I think Colin's on to a lot of what's going on. He calls on everyone involved in classical music - presenters, musicians, promoters, educators, audience - to move past class distinctions that exclude those who might otherwise take to classical music. And beyond that, classical music, according to Colin, needs to "finally get over the idea that it’s not merely different from, but opposed to, other musics: that classical music and no other kind is 'timeless,' 'universal' and 'great.' ... If classical music today finds itself isolated on the wrong side of a cultural Berlin Wall, it’s a wall that it built itself. We need to demolish that wall, if we are to convince the world at large that classical music should and does have a place in the contemporary world."
I really don't have any problem with any of that, but, especially after hearing James Levine conduct Mahler's Second Symphony last night (which you, too, can hear on Saturday night right here at 99.5 All Classical; and by the way, check out Benjamin Zander's guided tour of the symphony - almost as inspiring as the music itself), I would also mention something else that Colin points out: "Ultimately, classical music is what it is, and its survival depends upon some portion of the population accepting it – and embracing it – on its own terms."
Crossing a cultural divide to be more accessible while maintaining a respect for the core characteristics of the artform itself. Sounds good, and that's what we aspire to here at 99.5 All Classical.
What do you think? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page if you like.
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CLASSICAL NEW ENGLAND
Ruth commented on 10.20.10
Lots of problems re classical music in todays scene, largely by failing to move with the times, among them Little if any music education in public schools in past approx 1520 years. Hopefully US versions of LA Sistema, supported by NEC, modeled in Baltimore Alsop and Los Angeles Dudamel will improve situation Formal setting of classical concerts, formal behavior required despite changed social mores, for ex., applause between movements scorned "hold down that enthusiasm please"all offputting in todays culture of informality and audience involvement. Paucity of crossover concerts with classical, jazz, blues, and/or country, etc., in the same event successfully pursued at nonconcert hall venues like NYCs Poisson Rouge, and in venues ranging from bars to concert halls by classical musicians like Matt Haimovitz On radio, isolation of classical music, so that classical music is heard only by choice, never by chance plus programming often focused on a relatively narrow range of works, i.e., music written between the mid18th century and the early 20th century, little if any vocal music, etc.
Robert commented on 10.11.10
Hi, The real problem is that the "popular culture" is opposed to classical music, and by popular culture I mean a decision was taken as to what kind of music should be on nonpublic radio and television. And it is not just classical music that is marginalized, classical 1920s jazz, which was born in the United States out of a confluence of Negro spirituals and work songs with English folk songs, and, yes, classical music is virtually never on nonpublic or even public radio nor, for that matter, is bluegrass music, another form of music created in the United States. It is not a cultural divide between young and old, or between rich and poor, etc., it is a decision that has been taken and that lovers of classical music have largely accepted. It is true that classical music has been used to disperse riffraff what are riffraff by the way, but these are rare events and not to the point e.g., what kind of classical music, Mozart, Stockhausen, Bruckner maybe? disperses best. In the past I have contacted executives at supermarkets and department stores to suggest they play classical music on their p.a. systems not the loud kind, maybe a little Grieg, etc., and low enough so as not to disturb anyone not into classical music after walking into a small store and hearing classical music from the store radio. I have even contacted, yes, WGBH, about the station creating a classical music stream tailored to such p.a. systems i.e., without announcer breaks, etc., something like channels 540 and 541 on comcast. What is needed is a national organization to defend and advance the cause of classical music, that would lobby congress for funds for music teachers in the schools, for classical music programs on nonpublic radio and television, to support symphonies and small music groups, a group that would lobby local towns and cities to provide financial support for small chamber groups in the street, subways, etc. While we have WGBH, it is now often impossible to hear classical music at all on the radio in New York City WQXR signal is very weak, as is the WGBH signal sometimes and elsewhere around the country, a truly incredible situation. Forgive the melange. Robert987
Sara commented on 10.10.10
Classical music already cuts across class boundaries. Im certainly not an aristocrat, Im not rich, I dont come from a musical family, and yet I found something in the music that speaks to me, probably because I was lucky enough to be exposed to so much of it that I didnt get hung up on the pieces and composers I dont happen to like. While almost everyone can find something in classical musics wide range that speaks to them, most people will also like other kinds of music, and some will not like anything that demands their attention. Much of classical music does not want to be background to other activities. The classical music "business" needs to grow up and stop trying to market itself just make it available, let it pervade the environment, and those who want to appreciate it will come to it. Classical music IS different from music intended to be consumed and then recycled.