Well, we discuss this on and off on a regular basis, and we'll never agree I'm afraid.
In the bigger picture, though, it appears to me that music is the only art form in which complacently applying archaic and surpassed means of expression is considered acceptable (by the wider public and a good part of critics) for a major composer.
It's all right if we never quite agree. The only shame would be if, in disagreeing, we could not go on respecting one another.
As to your second point, much depends on three words there: complacently
1. I agree broadly that there is artistic complacency out there on the part of some big-name composers. But the application of that adverb (complacently
) is hardly a cut-&-dried matter, and some people (the namesake of this thread, for instance) apply it with narrow-sighted strictness.
2. The creative use of archaism is an evergreen element in the art of Music; that remained true in the work of Schoenberg
throughout his career, and if Boulez
has been fond to pontificate that the musical world changed radically with le mort de Schoenberg
, no matter: Boulez
saying something, doesn't make it so. If you really mean to use archaic
as some sort of "dirty word," you cannot expect to get much purchase.
3. No musical method is "surpassed" as long as artists of stature create vital work using it. No amount of New Music Nazi posturing by Boulez
is going to alter that cultural fact; it only highlights Boulez's
own blindspots. Of course, Boulez
has a history of touting his artistic blindspots as if they were, somehow, signal virtues