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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?"   ( 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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1445 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 28 Apr 2014 at 7:20 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2014-04-28 06:51:42 AM  
4 votes:
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.
2014-04-28 12:58:02 PM  
2 votes:
I would see a live performance of this film's scores in a heartbeat. 
philippalmer.netView Full Size
2014-04-28 11:51:33 AM  
2 votes:

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.

There's a ton that isn't, and has slipped through the cracks. American composers like Diamond, Hanson, Schuman (no relation to Schumann), Piston, etc. It's a shame, as there is an entire school of music out there that has been neglected. Tonal, accessible, well-written music.

PanicMan: If anything it's not the musicians fault. Like any organization it's still the older people with the money making all the decisions. And those people don't like video game music.

It's more complex than that. (Disclaimer: I'm a pro symphony musician). It's expensive to rent the music, for starters. It also could entail a larger instrumentation, or a more unusual one. Add to that video, production costs (mics, mixing), fancier lighting= it's very expensive. The bigger orchestras with large endowments can pull it off, but most orchestras can't afford a loss if the concert doesn't sell enough seats. Doing Beethoven 5 over and over is relatively cheap: the orchestra owns the music, it's not a large instrumentation, no mics, less practice time, etc.

Musicians don't pick the tunes, that's for sure. I really have no interest in playing Bolero or 1812 Overture again, nobody does. Some boards (they don't really pick the tunes either, the Music Director does) are old-school and behind the times. A few others aren't, they just haven't figured out the $ to expand and do more diverse programming. I do a lot of arrangements, and having 3 flutes vs. 2 is an issue, that's how tight budgets are. It's down to the wire, every cent is counted. A lot of my friends say stuff like "You guys should  Metallica". That's insanely expensive, it's a money-losing scenario.

secularsage: and it's insulting to those musicians to ask themselves to dumb down what they do for the sake of popularity.

Speaking as one of them: we wanna pay the rent, too. I'll play "Pop Goes the Weasel" if it comes with a nice check, we all will. I think now more than ever, since the biz is changing so rapidly, classical musicians are far more open to "entertainment". I've down the "Twilight' music, all sorts of summer pops, anything and everything. Again, it all comes down to money: adding electronic instruments means amps, more crew, mixing boards, etc. More than that, it adds people who are entirely unfamiliar with playing in an orchestra. It's a different scene than playing with a 5-piece band, it's a different type of ensemble playing.

Since I'm ranting, here's what's wrong with orchestras: We're aloof. Go see Trans-Siberian Orch., and after the show they are in the lobby signing programs, your kid's cast, making jokes, and you go home saying "Hey, that drummer is a nice guy". We have none of that, we're in the car before you are since the stage door is closer to the parking lot. We don't have much community outreach, we're not approachable, we don't come off as "someone you'd like to have a beer with". That's a shame because we aren't like that as humans, I'm on Fark for fark's sake. :) But people see us in tuxedos and think we'll be reading Chaucer at the Country Club after the show, while sipping Cognac. I'm actually driving my beat-up Buick home cranking the classic rock station, and watching sitcoms. We need to ditch the penguin suits and start saying "howdy" to people at shows, as it makes a huge difference.
2014-04-28 09:42:31 AM  
2 votes:
= Two Steps From Hell.
2014-04-29 01:52:51 AM  
1 vote:
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.
2014-04-28 11:33:52 PM  
1 vote:

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


And also, this one...

[ image 300x297]

upload.wikimedia.orgView Full Size

Putting in my two cents.
2014-04-28 03:30:13 PM  
1 vote:

pute kisses like a man: thornhill: whistleridge: thornhill: whistleridge: Especially since most of the orchestral music written after about 1920 tends to be an incoherent musical goo,

Congratulations. You've proved that you know nothing.

Post 1920s composers that are hardly "incoherent":

Adams (both of them)
Vaughan Williams

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.

Another bet: I'll bet you could list those names on a piece of paper, and ask people what they all have in common, and most people couldn't even guess.

So what? I bet 99% of the public wouldn't know a Renoir painting even if they were looking at one. Does that mean museums need to dump all of their holdings and replace them with pop art?

I don't know.  I saw shostakovich's 7th recently. the tickets for the mezzanine were very cheap, so it included a very diverse crowd.  younger and more diverse than i had every seen at a symphony.

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.

/ or, it was the first time for me to go to the symphony in new orleans, and maybe people in new orleans just like music a whole helluva lot more than anywhere else in the country. probably likely. most people i meet who are from here are very familiar with good music (as opposed to current pop music), even if they're not musicians.

I'd argue that the generational difference is that millennialis will go to classical concerts, but they're not going to buy an 8 concert subscription half a year ahead of time. They'll go to maybe two concerts, and they'll buy their tickets last minute.

This isn't quite the existential problem people make it out to be -- it's more of a cash flow issue.
2014-04-28 01:44:47 PM  
1 vote:

thornhill: Post 1920s composers that are hardly "incoherent":

Copland, Arnold, Milhoud, Hovhaness, Glass, Riley, Part, Tavener, Theofanidis...
2014-04-28 11:25:58 AM  
1 vote:
Uh no.

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

What the author is calling for is a wholesale change in that mission. It would be like saying millennials don't like oil paintings, so museums should liquidate their holdings and replace them exclusively with Warhol works.

At issue, is the belief that if an art form does not have mass appeal, it's doing something wrong. Classical music is a niche art form. Composers purposely write in a style that isn't always easy to digest. Get over it.
2014-04-28 11:15:00 AM  
1 vote:
That classical music has to compete with populist and commercial musical genres is no great surprise. Classical music only really had broad appeal for about 20-30 years, from the advent of radio until the blues and jazz developed into rock and roll, the birth of pop music. Prior to that time it was a niche market for the idle rich. The middle class and the working poor had little exposure to it. The idea that it is "good" musical art only arises from its association with Europe's ruling elite.

Using classical music to set the mood and tell stories in performance art has been in practice since the time that classical music was just called music. Those works are operas. It is entirely acceptable to allow for the medium of performance art to change from live plays to motion pictures and video games, which are many times just interactive stories.

I am very much in favor of orchestras performing music from movies and video games. To unite 30 or more great talents to perform on one stage is a great feat. To witness it, a great privilege. It doesn't matter if the piece is something wrung out by a syphilis-addled savant 300 years ago for a dozy patron or something produced to inspire awe in a fictional electronic world.
2014-04-28 10:13:58 AM  
1 vote:

Dafuq: Plenty of older classical pieces were written to go along with plays. That was the entertainment of the day. Why wouldn't the best newer orchestral stuff be from video games and movies. Many of our best composers today are writing music for these mediums.

Yep, and if you were ignorant of the source, plenty of modern video game, television, and movie songs could be mistaken for traditional classical music you've never heard before. Gusty Garden Galaxy, Dance of Curse, and Duel of Fates all spring to mind as examples of music that spring to my mind as classical music before I even think of the associated media it's from.

It's not like this is a new phenomenon for film either: Mancini's "The Pink Panther Theme" has been a standard for classical quartets for decades.
2014-04-28 09:52:54 AM  
1 vote:

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
2014-04-28 09:41:03 AM  
1 vote:
The author's making quite the straw man argument there. The New York Philharmonic might not play Phillip Glass or modern movie and video game music, but most major symphonies have done a lot to broaden their appeal if they want to remain in business. 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.

But the Symphony's core supporters are the older people who enjoy classical music, so they have to play some of the stodgier stuff, too. Often, they achieve this by mixing the popular with the less popular.

If Millennials don't listen to classical music, it's not because orchestras don't reach out to them. It's because the rich complexity of classical music performed by a large orchestra goes far beyond what a rock band or a contemporary composer tends to produce, and it's insulting to those musicians to ask themselves to dumb down what they do for the sake of popularity. Art forms die out because they stop being relevant to a culture (look at opera, which gave way to the modern musical, or conventional poetry, which is largely ignored by most people), not because they failed to change their ways, but because they've run their course.
2014-04-28 09:24:40 AM  
1 vote:
Plenty of older classical pieces were written to go along with plays. That was the entertainment of the day. Why wouldn't the best newer orchestral stuff be from video games and movies. Many of our best composers today are writing music for these mediums.
2014-04-28 09:22:25 AM  
1 vote:

Our (USA) Chopin

Our (USA) Debussy

Our (USA) Schubert

And it's still too high brow for Americans.
2014-04-28 07:58:53 AM  
1 vote:
What does it say about the writer that he is, in one paragraph denouncing the Orchestra for "chasing the money", while pointing out throughout the article that the Orchestra needs to appeal to millenials whence comes the money (still chasing)?

I disagree that orchestral music/orchestras need to be trusted in order to provide good music.  Patronage has always been part of their history.  When the patron gives wide latitude, then ignore the politics and bring as much symphonic, orchestral music to as many people as possible.  Doctors w/o Borders is essential apolitical but we don't criticize them.  Let these musical educators and mind-changers do their thing.  One can find truth in music that may conflict with one's own beliefs.  Let it.  It doesn't have to publicly espouse/denounce the latest political issue.  That's not what it's for.

/end soapbox
2014-04-28 07:51:19 AM  
1 vote:
If it includes the Dovakiin song (main theme of Skyrim) then I am with them.

If you ever need a boost of confidence, play that song.
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