Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Classical death/meaning less

Continuing on my earlier theme of whether classical music is dying is a "flight-out," farewell article by Newsday's classical critic, Justin Davidson. While the farewell piece is a sad sign, it is extremely optimistic. Mr. Davidson muses that "[m]aybe it's that in populist America, we take pleasure in the thought that democratic culture can expunge an ancient tradition associated with the aristocratic."

But he goes on to conclude that "[c]lassical music isn't dying, but the term itself means less with every passing year - not because it represents an osteoporotic tradition, but because its ever-widening embrace includes musicians who refuse to be bound by notions of appropriateness." He cites various young hopes such as the NY group Alarm Will Sound (who I am listening to right now); they have a sprightly, modern sound. The full article is at the following web address:


Davidson ends the piece blaming the lazy, traditional classic-critic for the exaggerated death of classical music--"There are no accepted standards or styles, which means that the critic lives on shifting sands. How much easier and more rhetorically satisfying it is just to pronounce last rites on the whole thing than to strike out across an unstable landscape and send back a series of un-final reports." Breaking barriers in the unstable landscape is Alex Ross' (of New Yorker fame) blog "the Rest is Noise," which provided the valuable link to the Davidson's article.

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