Friday, October 05, 2007
The difficulty communicated in modern music
Read about the food, the champagne, the Dorchester, and the Gramophone Awards here. Then read this:
Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno (1903-1969)...believed in music's progress. In his view, composers, as members of society, could not avoid dealing in their music with society's tensions, and inevitably, in increasingly complex and divided societies, increasingly complex music would arise. Neoclassicism and restored Romanticism, in looking back to previous states of music and therefore of society, were efforts to disguise current tensions, and therefore betokened a failing of moral will.
Serialism represented music at its most advanced, and alone offered possibilities for authentic expression. The fact that this langauge had gained little support from performing institutions, radio and recording authorities or the public was not condemnation but a proof of its validity, for the commercial business of music was utterly unconcerned with composition and had seriously injured the public's capacity for musical experience.
A Beethoven symphony thus heard was loaded with the mollifying messages of those in control of society, insinuating that culture was available to all with no effort, that the great works all came from long in the past and had been duly sorted out, that music could be a home comfort. The difficulty communicated in true great modern music was its pride, in making it resistant to such appropriation.
From A Concise History of Western Music by Paul Griffiths (Cambridge University Press ISBN 0521842948).
Photo of Catherine Sternis (harpsichord), Jean-Pierre Phelippeau (violin) and Walter Grimmer (cello) taken by me in Chapelle St Alexis, Malaucène, France. Their recital included true great modern music by Isang Yun. The stunning murals are the work of the contemporary artist Michael Bastow. I will write the full story of this remarkable venue soon.
Now read more about industry awards here.
Photo (c) On An Overgrown Path 2007. Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk