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The Rambler :: blog

Thursday, November 13, 2003

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Apologies for the lack of posting around here at the moment, but I've spent so much of this week busily avoiding Work that now I'm deluged by the stuff. Still, to keep you happy, have a read of Greg Sandow over at ArtsJournal.com (he's stablemates with Kyle Gann, whose blog PostClassic has just made it to my sidebar), particularly here and here. There's some discussion going on in certain academic channels that has been sparked by this recent article by John Rockwell in the New York Times that classical music is dying, with all the usual comments about commerciality, populism, attention spans etc. being bandied around as excuses.

Pah! I say. Pah! It seems strange to me that it tends to be the academic/'serious' end of the listening spectrum (of which, professionally, I am a member) who get most concerned that classical music might be losing its relevance or importance to people. Speaking for myself, contemporary music in all its forms remains an essential and irreplaceable aspect of life itself. And surely anyone who has dedicated their career to its study must feel the same? Yet these are the very people finding excuses for its apparent demise. If 'classical' music has become less relevant to people, I would humbly suggest that the responsibility for this does not lie with the music creators, as is lazily assumed, but with music's educators, researchers and advocates. Which is why I like Sandow's recent posts - he's not buying into the whole notion that this is an irrelevant, dead artform that no-one cares about because it's too highbrow. Two remarks in the posts linked above are especially telling: 'Mainstream classical music, in fact, doesn't even seem like high art to younger people; it can all too often seem middlebrow and sentimental.' and '"the often overwhelmingly adolescent world of popular music" - serious people just have to stop talking like that. As anyone who knows anything about popular music will tell you, there's a lot of serious work that may well have even more trouble getting on the radio than classical music does. Think about it. Classical radio stations still exist. But how many stations - apart from college radio - play the kind of pop music that doesn't get on any pop charts?'

Anyway, that turned into a much longer post than I intended. Something to think about. Time for some lunch.


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