entail & survey the whole scene for a balanced and much wider perspective; not just the trailblazers .. or the highly experimental stuff.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein

Offline Sequentia

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #46 on: April 30, 2012, 08:34:01 AM »
You have a stereotype in your mind about what contemporary classical music should sound like, which I would also wager is a preference.

Outside of the fact that you're simply wrong about what contemporary classical music means. You can't simply fix a definition to suit your prejudicial needs. While language can be used in such a fashion, it shouldn't be.

So if I were to sit down and compose a "Missa Papae Marcelli", it would be contemporary, simply because it was composed in 2012?

Philoctetes

  • Guest
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #47 on: April 30, 2012, 08:37:05 AM »
So if I were to sit down and compose a "Missa Papae Marcelli", it would be contemporary, simply because it was composed in 2012?

Yes, the context is part and parcel with the phrase. Simply because an older form was utilized, does not negate the time frame from which it was composed. I would view it under the auspice of appropriation, which is easily a modern, if not postmodern idea. Sherrie Levine demonstrated this in the realm of photography.

Offline Sequentia

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #48 on: April 30, 2012, 08:40:11 AM »
Yes, the context is part and parcel with the phrase. Simply because an older form was utilized, does not negate the time frame from which it was composed. I would view it under the auspice of appropriation, which is easily a modern, if not postmodern idea. Sherrie Levine demonstrated this in the realm of photography.

Music is organisation of sound; commercial goals or lack thereof and "context" have nothing to do with that. In what ways has Pärt gone beyond Darmstadt?

Philoctetes

  • Guest
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #49 on: April 30, 2012, 08:44:52 AM »
Music is organisation of sound; commercial goals or lack thereof and "context" have nothing to do with that. In what ways has Pärt gone beyond Darmstadt?

Well I don't know where the commercial part comes in, but I would strongly disagree with you that context doesn't matter, as I pointed out with Levine.

Beyond? I don't even know what that phrase is supposed to mean here.

Part is simply composing in his vein, how he interprets the contemporary scene. I'd wager that all composers see their times differently than other composers who also might be composing in their era.

Offline Sequentia

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #50 on: April 30, 2012, 08:54:20 AM »
Well I don't know where the commercial part comes in, but I would strongly disagree with you that context doesn't matter, as I pointed out with Levine.

Beyond? I don't even know what that phrase is supposed to mean here.

Part is simply composing in his vein, how he interprets the contemporary scene. I'd wager that all composers see their times differently than other composers who also might be composing in their era.

It seems to me that we are having a misunderstanding. I'm using "contemporary" to mean "modernist", not "done recently". Modernism would be a rejection of the past - the syntax of various works by Cage or Stockhausen would fall into that realm, while Pärt would not. How about that?

Philoctetes

  • Guest
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #51 on: April 30, 2012, 08:58:49 AM »
It seems to me that we are having a misunderstanding. I'm using "contemporary" to mean "modernist", not "done recently". Modernism would be a rejection of the past - the syntax of various works by Cage or Stockhausen would fall into that realm, while Pärt would not. How about that?

You're completely free to constrict definitions so that they suit you. I think I mentioned that in a previous post, but I don't even think you could support the definition that you've offered yourself, especially with the claims of beyond and progress, which I think are simply bollocks.

Offline Sequentia

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #52 on: April 30, 2012, 09:26:10 AM »
You're completely free to constrict definitions so that they suit you.

"Suit"? In what way? Am I becoming famous? Winning the lottery?

I think I mentioned that in a previous post

Mentioned what?

I think are simply bollocks.

Your problem.

Offline Sammy

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 950
  • Location: Albuquerque
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bach and Miaskovsky
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #53 on: April 30, 2012, 09:41:04 AM »
It seems to me that we are having a misunderstanding. I'm using "contemporary" to mean "modernist", not "done recently".

Then you should dump "contemporary" and use "modernist". 

Offline albedo

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 21
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #54 on: April 30, 2012, 12:03:37 PM »
Quote from: DavidW on April 29, 2012, 08:42:18 PM
No because it's untrue.


Would you have nice examples? I was generalizing, so simply one composer once (glass)...more looking for bodies of work across multiple composers.

Could part of the modernist issue be similar to watching  a five minute clip of a live Phish or Greatful Dead concert?  That unless audience is 'there' from ground zero, the impact is a little lost? That unless we know, and have watched, a composer grow, all we hear are door squeaks, violins tuning, windows slamming, having missed the process that brought us to that point?



contemporary to me is kinda zzz

Offline James

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8362
  • Currently Listening to:
    from JS Bach to Stockhausen
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #55 on: April 30, 2012, 02:04:29 PM »
Music is organisation of sound; commercial goals or lack thereof and "context" have nothing to do with that.

In the big picture & in reality they do. Context does raise questions. Should music be dismissed because it's not catchy or easy-listening? It certainly is for the most part. In entertainment culture, everything's role seems to be a cure for boredom. This is why TV, popular music, etc. are so "accessible" (euphemism for "doesn't require any effort on the part of the consumer"). Art is not always there to be easy on us. Its purpose in many cases is to challenge us and it seems that the prevailing (and easiest) response to this challenge is dismissal. And if longevity requires a high level of public interest and participation, then I'm afraid even the classics have also run their course ..
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein

Offline James

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8362
  • Currently Listening to:
    from JS Bach to Stockhausen
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #56 on: April 30, 2012, 02:22:02 PM »
Would you have nice examples? I was generalizing, so simply one composer once (glass)...more looking for bodies of work across multiple composers.

All of the traditional instruments (incl. the human voice) have pretty much reached the point of "technical exhaustion" at this point in history.. but are still utilized as ever by 'contemporary' composers; and things have opened up a great deal with the technological electronic computer age we live in. If you are really curious about this .. try google or wiki and search for these instruments, reading what has and is being done. You can literally name a preeminent composer of the last 40-50 years (our time, generally) and in most cases winds & brass (etc.) have been utilized by that composer in some way, it won't take you long to discover this.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein

Offline The Six

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 746
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #57 on: April 30, 2012, 04:23:05 PM »
I think the "inaccessible" thing about new music doesn't just refer to the music itself. Audiences have no context to put it in, which is the same problem contemporary music has always had. Even if you're not a Berlioz aficionado, you know what you're getting into if you're going to a performance of his music. Who knows where Joe Microtones is coming from when listening to his Meditation on the Colour Purple? Most people don't want to have to read a novella of program notes just to get grounded in a piece. Call it laziness, stubbornness, or whatever, but it's a preemptive roadblock that inhibits acceptance of new music.

Concerts of modern music are full of unrecognizable names and pieces with complex titles. Simply titling a piece by its medium ("String Quartet") is not fashionable. And if the program has works from five composers, it's likely you'll get five completely different-sounding pieces.

Offline jlaurson

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 5969
    • ionarts
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #58 on: April 30, 2012, 04:29:10 PM »
Funny how Schoenberg is still "contemporary".

There is some good new stuff amongst the academic dreck, but the time and money you need to spend to find it isn't worth it, from my point of view. Especially as there's so much "old" music I haven't heard yet.

I had a wonderful conversation with a 90 (!) year old woman after a performance of the Berlin Philharmonic (Webern-Berg-Schoenberg) in Salzburg. http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2010/09/notes-from-salzburg-festival-15th-and.html
Quote
Outside the Festspielhaus an old but sharp lady approached me, shaking her head about that ‘modern, newfangled music’, and how she could not be expected to like it, or applaud after it. Since I wasn’t going to pretend to agree, I tried to make the Second Viennese School slightly more palatable to her in the gentlest terms possible, suggesting that if she—by her own admission—could find it impressive or even rousing, just not beautiful, she was already three quarters of the way down the road to appreciating it. ‘Beauty’, in the conventional sense, isn’t the point of these works, but then that isn’t the point of something like Le Sacre (which she likes), either. And I couldn’t help point out that, and I went about this tactfully, the music she just heard and found so awfully ‘new’ was older even than she. There we are: A century later, Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg are still poster boys for “New” music.

Re: Tom Service:

 It's really a rather sloppy article... especially points 2 & 4. 

The accessibility of the Beatle's deliberately primitive pop is hardly a great argument for how accessible Stockhausen is, however much he influenced certain aspects of their (or others') music. And it doesn't make Ferneyhough easy listening, either.

Much the same goes for simply claiming contemporary music is not irrelevant and then citing non-classical music as the reason behind it. In fact, it weakens the argument.

Point 5 finally is a classic straw-man. Come up with an absurd question, then debunk it. Hooray! Victory.

"All his music was composed with social and political consciousness at its heart." Oh Gawd... that's usually the worst music. Just think Henze. Whenever he becomes political, the music turns shite. Ditto Eisler. Hanns Eisler–Music as a Weapon Or Dessau. http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2010/05/reviewed-not-necessarily-recommended_15.html

It takes more effort, and a bit of intelligence, and acknowledgement of the first half of your second point ("There is some good new stuff amongst the academic dreck, but the time and money you need to spend to find it isn't worth it, from my point of view. Especially as there's so much "old" music I haven't heard yet.") to make the case for contemporary music.

I agree with you that it takes time and money to wade through the stuff, but I disagree with you about whether it's worth it -- if you meant that as a general, rather than personal, statement. It's hugely important not to let classical music become a taxidermist's effigy... and contemporary music (and challenging the ears) is part of that. If that's true for any type of music, it's also true for classical. And frankly, there's so much bona-fide excellent contemporary classical music out there (especially now, that the ideological trench-warfare of the avant-gardists has become a thing of the albeit recent past) that it doesn't take that much time and effort.

Offline James

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8362
  • Currently Listening to:
    from JS Bach to Stockhausen
Re: The five myths about contemporary classical music
« Reply #59 on: April 30, 2012, 04:53:35 PM »
Who knows where Joe Microtones is coming from when listening to his Meditation on the Colour Purple? Most people don't want to have to read a novella of program notes just to get grounded in a piece. Call it laziness, stubbornness, or whatever, but it's a preemptive roadblock that inhibits acceptance of new music.

These things aren't imperative for any music. Openness is really what's necessary.

Concerts of modern music are full of unrecognizable names and pieces with complex titles. Simply titling a piece by its medium ("String Quartet") is not fashionable. And if the program has works from five composers, it's likely you'll get five completely different-sounding pieces.

Fresh blood, fresh voices, creative titles, musical variety, new experiences; ..
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein

Buying Music From Amazon?
Please consider using these links. A small percentage of every sale using these links is passed on to GMG and helps keep this forum online.
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK