Author Topic: Who killed classical music?  (Read 6478 times)

Funcrusher

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #90 on: January 22, 2014, 09:34:47 PM »
 Google suggests 'The Rest Is Noise' was a bestseller here and in the US.


http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2008/dec/04/rest-noise-first-book-award


NoSleep

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #91 on: January 22, 2014, 09:37:10 PM »
But can you dance/weep to it?

Don_Preston

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #92 on: January 22, 2014, 09:40:27 PM »
I have some of my best dances to printed paper, I'll have you know.

NoSleep

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #93 on: January 22, 2014, 09:47:27 PM »
Another good book (and my own introduction to the subject) is Contemporary Music by Francis Routh (1968) which covers the period from Busoni up to Stockhausen and is widely available secondhand. Lots of musical illustrations, so have a piano ready. It also covers the thorny subject of expression in that period and in what way the music was representative of its time.

Retinend

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #94 on: January 22, 2014, 09:54:49 PM »
Retinend, sorry for giving the wrong impression, I can see how it would have come across as insulting.

No problem, probably just me reacting to the previous talk of "conservative" attitudes.


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The documentary was insulting, particularly the presenter's conclusion of 'socio-political hang ups' and earlier discussion of the Darmstadt tryanny.

I don't know what happened to Britten, Dallapiccola and Henze under the iron baton of Boulez, but failing to find anything in searches I assume it was not very much like the Entartete Musik policies

They came across through all of this as not caring about freedom aesthetically or politically or having interest in why people might make certain kinds of music which they don't respond to. It placed these concerns below that of a dwindling traditional form and its charms.

To speak about Darmstadt as a place of oppression and leave out the previous history of serialism was terrible

I think you're reading too much into what the programme lacked.  Regarding the word "tyranny," I personally don't read/hear that word with heavy political overtones. It's the sort of word that gets thrown around with deliberate hyperbole. Even the word "Nazi" has been reduced in power to cutesy expressions like "grammar nazi."



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The contributor's wearily tolerant sympathy with atonal composers' axiomatic connection between passionate crowds and the Nuremberg rally was a nauseating write off I thought.

I agree... not convincing on the face of it. But perhaps he's read something written by one of these post-war figures that we haven't?


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Very wierd how they could pass over the significance of these reactions to the two wars and elsewhere laugh off Prokofiev's commision to cultivate children's taste bescause it produced something as beautiful as Peter and the Wolf.

That is funny, now you mention it. But then again this programme isn't really staking a political case against modernism. You say that use of the word "tyranny" is a kind of crypto-politicization, but I would just see it as a criticism of academic dogma.

Retinend

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #95 on: January 22, 2014, 09:57:27 PM »
Google suggests 'The Rest Is Noise' was a bestseller here and in the US.


http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2008/dec/04/rest-noise-first-book-award

Well I set myself up for that one. Fair enough, it's a successful book. Though I might point out that the article tells us that "best seller" = 21,000 copies (Jonathan Franzen's "The Corrections" = 31,000 in hardback, Julie Walter's biography = 65, 000 in hardback)

Retinend

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #96 on: January 22, 2014, 10:06:41 PM »
In fact that's amazing, Funcrusher. That the South Bank would put on a series of concerts based on the success of a book that sold better than would have been predicted.

Funcrusher

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #97 on: January 22, 2014, 10:13:22 PM »
In fact that's amazing, Funcrusher. That the South Bank would put on a series of concerts based on the success of a book that sold better than would have been predicted.

Can't tell if you're being sarky here or not.

Retinend

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #98 on: January 22, 2014, 10:18:21 PM »
Yeah sorry, being a bit of a prick.

Sam

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #99 on: January 22, 2014, 11:03:26 PM »
A lot of the issues raised in this thread crop up a lot in what is in my view the best blog on classical music (Alex Ross would probably agree and frequently links to it) is www.overgrownpath.com

A typical good post would be this recent one about entartete kunst (seeing as this has been mentioned in this thread).

http://www.overgrownpath.com/2014/01/we-need-to-widen-definition-of.html?m=1

Here you'll find some of the best arts journalism available anywhere. The guy who does the blog worked for EMI classical and has a lot of insider knowledge. He's pretty damn good at investigative stuff (think Private Eye's Music and Musician column, only far more juicy and in depth). He's not in anyone's pay and has nothing to lose so there's a level of honesty which scares the shit out of the cosy classical establishment. He's written some incredibly damming stuff about the soulless corporatisation of classical music, the dumbing down of the BBC, the extremely dodgy links between arts organisation and promoters and unethical big business. All of this stuff is backed up with data and sources.

He also writes a lot of content that comes from his travels, interviews with musicians, and reflections from decades of listening.

In short, it's the opposite of the reductivist echo-chamber we are trapped in by social media and big business, and all the better for it.

Anyway, having spent years reading that, and having done a degree in music that covered a lot of musicology I feel in a good position to regurgitate a lot of it here when I get a chance.

Retiend I'll try to deal with a few of your points soon as you've raised a lot of interesting stuff but I think you're more or less wrong about it all!

Funcrusher

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #100 on: January 22, 2014, 11:20:35 PM »
A lot of the issues raised in this thread crop up a lot in what is in my view the best blog on classical music (Alex Ross would probably agree and frequently links to it) is www.overgrownpath.com

A typical good post would be this recent one about entartete kunst (seeing as this has been mentioned in this thread).

http://www.overgrownpath.com/2014/01/we-need-to-widen-definition-of.html?m=1


Retiend I'll try to deal with a few of your points soon as you've raised a lot of interesting stuff but I think you're more or less wrong about it all!

That blog looks good, have followed on Twitter. Look forward to your further comments.

While I'm thinking aloud about how to make yer classical more appealing, I think that music for small groups might potentially have more crossover appeal than full orchestras, as there are similarities with jazz and some post-rocky type stuff.

Petey Pate

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #101 on: January 23, 2014, 10:56:48 AM »
I do prefer Terry Riley's version of "hypnotic" by far, which invites further listening and fascination.

Thanks for mentioning Terry Riley.  The name was familiar but I hadn't heard any of his music up until now.  I gave "A Rainbow in Curved Air" a listen and can hear exactly what you mean.  It's repetitious but there's enough variation to keep it interesting, similar to Indian ragas, some krautrock or funk.

Prokofiev's grandson seemed like a milktoast culture minister with a love for melody, forward motion, and music for the people or for empathy provisionally, if only by virtue of his being naive and having extraordinarily shit guests that don't get along with Boulez.

This was my basic thought too, despite not being as informed to recognise the historical omissions.  Even if he concludes that "classical" music isn't "dead", his conception for what it is or should be came across as constricting.  As for melody being a requisite of "music for the people", what about hip hop and a host of other popular forms where melody is deemphasised?  To be honest, its surprising to me that Schonberg is still perceived as radical by some, the music I've heard of his sounds fairly "normal", similar to how it's surprising to think that people violently reacted to the premier of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.

It will be interesting to see how the history of 20th century is perceived 50-100 years from.  I'm not sure whether iconoclastic outsiders like Harry Partsch, Moondog, Derek Bailey and others (you possibly include Zappa in that list) already receive serious attention in music academia but I can imagine them being more widely heralded in the future. 
« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 11:17:51 AM by Petey Pate »

NoSleep

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #102 on: January 23, 2014, 11:13:40 AM »
Thanks for mentioning Terry Riley.  The name was familiar but I hadn't heard any of his music up until now.  I gave "A Rainbow in Curved Air" a listen and can hear exactly what you mean.  It's repetitious but there's enough variation to keep it interesting, similar to Indian ragas, some krautrock or funk.

Also he places his own improvised performances (mostly saxophone & organ) at the heart of much of his music; a development on from the written composition and a very 20th Century approach to music, often incorporating the recording process into the fabric of the music. My favourite (and, I believe, the first) minimalist.

Petey Pate

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #103 on: January 23, 2014, 11:29:25 AM »
Also he places his own improvised performances (mostly saxophone & organ) at the heart of much of his music; a development on from the written composition and a very 20th Century approach to music, often incorporating the recording process into the fabric of the music. My favourite (and, I believe, the first) minimalist.

"Rainbows" would be a good example of that it seems, as it was pieced together with Reily overdubbing himself playing on different instruments.  I did think that there must be have elements of improvisation involved, as it sounded like he was working around variations of different musical themes (not sure if right term); like how jazz musicians do.  Was glad to find out that I was basically correct after reading how the music was constructed, having listened to it first without knowing any real context.

Retinend

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #104 on: January 23, 2014, 07:26:59 PM »
To be honest, its surprising to me that Schonberg is still perceived as radical by some, the music I've heard of his sounds fairly "normal", similar to how it's surprising to think that people violently reacted to the premier of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.

Who is terrified of this radicalism, then or now? I doubt seriously that even Goebbels/Hitler themselves could have been accurately described as terrified of it.  Most detractors of Schönberg, both me and my buddy Adolf, think the music sounds bad and that's it. Not repulsive or frightening - bad. Bad music. It's awfully flattering to believe that their detractions come rather out of a zombeish love of simplicity or out of a hatred of the bodacious and totally radical avant-garde. (And it follows logically that if someone dislikes Schönberg they can't possibly dig Partsch, Moondog or Sun Ra, which makes myself a living contradiction).

Although this is an unfortunate sidepoint. The thread was about a radio show that was claiming that the music isn't popular, but aside from Funcrusher no one's really wanted to rationally defend music through the Viennese line as popular. It's much easier to defend it as good, because it's an unassailable position to personally enjoy something.

With that cleared up I'll get back on my tenterhooks for Sam's reply.

edit: I can't reccommed Riley's "The Book Of Abbeyozzud" (1999) highly enough as an acoustic, non-minimalist contrast to "Rainbow in Curved Air."

Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #105 on: January 23, 2014, 07:31:33 PM »
Come out to show them coma come out to show them

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #106 on: January 23, 2014, 07:56:16 PM »
Who is terrified of this radicalism, then or now? I doubt seriously that even Goebbels/Hitler themselves could have been accurately described as terrified of it.  Most detractors of Schönberg, both me and my buddy Adolf, think the music sounds bad and that's it. Not repulsive or frightening - bad. Bad music.

Although it could be argued that, rather than fearing the music itself, they feared a society where it was acceptable or the norm.

Retinend

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #107 on: January 23, 2014, 08:03:49 PM »
Alternatively you could look at the concrete outcome of art in Nazi Germany: the state dictated what the art meant and what it looked/sounded/read like

Petey Pate

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #108 on: January 23, 2014, 09:29:12 PM »
Christ, my previous post has an embarrassing number of errors.  Anyway...

Who is terrified of this radicalism, then or now? I doubt seriously that even Goebbels/Hitler themselves could have been accurately described as terrified of it.  Most detractors of Schönberg, both me and my buddy Adolf, think the music sounds bad and that's it. Not repulsive or frightening - bad. Bad music. It's awfully flattering to believe that their detractions come rather out of a zombeish love of simplicity or out of a hatred of the bodacious and totally radical avant-garde. (And it follows logically that if someone dislikes Schönberg they can't possibly dig Partsch, Moondog or Sun Ra, which makes myself a living contradiction).

Don't know where you're getting "terrified" or "frightening" from.  Obviously Schönberg was radical and composing new sounds in his day, like how Beethoven or Wagner were in their respective periods, but I'd have thought that in 2014 the music wouldn't sound that unusual to most people, whether they'd whistle it in the park or not (not that this is any indicator of quality of course).  To my ears, something like Verklärte Nacht sounds pretty "normal", or what you'd expect orchestral music to sound like (or maybe it's me that's weird, I dunno).  Can't fault you for thinking it's bad though, that's just down to taste.

edit: I can't reccommed Riley's "The Book Of Abbeyozzud" (1999) highly enough as an acoustic, non-minimalist contrast to "Rainbow in Curved Air."

Will check it out, cheers. 

EDIT: I forgot that Riley also did "Mescaline Mix", which I have heard before and enjoyed, more so than "Come Out" funnily enough.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 09:39:54 PM by Petey Pate »

Funcrusher

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #109 on: January 23, 2014, 09:34:03 PM »

Although this is an unfortunate sidepoint. The thread was about a radio show that was claiming that the music isn't popular, but aside from Funcrusher no one's really wanted to rationally defend music through the Viennese line as popular. It's much easier to defend it as good, because it's an unassailable position to personally enjoy something.


I wasn't defending it, I was just suggesting that it might be a way that younger music enthusiasts might get into orchestral/classical music. It seems like a pretty solid idea to me.

Retinend

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #110 on: January 23, 2014, 09:40:31 PM »
@Petey Verklärte Nacht is lovely, I agree, though earlier and unrepresentative of his most celebrated work.

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #111 on: January 23, 2014, 10:45:03 PM »
Alternatively you could look at the concrete outcome of art in Nazi Germany: the state dictated what the art meant and what it looked/sounded/read like

In what way is that an alternative to fearing that German society would become one where degenerate art was acceptable or the norm? Surely state control is a result of that fear.

Retinend

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #112 on: January 23, 2014, 11:28:41 PM »
No it doesn't imply fear. It was quite a concrete totalitarian gesture: replacing the contemporary existing cultural scene with bland pro-state propaganda. They were also symbolically tossing away the entire 1920s Weimar Zeitgeist in general, which was viewed as a society gone down the drain. The left wing also viewed the Weimar Republic as irrevocably corrupt, for not too dissimilar reasons to the Nazis, as visually captured in this painting by the communist dadaist Georg Groß: http://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/lr0E6lmbFmpjpupm3fZPyvbho1_1280.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAI6WLSGT7Y3ET7ADQ&Expires=1390605746&Signature=b1AZyy%2FPeIYfzieNtVty7y9SHQ8%3D#_=_

This picture (edit: the image of the Weimar Republic it represents) gives you an impression of what the exhibition Entartete Kunst was supposed to be sweeping away: not the revolutionary power of twelve-tone scales, but the decadence and decay of old-fashioned liberal democrats and the culture that had developed under their industrial management.

« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 12:28:09 AM by Retinend »

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #113 on: January 23, 2014, 11:38:48 PM »
No it doesn't imply fear. It was quite a concrete totalitarian gesture: replacing the contemporary existing cultural scene with bland propaganda. They were also symbolically tossing away the entire 1920s Weimar Zeitgeist in general, which was viewed as a society gone down the drain. The left wing also viewed the Weimar Republik as irrevocably corrupt too, for not radicially different reasons to the Nazis, as visually captured in this painting by the communist dadaist Georg Groß: http://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/lr0E6lmbFmpjpupm3fZPyvbho1_1280.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAI6WLSGT7Y3ET7ADQ&Expires=1390605746&Signature=b1AZyy%2FPeIYfzieNtVty7y9SHQ8%3D#_=_

This picture gives you an impression of what the exhibition Entartete Kunst was supposed to be sweeping away: not the revolutionary power of twelve-tone scales, but the decadence and decay of old-fashioned liberal democrats and the culture that had developed under their industrial management.

But the fear of societal decay brought about by decadence is what drove that totalitarian gesture, and twelve-tone serialism was seen as an example of decadence.

Retinend

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #114 on: January 24, 2014, 12:20:21 AM »
Not "fear of social decay," the rejection of this earlier social decay. Yes that includes atonal music, but also jazz, and Dadaism, and die Brücke painters, and abstract art, and Joyce-inspired writing like Berlin Alexanderplatz. Hemingway was banned. Picasso was banned. Finding a special property shared by all these things is a wild goose chase, and twelve tone serialism was not a major focus of their hatred. This cultural capital was all simply tainted by its arbitrary association with the Weimar traitors and their wretched liberal bourgeois culture. The Nazis' enemies were political opponents, everything else was guilty by association and had to be chucked when it came time to build the new state-sanctioned cultural ministries.

Howj Begg

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #115 on: January 24, 2014, 12:48:35 AM »
Not "fear of social decay," the rejection of this earlier social decay. Yes that includes atonal music, but also jazz, and Dadaism, and die Brücke painters, and abstract art, and Joyce-inspired writing like Berlin Alexanderplatz. Hemingway was banned. Picasso was banned. Finding a special property shared by all these things is a wild goose chase,

Huh, who would do something like that

http://www.cookdandbombd.co.uk/forums/index.php/topic,32885.0.html

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The joke's gone too far, though. Why do some of the cleverest people listen to nonsense like this [Anthony Braxton], Schoenburg, Hindemith, extreme Noise & Industrial etc?

Retinend

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #116 on: January 24, 2014, 01:14:03 AM »
That's completely different. Identifying a sort of aesthetic that exists in the world of music fandom is different to saying something specific about history. I still hear the thread that links those (deliberately varied) examples into an aesthetic, even though you judged that they betrayed an embarassing lack of musical education.

NoSleep

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #117 on: January 24, 2014, 01:19:49 AM »
No. It's an indication of your own personal confusion: "How can these people like something I can't grasp myself? They must be lying." FFS, give it some time instead of opening your mouth prematurely. You don't have the ears for it, (hopefully) yet. You are the musical Nelson Swillie of CaB right now.

Retinend

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #118 on: January 24, 2014, 01:40:50 AM »
It's plain that this thread has 0 relevance to the other one. I haven't been bringing up my own aesthetic preferences in this thread for the sake of themselves, just supporting the point of view of the documentary. I feel like I'm being reasonable towards other points of view, and not haranguing people like Nelson Swillie.

NoSleep

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Re: Who killed classical music?
« Reply #119 on: January 24, 2014, 01:44:26 AM »
This thread is a symptom of the same disease that caused the other. That 3rd-gen Prokofiev offspring in the OP is like a trendy vicar trying to fill church seats in his parish.