Friday, August 16, 2013
We need to bear witness to our love of classical music
In Andrew Harvey's Journey in Ladakh there is a discussion of how the threatened culture of the Ladhaki's can be protected. During the discussion Harvey says "All we can do is bear witness to our love of the country and its people as clearly and intelligently as possible". 'Bear witness' is an old-fashioned and therefore deeply unfashionable concept, but, despite that, there is still much that classical music can learn from it. One of the definitions of 'bear witness' is "public affirm by word or example of usually religious faith or conviction". Much time is spent wondering why the culture of classical music is threatened. Perhaps it is simply because in the mainstream media, in blogs, Facebook and Twitter we are doing everything but bear witness to our love of classical music. A scan across the classical music headlines reveals stories about everything from sexual abuse in musical schools, through the financial woes of orchestras, to the perils of dumbing down (yes, I plead guilty!), all garnished with thinly disguised self and corporate promotion. Where has all the bearing witness gone? Where is the public affirmation of our conviction that classical music is a life force? Looking back my most satisfying and productive paths have been those that have born witness to my admiration for musicians such as Jonathan Harvey and Jordi Savall, that is me with Jordi in the header photo. It would cost nothing and might just change things if every music writer - including me - spent more time bearing witness to their love of classical music.
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