Author Topic: The death of classical music  (Read 39926 times)

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Steve

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #60 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.

Don Giovanni

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #61 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".

Offline Florestan

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #62 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?

« Last Edit: June 02, 2007, 09:13:10 AM by Florestan »
“I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts.”  --- Rachmaninoff

Don Giovanni

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #63 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).

mahlertitan

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #64 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.

Offline Novi

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #65 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).   
Durch alle Töne tönet
Im bunten Erdentraum
Ein leiser Ton gezogen
Für den der heimlich lauschet.

Offline jochanaan

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #66 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.)
Imagination + discipline = creativity

Offline PSmith08

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #67 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.

greg

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #68 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.

Offline Florestan

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #69 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.
“I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts.”  --- Rachmaninoff

greg

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #70 on: June 02, 2007, 12:21:42 PM »
Quote
cognoscenti
now that's a strange word  :o

Offline Florestan

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #71 on: June 02, 2007, 12:24:27 PM »
now that's a strange word  :o

Replace it with connoiseurs. :)
“I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts.”  --- Rachmaninoff

Steve

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #72 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.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2007, 12:35:28 PM by Steve »

Scriptavolant

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #73 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.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2007, 12:35:43 PM by Doctor_Gradus »

Offline Florestan

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #74 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.  :(
“I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts.”  --- Rachmaninoff

greg

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #75 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

gomro

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #76 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!"

Offline 12tone.

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #77 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.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #78 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?
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Steve

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Re: The death of classical music
« Reply #79 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.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2007, 02:07:59 PM by Steve »