GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => General Classical Music Discussion => Topic started by: Tsaraslondon on June 01, 2007, 06:09:15 AM

Title: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 01, 2007, 06:09:15 AM
Today I happened to pick up The Independent (one of the major daily newspapers in the UK, for those of you who are not British), as it promised a "15 Page Independent Music Magazine". There was not a single mention of anything pertaining to classical music on any of those 15 pages, further indication of the marginalisation of classical music in this country. I then turned to the charts section in the Arts and Books supplement, and saw that amongst the best selling books, pop singles and albums charts, there was a top selling classical records chart. This made salutary reading. The top 4 albums were all by Katherine Jenkins, a glamorous mezzo soprano, with a mediocre voice, who has never stepped on an operatic stage in her life. The only two albums that had any genuine classical connections were a 3 Tenors Compendium (The Essential...) and  a budget priced Pavarotti collection issued by Hallmark.
And yet, when I worked for the LSO, concert attendances were generally pretty high. Even with the high price of tickets, it is often very difficult to book for the likes of the Royal Opera House and the English National Opera; and a look at the magazine racks in Borders, or some such store, will confirm that there are more magazines devoted to classical music than ever before. The audience is still there. So why is is that we classical music lovers are continually ignored by the regular press? Is it, as Peter Maxwell Davies recently maintained, a reflection of the philistinism of our current prime minister and government?
Sir Peter Hall once declared that the Arts were only popular in opposition. How true! I'd be interested in other people's views.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: dtwilbanks on June 01, 2007, 06:11:38 AM
No one's interested in classical music anymore. Those people at the concerts you mention were getting out of the London rain.  ;D
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 01, 2007, 06:13:55 AM
. . . I'd be interested in other people's views.

I find The Essential 3 Tenors a delicious oxymoron  8)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 01, 2007, 06:17:55 AM
I find The Essential 3 Tenors a delicious oxymoron  8)

Well at least at one time it refered to 3 real singers, Nowadays it would no doubt mean Russell Watson, Andrea Bocelli and Alfie Boe (is that the right name?), though I may be doing the latter a disservice as I haven't heard him yet.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: 71 dB on June 01, 2007, 06:19:18 AM
'Yellow' newspapers are about superficial phenomena, not intellectual or deep things. Just ignore the newspaper like it ignores classical music.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Novi on June 01, 2007, 07:01:57 AM
The Observer's monthly Music magazine which never has much to say about classical had quite a substantial piece on contemporary music in the last issue:

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/omm/story/0,,2080694,00.html

I know practically nothing of this repertoire but have to say that I'm not quite sure of the line it takes: classical music is cool cos Ades likes progressive house and goes clubbing?

As far as classical in the press is concerned:

Perhaps it's because it's such a broad field that aside from the odd article on the 'big names' - you know the ones, it's the Shostakovich centenary so let's talk about him kind of thing - specific and detailed discussions are better found in more specialised publications. And then there are those articles such as the 'Angela Gheorghiu skipped a rehearsal to go shopping' or 'Isn't Netrebko really beautiful but she's a serious artist though' ones  ;).

Actually, sometimes I see the press as an extension of the record industry. You often only get features on bands or artists when they are about to release a new album anyway and boybands are always going to be more aggressively promoted than the LSO. 

But given that we're maintaining concert attendance levels, I'm not too fussed :).
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 01, 2007, 07:11:06 AM
. . . not quite sure of the line it takes: classical music is cool cos Ades likes progressive house and goes clubbing?

Hey, whatever it takes . . . .

As far as classical in the press is concerned:

Quote
'Angela Gheorghiu skipped a rehearsal to go shopping'

I'm clearly in the minor leagues, since it's more like "The T was backed up on the Red Line, so the the violist called in to say he'd be late"  8)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: techniquest on June 01, 2007, 08:52:26 AM
Quote
So why is is that we classical music lovers are continually ignored by the regular press? Is it, as Peter Maxwell Davies recently maintained, a reflection of the philistinism of our current prime minister and government?
I think the answer lies in the long-term dumbing down of the masses in the UK. Whatever way you look at it, classical music isn't 'cool' and demands a certain level of - something...(intelligence? appreciation? emotion? sense of adventure?) that has been eroded over the last 30-odd years. Concert attendances may be high, but it takes a lot more than a hall full of people in terms of CD sales to make any dent on mass interest.
I remember when Classic FM first started broadcasting how some rare and contemporary works were suddenly thrust into the limelight (for example Gorecki Symphony No.3 and Gavin Bryars' ''Jesus' Blood'') and became chart-toppers which looked as though it was going to be a great thing, but a year later the 'best of's started appearing and all but the old favourites started to disappear in favour of compilation albums.
The Proms starts soon, and in a few months time the Last Night will also bring the 'Proms in the Park' simultaneous concerts (a topic in itself methinks), and there will be the flag-waving singalong crowds a la football terrace (since that imge is waaaayy cool), but how many of those will be prepared to go out and buy a Langgaard CD?  :P
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 01, 2007, 11:06:20 AM
I think the answer lies in the long-term dumbing down of the masses in the UK. Whatever way you look at it, classical music isn't 'cool' and demands a certain level of - something...(intelligence? appreciation? emotion? sense of adventure?) that has been eroded over the last 30-odd years.
and around the world......

I think it's more the dumbing down of adventure. Intelligence I'm not so sure, since I'm not any smarter than the next guy. Emotion, hmmm.... that one's tough, since classical ranges from non-emotion to the most emotionally intense music on the planet (Mahler and Pettersson).

i like the one Simpons episode where they build a symphony hall and those two guys from the bar decide it's over after the first few notes of Beethoven's 5th were played. They're like, "the rest is filler- we got the beginning on our cell phones anyways, it sounds better that way." Classical does take "practice", like stretching out your attention span for awhile, but who listens to classical anyways? Is it really worth spending money on no one you knows listens to? How are you going to discuss it with your friends?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Catison on June 01, 2007, 11:40:46 AM
There may be a less apocolyptic reason for the current top 10 featuring less than stellar pop performers.  The recorded repertoire has been expanding through the years so that now it is fairly easy to find good recordings of extremely esoteric composers and music.  The adjective 'classical' can be applied to a huge amount of music.  It may be that the amount of real classical being bought has stayed roughly the same, but the esoteric albums are getting a bigger portion of sales, just not any one esoteric album.  That creates a market in which it doesn't take much of the market share to be at the top, and you end up finding the mass appeal albums there.  The real classical customers can't find a single album to agree upon being the best, so they slipt beneath the radar.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: edward on June 01, 2007, 12:26:12 PM
I also suspect those charts don't include online sales figures, which are always going to be key in non-mainstream repertoire.

Classical music is probably one of the best examples of the much-vaunted 'long tail' that trendy opinion writers have been mentioning over the last couple of years: almost none of it is going to be a big seller meriting large stock, but if you're shipping to millions of potential consumers, the profit from slow but steady sales of tens of thousands of comparatively obscure CDs is surprisingly large.

I'm actually quite enthusiastic about the long-term future of the classical music business: there are some major structural issues involved but the internet is already huge in disseminating music that might otherwise have failed to find an audience.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Bonehelm on June 01, 2007, 12:46:34 PM
Ever heard of Gramophone? There are classical music specific magazines out there...
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 01, 2007, 01:21:40 PM
Ever heard of Gramophone? There are classical music specific magazines out there...

As I intimated in my original post, though I didn't specifically name Gramophone.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Catison on June 01, 2007, 01:33:32 PM
Classical music is probably one of the best examples of the much-vaunted 'long tail' that trendy opinion writers have been mentioning over the last couple of years: almost none of it is going to be a big seller meriting large stock, but if you're shipping to millions of potential consumers, the profit from slow but steady sales of tens of thousands of comparatively obscure CDs is surprisingly large.

I was definitely alluding to long-tail economics, but I really hate buzz words so I chose not to say anything explicitly.  This really is an amazing time for things like classical music recordings.  The industry was practically made for the internet.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: mahlertitan on June 01, 2007, 01:36:34 PM
the problem lies within the business aspect of classical music, the classical community around the world is doing a very poor job at marketing the music to people.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Catison on June 01, 2007, 02:15:24 PM
How so?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: 71 dB on June 01, 2007, 02:37:27 PM
I am active on a Finnish hometheater forum. Only a few members on that forum admit listening to classical music sometimes. I started there a thread "Why don't you listen to classical music?" Many answered simply they think classical music is elitistic and it sucks. They want to listen to metal. On the same forum we have a thread for new CD purchases. People buy Napalm Death, Dream Theater, Ozzy Osbourne, Sepultura, System of a Down, Megadeth, Metallica, Eagles, ZZ Top, Deep Purple, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Prince, Guns N Roses, Anthrax, etc.

Some of the members mock me for listening to classical music and being elitistic. The truth is good music is rarely popular. The best club music isn't that popular, quality pop isn't often popular. Classical music isn't popular. We have to accept that and enjoy the music!

 :)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: mahlertitan on June 01, 2007, 03:36:22 PM
How so?

i've never seen a commercial about classical concerts on the TV, never.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Catison on June 01, 2007, 03:49:01 PM
i've never seen a commercial about classical concerts on the TV, never.

Of course, there are other methods of advertisement than TV.  I don't know if it would even be a good idea to put commericials for concerts on TV.  The expense of television advertisement is high, and considering the average TV viewing audience, the returns are probably very low.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Larry Rinkel on June 01, 2007, 05:17:57 PM
I am active on a Finnish hometheater forum. Only a few members on that forum admit listening to classical music sometimes. I started there a thread "Why don't you listen to classical music?" Many answered simply they think classical music is elitistic and it sucks. They want to listen to metal. On the same forum we have a thread for new CD purchases. People buy Napalm Death, Dream Theater, Ozzy Osbourne, Sepultura, System of a Down, Megadeth, Metallica, Eagles, ZZ Top, Deep Purple, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Prince, Guns N Roses, Anthrax, etc.

Some of the members mock me for listening to classical music and being elitistic. The truth is good music is rarely popular. The best club music isn't that popular, quality pop isn't often popular. Classical music isn't popular. We have to accept that and enjoy the music!

 :)

I assume your forum is in Finnish, but by any chance if it is in a language I can read  :D, could you direct me to it? I'm really interested in hearing what "non-classical" people have to say about classical music, in their own words as much as possible. Kiitos.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 01, 2007, 05:44:09 PM
I suppose it depends on the publication. Both the New York Times and the The New Yorker regularily post articles, commentaries, and reviews pertaining to classical music. The classical lover, early in his life, must recognize that his musical affinity is not one which grabs the attention of large masses of others in the way that popular genres do. I don't expect local news coverage on the CSO unless it's on one of our Fine Arts stations. It's life. Of course, that doesn't at all signal the death of the genre. Nearly every week (during season), I head down to Symphony Center with a few friends. There may not be many youths present, but those that attend are a dedicated, enthusiastic bunch. All is well.  :)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: 12tone. on June 01, 2007, 09:15:07 PM
Think about the reasons why young people, even older people might not enjoy classical music.  These are guesses...

1) Not much action; can't exactly boogy with it with your friends.
2) Depressing; slow movements might tend to be awkward with groups due to 'depressing' quality. 
3) Concerts tend to be non-active; you sit for 2 / 2 and a half hours quietly.
4) Knowing not many people who would share the intrest with you; lack of communicating intrest with others at school
5) Eliteism; the thought that classical music is only for the rich snobs.
6) Bad experience with recordings; buying dud recordings and thinking all classical music is boring, dull and terribly done music.
7) Long; awkward having people over to listen to 1 or 2 hours of a symphony.  Too quiet for too long.
8.) Complicated; isn't fast, grab-your-attention music like pop music is.
9) Won't impress women.
10) Just plain boring and dull; nerdville. 


EDIT:

11) Old people; both in recordings and at concerts; young people find old people boring and maybe pretentious of those related to classical music. 

Of those in recordings, one might find that the vast majority of albums worth getting are related to older people, not zippy, flashy or commercialized young adults. 
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: techniquest on June 01, 2007, 09:33:58 PM
Coincidently, last night mainstream UK commercial channels were showing ads for the Daily Telegraph which includes Elgar CD's over the weekend to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Isn't it interesting how classical music is considered 'elitist' and 'for rich snobs' as opposed to more popular music, when in truth a good number of the composers were from poor backgrounds and lived in difficult or modest conditions as opposed to the majority of pop & rock stars who have money coming out of their ears and regularly show disdain for the ordinary guy.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Bonehelm on June 01, 2007, 09:40:40 PM
Think about the reasons why young people, even older people might not enjoy classical music.  These are guesses...

1) Not much action; can't exactly boogy with it with your friends.
2) Depressing; slow movements might tend to be awkward with groups due to 'depressing' quality. 
3) Concerts tend to be non-active; you sit for 2 / 2 and a half hours quietly.
4) Knowing not many people who would share the intrest with you; lack of communicating intrest with others at school
5) Eliteism; the thought that classical music is only for the rich snobs.
6) Bad experience with recordings; buying dud recordings and thinking all classical music is boring, dull and terribly done music.
7) Long; awkward having people over to listen to 1 or 2 hours of a symphony.  Too quiet for too long.
8.) Complicated; isn't fast, grab-your-attention music like pop music is.
9) Won't impress women.
10) Just plain boring and dull; nerdville. 


EDIT:

11) Old people; both in recordings and at concerts; young people find old people boring and maybe pretentious of those related to classical music. 

Of those in recordings, one might find that the vast majority of albums worth getting are related to older people, not zippy, flashy or commercialized young adults. 

These are very,  very true...
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: 12tone. on June 01, 2007, 09:46:13 PM
Isn't it interesting how classical music is considered 'elitist' and 'for rich snobs' as opposed to more popular music, when in truth a good number of the composers were from poor backgrounds and lived in difficult or modest conditions as opposed to the majority of pop & rock stars who have money coming out of their ears and regularly show disdain for the ordinary guy.


Wierd eh?   ??? 

I think maybe it's the whole concert hall too.  Everyone dresses up to go out to this typically nice venue.  Not that everyone dresses up but some do.  It's not something casual that young kids tend to like.  I don't know.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 01, 2007, 11:48:14 PM
Wierd eh?   ??? 

I think maybe it's the whole concert hall too.  Everyone dresses up to go out to this typically nice venue.  Not that everyone dresses up but some do.  It's not something casual that young kids tend to like.  I don't know.

Well they certainly don't dress up to go to LSO concerts. In fact there's usually a very wide age range, and though you do get your usual white upper middle class faction, they are more likely to be part of the sponsor's party, than the regular opera goers, who are a very democratic bunch.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 02, 2007, 12:10:39 AM
I see that most people have interpreted my original post as bemoaning the lack of popularity for classical music, which wasn't my point. It is the fact that it is no longer regarded, even in the serious press, as of any interest. And I think, to be honest, that it has something to do with the lack of aspiration in today's society. My grandfather, born at the end of the 19th century, was a self made man, of working class origin. He had left school young, but, by the time his children were adolescents, had a thriving business and was already a highly respected man in his home town. Not having received much of an education, he set about educating himself, reading as much as he could get his hands on. He remained a man of simple tastes, but he never doubted the importance of music, literature and art to our civilisation.
I don't think this is any longer the case. We have a society, obsessed with fame and money. Successive governments have totally denigrated the arts, especially in education. When I was at university, I embarked on a degree (Applied Modern Languages, with Economics), that was completely wrong for me. Fortunately I had a tutor, who was able to see that my problem was just that I was doing the wrong an degree. When he asked me why I had chosen the course, I said I had done it because I thought it would be more useful than a literary one. His response was, "Whatever happened to getting an education?" and he helped me to switch to French and English Literature. But this was surely the beginning of a trend that persists to this day. An arts based education is seen as somehow being of no use, even, in some quarters a cop-out. Personally I think the arts are, or should be, the civilising influence on society. I have nothing against popular culture, in fact have a healthy enjoyment of a lot of it, but with a press that now seems intent on raising the Beatles to the level of Bach and J. K. Rowling to the level of Shakespeare, what hope is there left for serious are in today's society?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mark on June 02, 2007, 12:52:59 AM
Great thread (though it depresses me to have to say that, given the topic).

Is classical music marginalised in today's society? Absolutely. I live in what's usually (and snobbishly) referred to as a 'good area'. Which basically means lots of (mainly white) lower/middle-middle-class folks who have well-paid professional careers, 2.4 children and drive 500 yards to the school in their gas-guzzling 4x4s. Believe me, the cliche is real. These are what we in the UK call the 'chattering classes': indulging in and congratulating themselves on lots of mid to high-brow chatter at dinner parties about whatever socio-politico-economic articles have recently been published in The Guardian or The Independent.

Books (i.e. 'serious literature') they'll happily discuss until their Chilean red wine runs out. Theatre they can waffle on about at length, praising this or that establishment 'lovie'. But when the topic turns to music, it becomes a competition to see who can be more 'hip' by saying they like up-and-coming (i.e 'trendy', 'cool') guitar bands with names like 'The Ovens' or 'The Electrostatic Winecoolers'. Or else the talk is of jazz ... but only the well-known names from way back like Ella Fitzgerald, et al. NO ONE DARES to talk classical music. It's the equivalent of conversation paralysis.

It seriously frightens these 'serious' people. They don't know the first thing about it, they wouldn't know where to start with listening to it ('The Best/Only Choral/Crossover Classical Album In The World Ever, Ever, Ever ... ', is probably as far as they've ever got), and it's just not seen as being very 'now'. So they do everything they can to NOT discuss it, and make polite excuses to change the subject if anyone should bring it up.

I'm with Tsaralondon and this comment:

Personally I think the arts are, or should be, the civilising influence on society. I have nothing against popular culture, in fact have a healthy enjoyment of a lot of it, but with a press that now seems intent on raising the Beatles to the level of Bach and J. K. Rowling to the level of Shakespeare, what hope is there left for serious are in today's society?

And I thank God I was born working class. It's actually made me less, rather than more, prejudiced against what most people in the class I now belong to (by virtue of my career only) as 'old' - so, not fashionable - music.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Novi on June 02, 2007, 01:23:56 AM
i've never seen a commercial about classical concerts on the TV, never.

It wasn't a concert but a recording. But I do recall one telly ad for a classical product: Gorecki's 3rd Symphony years ago. It was the one with Dawn Upshaw with the sillouhette on the cover :).

Only ever the one time though.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mark on June 02, 2007, 01:25:58 AM
But I do recall one telly ad for a classical product: Gorecki's 3rd Symphony years ago. It was the one with Dawn Upshaw with the sillouhette on the cover :).

I remember that, too. :)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 02, 2007, 01:51:26 AM
Isn't it interesting how classical music is considered 'elitist' and 'for rich snobs' as opposed to more popular music, when in truth a good number of the composers were from poor backgrounds and lived in difficult or modest conditions as opposed to the majority of pop & rock stars who have money coming out of their ears and regularly show disdain for the ordinary guy.


It is the fact that it is no longer regarded, even in the serious press, as of any interest. And I think, to be honest, that it has something to do with the lack of aspiration in today's society. My grandfather, born at the end of the 19th century, was a self made man, of working class origin. He had left school young, but, by the time his children were adolescents, had a thriving business and was already a highly respected man in his home town. Not having received much of an education, he set about educating himself, reading as much as he could get his hands on. He remained a man of simple tastes, but he never doubted the importance of music, literature and art to our civilisation.

I don't think this is any longer the case. We have a society, obsessed with fame and money. 

An arts based education is seen as somehow being of no use, even, in some quarters a cop-out. Personally I think the arts are, or should be, the civilising influence on society. I have nothing against popular culture, in fact have a healthy enjoyment of a lot of it, but with a press that now seems intent on raising the Beatles to the level of Bach and J. K. Rowling to the level of Shakespeare, what hope is there left for serious are in today's society?

So true, so depressingly true, gentlemen...
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mark on June 02, 2007, 01:55:35 AM
But hey, as others have said on this thread, the internet has at least provided classical music with a much-needed boost in terms of sales. This may yet translate someday into a higher profile. I'm sure there are many people who download classical music in a kind of furtive way, afraid their peers will discover what they're secretly listening to. ;D
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: AnthonyAthletic on June 02, 2007, 02:11:44 AM
Have you noticed how Classic FM/Classic FM TV constantly promote 'artists' such as Bond, Il Divo, Bocelli, Watson, Church (when she was classical arf arf  ;D ), Jenkins, Mae etc as 'Crossover'.

Lets face it, were all Wizards on these boards and the Muggles tend to think that the above are the 'be all and end all' to classical music, the norm, and that's what its all about.

These so called 'Crossover' artists seldom do what may be intended and help people 'Crossover' and discover the real classics.

What percentage of these Muggles after buying a Russell Watson or Vanessa Mae cd would actually know that there is an Oistrakh, a Heifetz; there is a Bjorling, a Di Stefano.  It just doesn't happen.

So the charts in the UK are besmerched with these pop tenors and pop sopranos, the Bond quartet with their electric cello, viola and fiddles, and Vanessa Mae playing the electric violin whilst being in the Sea with 10,000 volts pumping through it  ;)

I'm not saying we are elitist, its just that the Muggle Market of today knows no better, the media, the marketing telling them that these artists are Classical and their acceptance of that is where the story ends.

Sad, but true.  Just look at the best sellers and the Brit Awards for confirmation.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Novi on June 02, 2007, 02:59:12 AM
Have you noticed how Classic FM/Classic FM TV constantly promote 'artists' such as Bond, Il Divo, Bocelli, Watson, Church (when she was classical arf arf  ;D ), Jenkins, Mae etc as 'Crossover'.

Lets face it, were all Wizards on these boards and the Muggles tend to think that the above are the 'be all and end all' to classical music, the norm, and that's what its all about.

These so called 'Crossover' artists seldom do what may be intended and help people 'Crossover' and discover the real classics.

What percentage of these Muggles after buying a Russell Watson or Vanessa Mae cd would actually know that there is an Oistrakh, a Heifetz; there is a Bjorling, a Di Stefano.  It just doesn't happen.

So the charts in the UK are besmerched with these pop tenors and pop sopranos, the Bond quartet with their electric cello, viola and fiddles, and Vanessa Mae playing the electric violin whilst being in the Sea with 10,000 volts pumping through it  ;)

I'm not saying we are elitist, its just that the Muggle Market of today knows no better, the media, the marketing telling them that these artists are Classical and their acceptance of that is where the story ends.

Sad, but true.  Just look at the best sellers and the Brit Awards for confirmation.

I hear ya, Mr AA.

I was pretty chuffed recently to see that Paul Hillier and the Estonian Chamber Choir was sold out. Greyfriar Kirk where they were performing was practically bursting. Not long afterwards, I read about another sell out concert - Jenkins and Russell Watson (I think it was him) - at the football stadium. How many's that? Maybe in the 1000s? :-\ 

I remember that, too. :)

Hey Mark, that must have been a hard sell. This was back when I was living in Oz so they were going international ;).
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: 71 dB on June 02, 2007, 04:05:00 AM
I assume your forum is in Finnish, but by any chance if it is in a language I can read  :D, could you direct me to it? I'm really interested in hearing what "non-classical" people have to say about classical music, in their own words as much as possible. Kiitos.

The forum is Finnish. I can translate some of the comments:

"Why should I listen to classical music?"

"Why I don't listen to classical music: I have tried it. I found it bad. Many times and many CDs. I think classical music is good for creating moods in certain movies, but I can't listen to rasp on a violin for an hour."

"I don't enjoy classical music even remote as much as heavier music. Simple as that."

"I have been forced to listen to some classical music and for me it's a genre I can listen to and part of it is even good but I wouldn't listen to it seriously. Some classical pieces have good melodies and they work otherwise too, but I am still thinking that music has to have real singing. Opera singing is not real singing and I can't listen to it more than 5 minutes. I like almost all instruments ever invented, but classical music is unable to combine them so that I could listen to it for long. Btw, the enthusiasts of classical music show always elitist arrogance which is unbelievable annoying."

"Listen to Dead Can Dance instead of classical music."

"Why should I listen to classical music when I have seen how boring it is in general? Some pieces I do like (no knowledge of composers), but otherwise I am not interested."

"Classical music hasn't got enough energetic playing. Of course I listen to classical music if it is played with electric guitars. I'd say classical music is played with wrong instruments."

"I don't listen to classical because there's better music available."
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: uffeviking on June 02, 2007, 05:25:08 AM
Doesn't the lack of interest of classical music by the younger generation boil down to the lack of education? I mean education in the schools, starting with the first grade music class? No more music class in the school your children attend? Do something about it! In our school music classes were scheduled to be cancelled for lack of funds, but football and other sports was kept on the curriculum. Even though this is a strictly rural, agricultural area, you should have heard the outrcy by parents at the schoolboard meetings, and music education was back on the schedule.

Expose children at their young age to classical music, help them to understand it and you'll have raised another fan of Beethoven or Golijov!  0:)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Larry Rinkel on June 02, 2007, 05:27:55 AM
The forum is Finnish. I can translate some of the comments:

"Why should I listen to classical music?"

"Why I don't listen to classical music: I have tried it. I found it bad. Many times and many CDs. I think classical music is good for creating moods in certain movies, but I can't listen to rasp on a violin for an hour."

"I don't enjoy classical music even remote as much as heavier music. Simple as that."

"I have been forced to listen to some classical music and for me it's a genre I can listen to and part of it is even good but I wouldn't listen to it seriously. Some classical pieces have good melodies and they work otherwise too, but I am still thinking that music has to have real singing. Opera singing is not real singing and I can't listen to it more than 5 minutes. I like almost all instruments ever invented, but classical music is unable to combine them so that I could listen to it for long. Btw, the enthusiasts of classical music show always elitist arrogance which is unbelievable annoying."

"Listen to Dead Can Dance instead of classical music."

"Why should I listen to classical music when I have seen how boring it is in general? Some pieces I do like (no knowledge of composers), but otherwise I am not interested."

"Classical music hasn't got enough energetic playing. Of course I listen to classical music if it is played with electric guitars. I'd say classical music is played with wrong instruments."

"I don't listen to classical because there's better music available."

Thank you, 71.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 02, 2007, 05:32:59 AM
The forum is Finnish. I can translate some of the comments:

"Why should I listen to classical music?"

"Why I don't listen to classical music: I have tried it. I found it bad. Many times and many CDs. I think classical music is good for creating moods in certain movies, but I can't listen to rasp on a violin for an hour."

"I don't enjoy classical music even remote as much as heavier music. Simple as that."

"I have been forced to listen to some classical music and for me it's a genre I can listen to and part of it is even good but I wouldn't listen to it seriously. Some classical pieces have good melodies and they work otherwise too, but I am still thinking that music has to have real singing. Opera singing is not real singing and I can't listen to it more than 5 minutes. I like almost all instruments ever invented, but classical music is unable to combine them so that I could listen to it for long. Btw, the enthusiasts of classical music show always elitist arrogance which is unbelievable annoying."

"Listen to Dead Can Dance instead of classical music."

"Why should I listen to classical music when I have seen how boring it is in general? Some pieces I do like (no knowledge of composers), but otherwise I am not interested."

"Classical music hasn't got enough energetic playing. Of course I listen to classical music if it is played with electric guitars. I'd say classical music is played with wrong instruments."

"I don't listen to classical because there's better music available."

It would be very easy to dismiss the authors of such crap as dumb or ignoramus-es. But I won't do that. Instead, and keeping in line with other posters, I just ask: how are people suppose to know, enjoy, appreciate and cultivate classical music as long as musical education - together with general art education - has virtually disappeared from the schools around the so-called civilized world? When the hate  - and I mean it - towards high culture is rampant, when the rich and glorious artistic heritage is scorned, derided or even plainly denied any value, when the great artists are labelled "dead white european males", finally when Truth, Good and Beauty are no more revered and sought for, but instead trampled on as useless remnants of a dark past --- when all this and much more happens everyday, how can one expect classical music to flourish?

I firmly believe the most important cause of the sad state of classical music nowadays is the sad state of general education nowadays. But this is a long discussion...



Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: uffeviking on June 02, 2007, 05:36:29 AM
Thank you, Florestan, for endorsing the opinion I expressed one or two posts ahead of yours! Maybe we get to the bottom of this issue yet!  ;)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: mahlertitan on June 02, 2007, 05:39:59 AM
a quote from Gerald Schwartz: "they teach Shakespeare in Highschool, so why not Beethoven?"
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 02, 2007, 05:43:20 AM
Thank you, Florestan, for endorsing the opinion I expressed one or two posts ahead of yours! Maybe we get to the bottom of this issue yet!  ;)

Thank you, too! You posted while I was still typing. :)

I'm glad we agree on this subject and also glad to see that many other posters share our concern. But I wonder whether we can really do something about it or not.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 02, 2007, 05:51:24 AM
a quote from Gerald Schwartz: "they teach Shakespeare in Highschool, so why not Beethoven?"

They teach... but how many pupils pay attention and how many of them really learn Shakespeare?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: uffeviking on June 02, 2007, 05:52:39 AM
And you, Floristan, expressed the same doubt I had. There already is a generation of grown-ups, with children, who had grown up with a lack of music education, education in the classics, not Rock. How can they interest their kids in Tchaikovsky if they don't even know he is a composer not a new garage rock band?  :'(
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: 71 dB on June 02, 2007, 05:56:21 AM
Thank you, 71.

You are welcome, Larry.  ;)

Classical music is not easy to "find". I was an ignoramus myself 15 year ago.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 02, 2007, 06:08:53 AM
And you, Floristan, expressed the same doubt I had. There already is a generation of grown-ups, with children, who had grown up with a lack of music education, education in the classics, not Rock. How can they interest their kids in Tchaikovsky if they don't even know he is a composer not a new garage rock band?  :'(

Sad but true. The same phenomenon happens here in Romania. I wonder if it's just another phase in the history of mankind or it is something deliberately planned. I am no conspiracy theorist but when I look around and see the dumbing-down marching on at a fast pace and on all fronts, I sometimes cannot help thinking that it's a vast universal plot to turn humankind into a mindless, soulless, easy-manipulable cattle...

Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: stingo on June 02, 2007, 06:14:19 AM
I am active on a Finnish hometheater forum. Only a few members on that forum admit listening to classical music sometimes. I started there a thread "Why don't you listen to classical music?" Many answered simply they think classical music is elitistic and it sucks. They want to listen to metal. On the same forum we have a thread for new CD purchases. People buy Napalm Death, Dream Theater, Ozzy Osbourne, Sepultura, System of a Down, Megadeth, Metallica, Eagles, ZZ Top, Deep Purple, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Prince, Guns N Roses, Anthrax, etc.

Some of the members mock me for listening to classical music and being elitistic. The truth is good music is rarely popular. The best club music isn't that popular, quality pop isn't often popular. Classical music isn't popular. We have to accept that and enjoy the music!

 :)

Gotta love reverse snobbery/elitism - if you didn't listen to their music out of hand like that you'd be labeled a snob, but apparently the reverse is ok.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Josquin des Prez on June 02, 2007, 06:19:49 AM
If it wasn't for the internet, i wouldn't be listening to classical music at all. I think it's safe to say classical music is completely absent from the general consciousness and exposure it completely dependent on luck and type of community you've come in contact with during your lifetime.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Heather Harrison on June 02, 2007, 06:30:48 AM
You probably have a point; many of the younger people I know who are interested in classical music came upon it by accident.  This was true in my case; as a child, I "discovered" classical music by rummaging through my mother's small collection of LPs, where I found records of music by Bach and Mussorgsky that provided endless fascination.  If not for this, I wonder if I would have ended up in the desolate world of simplistic pop.

Heather
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: 71 dB on June 02, 2007, 06:39:43 AM
Gotta love reverse snobbery/elitism - if you didn't listen to their music out of hand like that you'd be labeled a snob, but apparently the reverse is ok.

I think the rules are more like this:

If you don't listen to/like metal you are weird.
If you listen to/like classical you are an annoying elitist.

People are stupid and don't understand that these rules are set by greedy media utilizing our superficiality.
People think so little! People question so little!
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 02, 2007, 06:51:31 AM
I think the rules are more like this:

If you don't listen to/like metal you are weird.
If you listen to/like classical you are an annoying elitist.

People are stupid and don't understand that these rules are set by greedy media utilizing our superficiality.
People think so little! People question so little!

One has to acknowledge, I would say, that there is an intellectual barrier, which makes classical music (like canonical literature) inaccessible to many.

What really surprises me is just how many of my friends who are more likely to be found discussing a scholar of old, then watching a sitcom, don't bother with classical music. For some reason, they will make the effort to appreciate great literature of the past, but with regard to music, the its only listenable if its new or cutting-edge. I've never been able to explain this disparity.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: 71 dB on June 02, 2007, 07:21:04 AM
One has to acknowledge, I would say, that there is an intellectual barrier, which makes classical music (like canonical literature) inaccessible to many.

Are you saying there is an IQ limit you have to exceed in order to enjoy classical music? I see the problem being in attitude and conceptions. You can't enjoy a piece of music if you keep telling yourself it sucks. Open mind is needed. Of course some people are unmusical and have difficulties understanding musical structures.   

What really surprises me is just how many of my friends who are more likely to be found discussing a scholar of old, then watching a sitcom, don't bother with classical music. For some reason, they will make the effort to appreciate great literature of the past, but with regard to music, the its only listenable if its new or cutting-edge. I've never been able to explain this disparity.

New "cutting edge" literature is not marketed to young people as shamelessly as new "cutting edge" music. So, if new literature is not made to look superior it's ok to enjoy old literature. Also, you can read books without drawing attention but if you listen to music your neigbour will hear it.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Papy Oli on June 02, 2007, 07:21:30 AM
From my perspective, as newcomer to classical music, I believe that one of the key elements and therefore "drawback" (in relation to the OP) is the width and breadth of the classical music genre, be it in terms of periods, composers, recordings, artists, etc.

Like many said previously, you can be introduced to that world by your relatives or friends who already know about the genre and had LPs/CDs, and that will give you guidelines to carry on with.

But if you don't benefit from the introduction above, you will most likely first meet classical music by :

- a TV ad background theme
- a movie soundtrack
- a phone "on-hold" muzak  >:D
- a dance remix (William Orbit and the adagio for strings...good'un, mind you !)
- Katherine Jenkins singing the welsh anthem on telly
or anything else....

Either any of the above will leave you cold and you'll move on... or that will tickle your curiosity and you'll take a step through the classical door ... The "crossover" classical is as big as it is (and will use most of the columns inches) because it is an "ear friendly" first step where most of the "general public" (not to be read in a derogatery way)  will stop at, once they have that curiosity tickled. They will not have the urge to go further because that is enough for them to know of/about, or maybe will stop by being put off by the width and breadth mentionned above . They will stick to that "comfort zone" because where do you go from there ??

From there it takes a bigger effort and dedication and patience to dig further across the genre, because it is really daunting initially ... but boy, has it got its rewards !!  Despite the undeniable charms and pretty voice of Katherine Jenkins, i'll go now for Mahler 2nd any time (the first exemple that came to mind ;D ) ... That "negative" reaction to the crossover is only existing because people who have made that further effort know or feel that there is something else out there more rewarding, but you have to appreciate that some are content with "crossover" as well.... frustrating it may be but there you go.

As for the snobbish aspect, it is like any other hobbies and its direct "competitors" (headphones Vs Speakers geeks anyone   ?? ;D)... Classical Music (maybe Jazz to a lesser extent) suffers probably more of this image again because of the width and breadth of it... The other musical genres do not offer as many approaches and multiples recordings to a piece of music (usually a studio and a live version, maybe an unplugged one, by the same band...very seldomely covers by others artists). Therefore, Classical music offers more grounds for discussions, debates and other heated arguments over such recording, conductor or orchestra. Non classical music listeners will be (rightly-so) oblivious to that side of things, but will maybe wrongly take the reductive step of calling it snobbish gobbledeegook, when they catch an argument over what Beethoven's 9th symphony or Elgar means to you (exemples for Argument sakes ;) )

Anyway, that was my (long) 2 cents.

As long as everyone enjoy some music of sorts, that's all that matters !  8) ;D


Olivier
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 02, 2007, 07:27:22 AM
Are you saying there is an IQ limit you have to exceed in order to enjoy classical music? I see the problem being in attitude and conceptions. You can't enjoy a piece of music if you keep telling yourself it sucks. Open mind is needed. Of course some people are unmusical and have difficulties understanding musical structures.   

Absolutlely not. I'm only implying that classical music requires a certain intellectual effort to really appreciate. Great pieces of classical music don't reveal their worth to the coplacent listener. Listening to classical music is an active experience.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: mahlertitan on June 02, 2007, 07:31:20 AM
Are you saying there is an IQ limit you have to exceed in order to enjoy classical music? I see the problem being in attitude and conceptions. You can't enjoy a piece of music if you keep telling yourself it sucks. Open mind is needed. Of course some people are unmusical and have difficulties understanding musical structures.   

I don't think that's what Steve meant. "Intellectual" doesn't mean your ability for math and reasoning, it can be anything that engages you intellectually.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: 71 dB on June 02, 2007, 07:34:52 AM
Absolutlely not. I'm only implying that classical music requires a certain intellectual effort to really appreciate. Great pieces of classical music don't reveal their worth to the coplacent listener. Listening to classical music is an active expericence.

That's very true.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Bunny on June 02, 2007, 07:42:55 AM
a quote from Gerald Schwartz: "they teach Shakespeare in Highschool, so why not Beethoven?"

Classical music is like great literature -- it takes some effort to appreciate it.  It also takes a class of people with leisure time to nurture it, and that's what is in shortest supply.  What would Beethoven have produced without Prince Lobkowitz's patronage?  He received gifts of money from patrons who were also willing to sponsor performances of  his music.  The wealthy nowadays write checks to various institutions and spend millions on parties to raise money for the causes they deem worthy, and many of the causes are very worthy, but the days of a single patron willing to bankroll an artist are gone.  Bill Gates is spending billions to vaccinate children in 3rd world countries but I haven't heard that he's amassing an art collection that may one day be given to a museum.  I haven't heard of any heavily funded programs to develop music education in public schools anywhere.  Oprah is more concerned with building elite schools in Africa than funding music and art in the Chicago inner cities.  That's why the greatest classical music education programs are not in the United States.  Take a look at the Bolivian Baroque (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/04/08/sunday/main2661717.shtml) album at Channel Classics.  That's the result of one man going into the poorest areas of Bolivia and teaching music to young people. That's what classical music needs everywhere, except it's not happening except in obscure places in the world.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 02, 2007, 07:43:44 AM
a quote from Gerald Schwartz: "they teach Shakespeare in Highschool, so why not Beethoven?"
lol, just last year we were "learning" Shakespeare in English class and no one understood anything about the whole story, it's like we needed a translator (including me). So now that you point that out, maybe my confusion at Shakespeare and all of that old literature stuff might be like the same thing if I let someone I know listen to classical.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 02, 2007, 07:48:47 AM
Think about the reasons why young people, even older people might not enjoy classical music.  These are guesses...

1) Not much action; can't exactly boogy with it with your friends.
2) Depressing; slow movements might tend to be awkward with groups due to 'depressing' quality. 
3) Concerts tend to be non-active; you sit for 2 / 2 and a half hours quietly.
4) Knowing not many people who would share the intrest with you; lack of communicating intrest with others at school
5) Eliteism; the thought that classical music is only for the rich snobs.
6) Bad experience with recordings; buying dud recordings and thinking all classical music is boring, dull and terribly done music.
7) Long; awkward having people over to listen to 1 or 2 hours of a symphony.  Too quiet for too long.
8.) Complicated; isn't fast, grab-your-attention music like pop music is.
9) Won't impress women.
10) Just plain boring and dull; nerdville. 


EDIT:

11) Old people; both in recordings and at concerts; young people find old people boring and maybe pretentious of those related to classical music. 

Of those in recordings, one might find that the vast majority of albums worth getting are related to older people, not zippy, flashy or commercialized young adults. 
Exactly, those are basically all the reasons, nicely said. Classical is more of a personal, listen alone while in your room type music.
Actually, it seemed that way to me before, I never gave classical music a second thought. Then I started listening to Yngwie Malmsteen and read about his influences (Bach and Paganini), so I started listening to them. Same exact thing happened with goboenomo (who doesn't post here anymore). Then I started listening to other stuff, hearing music I never thought was possible, which was "breaking all the rules", but I knew it was music I was wanting to hear all along. Rock music can get so old after awhile, has any looked up guitar tabs for a year or two and then eventually find that each new tab sounds like the next, and there's not one idea that's new?
Then I found classical  0:)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 02, 2007, 07:56:06 AM
lol, just last year we were "learning" Shakespeare in English class and no one understood anything about the whole story, it's like we needed a translator (including me). So now that you point that out, maybe my confusion at Shakespeare and all of that old literature stuff might be like the same thing if I let someone I know listen to classical.
lol, just last year we were "learning" Shakespeare in English class and no one understood anything about the whole story, it's like we needed a translator (including me). So now that you point that out, maybe my confusion at Shakespeare and all of that old literature stuff might be like the same thing if I let someone I know listen to classical.

Just as the language of Shakespeare proves a certain barrier to many students, so does the language of classical music. To appreciate either, one must cross that barrier. That requires a great deal of effort and will. While people might be fullly capable (intellectually speaking) of such an effort, few are willing to make it.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 02, 2007, 08:04:07 AM
Just as the language of Shakespeare proves a certain barrier to many students, so does the language of classical music. To appreciate either, one must cross that barrier. That requires a great deal of effort and will. While people might be fullly capable (intellectually speaking) of such an effort, few are willing to make it.
Though for me, classical music hasn't been any more "challenging" than rock. Maybe I'm just "better" at music than literature? I found Shakespeare harder to understand than a foreign language, while an hour and a half Mahler symphony just connects with my mind with no effort at all (although it's a lot to digest on first hearing, so a few more listenings always helps). Simple music, like country or punk or whatever with just melodies and beats or accompaniment is the hardest stuff to understand because it's just too simple!
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 02, 2007, 08:10:26 AM
Though for me, classical music hasn't been any more "challenging" than rock. Maybe I'm just "better" at music than literature? I found Shakespeare harder to understand than a foreign language, while an hour and a half Mahler symphony just connects with my mind with no effort at all (although it's a lot to digest on first hearing, so a few more listenings always helps). Simple music, like country or punk or whatever with just melodies and beats or accompaniment is the hardest stuff to understand because it's just too simple!

Then, I would suppose you are not concious of the effort you are committing. Repeated listening, with a critical ear, is itself an intellectual endeavor. Perhaps the reason classical doesn't seem more inaccessible to you then rock, is not a reflection of how little effort to give to classical, but how much effort is put into connecting with rock music. You needn't be concious of it.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Don Giovanni on June 02, 2007, 08:49:48 AM
The forum is Finnish. I can translate some of the comments:

"Why should I listen to classical music?"

"Why I don't listen to classical music: I have tried it. I found it bad. Many times and many CDs. I think classical music is good for creating moods in certain movies, but I can't listen to rasp on a violin for an hour."

"I don't enjoy classical music even remote as much as heavier music. Simple as that."

"I have been forced to listen to some classical music and for me it's a genre I can listen to and part of it is even good but I wouldn't listen to it seriously. Some classical pieces have good melodies and they work otherwise too, but I am still thinking that music has to have real singing. Opera singing is not real singing and I can't listen to it more than 5 minutes. I like almost all instruments ever invented, but classical music is unable to combine them so that I could listen to it for long. Btw, the enthusiasts of classical music show always elitist arrogance which is unbelievable annoying."

"Listen to Dead Can Dance instead of classical music."

"Why should I listen to classical music when I have seen how boring it is in general? Some pieces I do like (no knowledge of composers), but otherwise I am not interested."

"Classical music hasn't got enough energetic playing. Of course I listen to classical music if it is played with electric guitars. I'd say classical music is played with wrong instruments."

"I don't listen to classical because there's better music available."

They have to be some of the most laughable, idiotic comments I've ever heard. My favourites:

"I'd say classical music is played with the wrong instruments"

"Opera singing is not real singing and I can't listen to it more than 5 minutes. I like almost all instruments ever invented, but classical music is unable to combine them so that I could listen to it for long."

 ;D I love the people who listen to a few minutes of classical music and feel they can then proclaim that they've "tried it".
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 02, 2007, 09:02:19 AM
I think a big part of the problem lies in the obvious fact that popular culture nowadays promotes (and enforces) some tenets to which classical music (or literature or any other art) stands in stark contrast --- nay, it is the embodiment of their very opposites.

1. Instant gratification: I want it all and I want it now; fast food-fast sex-fast life.  All has to be received instantly and efortlessly: pleasure, knowledge, understanding. There's no time or need for reflection, for thinking, for reason or comparison. Whatever demands all these is obsolete, elitist and snobbish.

2. The cult of obscenity, perversity and insanity. The more a singer, a band, a show is prurient, coarse, rude or behaves like an escaped madman the more is hailed, revered and promoted.

3. The cult of action and happening (I call it The Headbangers Ball syndrome). Everything and everyone must move, jump, bounce, rock, roll and swing. Stillness, serenity and quietude are a sign of a weirdness.

4. The war on difference, taste, style and personality. Everyone must dress, behave, speak exactly the same, preferably as tasteless, rude and incoherently as possible. Everyone must like exactly the same type of music and read exactly the same type of books (the fewer, the better, anyway).

I'll stop here.

Now, pray tell me where in that picture fit the classical music and its lovers?

Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Don Giovanni on June 02, 2007, 09:15:35 AM
lol, just last year we were "learning" Shakespeare in English class and no one understood anything about the whole story, it's like we needed a translator (including me). So now that you point that out, maybe my confusion at Shakespeare and all of that old literature stuff might be like the same thing if I let someone I know listen to classical.

Most people in my class don't 'get' him on a deeper level. They understand plot etc. but not so much use of language: all I have to do is mention iambic pentameter and people think me strange. It's a bit of a shame that teenagers generally don't like him but I've been suprised how many people in my school at least respect and understand his influence.
(Off topic slightly I know)

In my opinion, the general ignorance of classical music is due to the fact that people aren't given the chance to dispel the stereotypes they harbour. This is mainly due to lack of education and the reverse-snobbery and anti-intellectualism we've had to endure in Britain under Blair's Labour government. Despite this, my first contact with classical music came through music lessons. Nevertheless, I did 99% of the work myself and most of it was thanks to the internet (at least in the beginning).
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: mahlertitan on June 02, 2007, 10:12:33 AM
I think a big part of the problem lies in the obvious fact that popular culture nowadays promotes (and enforces) some tenets to which classical music (or literature or any other art) stands in stark contrast --- nay, it is the embodiment of their very opposites.

1. Instant gratification: I want it all and I want it now; fast food-fast sex-fast life.  All has to be received instantly and efortlessly: pleasure, knowledge, understanding. There's no time or need for reflection, for thinking, for reason or comparison. Whatever demands all these is obsolete, elitist and snobbish.

2. The cult of obscenity, perversity and insanity. The more a singer, a band, a show is prurient, coarse, rude or behaves like an escaped madman the more is hailed, revered and promoted.

3. The cult of action and happening (I call it The Headbangers Ball syndrome). Everything and everyone must move, jump, bounce, rock, roll and swing. Stillness, serenity and quietude are a sign of a weirdness.

4. The war on difference, taste, style and personality. Everyone must dress, behave, speak exactly the same, preferably as tasteless, rude and incoherently as possible. Everyone must like exactly the same type of music and read exactly the same type of books (the fewer, the better, anyway).

I'll stop here.

Now, pray tell me where in that picture fit the classical music and its lovers?



I agree completely with what you say, and I still love South Park.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Novi on June 02, 2007, 10:34:56 AM
One has to acknowledge, I would say, that there is an intellectual barrier, which makes classical music (like canonical literature) inaccessible to many.

What really surprises me is just how many of my friends who are more likely to be found discussing a scholar of old, then watching a sitcom, don't bother with classical music. For some reason, they will make the effort to appreciate great literature of the past, but with regard to music, the its only listenable if its new or cutting-edge. I've never been able to explain this disparity.

Steve, I find this really interesting. What do you mean by 'new' and 'cutting-edge' music? Is this still in the 'classical' genre (broadly speaking), say, Xenakis or someone like that?

I live in an area where the concert goers are largely from the 60+ demographic. The only time they were outnumbered was at a Rzewski recital where during the interval I overheard enthusiastic young lads talking about playing Ligeti etudes 8).   
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: jochanaan on June 02, 2007, 11:05:20 AM
Doesn't the lack of interest of classical music by the younger generation boil down to the lack of education? I mean education in the schools, starting with the first grade music class? No more music class in the school your children attend? Do something about it! In our school music classes were scheduled to be cancelled for lack of funds, but football and other sports was kept on the curriculum. Even though this is a strictly rural, agricultural area, you should have heard the outrcy by parents at the schoolboard meetings, and music education was back on the schedule.

Expose children at their young age to classical music, help them to understand it and you'll have raised another fan of Beethoven or Golijov!  0:)
I agree with this wholeheartedly.  But we've got to be careful.  Too often it's the assigned books, poems, music, etc., that become most disliked later, simply because they're assigned. :-[
Steve, I find this really interesting. What do you mean by 'new' and 'cutting-edge' music? Is this still in the 'classical' genre (broadly speaking), say, Xenakis or someone like that?

I live in an area where the concert goers are largely from the 60+ demographic. The only time they were outnumbered was at a Rzewski recital where during the interval I overheard enthusiastic young lads talking about playing Ligeti etudes 8).   
And that anecdote reinforces a conviction that I have developed over the years: "Classical" music will indeed die if it fails to include contemporary, cutting-edge composers.  Rather than rely on the old standards and dubious "crossover" material--the refuge of the desperate--the recording companies, orchestra and opera boards, etc., must seek out new stuff, that isn't a clone of the old.  (When a composer forty years dead, such as Varèse, is still considered "cutting-edge," then music is in a sad state indeed.)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: PSmith08 on June 02, 2007, 11:26:55 AM
I think a big part of the problem lies in the obvious fact that popular culture nowadays promotes (and enforces) some tenets to which classical music (or literature or any other art) stands in stark contrast --- nay, it is the embodiment of their very opposites.

1. Instant gratification: I want it all and I want it now; fast food-fast sex-fast life.  All has to be received instantly and efortlessly: pleasure, knowledge, understanding. There's no time or need for reflection, for thinking, for reason or comparison. Whatever demands all these is obsolete, elitist and snobbish.

2. The cult of obscenity, perversity and insanity. The more a singer, a band, a show is prurient, coarse, rude or behaves like an escaped madman the more is hailed, revered and promoted.

3. The cult of action and happening (I call it The Headbangers Ball syndrome). Everything and everyone must move, jump, bounce, rock, roll and swing. Stillness, serenity and quietude are a sign of a weirdness.

4. The war on difference, taste, style and personality. Everyone must dress, behave, speak exactly the same, preferably as tasteless, rude and incoherently as possible. Everyone must like exactly the same type of music and read exactly the same type of books (the fewer, the better, anyway).

I'll stop here.

Now, pray tell me where in that picture fit the classical music and its lovers?



I'm inclined to grant you your points. However, fitting in to the upper end of the age-group discussed, I can say that peer interaction plays a big part in how this cycle works. I got started on Wagner by a friend my freshman year, and have since started a couple of fellows on Wagner and Mahler. So, I would say that society does its gaudy thing, but it isn't hard to throw a monkey-wrench in the works. You "merely" have to convince people that something like Bartók's fourth string quartet or Britten's War Requiem will repay serious attention better than the latest Justin Timberlake or Gwen Stefani record. Believe me, the "kids" can appreciate it, if given the chance.

Also, if you want to save classical - which strikes me as a bit of a specious goal, it isn't near death - you have to program stuff that people want to hear. I, for example, would be in heaven if you programmed Schmidt's Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln or Orff's De temporum fine comoedia; however, that's unrealistic. If people want Strauss waltzes and Bartók's third piano concerto, then give it to them. Classical music will die if it is a dry, theoretical exercise for the cognoscenti. Once literacy is built up, by hook or by crook, then you can move from the hors d'oeuvres to the meal proper.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 02, 2007, 11:55:20 AM
I agree with this wholeheartedly.  But we've got to be careful.  Too often it's the assigned books, poems, music, etc., that become most disliked later, simply because they're assigned. :-[And that anecdote reinforces a conviction that I have developed over the years: "Classical" music will indeed die if it fails to include contemporary, cutting-edge composers.  Rather than rely on the old standards and dubious "crossover" material--the refuge of the desperate--the recording companies, orchestra and opera boards, etc., must seek out new stuff, that isn't a clone of the old.  (When a composer forty years dead, such as Varèse, is still considered "cutting-edge," then music is in a sad state indeed.)
Too bad most of the concert halls are totally undevoted to getting young people to attend so they could listen to the latest by the world's greatest living composers. Instead, let's just play the old same stuff all the time so the old people will be pleased and we can make money.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 02, 2007, 12:19:48 PM
Believe me, the "kids" can appreciate it, if given the chance.

Classical music will die if it is a dry, theoretical exercise for the cognoscenti.

I wholeheartedly agree.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 02, 2007, 12:21:42 PM
Quote
cognoscenti
now that's a strange word  :o
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 02, 2007, 12:24:27 PM
now that's a strange word  :o

Replace it with connoiseurs. :)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 02, 2007, 12:25:56 PM
Steve, I find this really interesting. What do you mean by 'new' and 'cutting-edge' music? Is this still in the 'classical' genre (broadly speaking), say, Xenakis or someone like that?

I live in an area where the concert goers are largely from the 60+ demographic. The only time they were outnumbered was at a Rzewski recital where during the interval I overheard enthusiastic young lads talking about playing Ligeti etudes 8).   

Generally, classical remains inaccessible or unappreciated my the masses unless, in the rare case, the composer is contemporary. Thus, my quandry lies in the readiness for many youths to listen to stimulating instrumental music of the current era, but have no interest of the masters of the past. In terms of Literature or Arts, intellicually curious youths have no problem putting forth the effort to break through the culture barriers in order to appreciate those masterpieces. Yet, they are unwilling, so often, to do the same with classical music.

It comes as no surprise that the average youth with little appreciation of the arts does not flock to classical music, but when you are surrounded, as I am here at Chicago, with so many intellectuals with such avid interest in the arts and literature, and there is still an absence of interest, it perlexes me. In a recent course, I was taken with the sheer knowledge of my fellow classmates of the roles of composers in European history. Yet, when asked to share a favourite composition, most coudn't name one. This is a place where students regularily discuss canonical literature, the role of art in developing society, and yet, the lack of interest in clasical music surprises me.

Higher education is more equitably distributed now then in periods past, and so there are plenty more students receiving well-grounded eduation in the liberal-arts, and yet interest in classial music continues to wane. They certainly have the faculties to access the music, yet they make litle or no effort. I'm hoping that my new club will be able to bring some more into the fold.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Scriptavolant on June 02, 2007, 12:31:56 PM


3. The cult of action and happening (I call it The Headbangers Ball syndrome). Everything and everyone must move, jump, bounce, rock, roll and swing. Stillness, serenity and quietude are a sign of a weirdness.

Given my little consideration for intellectuals (since I think being an intellectual means acting and working), there's something true in this point.
I've recently experienced those kind of reverse prejudices at work; as soon as I admited - pushed by the questions of my collegues - I don't go out much, don't have many friends, enjoy being home alone listening to classical music, studying, or caring for my dog, I ran into a serie of surprised, if not astonished, reactions; the cliché is that a - relatively - young man must spend his time wooing girls, having baths in beer, worshipping the devil, making jokes with friend till dawn, running here and there and so on. If you don't do that, you're a weirdo, or worst you're either homosexual or a nerd.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 02, 2007, 12:33:29 PM
Higher education is more equitably distributed now then in periods past, and so they are plenty more students receiving well-grounded eduation in the liberal-arts, and yet interest in classial music continues to wane. They certainly have the faculties to access the music, yet they make litle or no effort.

This is indeed a striking feature of modern society. The more accessible the arts, the fewer are willing to explore them.  :(
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 02, 2007, 12:38:20 PM
Given my little consideration for intellectuals (since I think being an intellectual means acting and working), there's something true in this point.
I've recently experienced those kind of reverse prejudices at work; as soon as I admited - pushed by the questions of my collegues - I don't go out much, don't have many friends, enjoy being home alone listening to classical music, studying, or caring for my dog, I ran into a serie of surprised, if not astonished, reactions; the cliché is that a - relatively - young man must spend his time wooing girls, having baths in beer, worshipping the devil, making jokes with friend till dawn, running here and there and so on. If you don't do that, you're a weirdo, or worst you're either homosexual or a nerd.
lol, i know exactly what you're talking about
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: gomro on June 02, 2007, 01:05:12 PM
I agree with this wholeheartedly.  But we've got to be careful.  Too often it's the assigned books, poems, music, etc., that become most disliked later, simply because they're assigned. :-[And that anecdote reinforces a conviction that I have developed over the years: "Classical" music will indeed die if it fails to include contemporary, cutting-edge composers.  Rather than rely on the old standards and dubious "crossover" material--the refuge of the desperate--the recording companies, orchestra and opera boards, etc., must seek out new stuff, that isn't a clone of the old.  (When a composer forty years dead, such as Varèse, is still considered "cutting-edge," then music is in a sad state indeed.)

This comment on Varese (and one could include the Second Viennese School as well, for many listeners) reminds me of Stockhausen's sardonic comment when he discovered that the Ensemble Modern was performing his Kontra-Punkte, which dates from 1952: " It's high time they did something modern!"
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: 12tone. on June 02, 2007, 01:24:14 PM
Too bad most of the concert halls are totally undevoted to getting young people to attend so they could listen to the latest by the world's greatest living composers. Instead, let's just play the old same stuff all the time so the old people will be pleased and we can make money.

That sometimes is a very bad idea because most living composers have a sad modern-bias which means they come very close to writing in an atonal style.  While not totally atonal they sure come close with their jagged sounds.  A crash here and some silence here and 5 minutes later it ends and it really is silly sounding. 

I've sat through at least a couple of concerts by out local Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (the Canadian Vancouver) who have performed world / Canadian premieres and who, at our last concert anyway, invited the composer on stage to talk about his work.  It sounded pretty close to art talk (finding ways to justify a rather lame, typical 'gotta-be-modern' sound). 

So if we want our kids to listen to and enjoy contemporary classical music we have to let them hear the best.  Does the best mean "new and cutting edge" where rules are thrown out the window and we have to listen to atonalism or complete noise just because it's new?  Of course not.  I'm sure people can still write new good music without having to subscribe to the philosophical tradions of Xenakis, Cage or whoever else. 

I'll also point out that Xenakis, Cage, et al did not write in the same vein as someone like Shostakovich or Prokofiev.  They went down another street, an 'artier' street to include electronics.  That, folks does not belong in the contemorary canon, but another street if anyone cares to go.

Our kids should listen to good, well done music to have them enjoy classical.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 02, 2007, 01:32:14 PM
a quote from Gerald Schwartz: "they teach Shakespeare in Highschool, so why not Beethoven?"

Though even Sjakespeare is being dumbed down now. Many of the texts are being translated into more modern English. What next? Maybe Beethoven on electric guitars?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 02, 2007, 02:04:20 PM
Though even Sjakespeare is being dumbed down now. Many of the texts are being translated into more modern English. What next? Maybe Beethoven on electric guitars?

You must be referring to Modern English translations. For the casual reader or younger student, they don't aim to 'dumb' anything down as the themes are still there, but simply reduce the linguistic barrier of 16th century English. Among scholarily circles, their is still no substitute for the unabridged texts. In Collges and Universities, Shakespeare continues to be read as it should.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Heather Harrison on June 02, 2007, 02:21:21 PM
Maybe Beethoven on electric guitars?

If this happens, I want to hear it.  It might be entertaining in a weird sort of way.

Heather
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 02, 2007, 02:26:15 PM
If this happens, I want to hear it.  It might be entertaining in a weird sort of way.

Heather

Or, it might be an awful, ghastly experience. I'm banking on the latter.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: mahlertitan on June 02, 2007, 04:06:51 PM
Though even Sjakespeare is being dumbed down now. Many of the texts are being translated into more modern English. What next? Maybe Beethoven on electric guitars?

well, that's sometimes unavoidable, suppose you can only read japanese or chinese, you are gonna have to settle with a "dumbed down" translation.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: gomro on June 02, 2007, 05:32:38 PM
Though even Sjakespeare is being dumbed down now. Many of the texts are being translated into more modern English. What next? Maybe Beethoven on electric guitars?

Beethoven on electric guitars happened quite a few years ago, recorded by a bizarre-looking woman calling herself The Great Kat. I have, thankfully, never heard it. However, a quick Google search brings up
http://www.greatkat.com/
which will not only enlighten you in that particular pursuit, but will also blow your computer's speakers when shrieking feedback roars out upon loading the page. So caveat emptor, cave felisum and all that.  The Great Kat, as a quick perusal of her incoherent webpage reveals (speakers turned off), also thinks she is the "New Beethoven." Not that there was anything wrong with the old one.

I think this may be Exhibit A for the "Dumbing-Down of Classical Music"...
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 03, 2007, 12:35:26 AM
well, that's sometimes unavoidable, suppose you can only read japanese or chinese, you are gonna have to settle with a "dumbed down" translation.

That's an entirely different argument. Shakespeare's English may not be English as it is spoken today, but it is still English. With a little input from the reader, it is not so impenetrable. And once you start meddling with it, what happens to the poetry? Even popular films, like Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet, kept to the original text, even if it did make swathing cuts. The film was still a huge, popular success. We do not have to change the words to make Shakespeare interesting, only the manner of its teaching. The same could be said of classical music.

Incidentally, my first experience of a Baz Luhrmann production was his Australian Opera production of La Boheme, set in the 1950s, with a young, believable cast. They didn't have the best voices in the world, and I'm not saying it's how I would always want to see the opera, but it too was a huge success with young audiences. And not a note of the music was changed.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mark on June 03, 2007, 12:44:28 AM
We do not have to change the words to make Shakespeare interesting, only the manner of its teaching. The same could be said of classical music.

Wholeheartedly seconded.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Heather Harrison on June 03, 2007, 03:37:04 AM
Beethoven on electric guitars happened quite a few years ago, recorded by a bizarre-looking woman calling herself The Great Kat. I have, thankfully, never heard it. However, a quick Google search brings up
http://www.greatkat.com/
which will not only enlighten you in that particular pursuit, but will also blow your computer's speakers when shrieking feedback roars out upon loading the page. So caveat emptor, cave felisum and all that.  The Great Kat, as a quick perusal of her incoherent webpage reveals (speakers turned off), also thinks she is the "New Beethoven." Not that there was anything wrong with the old one.

I think this may be Exhibit A for the "Dumbing-Down of Classical Music"...

I was brave enough to check this out, and I found it entertaining in a weird sort of way, but it is also quite vile-sounding.  I don't imagine that I will really want to hear the sound clips again.  (I will, of course, send the URL to a few friends.)  I'm not surprised that something like this exists.

Heather
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 03, 2007, 09:21:11 AM
That's an entirely different argument. Shakespeare's English may not be English as it is spoken today, but it is still English. With a little input from the reader, it is not so impenetrable. And once you start meddling with it, what happens to the poetry? Even popular films, like Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet, kept to the original text, even if it did make swathing cuts. The film was still a huge, popular success. We do not have to change the words to make Shakespeare interesting, only the manner of its teaching. The same could be said of classical music.

Incidentally, my first experience of a Baz Luhrmann production was his Australian Opera production of La Boheme, set in the 1950s, with a young, believable cast. They didn't have the best voices in the world, and I'm not saying it's how I would always want to see the opera, but it too was a huge success with young audiences. And not a note of the music was changed.

I'm not sure I follow your response. The purpose of 'Modern English Tranlations' is not for the serious scholar, or perhaps, even the high-school English course. It enables casual readers, or younger ones (6-8 grade), to engage Shakespeare, and other thinkers of the past. It would never replace a reference (one of the Shakespeare folios), in serious study.

As to your assertion that Eliabeathan english is not entirely different from modern English, you're mistaken. The Shakespeare texts which are accepted as reference today look very little like the original texts. They have undergone a great deal of editing to preserve the poetic quality. Trust me, if you read an original Shakespeare folio, you would not be able to read it, even with 'a great deal' of effort.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: techniquest on June 03, 2007, 09:59:27 AM
Quote
Though even Shakespeare is being dumbed down now. Many of the texts are being translated into more modern English. What next? Maybe Beethoven on electric guitars?

Beethoven on electric guitars does not necessarily mean that it is dumbed down however; it is merely transcribed to a different instrument or ensemble. In the same way that large works are transcribed for piano, or vice versa - is Ravels' orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition a dumbed down version? No - dumbed up possibly since it is going from the lesser forces to the greater  :P On the other hand, if the new version of a piece contains only the recognisable theme with an accompaniment of drums / drum machine or an 'up-tempo' backing group of some kind, then it's dumbed down (imho).
Thirty or so years ago, Japanese keyboard wiz Isao Tomita transcribed famous classical pieces for banks of synthesizers and the result was wonderful (until he went digital, then it lost it's soul). There's no way that the transcription of the music from traditional to Tomita's new instrumental forms dumbed down the result.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 03, 2007, 10:03:57 AM
http://www.greatkat.com/

I've taken a look at that lady.

Not bad, if you like it weird and loud, but still no contester for Bronislaw Huberman, Emil Gilels or Karajan...  ;D
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 03, 2007, 10:04:15 AM
Beethoven on electric guitars does not necessarily mean that it is dumbed down however; it is merely transcribed to a different instrument or ensemble. In the same way that large works are transcribed for piano, or vice versa - is Ravels' orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition a dumbed down version? No - dumbed up possibly since it is going from the lesser forces to the greater  :P On the other hand, if the new version of a piece contains only the recognisable theme with an accompaniment of drums / drum machine or an 'up-tempo' backing group of some kind, then it's dumbed down (imho).
Thirty or so years ago, Japanese keyboard wiz Isao Tomita transcribed famous classical pieces for banks of synthesizers and the result was wonderful (until he went digital, then it lost it's soul). There's no way that the transcription of the music from traditional to Tomita's new instrumental forms dumbed down the result.

I'd agree with your claim that arranging a piece for another instrument does not consitute a devaluation or (dumbing it down). However, it isn't likely to retain the same caliber or quality as the original. Most pieces that are scored on a certain instrument, are best performed on that instrument. While their are some notable exceptions, its a fairly valid statement. If you are talking about a orchestra piece including a part for electric guitar, I might be able to see the possibility. But, I don't see the potential for an electrical guitar, like the violin or piano, to be a virtuoso instrument.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: techniquest on June 03, 2007, 10:09:24 AM
Quote
But, I don't see the potential for an electrical guitar, like the violin or piano, to be a virtuoso instrument.

Listen to the Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar & Orchestra by Yngwie Johann Malmsteen to hear just how virtuoso the instrument can be!
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 03, 2007, 10:27:25 AM
Listen to the Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar & Orchestra by Yngwie Johann Malmsteen to hear just how virtuoso the instrument can be!

That's one piece.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 03, 2007, 11:45:50 AM
I'm not sure I follow your response. The purpose of 'Modern English Tranlations' is not for the serious scholar, or perhaps, even the high-school English course. It enables casual readers, or younger ones (6-8 grade), to engage Shakespeare, and other thinkers of the past. It would never replace a reference (one of the Shakespeare folios), in serious study.

As to your assertion that Eliabeathan english is not entirely different from modern English, you're mistaken. The Shakespeare texts which are accepted as reference today look very little like the original texts. They have undergone a great deal of editing to preserve the poetic quality. Trust me, if you read an original Shakespeare folio, you would not be able to read it, even with 'a great deal' of effort.

And I'm afraid I don't understand your argument. Admittedly the English language might look rather different now from how it did in Elizabethan times, but, as you say, scholars work to preserve the original poetry, whereas what seems to be happening now is that translators are working to eliminate it, so that young people will find it easier to understand.
Are you suggesting that translating Shakespeare's English into modern parlance, is no different from translating Chinese or Japanese into English? Or any other language for that matter? In other words, as long as the plot survives, it doesn't actually matter what the characters say. So Romeo wouldn't say "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?", but something along the lines of "Quiet! A light's gone on in that window."
I have no objection, to young children being just given the stories as an introduction to Shakespeare, though some of them might be deemed a bit gorey, but surely by secondary school, we should be seeking to help students understand the original.

Sorry to everyone else if we have got off topic a little, but I do believe that attitudes to music and literature are connected.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 03, 2007, 11:53:18 AM
That sometimes is a very bad idea because most living composers have a sad modern-bias which means they come very close to writing in an atonal style.  While not totally atonal they sure come close with their jagged sounds.  A crash here and some silence here and 5 minutes later it ends and it really is silly sounding. 

I've sat through at least a couple of concerts by out local Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (the Canadian Vancouver) who have performed world / Canadian premieres and who, at our last concert anyway, invited the composer on stage to talk about his work.  It sounded pretty close to art talk (finding ways to justify a rather lame, typical 'gotta-be-modern' sound). 

So if we want our kids to listen to and enjoy contemporary classical music we have to let them hear the best.  Does the best mean "new and cutting edge" where rules are thrown out the window and we have to listen to atonalism or complete noise just because it's new?  Of course not.  I'm sure people can still write new good music without having to subscribe to the philosophical tradions of Xenakis, Cage or whoever else. 

I'll also point out that Xenakis, Cage, et al did not write in the same vein as someone like Shostakovich or Prokofiev.  They went down another street, an 'artier' street to include electronics.  That, folks does not belong in the contemorary canon, but another street if anyone cares to go.

Our kids should listen to good, well done music to have them enjoy classical.
I mean anything written by any new composer. Actually, there seems to be more composers nowadays that are totally tonal than atonal, or maybe just as much. But..... that doesn't mean people won't enjoy Xenakis or Cage (but i would beg that they leave off 4'33" and just about 90% of his music off the program, lol). They should be exposed to anything new, atonal and tonal, which will give them a wide variety unlike any other music and at the same time it'll be by people who are actually alive, many who are younger (in their 30s or so, which is important).
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: gomro on June 03, 2007, 04:29:49 PM
Beethoven on electric guitars does not necessarily mean that it is dumbed down however; it is merely transcribed to a different instrument or ensemble. In the same way that large works are transcribed for piano, or vice versa - is Ravels' orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition a dumbed down version? No - dumbed up possibly since it is going from the lesser forces to the greater  :P On the other hand, if the new version of a piece contains only the recognisable theme with an accompaniment of drums / drum machine or an 'up-tempo' backing group of some kind, then it's dumbed down (imho).
Thirty or so years ago, Japanese keyboard wiz Isao Tomita transcribed famous classical pieces for banks of synthesizers and the result was wonderful (until he went digital, then it lost it's soul). There's no way that the transcription of the music from traditional to Tomita's new instrumental forms dumbed down the result.

I'd be inclined to disagree, especially when I consider Tomita's corny addition of a spaceship countdown to his version of The Planets, or the truly ridiculous job he did on Honegger's Pacific 231, with the locomotive noises. Or clipping together a bunch of bits from classical chestnuts, giving the clips bizarre sci-fi titles ( The Harp Being Played by the Ancient People and the Venus and Her Space Children Singing the Song of the Future , for instance, this being a bit of Prokofiev's violin concerto) and calling the resulting melange The Bermuda Triangle.  On the other hand, I really liked his gift of bringing strange tone colours out of his equipment; no Tomita album sounded like any other synthesist.  He once talked of doing a disc of completely original Klangfarbenmelodie composition instead of more classical transcriptions; I really regret this never materialized.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 03, 2007, 04:32:17 PM
And I'm afraid I don't understand your argument. Admittedly the English language might look rather different now from how it did in Elizabethan times, but, as you say, scholars work to preserve the original poetry, whereas what seems to be happening now is that translators are working to eliminate it, so that young people will find it easier to understand.
Are you suggesting that translating Shakespeare's English into modern parlance, is no different from translating Chinese or Japanese into English? Or any other language for that matter? In other words, as long as the plot survives, it doesn't actually matter what the characters say. So Romeo wouldn't say "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?", but something along the lines of "Quiet! A light's gone on in that window."
I have no objection, to young children being just given the stories as an introduction to Shakespeare, though some of them might be deemed a bit gorey, but surely by secondary school, we should be seeking to help students understand the original.

Sorry to everyone else if we have got off topic a little, but I do believe that attitudes to music and literature are connected.

You would see little difference because you probably haven't seen the original folios. Few people actually have. The scholarily texts have been edited tremendously.

Observe:

Act II, Scene II is one of the most famous scenes in all of Shakespearean drama. I'm sure you'll recognize this passage from the Arden Edition:

What's Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor Arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O be some other name
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Now that's the version we are all familar with. Let's take a look at the original:

What's Montaue? It is nor hand nor foote,
Nor arme, nor face, O be some other name
Belonging to a man
What? in a name which we call a Rose
By any other work would smell as sweet

Quite different, eh?

Try this one: What's Montague? It is nor hand nor foote,
Nor arme, nor face, nor any other part,
What's in a name? That which we call a Rose,
By any other name would smell as weet

There is in fact no early text that reads as our modern text does- and this is the most famous speech of the play. The original 'poetry' to use your term, has been altered greatly. Modern English translations can help bring down linguistic barriers to Shakespeare. Read some original passages of Shakespeare's folios and you will find that he often takes words from Scots, French, Old French, and German, without warning. It's not easy to read. That is why we have edited texts which are based on the original folios. What's important about Shakespeare's texts, is, and will always be meaing. He confronted the nature of man more completely than any other writer in the Western World. Preserving ancient language, at the expense of clarity doesn't make much sense. I say if someone needs a Modern Edition, let them have one. I read the Arden Texts, the original folios, and modern translations.

Editing Shakespreaean texts is nothing new.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: techniquest on June 03, 2007, 09:46:36 PM
Quote
I'd be inclined to disagree, especially when I consider Tomita's corny addition of a spaceship countdown to his version of The Planets.......

Good points! I was thinking more of earlier albums like Pictures at an Exhibition, Firebird, the Ravel album, and Snowflakes are Dancing (Debussy album). However corny the countdown may have been on the Planets (and the truly awful transition from Jupiter to Saturn; and the almost total lack of Uranus), I think he did a superb job, with some lovely touches e.g the music box intro / outro and a beautiful Venus and exquisitely light, dancing Mercury.
I don't agree that Pacific 231 was awful, I think the synthetic reproduction of loco sounds was justified as this was essentially what Honeggar attenpted in part orchestrally with this piece - if Tomita had used real loco sounds that would have been a different matter, and I think that the interpretation of the 'feel' of Honeggars work was spot on.
The 'Bermuda Triangle' and 'Kosmos' albums were a mish-mash with awful track names and I wonder if this was a marketing ploy to sell more. He went back to stadard albums with Grand Canyon Suite, but this was digital and suddenly Tomita sounded 'ordinary'.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 04, 2007, 12:35:26 AM
You would see little difference because you probably haven't seen the original folios. Few people actually have. The scholarily texts have been edited tremendously.

Observe:

Act II, Scene II is one of the most famous scenes in all of Shakespearean drama. I'm sure you'll recognize this passage from the Arden Edition:

What's Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor Arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O be some other name
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Now that's the version we are all familar with. Let's take a look at the original:

What's Montaue? It is nor hand nor foote,
Nor arme, nor face, O be some other name
Belonging to a man
What? in a name which we call a Rose
By any other work would smell as sweet

Quite different, eh?

Try this one: What's Montague? It is nor hand nor foote,
Nor arme, nor face, nor any other part,
What's in a name? That which we call a Rose,
By any other name would smell as weet

There is in fact no early text that reads as our modern text does- and this is the most famous speech of the play. The original 'poetry' to use your term, has been altered greatly. Modern English translations can help bring down linguistic barriers to Shakespeare. Read some original passages of Shakespeare's folios and you will find that he often takes words from Scots, French, Old French, and German, without warning. It's not easy to read. That is why we have edited texts which are based on the original folios. What's important about Shakespeare's texts, is, and will always be meaing. He confronted the nature of man more completely than any other writer in the Western World. Preserving ancient language, at the expense of clarity doesn't make much sense. I say if someone needs a Modern Edition, let them have one. I read the Arden Texts, the original folios, and modern translations.

Editing Shakespreaean texts is nothing new.

Ok, I get your point, but you completely miss mine. My original mention of Shakespeare was using him as an example of a great writer, just as I used Bach as an example of a great composer. Are we then to render Shakespeare in the language of J. K. Rowling? Would it be the same? No, of course it wouldn't. Whatever Shakespeare edition one chooses, there is a clear distinction between prose and verse. Are we then to ignore these? If the most important thing is the meaning, then let's just scrub the poetry altogether. And of course, the examples you quote, though different in small ways, all preserve the poetry.
Nor, incidentally, am I saying that J. K. Rowling is a bad writer, but just that she is not on the same plane as Shakespeare, as many parts of the modern press would have us believe. Just as I refuse to accept that The Beatles, great pop group though they were, are on the same plane as Bach, beethoven et al.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Novi on June 04, 2007, 01:27:46 AM
Incidentally, my first experience of a Baz Luhrmann production was his Australian Opera production of La Boheme, set in the 1950s, with a young, believable cast. They didn't have the best voices in the world, and I'm not saying it's how I would always want to see the opera, but it too was a huge success with young audiences. And not a note of the music was changed.

Yes it was! That was the first opera I ever went to, having at that stage never heard an entire opera from start to finish even on disk. We went for the singularly unconscionable reason that my sister found David Hobson a bit of a dish. I don't remember the specifics except for a neon set, but I really enjoyed it though. That was over 10 years ago, and I'm still around and have moved from Puccini to bigger and better and longer things :). Tristan anyone? (I'm joking about the 'better,' by the way ;)). Oh wow, thanks for bringing that up.

Nor, incidentally, am I saying that J. K. Rowling is a bad writer

I am though ;D.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 02:49:28 AM
The truth is good music is rarely popular.

The truth is, that is a tendentious (and frequently self-flattering) myth.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 02:52:43 AM
a quote from Gerald Schwartz: "they teach Shakespeare in Highschool, so why not Beethoven?"

You mean, they haven't managed to excise Shakespeare from the high school curriculum yet?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 02:54:15 AM
Classical music is not easy to "find". I was an ignoramus myself 15 year ago.

Just a refreshed caution, 71 dB, that you must not take your personal experience as normative for the world.  It's that simple.

For some people, classical music is relatively easy to find.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 02:54:46 AM
Gotta love reverse snobbery/elitism - if you didn't listen to their music out of hand like that you'd be labeled a snob, but apparently the reverse is ok.

Word.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 03:08:40 AM
Just as the language of Shakespeare proves a certain barrier to many students, so does the language of classical music. To appreciate either, one must cross that barrier.

Without gainsaying this in substance, I wish to add that simple exposure at a formative age, reduces the barrier significantly.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Grazioso on June 04, 2007, 03:10:14 AM
without warning. It's not easy to read. That is why we have edited texts which are based on the original folios. What's important about Shakespeare's texts, is, and will always be meaing. He confronted the nature of man more completely than any other writer in the Western World. Preserving ancient language, at the expense of clarity doesn't make much sense. I say if someone needs a Modern Edition, let them have one. I read the Arden Texts, the original folios, and modern translations.

But that neglects the vital point that much of his writing is poetry or at least poetic prose, and translating/updating poetry necessarily alters it substantially. Meanings, rhythms, etc. start to shift. A great deal of Shakespeare's profundity and beauty lies in his use of language.

Quote
Editing Shakespreaean texts is nothing new.

True, and that editing has been a thorny issue and ongoing process from the start. But it's one thing to (partially) normalize spelling and punctuation to modern standards or take make educated scholarly guesses on the best text that can be derived from the quartos and First Folio, and another to intentionally water down the whole of a text to make it understandable to young, lazy, or poorly educated readers.

Without gainsaying this in substance, I wish to add that simple exposure at a formative age, reduces the barrier significantly.

And with repeated exposure, Shakespeare's language becomes familiar and relatively easy.



Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 03:12:33 AM
I agree with this wholeheartedly.  But we've got to be careful.  Too often it's the assigned books, poems, music, etc., that become most disliked later, simply because they're assigned. :-[

Part of this must be presentation:  does the pupil feel that the instructor is presenting the material "because it's good for you," or does the instructor have enthusiasm and fondness for Shakespeare himself?

My tenth-grade English teacher had been in the original Broadway cast of The Fantasticks.  And from the first day that he started reading out Julius Caesar to us, I was a Shakespeare fanatic.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 03:13:43 AM
I'm inclined to grant you your points . . . .

Excellent post, and welcome back, Patrick!
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 03:16:52 AM
If this happens, I want to hear it.  It might be entertaining in a weird sort of way.

Heather

Walter Murphy Band, anyone?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Larry Rinkel on June 04, 2007, 04:12:27 AM
As to your assertion that Eliabeathan english is not entirely different from modern English, you're mistaken. The Shakespeare texts which are accepted as reference today look very little like the original texts. They have undergone a great deal of editing to preserve the poetic quality. Trust me, if you read an original Shakespeare folio, you would not be able to read it, even with 'a great deal' of effort.

Where on earth are you getting this idea from? Linguistically speaking, Shakespeare writes modern English. The primary "editing" found in modern editions of Shakespeare is to regularize Elizabethan spelling, not to alter the texts.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 04, 2007, 06:29:56 AM
But that neglects the vital point that much of his writing is poetry or at least poetic prose, and translating/updating poetry necessarily alters it substantially. Meanings, rhythms, etc. start to shift. A great deal of Shakespeare's profundity and beauty lies in his use of language.

True, and that editing has been a thorny issue and ongoing process from the start. But it's one thing to (partially) normalize spelling and punctuation to modern standards or take make educated scholarly guesses on the best text that can be derived from the quartos and First Folio, and another to intentionally water down the whole of a text to make it understandable to young, lazy, or poorly educated readers.

And with repeated exposure, Shakespeare's language becomes familiar and relatively easy.





Indeed, which is why for the serious scholar, they could never function as a substitute.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 04, 2007, 06:31:41 AM
Where on earth are you getting this idea from? Linguistically speaking, Shakespeare writes modern English. The primary "editing" found in modern editions of Shakespeare is to regularize Elizabethan spelling, not to alter the texts.

You're quite mistaken. Actually that famous speech in my previous post, was actually achieved by combining three different folios, and some altering. Of course, the language is English and not Chinese, but they are not 'modern' in any sense of the word.

Where am I getting the idea from?

I've read the folios.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 06:32:02 AM
Well, I don't want Shakespeare to become the province of scholars;  his work lives on the stage!
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 06:36:08 AM
Shakespeare is modern English;  even Chaucer, ancient as he seems to us, wrote in middle English, I think.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: PSmith08 on June 04, 2007, 06:43:36 AM
You're quite mistaken. Actually that famous speech in my previous post, was actually achieved by combining three different folios, and some altering. Of course, the language is English and not Chinese, but they are not 'modern' in any sense of the word.

Where am I getting the idea from?

I've read the folios.

Where on earth are you getting this idea from? Linguistically speaking, Shakespeare writes modern English. The primary "editing" found in modern editions of Shakespeare is to regularize Elizabethan spelling, not to alter the texts.

Shakespeare is modern English;  even Chaucer, ancient as he seems to us, wrote in middle English, I think.

Larry and Karl are indeed as correct as one can be on this subject. The English written by the Bard is as modern, speaking in a strict linguistic sense, as the English written by you or me. In fact, most serious historical linguists would consider Shakespeare the primogenitor of Modern English, in a literary sense. Beowulf is Anglo-Saxon or Old English, Chaucer is indeed Middle English, and our friend Bill is Modern English. This isn't a question of when they wrote, it's a strict and well-defined linguistic question. The folios have little to do with it (i.e., the issue of Shakespeare's English), other than to help scholars understand the development of certain structures out of the Middle English.

So, then, Larry is right - and I've done quite a bit of study on the subject of the history of the English language and Shakespeare - most editing is indeed bringing the spelling and some grammar up to date. Shakespeare, while writing a long time ago, wrote in Modern English.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 04, 2007, 06:51:08 AM
Part of this must be presentation:  does the pupil feel that the instructor is presenting the material "because it's good for you," or does the instructor have enthusiasm and fondness for Shakespeare himself?

My tenth-grade English teacher had been in the original Broadway cast of The Fantasticks.  And from the first day that he started reading out Julius Caesar to us, I was a Shakespeare fanatic.
i like this point.
Maybe if i had this teacher i (and the rest of the class) would find Shakespeare interesting, or at least easier to find interesting? Our English teacher last year was so ridiculously bored about everything and made us have to read it out loud. I remember the only person i ever payed attention to (same with the rest of the class) was my friend, who started rapping it. But when it was someone else, my mind started to wander.....
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Larry Rinkel on June 04, 2007, 06:55:03 AM
Shakespeare is modern English;  even Chaucer, ancient as he seems to us, wrote in middle English, I think.

Absolutely correct. There are three primary phases of English: Old English, as found in Beowulf; middle English, as in Chaucer; and modern English, of which Shakespeare is most definitely an example according to any history of linguistics.

As for Steve's example, well, yes, there are defective lines and other textual problems in the various sources. But there's a major difference between scholarly editing to reconstruct the most probable syntax and meaning of various lines, and modern "updating" to substitute 20th-century vernacular for Shakespeare's own language.

Steve claims he has read the "folios." Good for him. All four editions of the folio from 1623, 1632, 1663, and 1685? Has he read all the extant quartos as well, including all the so-called "bad quartos"? Does he know which plays have only been transmitted from the First Folio, and does he have an opinion on (say) the textual problems of King Lear, in which there are significant discrepancies between the first quarto and first folio? Does he think in such a case that readers should use only one or the other version, or would he follow Alexander Pope's lead and conflate the two to produce the most complete text based on the available source material?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Larry Rinkel on June 04, 2007, 06:57:32 AM
i like this point.
Maybe if i had this teacher i (and the rest of the class) would find Shakespeare interesting, or at least easier to find interesting? Our English teacher last year was so ridiculously bored about everything and made us have to read it out loud. I remember the only person i ever payed attention to (same with the rest of the class) was my friend, who started rapping it. But when it was someone else, my mind started to wander.....

Go see some of the plays and that should focus your wandering mind.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 04, 2007, 07:03:06 AM
Go see some of the plays and that should focus your wandering mind.
you know what'd be really cool?
to go back in time and see the ORIGINAL Shakespeare plays  :D
time to practice my English accent and also, i need to go out and buy old clothes from that era....

but my time machine is broken  :'(
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 04, 2007, 07:29:02 AM
Well, I don't want Shakespeare to become the province of scholars;  his work lives on the stage!

Indeed it does. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London continually sells out, as do productions at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratord. And as yet, they seem to be making no effort to render the language into a more modern parlance, thank Heaven.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 04, 2007, 07:36:39 AM
Indeed, which is why for the serious scholar, they could never function as a substitute.

So are you saying that only the serious scholar should bother with the originals. In modern productions, should we just tell the story and throw out the poetry, in order to make it more comprehensible to a modern audience? Of course not, because it is completely unnecessary. When I attended the British premiere of Kenneth Branagh's film of Much Ado About Nothing, the audience were laughing out loud at the sparring between his Benedict and Emma Thompson's Beatrice, laughing at what they were saying, not at any added business. Evidently that audience had no difficulty understanding the text.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 04, 2007, 07:41:20 AM
you know what'd be really cool?
to go back in time and see the ORIGINAL Shakespeare plays  :D
time to practice my English accent and also, i need to go out and buy old clothes from that era....

but my time machine is broken  :'(

Well you can get pretty close to it by going to Shakespeare's Globe in London. Not every production, but one or two at least will try to be as authentic as possible. Basic scenery, actors in Elizabethan dress and boys playing the female parts. You will have seen the theatre if you saw the film "Shakespeare in Love", as the play sequences were filmed there.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Larry Rinkel on June 04, 2007, 07:46:56 AM
Just as I refuse to accept that The Beatles, great pop group though they were, are on the same plane as Bach, beethoven et al.

But are they on the same plane as Elgar? And did the plane take off and arrive on time?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: JoshLilly on June 04, 2007, 08:04:13 AM
I have attended in person only one performance of a Shakespearean play, and it was King Lear. They made many one-word changes to the text. One that stuck in my mind and I noticed immediately was the alteration of "medicine" to "poison". The line was something like "else I'd never again trust medicine", and they changed it to poison. Other changes like this. But how many people these days would have understood the use of the word "medicine" in that way? Without those small changes throughout, very few people in the audience could have followed it; thus, attendance of the repeated performances would most likely have dropped. We're not talking about England here, we're talking about the southern U.S. (North Carolina, to be exact).

I don't like the changes, but I understand why they were done. However, there's a special sub-layer of Hell just for Branagh for what he's doing with Mozart's Die Zauberflöte!  >:(
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 04, 2007, 08:14:36 AM
I don't like the changes, but I understand why they were done. However, there's a special sub-layer of Hell just for Branagh for what he's doing with Mozart's Die Zauberflöte!  >:(

Well I know nothing about his Mozart, but I love his Shakespearean films. But then, a great stage or film director does not necessarily make a good opera one.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Grazioso on June 04, 2007, 08:29:15 AM
i like this point.
Maybe if i had this teacher i (and the rest of the class) would find Shakespeare interesting, or at least easier to find interesting? Our English teacher last year was so ridiculously bored about everything and made us have to read it out loud. I remember the only person i ever payed attention to (same with the rest of the class) was my friend, who started rapping it. But when it was someone else, my mind started to wander.....

Watch some good films of the Bard's plays, of which there are many. (Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing has already been mentioned.) That can really open his work up to you. While you can certainly get a lot from reading them (silently or aloud), they are plays and therefore meant to be seen. Seeing multiple productions of the same play can aid understanding and highlight the many different interpretive stances directors and actors can take towards each text. Just reading it aloud once in class probably will only begin to scratch the surface.

So are you saying that only the serious scholar should bother with the originals. In modern productions, should we just tell the story and throw out the poetry, in order to make it more comprehensible to a modern audience? Of course not, because it is completely

I agree, in principle, for reasons I noted earlier. However, in certain circumstances, a poetic artist can retell the same story with different words to create an equally valid and moving artwork: witness Akira Kurosawa's classic film Ran, which retells the King Lear story with its own brand of visual poetry--linguistic, I can't say, since I don't know Japanese :)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 04, 2007, 08:45:32 AM

I agree, in principle, for reasons I noted earlier. However, in certain circumstances, a poetic artist can retell the same story with different words to create an equally valid and moving artwork: witness Akira Kurosawa's classic film Ran, which retells the King Lear story with its own brand of visual poetry--linguistic, I can't say, since I don't know Japanese :)

Ran is indeed a great film, but it is an adaptation of Shakespeare, rather than a Japanese version of the play, just as, I suppose, Verdi's Otello is an adaptation. They don't replace the originals, but compliment them.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 04, 2007, 11:08:14 AM
So are you saying that only the serious scholar should bother with the originals. In modern productions, should we just tell the story and throw out the poetry, in order to make it more comprehensible to a modern audience? Of course not, because it is completely unnecessary. When I attended the British premiere of Kenneth Branagh's film of Much Ado About Nothing, the audience were laughing out loud at the sparring between his Benedict and Emma Thompson's Beatrice, laughing at what they were saying, not at any added business. Evidently that audience had no difficulty understanding the text.

Ah, where to begin:

"So are you saying that only the serious scholar should bother with the originals"

Were that statement to ever come from my mouth, I should have a most cavalier disregard for Shakespeare. This is not even remotely a defensible position. That most certainly is not what I meant.

To experience the unabridged Shakespeare texts is truly one of the most satisfying experience a person could have. I would wish that every person would someday be able to share in it.

But, realistically, we have to accept that the state of the world is far from what I might deem 'ideal'. Many will find the linguistic barriers too intimidating to put forth the needed effort. Should we then say to these people, that there is only value in Shakespeare when his works are read in the original form? While you certainly lose a sense of poetic lyricism, metaphorical strength, and to some extent, meaning, modern-translations remain essentially Shakespearean in nature. It is possible to appreciate the depth of Shakespearan characterization, and his uncanny eye for human nature. Shakespeare, more than any writer, captured the very essence of the human condition, and it would be a shame for any reader, regardless of skill or dedication, to miss even the skeleton of his works. For those who would be unwilling to devote the needed time and energy to deciphering the original texts, at the very least, they will not be spared from them entirely.

I've attended numerous productions of Shakespeare's plays. If any of them had relied on a modern translation, I would have vacated the theatre immediately.  :)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 11:12:03 AM
I've attended numerous productions of Shakespeare's plays. If any of them had relied on a modern translation, I would have vacated the theatre immediately.  :)

Run do not walk . . . .
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 04, 2007, 02:07:30 PM
Run do not walk . . . .

It can be difficult to shout in agony whilst running.  :)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Larry Rinkel on June 04, 2007, 03:30:49 PM
I have attended in person only one performance of a Shakespearean play, and it was King Lear. They made many one-word changes to the text. One that stuck in my mind and I noticed immediately was the alteration of "medicine" to "poison". The line was something like "else I'd never again trust medicine", and they changed it to poison. Other changes like this. But how many people these days would have understood the use of the word "medicine" in that way? Without those small changes throughout, very few people in the audience could have followed it; thus, attendance of the repeated performances would most likely have dropped. We're not talking about England here, we're talking about the southern U.S. (North Carolina, to be exact).

I don't like the changes, but I understand why they were done.

This overlooks a few things, one being that there still are numerous people who know the Shakespearean texts intimately. Changes of this sort do not simply improve comprehension; even if this dubious point were granted, the changes destroy the poetry, cadence, and expression of the original version. For another point, audiences at performances where the language is not modernized can still follow most if not all of the action from context; in the example you cite, it's easy enough to grasp that Regan is taken deathly ill, and that Goneril was her murderer. This is inevitable: one cannot assume that the illiterate groundlings standing in the pit at Shakespeare's Globe Theater in 1600 followed all the nuances of his language either, and as the plays were generally not published, it's not as if an audience could prepare itself by reading the texts ahead of time as we might. But because Shakespeare was a consummate man of the theater, he structured his plots so that audiences could absorb them even if not every detail of the language was crystal clear.

Even so, a lot of Shakespeare's language is not nearly as complicated as is sometimes assumed. Phrases like Othello's "When I shall turn the business of my soul / To such exsufflicate and blown surmises, / Matching thy inference" or Macbeth's "No, this my hand will rather / The multitudinous seas incarnadine" are relatively uncommon.

But the change you speak of was a bad idea for yet another reason. Shakespeare of course had the words "poison" and "medicine" in his vocabulary, and they meant what they mean today. But Goneril's use of "medicine" is a direct response to Regan's use of the word "sick." By ironically using "medicine" as a euphemism, Goneril in fact shows herself to be more vicious and heartless than if she had used the literal word "poison."

Quote
Regan. Sick, O, sick!
Goneril. [aside] If not, I'll ne'er trust medicine.


It's generally a bad idea to second-guess a genius like Shakespeare. That's why he was a genius, and most of us are not.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 03:43:17 PM
So who was the Frenchman whose translation of Hamlet rendered the prince's exclamation upon seeing his father's ghost -- Angels and ministers of grace defend us! -- as:

Quote
Tiens, qu'est-ce que c'est ça?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Larry Rinkel on June 04, 2007, 03:52:33 PM
So who was the Frenchman whose translation of Hamlet rendered the prince's exclamation upon seeing his father's ghost -- Angels and ministers of grace defend us! -- as:


Don't know, but I'd hate to see what he did with "to be or not to be."
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 03:53:19 PM
"Like, whatever . . . ."
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: 12tone. on June 04, 2007, 04:35:48 PM
When I was out today getting my oil changed I came across a newspaper so I started to read it.  On the front page of a certain section therein layed a story about Jurgen Gothe, the host to the popular (and apparently more popular than I thought) program called 'Disc Drive' on our CBC Radio 2.  R2 being our classical station.

Instead of telling you the whole story of what the article was about (and it was sad), I'd like to make the point of 'variety'. 

So Mr. Gothe's show not only plays classical, but also jazz.  And some pop.  Bluegrass.  Country.  Whatever he seems to find...or the producers.  However it works.  So is variety the best way to get people to listen to classical?  That's a main question here. 

From the article, R2 used to be just classical.  And from what I can remember from years and years ago, that's true.  I remember sitting in the car asking my parents to 'turn back to that classical station'.  Well, it's not a truely classical station anymore.  The writer of the article went so far as to make a big no-no IMHO -- that being giving his thoughts on the matter.  His thoughts?  Classical music being pretentious. 

Back to the point at hand, what should a radio station do?   Play classical all day and hope someone comes across something interesting?  Or is variety good? 

I can't feel good about this 'ipod generation' (a phrase the writer used as well, I think) where eclecticism has gone out of control.   
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: PSmith08 on June 04, 2007, 06:23:49 PM
So who was the Frenchman whose translation of Hamlet rendered the prince's exclamation upon seeing his father's ghost -- Angels and ministers of grace defend us! -- as:


Jean-Paul Sartre? ( ;))
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 05, 2007, 12:04:26 AM
Reading through many of the posts to my original, and quite aside from the entertaining, but off-topic, discussion of Shakespeare, it seems that we have also gone slightly off topic by discussing the popularity (or lack of it) of classical music.

My original post was more about perception. It seems to me that a few decades ago, classical music was perceived to be a good thing, whereas now it is considered unimportant, hence its side lining in the mainstream press. Not so very long ago, a music section of a paper would discuss mostly classical music, with maybe a nod towards pop. Nowadays the reverse is true, as in the recent Independent Music Magazine, where classical music didn't even receive a mention. Maybe we shouldn't be surprised, now that pop music is given a credence it never used to have, even back in the days of The Beatles. Their music is taken far more seriously now, for instance, than it was when they were still performing and recording. With pop music now elevated to the status of serious music, there is little room left for classical.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mark on June 05, 2007, 01:21:57 AM
Tsaraslondon, I think the answer to the question, 'Why doesn't the mainstream press place much (or indeed, any) importance on featuring articles about classical music?', is actually very simple to answer. There is a perception among money-hungry, circulation-obsessed media moguls that what people want is pop, rock, tittle-tattle and celeb gossip. In short, anything that passes for 'culture' but which doesn't actually deserve that title. If putting Arctic Monkeys on the cover of the 'arts' supplement - rather than, say, Albinoni - shifts more copies of the paper (and it will, no question), then rock beats Baroque hands down.

It's not that people don't consider classical music important, more that they think it TOO important (or perhaps, in the eyes of some, self-important); it's seen as occupying a high plane up to which most are unwilling to climb. Besides which, few people in our hectic modern world want their entertainment to be 'difficult' ... and that's what many folks think classical music is. And so we have the rise of Katherine Jenkins, Il Divo and Alfie Boe: palatable, sanitised, psuedo-classical for the masses who want to look no further; and who - for the most part - are discouraged from so doing by the money-hungry, circulation-obsessed media moguls ...
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 05, 2007, 01:30:49 AM
Tsaraslondon, I think the answer to the question, 'Why doesn't the mainstream press place much (or indeed, any) importance on featuring articles about classical music?', is actually very simple to answer. There is a perception among money-hungry, circulation-obsessed media moguls that what people want is pop, rock, tittle-tattle and celeb gossip. In short, anything that passes for 'culture' but which doesn't actually deserve that title. If putting Arctic Monkeys on the cover of the 'arts' supplement - rather than, say, Albinoni - shifts more copies of the paper (and it will, no question), then rock beats Baroque hands down.

It's not that people don't consider classical music important, more that they think it TOO important (or perhaps, in the eyes of some, self-important); it's seen as occupying a high plane up to which most are unwilling to climb. Besides which, few people in our hectic modern world want their entertainment to be 'difficult' ... and that's what many folks think classical music is. And so we have the rise of Katherine Jenkins, Il Divo and Alfie Boe: palatable, sanitised, psuedo-classical for the masses who want to look no further; and who - for the most part - are discouraged from so doing by the money-hungry, circulation-obsessed media moguls ...

Hear, hear!
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mark on June 05, 2007, 01:49:21 AM
We should bear in mind that this ignorance (using that word in its correct sense) of classic music by media types has nothing to do with some kind of conspiracy to 'dumb down' the world, but is simply evidence once more of one of mankind's baser instincts: greed ... and particularly, love of money. If classical music suddenly became 'cool' (i.e. a money spinner), the Vienna Philharmonic would be headlining at Glastonbury. ;D
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Grazioso on June 05, 2007, 03:27:58 AM
instance, than it was when they were still performing and recording. With pop music now elevated to the status of serious music, there is little room left for classical.

That assumes pop music isn't "serious," when indeed for many of its creators and fans, it is. For them, there is musical and emotional substance to be enjoyed and discussed. And certainly, it enjoys a cultural prominence that does make it important, at least in the regard that it actually affects a broad range of people.

More complex forms of music, like classical and modern jazz, are understandably boutique tastes, fine art that demands some attention and study for fair appreciation. Just as most people will never bother with Shakespeare, most will never bother with classical music and therefore dismiss it out of ignorance. Many people are stupid, lazy, or uneducated and content--sometimes even proud--to remain so. Particularly in the supposedly egalitarian culture of the US, there often seems to be some suspicion towards anything elitist, and classical music certainly qualifies.

As for the press, they're a business: when they can find dollar signs in classical music, they'll turn their attention to it. Yet, part of the problem may be that a lot of people in the press share the sort of ignorance I mention above: how many editors and writers at your average newspaper know much--or anything--about classical music and could cover it even if they wanted to?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 05, 2007, 03:41:50 AM
Many people are stupid, lazy, or uneducated and content--sometimes even proud--to remain so.

This is one of the greatest tragedies of our times.

While in the past uneducated people never denied the importance and value of education and culture (and many worked hard to achieve them, or to allow their children to achieve them) --- nowadays to be uneducated and uncultured has become a mark of honour, a sign that someone belongs to the people and not to some bourgeois or aristocratic elite.  I have strong opinions about whom to blame for this sad state of affairs but I wouldn't open a can of worms.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mozart on June 05, 2007, 03:54:17 AM
Who cares? Why does it bother you that normal people don't listen to Bach or read Shakespeare? The only time it would bother me if is someone insulted my taste in music. If classical music gets labeled as elitist maybe its because its true. Its a higher form of art than "indie" or pop or any hip hop music. Now I just need to stop watching Hannah Montana....


*** Classical music is by no means dead! Just its composers are!
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mark on June 05, 2007, 03:57:36 AM
Who cares? Why does it bother you that normal people don't listen to Bach or read Shakespeare? The only time it would bother me if is someone insulted my taste in music. If classical music gets labeled as elitist maybe its because its true. Its a higher form of art than "indie" or pop or any hip hop music. Now I just need to stop watching Hannah Montana....


*** Classical music is by no means dead! Just its composers are!

Are we not all 'normal', then?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mozart on June 05, 2007, 04:00:21 AM
Are we not all 'normal', then?

Of coarse not, being normal is the worst thing a person could be! Who wants to be normal?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 05, 2007, 04:00:48 AM
Who cares? Why does it bother you that normal people don't listen to Bach or read Shakespeare?

Apres nous le deluge... right?  ;D
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 05, 2007, 04:01:22 AM
. . . So is variety the best way to get people to listen to classical?  That's a main question here.

Exposure;  and not the impersonal exposure of radio -- that is, IMO, in the final analysis a secondary 'delivery system'.  If the classical world becomes, again, a part of the life of the community, so that people are up close and personal with it, all else follows.

As to variety, I think anyone here will attest that the classical music world itself contains multitudes.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 05, 2007, 04:01:59 AM
*** Classical music is by no means dead! Just its composers are!

Lies! Half-truths, anyway!  8)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 05, 2007, 05:27:29 AM
This is one of the greatest tragedies of our times.

While in the past uneducated people never denied the importance and value of education and culture (and many worked hard to achieve them, or to allow their children to achieve them) --- nowadays to be uneducated and uncultured has become a mark of honour, a sign that someone belongs to the people and not to some bourgeois or aristocratic elite.  I have strong opinions about whom to blame for this sad state of affairs but I wouldn't open a can of worms.

Exactly. In a round about fashion, this is what I have been trying to point out. As I mentioned earlier, my grandfather, a self made man, set about giving himself the education he hadn't received, as a result of being made to leave school at the earliest possible opportunity. Nowadays, no  doubt, he'd be more likely to glory in his lack of education.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mark on June 05, 2007, 05:31:05 AM
It's not cool to be educated. And it's hard work. Auditioning for some lame reality 'talent' show is much easier, and comes with the faintest whiff of promise of achieving celebrity, cash ... and a few years in rehab. ;D
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 05, 2007, 05:33:15 AM
Who cares? Why does it bother you that normal people don't listen to Bach or read Shakespeare? The only time it would bother me if is someone insulted my taste in music. If classical music gets labeled as elitist maybe its because its true. Its a higher form of art than "indie" or pop or any hip hop music. Now I just need to stop watching Hannah Montana....


*** Classical music is by no means dead! Just its composers are!

I couldn't care less whether other (notice I didn't use the word normal) people listen to it or not. I do care that the arts are gradually being devalued in today's society. Why are so many people missing the point?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mark on June 05, 2007, 05:39:10 AM
If you think the arts are being devalued at the moment in the UK, wait till the London 2012 Olympics gets nearer. What little money has been ringfenced thus far for the arts in this country will get sucked up into this international cash black hole. Then there'll be even fewer opportunities for those who seriously want to see the arts restored to their proper place to fund their initiatives.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Novi on June 05, 2007, 05:43:00 AM
Exactly. In a round about fashion, this is what I have been trying to point out. As I mentioned earlier, my grandfather, a self made man, set about giving himself the education he hadn't received, as a result of being made to leave school at the earliest possible opportunity. Nowadays, no  doubt, he'd be more likely to glory in his lack of education.

I also think there's a different understanding and expectation of education these days.

Tsaraslondon, your grandfather seems to have embraced learning as an end in itself, as something to enrich his life. These days, an education, particularly at the tertiary level, seems to be the means to a better job, a kickass salary, a highflying career. Knowledge as such isn't valued anymore. People ask, but what are you going to do with it? I'd like to say, who cares, but that's obviously not tenable these days. It's a pity that intellectual curiosity has become a luxury and in the long run, we'll be all the more impoverished for it.  
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 05, 2007, 05:45:43 AM
Slightly off-topic (or maybe not) --- this excellent quote from Simon Bolivar:

An ignorant people is the blind instrument of its own destruction.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 05, 2007, 06:38:11 AM
I also think there's a different understanding and expectation of education these days.

Tsaraslondon, your grandfather seems to have embraced learning as an end in itself, as something to enrich his life. These days, an education, particularly at the tertiary level, seems to be the means to a better job, a kickass salary, a highflying career. Knowledge as such isn't valued anymore. People ask, but what are you going to do with it? I'd like to say, who cares, but that's obviously not tenable these days. It's a pity that intellectual curiosity has become a luxury and in the long run, we'll be all the more impoverished for it.  

I echo, with regret, the sentiment on this thread. So often, I am simply overwhelmed by the lack of interest in those acedemic fields without high-paying jobs. It seems education is more equitably distributed in society, it has lost much of its worth. Years ago, it was impossible to find a school here in the United States that didn't emphasize a love and respect for the classics of Western thought. Students were taught either Greek or Latin, and regardless of major, learned to appreciate the thinkers of the past. Now European History is taught entirely through Secondary Sources, and students are left to suffer. It is my position that a love of canonical literature and classical music are intertwined. Perhaps if we restored the cirriculum of our schools, interest in classical music would follow suit.

I had the benefit of attending a school who's cirriculum still emphasized classical literature and cluture, and haven't looked back since. Without a solid educational foundation of the development of Western society and thought, most classical music, I believe, is doomed to remain the hobby of a small minority.  :-[
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 05, 2007, 06:41:15 AM
It is my position that a love of canonical literature and classical music are intertwined.
Amen!

Without a solid educational foundation of the development of Western society and thought, most classical music, I believe, is doomed to remain the hobby of a small minority.  :-[
Word!
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 05, 2007, 07:09:05 AM
I also think there's a different understanding and expectation of education these days.

Tsaraslondon, your grandfather seems to have embraced learning as an end in itself, as something to enrich his life. These days, an education, particularly at the tertiary level, seems to be the means to a better job, a kickass salary, a highflying career. Knowledge as such isn't valued anymore. People ask, but what are you going to do with it? I'd like to say, who cares, but that's obviously not tenable these days. It's a pity that intellectual curiosity has become a luxury and in the long run, we'll be all the more impoverished for it. 

You are right. And it is one of the great tragedies of modern life.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 05, 2007, 08:56:42 AM
Tsaraslondon, your grandfather seems to have embraced learning as an end in itself, as something to enrich his life. These days, an education, particularly at the tertiary level, seems to be the means to a better job, a kickass salary, a highflying career. Knowledge as such isn't valued anymore. People ask, but what are you going to do with it? I'd like to say, who cares, but that's obviously not tenable these days. It's a pity that intellectual curiosity has become a luxury and in the long run, we'll be all the more impoverished for it.  
yeah, that's actually a good point everyone makes. What are you going to do with classical music and classical literature, or anything else that the mainstream doesn't care about? Well, not much, really. It's actually not important at all unless you go on Jeopardy or know people with the same interests, otherwise knowing about this stuff will get you nowhere. But the only reason I think classical music is important is because I like it.  :-X
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 05, 2007, 09:09:33 AM
yeah, that's actually a good point everyone makes. What are you going to do with classical music and classical literature, or anything else that the mainstream doesn't care about? Well, not much, really. It's actually not important at all unless you go on Jeopardy or know people with the same interests, otherwise knowing about this stuff will get you nowhere. But the only reason I think classical music is important is because I like it.  :-X

Is the opinion expressed in that last post your own? Or, were you describing the attitudes of the sort of people we've been bemoaning?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 05, 2007, 09:31:35 AM
Is the opinion expressed in that last post your own? Or, were you describing the attitudes of the sort of people we've been bemoaning?
My own, pretty much. People have reason for not getting into stuff like classical music, maybe sometimes because they're just lazy, but it is true that if I stopped listening to it I would do no worse now than before- the only things I would lose are music that I enjoy and going on this forum.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 05, 2007, 09:32:26 AM
よよよ!  8)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 05, 2007, 09:41:18 AM
My own, pretty much. People have reason for not getting into stuff like classical music, maybe sometimes because they're just lazy, but it is true that if I stopped listening to it I would do no worse now than before- the only things I would lose are music that I enjoy and going on this forum.

Then I am in complete disagreement. Only useful for Jeoprady? Reading great literature enriches the my everyday experiences, and allows me to evaluate my daily condition with a far more acute sensibility then I ever could. It is about reaching into the depths of time, and extracting the greatest ideas that our society has ever produced. The same could be said of the music of the classical tradition. Surely, my enjoyment of great music is not limited to the occasional reference in a New York Times Crossword Puzzle.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Larry Rinkel on June 05, 2007, 09:55:54 AM
Then I am in complete disagreement. Only useful for Jeoprady? Reading great literature enriches the my everyday experiences, and allows me to evaluate my daily condition with a far more acute sensibility then I ever could. It is about reaching into the depths of time, and extracting the greatest ideas that our society has ever produced. The same could be said of the music of the classical tradition. Surely, my enjoyment of great music is not limited to the occasional reference in a New York Times Crossword Puzzle.

Ironically, whenever Classical Music or Opera shows up as a category on Jeopardy, contestants often try to avoid it, or do badly with the questions. I of course agree with your other points, and I suspect Greg really does too, though he may not have been able to articulate it as well.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: mahlertitan on June 05, 2007, 11:07:45 AM
if i like opera, i must be like a arch villain in a gangster movie.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 05, 2007, 11:23:34 AM
if i like opera, i must be like a arch villain in a gangster movie.

Or Cher's love interest in Moonstruck.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: jochanaan on June 05, 2007, 11:54:05 AM
...I had the benefit of attending a school who's cirriculum still emphasized classical literature and cluture...
And grammar and spelling? ;) (I'm teasing, of course; we all make mistakes of this sort.  I've been guilty of a few bloopers. :-[ )
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 05, 2007, 12:10:20 PM
And grammar and spelling? ;) (I'm teasing, of course; we all make mistakes of this sort.  I've been guilty of a few bloopers. :-[ )

 8)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mozart on June 05, 2007, 01:06:54 PM
I couldn't care less whether other (notice I didn't use the word normal) people listen to it or not. I do care that the arts are gradually being devalued in today's society. Why are so many people missing the point?

Perfect, there is a point! A tiny space of immense light and revelation that we have all stumbled across at some part of our lives that have made us music fans. "Other" people just don't care to look in the right direction.
Funny of me I used to think classical music was universal, that everyone could enjoy if they only heard Beethoven's 7th symphony. But its not! I got to witness the classical music audience at the opera and the concerts I have gone to and always wonder, how many of these people get it? Why are 4/5 of these people here? For status? To be social? Its just not for everyone, not even for many. It needs to be understood and some are not capable of that understanding.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 05, 2007, 09:18:18 PM
Funny of me I used to think classical music was universal, that everyone could enjoy if they only heard Beethoven's 7th symphony. But its not! I got to witness the classical music audience at the opera and the concerts I have gone to and always wonder, how many of these people get it? Why are 4/5 of these people here? For status? To be social? Its just not for everyone, not even for many. It needs to be understood and some are not capable of that understanding.

It is precisely this kind of crap that contributes the most to keep people away from classical music.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mozart on June 05, 2007, 09:23:07 PM
It is precisely this kind of crap that contributes the most to keep people away from classical music.


Exactly, their inability to comprehend the art form.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 06, 2007, 06:07:01 AM
yeah, that's retarded going to concerts for social reasons. But if it sells tickets.....
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mozart on June 06, 2007, 01:21:19 PM
yeah, that's retarded going to concerts for social reasons. But if it sells tickets.....

During the magic flute, out of all operas, a woman got scolded for chatting with her daughter during the recitatives. "Its hard to follow whats going on with your chattering" Stupid people. I think they just like to clap. How irritating is it when you got see Carmen and they clap before the overture is done? Why do they clap? Well everyone else is doing it, I don't want to look like an idiot so Ill do it too! What was so wrong about chatting during the spoken parts? In fact, its a perfect time to discuss what they just heard!
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 06, 2007, 01:35:53 PM
Well, I've gone to concerts (at least partly) for social reasons . . . .
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: PSmith08 on June 06, 2007, 01:48:44 PM
During the magic flute, out of all operas, a woman got scolded for chatting with her daughter during the recitatives. "Its hard to follow whats going on with your chattering" Stupid people. I think they just like to clap. How irritating is it when you got see Carmen and they clap before the overture is done? Why do they clap? Well everyone else is doing it, I don't want to look like an idiot so Ill do it too! What was so wrong about chatting during the spoken parts? In fact, its a perfect time to discuss what they just heard!

To clap or not to clap, that is the question. Of course, it's only a function of "modern" (ish) expectations of concert hall etiquette. Most composers of a certain time expected their works to be interrupted with applause, cheers, and calls for repetition. They might not have liked it, but it happened. Stravinsky had a riot over Sacre, and we complain about chatter?

I generally don't think classical is dead, but entombing it early will go far to killing it off. People can't understand? They're rebuked in no uncertain terms when they commit a faux-pas, which hasn't been a faux-pas very long in the grand scheme of things. They're told that if they find it difficult, that's their fault. Why would they want to understand? It's not dead, but one must find a balance between turning into a diversion for the cultural élite and abusing the works with making them "accessible." More to the point, I am not sure that the élite in question has had the title for thirty or forty years now, so there's another veneer of relevancy with which to grapple.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Novi on June 06, 2007, 02:23:22 PM
Exactly, their inability to comprehend the art form.

That seems rather arrogant. What do you mean by 'comprehend'? To understand a piece of work technically brings a lot to one's listening, but just to enjoy the music is also a legitimate and welcome experience.

yeah, that's retarded going to concerts for social reasons. But if it sells tickets.....

For the most part, I don't think many go to concerts purely for social reasons, at least not in my part of the world :). I think our concertgoers do have a genuine interest in the music and do enjoy themselves, even if part of the fun of the evening is meeting up with their cronies. Me? I go alone because none of my friends are particularly keen, but I love the feeling of communality you get after a great performance when you realise you've shared a tremendous musical experience with everyone else in the room.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: lisa needs braces on June 06, 2007, 02:40:56 PM
Classical music is dead (or nearly so) because of the dearth of popular, living composers. There is no popular element in what modern composers produce, and they have virtually no desire to please popular sentiment. Indeed, these are qualifications necessary for them to ever be considered "serious" in the first place. Ultimately the problem lies with the artistic deadend the genre has reached and with the composers. The neglect is fully earned.

 
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mark on June 06, 2007, 02:42:20 PM
Might one argue that classical music is alive and well ... in the form of film scores?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: lisa needs braces on June 06, 2007, 02:51:36 PM
Might one argue that classical music is alive and well ... in the form of film scores?

Movies = popular, music accompanying them will be too for the most part.

Here's the fundemental problem: The fact that the genre we know as classical music is entirely sustained by past masterpieces. Until living composers--through their music--inspire the classical audiences to place the same faith in the modern output as they do in the classics--we will always be lamenting the Death of Classical Music.

Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: gomro on June 06, 2007, 04:29:10 PM
Movies = popular, music accompanying them will be too for the most part.

Here's the fundemental problem: The fact that the genre we know as classical music is entirely sustained by past masterpieces. Until living composers--through their music--inspire the classical audiences to place the same faith in the modern output as they do in the classics--we will always be lamenting the Death of Classical Music.

There's a hideous Catch-22, because the modern music has to be played before the classical audiences can place their faith in it.  But no reasonable conductor will risk playing modern music unless they're sure they'll get the paying crowd -- so there you go.  One of our local music critics took Grant Cooper, the conductor of the WVa Symphony, to task for not being daring enough; Cooper's reply is worth quoting, if I could just FIND it somewhere to quote. Ah, here it is:

http://wvgazette.com/section/Opinion/200705158

Hard to believe that Cooper considers Shostakovich and Mahler to be risky programming, even among a classical music audience, but having lived around here for, oh, half a century, I can completely understand why he thinks that way.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: stingo on June 06, 2007, 04:34:14 PM
Might one argue that classical music is alive and well ... in the form of film scores?

In a sense, yes, but I think in a much deeper sense, no... The reason being is that the film scores are meant to support the action/visuals on screen, so in that sense (in my view) it's a little more limited out of the starting gate. One could say this is true of opera too, but I'd venture a guess that most operas start with the music, and the visuals come later, not vice versa as it does for most films.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Larry Rinkel on June 06, 2007, 05:04:13 PM
Classical music is dead (or nearly so) because of the dearth of popular, living composers. There is no popular element in what modern composers produce, and they have virtually no desire to please popular sentiment. Indeed, these are qualifications necessary for them to ever be considered "serious" in the first place. Ultimately the problem lies with the artistic deadend the genre has reached and with the composers. The neglect is fully earned.

Here's the fundemental problem: The fact that the genre we know as classical music is entirely sustained by past masterpieces. Until living composers--through their music--inspire the classical audiences to place the same faith in the modern output as they do in the classics--we will always be lamenting the Death of Classical Music.

This is along my line of thinking, but with a significant difference, in that I am not willing to put the entire blame for our present impasse on composers. A composer is under no obligation to please his or her audience; in fact throughout history the composers who have survived have been the most demanding and original voices, those who most followed their inner ears and imagination (Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, the later Verdi, Debussy, Stravinsky, etc.). Eventually through repeated exposure, the idioms of these composers have become familiar to audiences and absorbed. But composers who write primarily to please (such as Cimarosa, Paisiello, Meyerbeer, Adam, etc.) eventually are forgotten or played far less because there's less substance in their work to sustain repeated listening.

Several events occurred simultaneously in the early 20th century that have led to the current impasse: for one, the musical idiom, primarily as developed by Schoenberg and his followers, and later by composers such as Boulez and Stockhausen, became more complex and forbidding than ever at precisely the same time that a canon of accepted works was falling into place. At the same time, largely due to the phonograph, composers from the past became more available than ever to listeners, often in multiple excellent performances of the same work. As a result, music has turned into a museum, where each listener can experience his own selection of masterpieces at the flick of a button, and if he doesn't like Carter or Ligeti, he can put on Tosca or the Ring.

There is another, in my view undesirable, offshoot of the easy availability of recordings, and that is the decline in amateur music making. Households 100+ years ago generally owned a piano, and at least one member of the family played. Symphonic works were learned not from recordings but from playing 4-hand arrangements. By contrast the music consumer of today experiences music in a more passive way, and is less familiar with the materials of the musical language. This situation needs to be rectified as much as the crisis between composers and listeners.

I don't blame audiences for not accepting the more advanced music any more than I blame composers for composing it. But this particular impasse remains, and turns inside out the older norm of a musical culture that (as in popular music today) had been sustained primarily throughout history by new creations. To that degree, there definitely is a problem, but it's not one that can be solved by composers writing "what the audience wants" - as any composer with a strong, original voice runs the risk of not being accepted immediately.

But at the same time, I'm not convinced that classical music is "dead," whatever that means. Most likely in fact there are more people throughout the world who take an interest in classical music than ever before. (Any performance of the Eroica in New York or London will be experienced by hundreds, maybe thousands of people, any of whom can buy as many recordings of this work as they want. When Beethoven premiered the work around 1805, only a couple of dozen aristocrats heard the symphony in a nobleman's palace.) For example, the spread of recordings has led to greater interest in Western classical music in parts of Asia - apparently not so much in India, but probably most of all in the major cities of China and Japan. There are upward and downward trends here and there, just as in the stock market, but overall the likelihood is that classical music is more available to and more listened by more people than ever. Opera, for example, is doing quite well, certainly better than ballet, though on the other hand neither classical music nor ballet is approaching the current popularity of art museums - where one is not chained down to a seat and can walk around, concentrating on the paintings one most likes.

But there's a certain satisfaction arising from the self-pitying complaint that "classical music is dead or dying"; one feels at once a member of a beleaguered minority and a member of a chosen elite.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 07, 2007, 01:02:57 AM
What was so wrong about chatting during the spoken parts? In fact, its a perfect time to discuss what they just heard!

What's wrong is that it is pure bad manners. Personally I can't stand it when people chat during a film, let alone a concert on an opera. The occasional whispered comment to one's partner might be ok, but some people behave as if they were at home watching tv. These days, when I want to see a film, I wait til it's popularity has died down and go to an afternoon performance which is likely to be less well attended.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mozart on June 07, 2007, 02:14:01 AM
What's wrong is that it is pure bad manners. Personally I can't stand it when people chat during a film, let alone a concert on an opera. The occasional whispered comment to one's partner might be ok, but some people behave as if they were at home watching tv. These days, when I want to see a film, I wait til it's popularity has died down and go to an afternoon performance which is likely to be less well attended.
A film and a theater piece are way different! Go see a movie in Mexico, people will have cell phone conversations at full volume in always packed theaters and not give a crap. But during spoken parts after an aria in a theater? A whisper to the person next to you? You should know the story to an opera before attending... Yet the same person will applause after the first part of Carmen's overture. I find that much more rude.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 07, 2007, 02:49:19 AM
Classical music is dead (or nearly so) because of the dearth of popular, living composers. There is no popular element in what modern composers produce, and they have virtually no desire to please popular sentiment. Indeed, these are qualifications necessary for them to ever be considered "serious" in the first place. Ultimately the problem lies with the artistic deadend the genre has reached and with the composers. The neglect is fully earned.

You never use a finer grade of brush, I take it?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Scriptavolant on June 07, 2007, 02:56:02 AM
There is no popular element in what modern composers produce, and they have virtually no desire to please popular sentiment.
 

What a piece of luck!
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 07, 2007, 03:09:35 AM
Might one argue that classical music is alive and well ... in the form of film scores?

One might try  8)

There is good stuff that goes on in many a soundtrack;  I just find that [ great stand-alone music ] is quite a small subset of [ good soundtrackage ]

Two of the broader issues are:

1.  Large musical structure is not (cannot be) the concern of most film-composers, for most films;  what matters is the structure of the film, and the music is sonic dressing.  On the one hand, that is not the "fault" of the film composers, it is simply the turf;  on the other, since that is the pitch where the film-composers do all (or far the greater part) of their playing, environment becomes artistic destiny . . . .

2.  Not exactly the equal-but-opposite thing, though a 'corollary flipside' if you like:  since the music 'belongs' to the film, in many (by no means all) cases the listener's affection for the music is 'entangled' with the visual/dramatic experience of the film.  People of my acquaintance who have not seen the films under advisement, have either been at Symphony for, or listened to a radio broadcast of, a Pops concert which featured a "suite" of music from this or that film, and without that referential peg to which to attach the music, the latter struck them as singular characterless and impoverished.  Obviously, this is not the case of all music written for film (I'd listened to Shostakovich's music for Hamlet many times before seeing Kozintsev's film in its entirety, e.g.)

One illustration, from recent repeat viewing:  Dances with Wolves.  We had seen enough of this broadcast on cable, to much like the movie, and for me to consider that I should like to see the full 'director's cut' without commercial breaks extending the viewing experience into infinity.

The music for the movie is very fine, serves the movie with excellence.  The movie itself creates a wonderful long arc;  I think it's four hours very well rewarded.

John Barry's music is not an epic creation of its own;  it is basically five or six 16- or 32-measure 'songlets', each of them lovely and well shaped, and of a character which serves the movie wonderfully . . . but it's not a symphony.  One could argue whether the Vaughan Williams Seventh is 'really' a symphony, but at least, there is actually "a symphony's worth" of material.

Mind you, it is not John Barry's "fault" that he 'doesn't compare' with Vaughan Williams on this head;  Barry did exactly what his task demanded of him, and he did it with excellence (some of the material seems a little 'thin' for the orchestration, but it's a small orchestra, anyway).

But if that sort of task means 'classical music is still alive', then it strikes me as a kind of hospice . . . .
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 07, 2007, 11:15:53 AM
A film and a theater piece are way different! Go see a movie in Mexico, people will have cell phone conversations at full volume in always packed theaters and not give a crap. But during spoken parts after an aria in a theater? A whisper to the person next to you? You should know the story to an opera before attending... Yet the same person will applause after the first part of Carmen's overture. I find that much more rude.

Sorry, but you have completely lost me. In one post, you seem to be suggesting that it is ok to speak during the spoken parts after an aria and in the above post, are agreeing that it is not. Personally I don't think it is ok, as I thought I'd suggested with my anaology of the cinema. In fact, I'd prefer it if the audience could keep their mouths shut while anything is happening on stage, or on the screen. Thanks for the waring about Mexico. I won't be going to see any films there.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mozart on June 07, 2007, 12:29:27 PM
Sorry, but you have completely lost me. In one post, you seem to be suggesting that it is ok to speak during the spoken parts after an aria and in the above post, are agreeing that it is not. Personally I don't think it is ok, as I thought I'd suggested with my anaology of the cinema. In fact, I'd prefer it if the audience could keep their mouths shut while anything is happening on stage, or on the screen. Thanks for the waring about Mexico. I won't be going to see any films there.

Well I was trying to say, when watching a movie silence is more important than at a live theater during the dialogged parts.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 07, 2007, 12:34:32 PM
Well I was trying to say, when watching a movie silence is more important than at a live theater during the dialogged parts.

Whereas I still think it unforgiveable.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 08, 2007, 08:56:02 AM
As a coda to this whole discussion, and an illustration of what I was talking about, I happened to be watching the 6.30 London news this evening - an item about the reopening of the Royal Festival Hall. Whom did they find to interview about the refit, and the improvement, if any, to the notoriously dead Festival Hall acoustics? Well not Sir Simon Rattle, or any other conductor, nor even an instrumentalist; someone as popular, and populist, as Nigel Kennedy, for instance. No. They interviewed a somewhat nonplussed Jarvis Cocker, who, to his credit, confessed that it made little difference to rock musicans, but that, as far as he knew, classical musicians were happier with the results.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 08, 2007, 09:47:29 AM
As a coda to this whole discussion, and an illustration of what I was talking about, I happened to be watching the 6.30 London news this evening - an item about the reopening of the Royal Festival Hall. Whom did they find to interview about the refit, and the improvement, if any, to the notoriously dead Festival Hall acoustics? Well not Sir Simon Rattle, or any other conductor, nor even an instrumentalist; someone as popular, and populist, as Nigel Kennedy, for instance. No. They interviewed a somewhat nonplussed Jarvis Cocker, who, to his credit, confessed that it made little difference to rock musicans, but that, as far as he knew, classical musicians were happier with the results.

Quod erat demonstrandum.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: matticus on June 08, 2007, 10:19:57 AM
There is no popular element in what modern composers produce, and they have virtually no desire to please popular sentiment.

Do you not actually listen to contemporary music, or read interviews with its composers? It's practically de rigeur to quote pop styles and assert how important it is to please the public if you want any high-profile performances these days, particularly in the US.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 08, 2007, 10:21:32 AM
Lisa needs spectacles
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 08, 2007, 10:42:46 AM
Whereas I still think it unforgiveable.

It's important to differentiate, though, between a casual whispered comment, and an entire spoken conversation. The fomer can be tolerable, provided that it is brief. Carrying a spoken coversation at normal volume at any point in an opera would be insufferable.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 08, 2007, 10:43:33 AM
Depends on the opera, surely?  0:)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: matticus on June 08, 2007, 10:44:26 AM
Quote from: Grant Cooper
I have been building, perhaps too patiently for some tastes, a case for our audience that, just because they have not heard of a composer, it does not mean to say that they cannot enjoy the music.

Honestly, why would anyone even bother 'saving' classical music if it were for people with this kind of mentality.

Can anyone really believe that Shostakovich and Mahler, and HIP, represent 'risky' programming to any kind of 21st century audience? Is this not merely a desperate attempt to rationalise the worst unartistic laziness, conservatism and stagnation?

I'm not trying to put the blame on Grant Cooper, whoever he is, I just find it gobsmacking that he's so craven he can write a two page article without ever discussing what the actual problem is -- which seems to be that the WVSO far is more interested in funding a 'prestigious' performance space than providing its listeners with a full range of music (imagine how much variety $8 million could buy you!). In other words, the financial pressures he's under are largely unrelated to artistic concerns. This seems so natural to him all he can do is blather about how "Music is sound, and if one invests in music, then one invests in sound."
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: matticus on June 08, 2007, 10:44:53 AM
Lisa needs spectacles

And hearing aids perhaps
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 08, 2007, 10:45:22 AM
Carrying a spoken coversation at normal volume at any point in an opera would be insufferable.

There was the character in Wilde's book, who adored Wagner, because one could carry on a spoken conversation at normal volume without disturbing anyone else . . . .
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: matticus on June 08, 2007, 10:53:36 AM
Also, having glanced over the WVSO website, I can't help noticing that Cooper doesn't seem to have any aversion to performing contemporary music when it's written by... himself.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Steve on June 08, 2007, 10:55:08 AM
Depends on the opera, surely?  0:)

I would say so. Interrupt Zauberflote, during one of the many exchanges, and won't get a peep out of me; interrupt
a Verdi opera, and prepare to meet fury!  ;D
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on June 08, 2007, 10:57:47 AM
. . . interrupt a Verdi opera, and prepare to meet fury!  ;D

Ma naturalmente!  8)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 09, 2007, 08:20:10 AM
Yet more madness. I see that BBC2's The Culture Show is to highlight the £100million refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall. Those being interviewed include Ken Livingstone, Vanessa-Mae, John Rankin, Peter Mandelson and Jamie Cullum. The rot has already settled in. No doubt it won't be long now before classical music is marginalised at one of our major concert halls.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Florestan on June 09, 2007, 08:34:00 AM
John Rankin, Peter Mandelson and Jamie Cullum.

Who are those guys?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Mark on June 09, 2007, 10:19:03 AM
Those being interviewed include Ken Livingstone, Vanessa-Mae, John Rankin, Peter Mandelson and Jamie Cullum.

I wish this were a joke ...
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 09, 2007, 01:17:59 PM
Who are those guys?
i've never heard of them either
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 09, 2007, 01:18:34 PM
next thing you know, they'll be interviewing the next big "classical" star, Josh Groban
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: greg on June 09, 2007, 01:20:58 PM
i think there's more hope for classical music in Japan, probably than any other country. They just put up 3 or so Xenakis videos which were performed  in Japan, not to mention they have the Takemitsu competition where young composers' works are performed almost every year at the Tokyo Opera.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 09, 2007, 01:56:19 PM
i think there's more hope for classical music in Japan, probably than any other country. They just put up 3 or so Xenakis videos which were performed  in Japan, not to mention they have the Takemitsu competition where young composers' works are performed almost every year at the Tokyo Opera.

You may well be right. China is also a burgeoning market for classical music.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: jochanaan on June 13, 2007, 08:19:49 AM
You may well be right. China is also a burgeoning market for classical music.
I wouldn't put too much hope in this; China is fascinated with a lot of things Western, especially if they make noise and pollute the environment.  But maybe they'll continue to infuse EuroAmerican classical music with their own traditions; now THAT might produce some great new music!  (It's been done before.  Remember Dvorak's symphony "From The New World"? :) )
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Catison on September 13, 2007, 10:04:06 AM
An interesting article (http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/arts/ny-ettop5350194aug30,0,2746910.story) on the subject

Newsday's critic sizes up classical music's health

BY JUSTIN DAVIDSON | Justin.davidson@newsday.com
    August 30, 2007

One evening in 1995, I sidled up to the stage door at Carnegie Hall, snuck inside and mumbled something about Newsday having sent me to review a piano recital by Alfred Brendel. It was true, but it felt like a preposterous lie. Why would anyone want to print, read or pay for my puny thoughts on Brendel, that Apollonian prince of the piano? The next day, I wrote 500 words brimming with simulated confidence; the day after that, the review appeared in the paper, and two weeks later I received a check.

A dozen years and hundreds of thousands of published words later, I am leaving Newsday, grateful for the paper's constant willingness to allow me to continue my education on its dime: to help a composer turn into a critic, and a critic into a journalist.

One musical topic I didn't tackle along the way is the popular "Everything Was Better Once" story, which I have read elsewhere in many variations, almost all of them written in a tone of elegiac glee. Where Have All the Tenors Gone? Why Is There No New Beethoven? Record Companies Are Dying! Orchestras Are Dying! Audiences for Classical Music Are Graying! They're Shrinking! They're Dying, Too!

Some of this is true: Many audience members are graying, some of them are shrinking a bit and all of them eventually will die. The same could be said of Fantasy Baseball fans and hedge-fund billionaires, but we don't obsessively fret over their demise. I've never been sure why the appetite for apocalyptic stories about classical music seems to be unquenchable. Maybe it's that in populist America, we take pleasure in the thought that democratic culture can expunge an ancient tradition associated with the aristocratic.

Yet the real musical world I have been observing is lively, adaptive and self-renewing. Even in some oppressively prestigious venues, young people on the stage and in the seats collude to keep contemporary music fresh. To give one example, different parts of the establishment are elbowing each other in the ribs to glorify the Argentinean-American composer Osvaldo Golijov, who last year enjoyed a sold-out, 21-gun multiconcert tribute at Lincoln Center, just completed a tour as composer-in-residence at the Mostly Mozart Festival, and is working on an opera for the Met. These are not symptoms of a moribund musical world, but rather, of one that thrives on fresh infusions of talent.

The Met's general manager, Peter Gelb, has thrown some rope-bridges over the chasm between opera and the populace. The Met's season-opener on Sept. 24 will again be simulcast on a giant screen in Times Square. More performances this season will be streamed live to movie theaters around the world, providing audiences far away with an experience that is in some ways more immediate than actually being in the gigantic house.

It's true that once-major record companies have scaled back their activities, but at the same time, smaller outfits keep proliferating. I receive more CDs in the mail every week than I can tear the shrink-wrap off, let alone listen to. And independent-label downloading services offer a perpetually rising ocean of new releases, ranging from the sublime to the merely odd.

It's true that symphony orchestras modernize sluggishly, but they get around to it eventually. Even the notoriously cautious New York Philharmonic looks as though it's planning for a new era with the appointment of the relatively non-elderly Alan Gilbert, 40, as its first American-born music director since Leonard Bernstein. If the Philharmonic's audience starts to ungray again, will we even notice?

One way to judge an economy's vitality is by the number of start-ups, and by that measure, the classical-music world is roaring. Alex Ross, music critic of The New Yorker, monitors the non-death of classical music on his blog, The Rest Is Noise (therestis noise.com). He has pointed out that four decades ago - one of those eras frequently referred to as "Golden" - there were only two regularly active new-music ensembles in New York. Today there are more than 40, ranging from purveyors of classic squeak-fart modernism to avant-garde bar bands. Much of this music is very bad, which is to be expected of any creative explosion.

Long Island could certainly capitalize on this ferment, if it chose. New York City provides a pool of inexpensive inventiveness that local presenters have tended to ignore, on the tacit theory that most Long Islanders care only about the symphonic Top 40 and that the intrepid few will make the trip into Manhattan. Ironically, Long Island's proximity to the megalopolis makes it less adventurous than more remote communities. The 20-year-old ensemble Bang-on-a-Can All-Stars, for example, has toured the world, but regularly skips the Island.

Here's a suggestion: Perhaps IMAC in Huntington could jump-start a little excitement by booking a group from the next generation of fantastically virtuosic Manhattan-based new music bands, Alarm Will Sound.

Classical music isn't dying, but the term itself means less with every passing year - not because it represents an osteoporotic tradition, but because its ever-widening embrace includes musicians who refuse to be bound by notions of appropriateness. There are no accepted standards or styles, which means that the critic lives on shifting sands. How much easier and more rhetorically satisfying it is just to pronounce last rites on the whole thing than to strike out across an unstable landscape and send back a series of un-final reports.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on September 13, 2007, 10:06:02 AM
Great little article, Catison!
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Brewski on September 13, 2007, 12:26:07 PM
Classical music isn't dying, but the term itself means less with every passing year - not because it represents an osteoporotic tradition, but because its ever-widening embrace includes musicians who refuse to be bound by notions of appropriateness. There are no accepted standards or styles, which means that the critic lives on shifting sands. How much easier and more rhetorically satisfying it is just to pronounce last rites on the whole thing than to strike out across an unstable landscape and send back a series of un-final reports.

That is a great article, and this is my favorite part.  I don't think classical music is "dying" in the least.  Aside from his very good point about new groups coming along with slightly different notions of what making music is, or can be, the genre is just morphing into something that's being distributed a little differently.

And I think he is absolutely on the mark when he comments on recordings.  If the large labels are drying up, they are being replaced by smaller ones, which are able to produce an excellent product more inexpensively.  As just one tiny example, take a look at the recordings offered by the Concertgebouw, now producing its own recordings after they were abandoned by Decca.  This is quite a few, considering they've just been doing it since roughly 2003.

http://sales.codaex.com/rco/catalogus_en.php

--Bruce
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: mahlertitan on September 14, 2007, 07:45:21 AM
I wouldn't put too much hope in this; China is fascinated with a lot of things Western, especially if they make noise and pollute the environment.  But maybe they'll continue to infuse EuroAmerican classical music with their own traditions; now THAT might produce some great new music!  (It's been done before.  Remember Dvorak's symphony "From The New World"? :) )

I agree, i doubt that a lot of Chinese will become serious classical music fans... they are more tempted by American culture :'( than anything else.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 17, 2007, 08:09:35 AM
Small postscript. Maybe it's just in the UK, that classical music is being sidelined. Yesterday (September 16th) was the 30th Anniversary of the death of Maria Callas. I belong to a yahoo group called Operashare and over the last couple of days, members have been uploading German and French radio and tv programmes commemorating this event. I have seen nothing on British radio and tv, though there have been celebrations of the lives of Elvis Presley and Marc Bolan, who both also died 30 years ago this year. I am sure that even 10 years ago this would not have been the case.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Sarastro on February 02, 2008, 07:05:33 PM
Doesn't the lack of interest of classical music by the younger generation boil down to the lack of education? I mean education in the schools, starting with the first grade music class? No more music class in the school your children attend? Do something about it! In our school music classes were scheduled to be cancelled for lack of funds, but football and other sports was kept on the curriculum. Even though this is a strictly rural, agricultural area, you should have heard the outrcy by parents at the schoolboard meetings, and music education was back on the schedule.

I completely agree with this statement, the basic musical education is the first step. And then, after gaining experience, a person becomes more fluent in music and engages more and more in it. But there is always one little "but" - all this depends on how our Life would look at the point, if you are to love classical music, you will. If not, then all efforts are futile. At least, I think so.
What I can say about myself, that in childhood my mother forced me to listen to LP's with Tchaikovsky, brought me to the theater ballet (I can remember that dull "Sleeping Beauty", after I said I would never come to theater again), to some operas...but without any results. And she gave up, though sometimes saying what was being played on Radio. And I was listening to ABBA, then to Britney Spears 8), Madonna, The Black Eyed Peas ::) (I find them funny now, too)...and on some lovely day a divine bolt had struck into my mind - it switched. And I am happy I lived in Russia, discovered the Internet for myself and found some friends who sent me CD's with opera from Moscow, Kiyv and even from Siberia. With my low budget and poor Internet access I couldn't buy expensive CD's in stores (no, I bought some, we had an adequate number of CD's being sold. But for my city they cost too much. People can't simply afford them!). But our Philharmonics is the third in importance all over Russian Federation, so conservatory is. The Theater of Opera and Ballet suggested good things, I enjoyed them.
Now here I can download recordings in lossless format from the Internet, some Russian collectors are happy to present rare recordings on websites and share. It is a good opportunity for a listener (and poor students) - to find out what he likes and then purchase it. Or add to a wish-list. Or just leave a copy. Especially with classics, which I barely saw in stores, seems that LA music vendors negotiated that. When I grow up and get a good job, I would start a real collection.


If it wasn't for the internet, i wouldn't be listening to classical music at all. I think it's safe to say classical music is completely absent from the general consciousness and exposure it completely dependent on luck and type of community you've come in contact with during your lifetime.

Marvellous!
Though sometimes communities are good, sometimes they are outrageous. When I was a naive boy knowing nothing about opera and trying to say something, angry old ladies from my first opera forum quoted me and replied with poisonous comments. Even now I cope with them. But as far as I could assure myself, this is widely spread over all forums. :-X Just pass through it!


You probably have a point; many of the younger people I know who are interested in classical music came upon it by accident.  This was true in my case; as a child, I "discovered" classical music by rummaging through my mother's small collection of LPs, where I found records of music by Bach and Mussorgsky that provided endless fascination.  If not for this, I wonder if I would have ended up in the desolate world of simplistic pop.

And I'm sad about the number of willing youngsters, who would probably like classical music, but have no access to it. Sitting in Siberian villages they even cannot download music from the Internet, and stores do not support selling classical music CD's.:(


Just as the language of Shakespeare proves a certain barrier to many students, so does the language of classical music.

Music is international, while the language of Shakespeare is not. Recently I took a play by him in library, remembering how I enjoyed it...in Russian translation by Marshak. I know that translations differ from the origin pretty much, especially in poetry, so wanted to read it on my own. It was tough. From that time I understood I have to improve my English with all my best. Even reading translations to a modern language is not an easy thing. So I have to postpone in and try again later.
I can't say the same about music...opera - may be...sometimes...when a libretto is a masterpiece. But symphonies? Solo concerts? No...there should be a connection between the interpreter and your soul, what doesn't require any verbal means.
But as long as I cannot afford myself enjoying established English literature, I read some of Russian one. And, of course, in school I read all the classics: Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Lermontov, Goncharov, Gorky, Kuprin, Ostrovsky, Turgenev, Chekhov and both Tolstoy's, and some others. I guess I was among those few who honestly read the "War and Peace" ;D but it's really good and some Tolstoy's ideas I took for myself. But it's a long-reading, so the popularity falls. Pity. Here in USA I discovered Bulgakov, though some of his works I had already read in Russia, though didn't appreciate too much.


Tsaraslondon, I know it's quite irrelevant to your original post, but since the discussion went that way...
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: paulb on February 02, 2008, 08:05:39 PM
My background is worshipper of great rock guitarists. Only the best would do. For some reason i missed out on YES. Though my friend kept telling me of the greatness of the band, somehow I missed YES for the most part. Now i like the group.
There may others here that came froma   R&R background.
I always had a  great love for great music. had to be good, nothing too commercial, pop.
I was destined to reach these favorite composers, it was only a  matter of time
I was led astray quite often, but eventually fought my way through the thickets and swamps of the mountainous names in classical to have my dreams come true.
Anyone can do it too, provided there is a  sense of long range committment.
There will be disappointments along the way. Suffering as we know is a  part of life, but the eventual  rewards are well worth the struggles and sufferings.
I beseech the  CM Newbies, hang in there, one day you too will enter the promise land.
 :)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: max on February 03, 2008, 12:44:57 AM
Well! if classical music is dead at least it supplied itself with enough requiems...and THAT'S CLASS!!
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Ten thumbs on February 06, 2008, 01:23:38 PM
Small postscript. Maybe it's just in the UK, that classical music is being sidelined. Yesterday (September 16th) was the 30th Anniversary of the death of Maria Callas. I belong to a yahoo group called Operashare and over the last couple of days, members have been uploading German and French radio and tv programmes commemorating this event. I have seen nothing on British radio and tv, though there have been celebrations of the lives of Elvis Presley and Marc Bolan, who both also died 30 years ago this year. I am sure that even 10 years ago this would not have been the case.
I must say I agree with this. Even the Proms organizers don't seem to have a clue who has an important anniversary in any given year.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: marvinbrown on February 08, 2008, 07:12:03 AM
Small postscript. Maybe it's just in the UK, that classical music is being sidelined. Yesterday (September 16th) was the 30th Anniversary of the death of Maria Callas. I belong to a yahoo group called Operashare and over the last couple of days, members have been uploading German and French radio and tv programmes commemorating this event. I have seen nothing on British radio and tv, though there have been celebrations of the lives of Elvis Presley and Marc Bolan, who both also died 30 years ago this year. I am sure that even 10 years ago this would not have been the case.

  I don't know how to respond to your post Tsaraslondon only to say that as a fellow Englishman and opera fan I am ashamed to read that our media have paid no tribute to Ms. Callas....shamefull! 

 I am also amazed at how poorly we are educating our youth here in the UK when it comes to Classical music. I have met youngsters 16-20 year olds who have never heard of J.S. Bach believe it or not, yes we are certainly not educating our youth well enough that's for sure.

  marvin
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 08, 2008, 07:43:23 AM
Music is international, while the language of Shakespeare is not. Recently I took a play by him in library, remembering how I enjoyed it...in Russian translation by Marshak. I know that translations differ from the origin pretty much, especially in poetry, so wanted to read it on my own. It was tough. From that time I understood I have to improve my English with all my best. Even reading translations to a modern language is not an easy thing. So I have to postpone in and try again later.

Shakespeare's language is modern English (vs. the old English of Beowulf or the middle English of Chaucer), but it is modern English from some 400 years ago. While much of Shakespeare is simple and straightforward, his vocabulary, syntax, and metaphors can be among the most complex of any English author. You can see the differences in these two snippets from Macbeth:

MACBETH. How now? what news?
LADY MACBETH He has almost supp'd: why have you left the chamber?
MACBETH Hath he ask'd for me?
LADY MACBETH Know you not he has?
MACBETH We will proceed no further in this business.


MACBETH Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.


Shakespeare's inimitable language, offers the greatest rewards for those who stay with it, but it unquestionably presents difficulties even for native speakers and readers. It helps considerably to see the plays staged.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: drogulus on February 09, 2008, 09:10:25 AM
      Is classical music an assault on values or an upholder of values? It's both, but from outside it looks like an assault. The elite will always be critical of mainstream culture, but it must find a way to do this from within what it criticizes or suffer tissue rejection. Conceiving of the question of communication with an audience as a question of rights is a terrible mistake. Do we really need to reiterate what composers have a right to do?



Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: paulb on February 09, 2008, 10:23:18 AM
      Is classical music an assault on values or an upholder of values? It's both, but from outside it looks like an assault. The elite will always be critical of mainstream culture, but it must find a way to do this from within what it criticizes or suffer tissue rejection. Conceiving of the question of communication with an audience as a question of rights is a terrible mistake. Do we really need to reiterate what composers have a right to do?





Drog, could you please come down to a  lower level, where i am at and translate for me?
 many Thanks :)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Demonic Clarinet on February 10, 2008, 12:31:55 AM
I'm not sure education really has much to do with it. Even those well-educated in classical-type music, who HAVE heard it, generally aren't interested.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: paulb on February 10, 2008, 09:22:45 AM
I'm not sure education really has much to do with it. Even those well-educated in classical-type music, who HAVE heard it, generally aren't interested.

 :o  :-X

I kinda know what you are talking about. just from yrs of observation of the musical elite academia attitudes and opinions.
Nothing more than a  hunch, a intuition, but here you  along you come as  a part of The Establishment and blows the whistle
:)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: B_cereus on February 12, 2008, 07:08:04 AM
I wouldn't put too much hope in this; China is fascinated with a lot of things Western, especially if they make noise and pollute the environment.  But maybe they'll continue to infuse EuroAmerican classical music with their own traditions; now THAT might produce some great new music!  (It's been done before.  Remember Dvorak's symphony "From The New World"? :) )

I agree with Tsaraslondon. I think there is no doubt that China is seen by the classical music industry as the great untapped market.

It is true that fascination with the West is part of it - but the same was true of Japan in the early 20th century and again in its reincarnation following the second world war. Also, China had a thriving classical music scene before the Communist revolution (the pianist Fou Tsong is a link to that past), and this is now reviving in post-Mao China after decades of repression of what was deemed decadent bourgeois Western culture.

I think that in general, classical music is thriving in the Far East - Japan/China/Korea. Japan is well established, and China is an increasngly important host country for touring classical artists. Also it is striking how many competition finalists. and indeed winners, these days are from those countries.  I am also guessing that tapping the China market is part of the reason for DG's investment in Lang Lang, for example.

:)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: jochanaan on February 12, 2008, 04:52:28 PM
Drog, could you please come down to a  lower level, where i am at and translate for me?
 many Thanks :)
I'm not drogulus, but I understand what he's talking about.  The great composers have often embraced musical styles that differed greatly from what was commonly accepted.  Beethoven is the prototype here; he seldom felt limited by "what's been done" and insisted on following his own muse even to his own cost.  Fortunately, some of his royal and noble friends were enlightened enough to recognize his genius even when they couldn't understand it.

Dmitri Shostakovich exemplified another way.  When the Stalinist Communist authorities of Soviet Russia clamped down on Soviet musical styles, Shostakovich complied outwardly, yet became a "two-faced" composer.  The music written for public consumption was brash yet musically conservative; but he also wrote a lot of music for himself and a few select friends, and these pieces were much darker and more radical than his "public" music.  Still, even in his "public" music there were often subversive elements that mostly slipped right under the authorities' noses. ;)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: paulb on February 13, 2008, 07:45:37 AM
I'm not drogulus, but I understand what he's talking about.  The great composers have often embraced musical styles that differed greatly from what was commonly accepted.  Beethoven is the prototype here; he seldom felt limited by "what's been done" and insisted on following his own muse even to his own cost.  Fortunately, some of his royal and noble friends were enlightened enough to recognize his genius even when they couldn't understand it.

Dmitri Shostakovich exemplified another way.  When the Stalinist Communist authorities of Soviet Russia clamped down on Soviet musical styles, Shostakovich complied outwardly, yet became a "two-faced" composer.  The music written for public consumption was brash yet musically conservative; but he also wrote a lot of music for himself and a few select friends, and these pieces were much darker and more radical than his "public" music.  Still, even in his "public" music there were often subversive elements that mostly slipped right under the authorities' noses. ;)

Thanks Jochanaan for this enlightening commentary. Amazing how courageous Shostakovich was in the face of a  brutal dictator, and his henchmen who infiltrated the dept of the arts, the censorship.

Not sure why it is so , but seems the more a  composer suffered, the more I tend to like his music. True most often for me.
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Ephemerid on February 13, 2008, 08:00:07 AM
Thanks Jochanaan for this enlightening commentary. Amazing how courageous Shostakovich was in the face of a  brutal dictator, and his henchmen who infiltrated the dept of the arts, the censorship.

Not sure why it is so , but seems the more a  composer suffered, the more I tend to like his music. True most often for me.

Paul, if you haven't already read it, I think you might enjoy Ian McDonald's biography, The New Shostakovich

Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Ephemerid on February 13, 2008, 08:03:39 AM
To add: Just did a quick google on McDonald-- I knew he died quite young, but I didn't know he committed suicide! --or perhaps I had forgotten-- my brain feels like mush today (insomnia)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: jochanaan on February 14, 2008, 07:52:13 AM
Paul, if you haven't already read it, I think you might enjoy Ian McDonald's biography, The New Shostakovich
What is "New" about Mr. McDonald's understanding of Shostakovich?
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: marvinbrown on February 15, 2008, 05:15:11 AM

Not sure why it is so , but seems the more a  composer suffered, the more I tend to like his music. True most often for me.

  Let's see Wagner (financial turmoil, constantly on the run from the law, failed romance), Chopin (dead in his 30s, failed romance, financial troubles), Mozart (dead in his 30s, financial troubles), Schubert (dead in his 30s) Beethoven (deafness, failed romance, family trouble) I think you might be on to something here with the more the suffering the more I tend to like a composer!

  marvin
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: Ephemerid on February 15, 2008, 06:28:00 PM
What is "New" about Mr. McDonald's understanding of Shostakovich?

Well, not so new now, but it uses Volkov's controversial Testimony as a springboard.  The analyses of pieces are a bit overly literal, looking for hidden codes, etc. but there's some interesting biographical information & background about intellectual life in the Soviet Union.  To be taken with several grains of salt.  --Though DSCH's son has supported the basic gist of Volkov's Testimony, I don't guess we'll ever know what he really thought.  Not a loyalist or a dissident, but somewhere in between is what I'm thinking...

Karl has suggested Fay's bio instead, which I have not yet read, though I know its gotten a lot of critical praise...

Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: drogulus on February 17, 2008, 09:48:11 AM
Drog, could you please come down to a  lower level, where i am at and translate for me?
 many Thanks :)

    Composers are trying to establish themselves in the art of music. You make a name by doing something new and by pleasing some audience. These may conflict, especially if you have the idea that they're supposed to. Even if you don't have that idea, doing something new is risky. Audiences don't always want to hear a new work even if it isn't radical. They like their favorites.

   
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: jochanaan on February 18, 2008, 02:28:32 PM
...They like their favorites.
Every favorite was once new. :)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: drogulus on February 19, 2008, 07:13:22 AM
I'm not drogulus, but I understand what he's talking about. 

    I wish you'd explain it to me.

Every favorite was once new. :)

    All favorites were born old.  :D
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: jochanaan on February 20, 2008, 05:26:21 PM
    I wish you'd explain it to me.
On second thought, maybe I was just reading my own values into what you actually said...
    All favorites were born old.  :D
A popular misconception. ;)
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: karlhenning on February 21, 2008, 06:17:59 AM
Good morning, jochanaan!
Title: Re: The death of classical music
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 21, 2008, 06:30:27 AM
Joch:    Every favorite was once new.
Drog:    All favorites were born old.  :D

Yes and no to both statements. As TS Eliot said in "Tradition and the Individual Talent":
 
“What happens when a new work of art is created is something that happens simultaneously to all the works of art that preceded it.”