Jump to content

Recommended Posts

If there is little (financial) support base for contemporary classical music, isn't this then a sign of disconnection and alienation from society's and the public's desire?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Music that doesn't sound like what's super popular isn't popular with the masses, how shocking.

 

Honestly the fact that there is funding AT ALL is a pretty great sign that it has its own niche and people who like it. I don't know who "the public" is nor who "society" is, because that's such an over generalization that it means nothing at all. Might as well say "earthlings" or "sentient beings," for all difference that makes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I respectfully disagree with SSC. 

The down fall of "contemporary classical music" I believe came about due to several things. 

A lack of truly compelling works the general public would be able to appreciate I think was at the top. this includes the likes of Schoernberg Webern and to an extent Stravinsky. and composers who right similar things. their music, although good from an academic perspective simply doesn't rapture the audience the way a Beethoven symphony does. because Beethovens music is to be enjoyed for what it is. rather than being a thing to dissect. the fact we can dissect it and come to understand things on a new level is just the byproduct. as such theirs such a high barrier to entry even to classical music in general. Of course there is also the misconception that we all write music like that which obviously isn't the case at all, we all have our own styles. 

Another point is that music education simply isn't the same. most people don't know how to listen to Classical music, and as such aren't interested in contemporary arts. however I believe that with time, and the correct nurturing that could very easily change. as such potentially great composers who don't want to write sings for this weeks pop band or don't want to write film scores get left behind. but the question is would the "General public" want to listen to it again. Possibly? I don't know. principally the general audience for classical music would need to increase to be more interested in new works, rather than listening to the Eroica for the millionth time. perhaps if Virtuosi round the world premiered more music and supported composers that would help massively. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 7/19/2020 at 2:05 PM, Bradley Scarff said:

A lack of truly compelling works the general public would be able to appreciate I think was at the top. this includes the likes of Schoernberg Webern and to an extent Stravinsky. and composers who right similar things. their music, although good from an academic perspective simply doesn't rapture the audience the way a Beethoven symphony does. because Beethovens music is to be enjoyed for what it is. rather than being a thing to dissect. the fact we can dissect it and come to understand things on a new level is just the byproduct. as such theirs such a high barrier to entry even to classical music in general. Of course there is also the misconception that we all write music like that which obviously isn't the case at all, we all have our own styles. 

Schoenberg isn't music, it's numerology.

That's why it's not popular.

Beethoven endures because Beethoven wrote good music that was rooted in the tradition.

The common practice period was an outgrowth of what came before; not some totally new invention that defied all that came before it like serialism and all other manner of modernism do.

The entire point of Shoenberg, like all modernism and atonalism, is to reject hierarchy in favor of "equality", generally as a political statement. However, there is no good art without discrimination and hierarchy. For example, dissonance is only beautiful within a hierarchy of consonance. 

"Music" like Shoenberg differs from Beethoven on this crucial axiom: The latter's music is born of techniques rooted directly in the listening experience, whereas the former's is rooted in subversive, pseudo-intellectualism. Such systems, which are present in all atonalism, are ultimately a dead end.

You say for example that Shoenberg's music is "a thing to be dissected". This has never been the point of art and music throughout human history until the 20th-Century subversives like Kandinsky came along to mask their low ability. The point of creating art or music is an attempt to rival the beauty of nature herself. The Fjords of Norway and Hohenzollern Castle are alike in that they have stood for ages, and their beauty is still revered; it is self-evident across time. There is no need to "dissect" or "explain" what it all "means'. To gaze upon it beauty, and the mastery of craft it took to create it, is an uplifting experience in and of itself.

These abstract conceptualists who insist that art and music are actually about or at least better when we can play some trite game to figure out what the artist is "saying" — which, as a funny note: These people say music is "subjective" in quality, but apparently it can convey the artist's intent objectively despite this — and that the "meaning" is what it's all really about, don't seem to realize that they could get their message across a whole let more effectively and clearly if they just wrote it down.

Edited by AngelCityOutlaw
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Maarten Bauer said:

If there is little (financial) support base for contemporary classical music, isn't this then a sign of disconnection and alienation from society's and the public's desire?

 

This statement is weird because it implies that society does actually desire contemporary classical music. I don't know what leads you to assume this. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even historically, classical-style music was never targeted for the "masses". There were a relatively few wealthy elites who supported the Mozarts and Beethovens of their time. The one big exception would have been church music.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 7/19/2020 at 10:28 PM, AngelCityOutlaw said:

Schoenberg isn't music, it's numerology.

That's why it's not popular.

Beethoven endures because Beethoven wrote good music that was rooted in the tradition.

The common practice period was an outgrowth of what came before; not some totally new invention that defied all that came before it like serialism and all other manner of modernism do.

The entire point of Shoenberg, like all modernism and atonalism, is to reject hierarchy in favor of "equality", generally as a political statement. However, there is no good art without discrimination and hierarchy. For example, dissonance is only beautiful within a context of hierarchy.

"Music" like Shoenberg differs from Beethoven on this crucial axiom: The latter's music is born of techniques rooted directly in the listening experience, whereas the former's is rooted in subversive, pseudo-intellectualism. Such systems, which are present in all atonalism, are ultimately a dead end.

You say for example that Shoenberg's music is "a thing to be dissected". This has never been the point of art and music throughout human history until the 20th-Century subversives like Kandinsky came along to mask their low ability. The point of creating art or music is an attempt to rival the beauty of nature herself. The Fjords of Norway and Hohenzollern Castle are alike in that they have stood for ages, and their beauty is still revered; it is self-evident across time. There is no need to "dissect" or "explain" what it all "means'. To gaze upon it beauty, and the mastery of craft it took to create it, is an uplifting experience in and of itself.......

......................

 

 

 

Once more I find myself in 100% agreement with you.

It's why I often opine that "contemporary" classical music is more about process for the composer than communication to an audience. As serial music based on the 12 notes of the chromatic scale with fairly strict rules about their use, it's difficult to differentiate between one piece and the next, hence one composer and the next. Only those dissectors immersed in it can spot the nuances. 

EDIT: Sound is a medium of communication. Nature is full of it - it's semiotics, signs that most of us (who keep in touch with Nature) grow to recognise from an early age. Music is a narrow organisation of sound. 

Edited by Quinn
Art.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The kind of issues you've all expressed will easily work themselves out as long as we keep Leftist hands out of "the orchestra." It's human nature to forgive and even provide cover to "the aggrieved." But then we are easily fooled. And so we watch as they destroy our institutions one by one. Maybe it is the Boy Scouts, or the "school" or the freakin' New York Times. Maybe you don't have kids so killing the boy scouts is not a big deal. Likewise the New York Times, which is now a former newspaper. But eventually they get around to destroying something you really do care about. Once the Left gets its hooks into something, it's over. Because it never is about the grievance anyway, it is always about power and "The Shakedown."

Unfortunately, those whose whole world is centered around classical music may cave in to demand after demand. THAT will make your dollars dry up faster than anything.  But if classical music remains a healthy, un-political organism then modern music still has a good chance, I think.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/16/arts/music/blind-auditions-orchestras-race.html

  • Like 3
  • Haha 1
  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Ken320 said:

The kind of issues you've all expressed will easily work themselves out as long as we keep Leftist hands out of "the orchestra." It's human nature to forgive and even provide cover to "the aggrieved." But then we are easily fooled. And so we watch as they destroy our institutions one by one. Maybe it is the Boy Scouts, or the "school" or the freakin' New York Times. Maybe you don't have kids so killing the boy scouts is not a big deal. Likewise the New York Times, which is now a former newspaper. But eventually they get around to destroying something you really do care about. Once the Left gets its hooks into something, it's over. Because it never is about the grievance anyway, it is always about power and "The Shakedown."

Unfortunately, those whose whole world is centered around classical music may cave in to demand after demand. THAT will make your dollars dry up faster than anything.  But if classical music remains a healthy, un-political organism then modern music still has a good chance, I think.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/16/arts/music/blind-auditions-orchestras-race.html

 

Now we're getting into the seriously spicy conversation.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/20/2020 at 12:14 AM, Eddy Boston said:

The one big exception would have been church music.

I think anything that's more on the "folk music" side really. I mean every country has its musical tradition which was presumably vastly more popular than whatever "classical" thing happened at the time. For example, It's not like Gypsies in Spain would stop doing their thing cuz Beethoven rolled around, and there are enough examples of this everywhere you look.

Obviously "classical composers" would pretty often take inspiration in that kind of indigenous musical culture and come up with more unique things, like Liszt, Bartok, Grieg, etc.

 

But in general, "classical" music was never really a popular thing at any point in time. Not in the sense of "popular" that we use now. For as much as Rossini was a rock star, there's a lot of musical tradition that was much more prevalent than his music ever was (specially due to ease of performance and accessibility, which was a big deal back then.) It then follows that the only reason warhorses like Beethoven get perceived as "popular" is because we have so much more population now that, in terms of scale, even if it's a niche, it's still a large amount of people. But no, the reality is that classical music isn't popular, it never really was, and it never really will be. You can argue till you turn blue about what kind of flavor of classical music is less or more popular, but it's all just a drop in the bucket compared to the numbers actual pop music generates.

 

It's also quite visible in the business of classical music. There's a reason why every orchestra plays the same kind of repertoire, why in all conservatories people learn the same warhorses' stuff, it's because there is enough population that likes that stuff that it can be commercially viable. However, it's still quite an uphill battle since everyone gets to perform the same pieces so the standards are insane. On the other hand, there is also money to be made with contemporary "classical" music, it's just less and you need to work more for it.

 

The issue is never about the music itself, but finding the right audience for it, because there is certainly audience for every kind of crazy thing you can think of (for many different reasons than just how it sounds like.) It's just a matter of finding enough of them to justify turning it into a business.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

Now we're getting into the seriously spicy conversation.

 

bing bang BOOM lol. It resonates with me though. I feel like composers are willing to do enough thinking that they realize extreme things on either side are bad. I don't want hitler but I also dont want mao.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, I didn't mean to hijack the thread with politics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't have thought "contemporary classical music" was right wing. In fact on the rare occasion it gets reviewed the Guardian is more sympathetic than the Telegraph, left and right wing rags respectively although the Daily Telegraph is getting suspiciously leftard of late.

Some public funding for this music arrives via the BBC which is now well-known for its leftist bias, pro-EU, pro-immigration, pro-misinformation, although even Radio 3, once the haven for any kind of modern classical music, is going down the tubes. Not what it was a decade ago with its Saturday night "Hear and Now" 2 hours devoted to contemporary composers.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's important to distinguish between two very different things:

  • orchestral music as an art form
  • orchestral music as an industry

As an art form, I think it is very important for people to always be experimenting with new ideas, and I always encourage them to do so, even if the end result is something I don't personally like (e.g. Schoenberg, et al.) Who knows, maybe the experimentation may eventually lead to something exciting, or may encourage someone else to discover something interesting. As long as someone considers their art form an expression of something meaningful to them, I can't fault them as an artist. (Even if I don't like what they make).

As an industry, however, is another matter completely. Lately it seems like I keep seeing articles pop up about the "classical music world" that come in two varieties:

  1. "Oh no, orchestras are going bankrupt, concert attendance continues to decline, why is this, what do we do???"
  2. "Oh no, the public doesn't 'understand' contemporary classical music, why not, how do we educate them???"

My immediate thought is that the former is a direct result of the latter. It's not that they don't understand it, it's that they don't like it. And since they don't like it, they don't show up to concerts. You shouldn't have to educate someone on why your product is good, it should be apparent. 

Furthermore, I don't think the "public" isn't interested in orchestral music. Concerts by Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and even those less-"household" names like Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Mahler are regularly well attended, at least where I am. And I'll go even further and say the "public" is even interested in hearing orchestral music by living composers. My local orchestra regularly puts on concerts of John Williams scores (Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc.), and those concerts SELL OUT. (I'm sure we could debate John Williams music ad nauseum, but that is a topic for another thread. My point is that people are willing to buy tickets to see orchestral music by a living composer, which defeats the belief that the public is not interested in contemporary orchestral music.)

To answer OP's question: I think the lack of financial success of contemporary classical music is due to a failure to give the people what they want and are willing to pay for. This doesn't necessarily make it bad art per se, but it isn't something you should expect to build an industry on. It seems like for whatever reason academia has aligned itself with training composers to write a certain kind of music, and the orchestras have aligned themselves with championing this certain kind of music, but most people don't seem to have any interest in paying to hear this certain kind of music. Thus, we are in the predicament that we are in...

I will offer a glimmer of hope: I think in the year 2020 it is easier than it has ever been to write and produce orchestral music (or chamber, vocal, etc.) and it will only get easier. Through most of history, most composers that rose to prominence did so through some kind of "connections", either through knowing someone in the industry, or through getting into an elite conservatory that connected them with big names in the industry, or simply by being born into a prominent musical family, etc. Now more than ever, it is easier for your average Joe to get their hands on notation software, DAWs, sample libraries, etc. Any information about theory, harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, etc. is easily available online. Websites like this one exist for composers to meet, collaborate, and share ideas. And there are many accessible platforms like YouTube, Soundcloud, etc. for getting music out to an audience. Maybe all this will lead to a new avenue, separate from the traditional conservatory route, for composers to get their music heard. I at least hope it does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...