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Comments made by epsteinsternator

Let's Talk: Why Do We Hate Modern Classical Music?

Incidentally, one thing that I think is important to note is that Ross is NOT suggesting we should perform new music *INSTEAD* of pieces audiences find accessible; he's suggesting we should perform it *in addition to* pieces we're already accustomed to, and that so doing will (1) reflect well on the new stuff and (2) help us hear the old stuff with fresh ears. I agree with him on both points, and find it consistent with my own experience (I have seen rooms full of 18-year-olds respond with glee to a back-to-back performance of Ligeti's Trio and the Brahms trio to which it refers; but I understand that anecdote is not evidence). In any event, Ross certainly doesn't need my defense, but I do object to what seems like a very reductive treatment of what he's saying.

(When James Joyce heard Antheil's *Ballet Mecanique* for the first time he said it sounded "like Mozart." Not an assessment I share myself...but the sort of thing Ross seems to be talking about.)

December 3, 2010 at 1:36 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Let's Talk: Why Do We Hate Modern Classical Music?

Yes, there certainly are; Ross names another (Britten) in that essay, whose music is tonal, melodic, and very accessible. His frustration is with the guy assuming that anyone who claps must be an audience "plant." THAT is what's closed-minded. Don't like Britten. More power to you -- I can't stand Sibelius or Orff -- but I can value what people find appealing about them. Ross's "frustration," inasmuch as he actually expresses any, is with people who intentionally shut themselves off from new music that they would find perfectly palatable if it were part of a film score.

December 3, 2010 at 1:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Let's Talk: Why Do We Hate Modern Classical Music?

Call me naive, but I don't see why Ross should stop defending and advocating for the music he loves, just because you and others don't love it. It's the critic's job to make value judgments and defend them, not to like the same thing "most people" like. If he and the masses agree, well, all the better. I don't understand what harm is done by explaining what he values in these things.

And who's this "we" you keep talking about? Is there a frog in your pocket? I think Berg's music is sublime, deeply lyrical. I think most people who listen to the "Interlude" from Wozzeck, the cycle "Der Wein," and the Violin Concerto would find it lovely if they didn't know who wrote it. But guess what, even if I'm what? I (and most people like me who enjoy modernist music) don't think less of anyone who disagrees, the same way my s/o doesn't judge me for not liking Lady Gaga. WHAT is all the fuss about? The pseudo-populist "look how elitist I'm not" shtick gets just as old and tiresome as the "everything but Schoenberg is dreck" shtick, or the "everything but abstraction is bad" shtick, that Adorno and Greenberg (respectively) used to peddle. (And Ross isn't exactly an Adorno-lite; he advocates for Bjork and Copland and Coltrane and Dylan as much as he does for Schoenberg and Berg.)

PS For those who need images, etc. to accompany dissonance to enjoy it, Berg wrote operas and Stravinsky wrote ballets. Give 'em a shot, you never know.

December 2, 2010 at 9:43 p.m. ( | suggest removal )