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(Polyphonic)   Millennials demand their classical music include more relevance, more movie and video game works. "Why hold on to categories that require that the music of John Williams simply not matter because nobody taught film music at Harvard in the '80s?"   (polyphonic.org ) divider line
    More: Obvious, Harvard, classical music, Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, Philip Glass, Pussy Riot, social change, The New Yorker  
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1422 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 28 Apr 2014 at 7:20 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-28 05:14:54 PM  

Silly_Sot: whistleridge: Solid point.

Especially since most of the orchestral music written after about 1920 tends to be an incoherent musical goo, the aural equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting. I'm not saying it's bad, because it isn't, just that you're faaaar more likely to keep your players fed and the lights on by playing music that more people want to hear, rather than less. There's a reason classical radio stations go to the 'big hits you know 24/7' format when fund drive season rolls around, and it isn't because the masses secretly yearn for more of Liszt's later works.

The issue regarding symphonic music is a result of the academic takeover of "legitimate" music. Once it became the purely incestuous operation it became in the 20th century, the world could only expect monstrosities.


Silly me. I thought that music reflected the times. Let's see. Post 1920. WW1. WW2. The holocaust. The horrors of Communism. Crushing conformity. Double think by media and politicians. Environmental degradation.  The collapse of Reason. Sure. Why shouldn't 20th century music reflect the orderliness of the 18th century or 19th century optimism?
 
2014-04-28 05:39:21 PM  

likefunbutnot: whistleridge: I'll make you a bet. I bet you can't walk out on the street and hum a few bars from ANY of these very worthy composers, and have a single person be able to even guess the name.

Really?

Barber's Adagio for Strings
Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man or the Hoedown from Billy the Kid, or certain parts of Appalachian Spring.
Vaughn Williams' Fantasia on Greensleeves or Tallis Fantasia (or most of the hymnal if you're an Anglican)
Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue
ANYTHING from West Side Story


Also- Peter and the Wolf
Zarathustra (aka 2001 A Space Odyssey)

BTW, Hoedown is from "Rodeo". ;)
 
2014-04-28 07:23:27 PM  
I remember attending the music school at the University of Washington in Seattle back in the early 1990s...the snobbery there was completely unbelievable and I was taken aback by the attitudes towards "modern and popular" music.  I mean, these were the days before the internet boom, but these guys would have been right at home on any modern message forum where snobs congregate, and they made Fark hipsters look like sell-outs.

In composition class, we brought in our own works to play.  I brought in something I had written that I liked a lot, and part of the feedback afterwards was, "It sounds like something John WIlliams might have written."  This was not said as a compliment, it was said with disdain.  I threw my hands up and said, "So, what are you saying?  If it sounds good and pleasing to your ears, then it isn't any good because it's not farking weird and dissonant enough?"  Because the student pieces that got wide compliments were the types of things you couldn't listen to out loud in public for fear of being beaten up.

Can't say I see any of these guys tearing up the music scene today.
 
2014-04-28 07:40:50 PM  

Silly_Sot: The issue regarding symphonic music is a result of the academic takeover of "legitimate" music. Once it became the purely incestuous operation it became in the 20th century, the world could only expect monstrosities.


I'm not sure that "academic" is quite the right word, but yes, there's been a trend, in the US at least since WWII, towards the museumization of Western concert music.  The public isn't asked to treat it as a vibrant, expressive medium, but rather as an old and venerated thing, encased in amber, which we are expected to appreciate but enjoyment is optional.

And now the same thing is happening to jazz music.
 
2014-04-28 07:42:50 PM  

Glitchwerks: even though U.S. musicians Jeff Mills and Carl Craig revolutionized modern electronic music


Oh jeez.... please just shut up, will you.
 
2014-04-28 07:56:15 PM  

Ishkur: Oh jeez.... please just shut up, will you.


Oh, go fark yourself.
 
2014-04-28 10:33:43 PM  

Musikslayer: BTW, Hoedown is from "Rodeo". ;)


... Find me a Copland recording that has one of those that doesn't have the other or concede very mild pedantry. :P

As an alternative challenge, find somebody else in this thread without substantial post-secondary music education who can hum a few bars of "In C" 'cause I think I can do that, too.

karmachameleon: If it sounds good and pleasing to your ears, then it isn't any good because it's not farking weird and dissonant enough?" Because the student pieces that got wide compliments were the types of things you couldn't listen to out loud in public for fear of being beaten up.


You're talking about the distinction between work with mass appeal and music that's written to be a challenge to some part of the musical establishment. As in any sort of academic setting, you're ultimately going to have to do what your professors and advisers in order to advance in your studies or else you'll need to find another place to study.

In "serious art" terms, the scale probably runs from someone like Thomas Kinkaid or Christian Lassen on one side to a Pollack or Argento on other other; in "serious music", John Williams is probably the standard bearer for derivative and uninspired music (I'm not saying it's not enjoyable but he's standing on the heads of giants) and your Cage or Xenakis at the far end.

Man, you don't go to art school to learn to paint folksy landscapes or whale pictures and you don't study classical composition because you want to recapitulate Holst and Dvorak. Even if that's ultimately what you end up DOING in your working life, part of the process is learning the current state of art, and making art that challenges artists is essential to the dynamic state in which all art seems to exist. If you're not willing to participate in that conversation, that's fine, but don't floccinaucinihilipilificate just because you didn't like the process.

/Yes, that's a word
//Yes, I had to look up the spelling
 
2014-04-28 10:37:03 PM  

poot_rootbeer: Silly_Sot: The issue regarding symphonic music is a result of the academic takeover of "legitimate" music. Once it became the purely incestuous operation it became in the 20th century, the world could only expect monstrosities.

I'm not sure that "academic" is quite the right word, but yes, there's been a trend, in the US at least since WWII, towards the museumization of Western concert music.  The public isn't asked to treat it as a vibrant, expressive medium, but rather as an old and venerated thing, encased in amber, which we are expected to appreciate but enjoyment is optional.

And now the same thing is happening to jazz music.


Happens to every medium. Look at all the books and movies you're supposed to read 'because everyone should', that are just a slow, soul crushing, slog. If you enjoy Crime and Punishment, great for you. But most people find it slightly more terrifying than ripping off their own genitals with their teeth.
 
2014-04-28 11:28:06 PM  
kroonermanblack:  If you enjoy Crime and Punishment, great for you. But most people find it slightly more terrifying than ripping off their own genitals with their teeth.

Crime and Punishment is relatively short and speaks to the kinds of themes that make a lot of sense for a person on the cusp of adulthood, which is why someone made you read it in 10th grade or whatever. As far as slogs go, at least it's a merciful one.

No one with a public, secondary school education-level in the arts is ever going to get exposed to 20th century art music outside of the occasional film score or commercial jingle. It's not really the same thing, but even putting that aside, anybody with an interest in imparting their passion for Russian Literature or Art music is going to see that passion annihilated by the daily compromises of the actual educational process. Which is why Crime and Punishment and Shostakovitch's 13th Symphony are both slogs even for a willing audience and in spite of the profound nature of their content.
 
2014-04-28 11:33:52 PM  

Rent Party: Nuclear Monk: I would see a live performance of this film's scores in a heartbeat.  [www.philippalmer.net image 300x323]

Indeed!

And also, this one...

[upload.wikimedia.org image 300x297]


upload.wikimedia.org

Putting in my two cents.
 
2014-04-28 11:45:38 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Arkanaut: There's been a lot of good music written for modern media formats -- movies, TV, video games etc. -- why not expand on that? Why not incorporate more electronic instruments, utilize some new sounds? Part of classical music's appeal is the tradition, but at some point you've got to try something new.

Apologies for Malmsteen wankery (but I actually like this. Used to own the whole concerto suite on CD, until I left it in my ex's car).

// and no, you're not likely to hear this on your local classical station
// like most niche music, it's out there if you look


That was pretty cool. It's pretty startling though -- one electric guitar plus amps is almost enough to drown out the entire orchestra plus chorus. Maybe that's just the recording... wonder how that sounds live.
 
2014-04-29 01:52:51 AM  
The reason any art is important is by nature because its popular. If people, many people, do not read it, hear it, watch it, Ect. it will disappear and no longer be relevant to society. If anything the online nature of the millennial's world experience gives more exposure, and for a more sustained period of time to anything digitized (including all forms of music). The future is bright for all music because it has more of a chance then ever to be discovered and shared by people.
 
2014-04-29 02:46:09 AM  

secularsage: The St. Louis Symphony where I live frequently does shows with popular singers or with musicians such as Ben Folds. They also play shows with movie music or classical music made popular by Looney Toons. And they also play 20th century classical shows or classical hits shows.


I went to see the music of John Williams at Powell Hall a few years back and it was amazing.
 
2014-04-29 02:57:46 AM  

thornhill: The mission of orchestras is to perform repertoire pieces and contemporary ones written in the western tradition.


The dull little voice of someone who has not been to a live performance of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra playing Split Enz.

I would have thought the mission of orchestras is to perform nice music that people will enjoy, just like any other musician.

I went to the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular this year and hugely enjoyed it.  If I could I would absolutely go to a Globus, 2Cellos, Ramin Djawadi, or Corner Stone Cues concert.

But I don't really need to pay a premium to hear the same Handel tune or four days of Beethoven symphonies for the 100th time.  It's not like they've changed recently and they don't exactly spice them up.  If orchestras want to stay in business they are going to need to unclench their anuses a bit.

/Going to miss "I Am The Doctor" so much
//Even the Disney-like twinkly bits
 
2014-04-29 07:16:46 AM  

likefunbutnot: Man, you don't go to art school to learn to paint folksy landscapes or whale pictures and you don't study classical composition because you want to recapitulate Holst and Dvorak.


That's a fair point, to an extent, but there is a lot of room between accessible and exotic, and there is also something to be said for building on long-established foundations.  These same people looking down on John Williams also looked down on Beethoven and Mozart - how reasonable is that?  To me it indicates a serious lack of perspective and appreciation, and an overall failure to see the big picture.  They're exactly the people this article is talking about.

The experience at the UW wasn't "worthless" (nice use of a $10 word where a $1 word would have sufficed), but it was a bit disenchanting to see and hear.
 
2014-04-29 10:45:00 AM  

JoshTheTech: The future is bright for all music because it has more of a chance then ever to be discovered and shared by people.


Maybe not so much for large-scale orchestral works -- it's not very cost-effective to pay union wages to 100 conservatory musicians (unless it's for the soundtrack to a guaranteed hit movie).

Most of the interesting "classical" works of the past few decades have been for various "chamber" ensembles -- just because you're more likely to get a new composition performed if it can be played by 10 musicians for fewer.
 
2014-04-29 01:23:19 PM  

Rent Party: pute kisses like a man:

when the symphony concluded, there was a real standing ovation.  not that polite one that the old people do, but actually getting up and yelling, whistling, hollering, everything.  it was like a rock concert.

in 20 years of going to symphonies, i had never seen this kind of a crowd or a response.  so, maybe orchestras are getting more attention.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXDL6_3gFu0

Pay very close attention to what Chris Thile has to say about his experiences at the symphony.

I think you will find it enlightening, and agreeable.


yeah, there's that.  people are just under exposed.  they think it's pretentious are unattainable.  or so special.  now, the talent is, but the audience doesn't need to be.

i've liked when the conductor offers a pre-show little lecture or something.  as a society, we are not raised around enough music.  many things pass our eyes that we don't recognize.  100 years ago, people would know music better.  you sang in church. you sang for fun (because life was boring).  you learned an instrument.  etc.  audiences were more suited to listen.

now, our music is like microwavable frozen food because that's all we know how to cook/eat.
 
2014-04-29 05:46:04 PM  

felching pen: Arkanaut: whistleridge: Solid point.

Especially since most of the orchestral music written after about 1920 tends to be an incoherent musical goo, the aural equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting. I'm not saying it's bad, because it isn't, just that you're faaaar more likely to keep your players fed and the lights on by playing music that more people want to hear, rather than less. There's a reason classical radio stations go to the 'big hits you know 24/7' format when fund drive season rolls around, and it isn't because the masses secretly yearn for more of Liszt's later works.

To quote Peter Schickele: "if it sounds good, it IS good." And if it doesn't sound good... what's the point?

There's been a lot of good music written for modern media formats -- movies, TV, video games etc. -- why not expand on that? Why not incorporate more electronic instruments, utilize some new sounds? Part of classical music's appeal is the tradition, but at some point you've got to try something new.

PDQBach is good and funny, Schickele's serious music is good and serious. He is a national treasure.
And now I have to find that spice operetta (s. 1/2tsp.) and the Beethoven's 5th sportscast.


PDQ Bach, thats a name I have n't heard in ages. My dad fancied himself a classical music man and got into him.

To YouTube! For nostalgia!
 
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