Montreal-based Constantinople Ensemble is a group of musicians who chose the journey, not only geographical, but also historical, cultural, temporal, and inner, as their cornerstone, drawing inspiration from all sources and aiming for distant horizons. To the cynic this vision will sound trite. But unlike so many in the world of contemporary art music , the Constantinople Ensemble under their music director Kiya Tabassian put their music where their mouth is. Their recently-released album In the Footsteps of Rumi on the innovative Glossa label may be predictable in subject matter. But the core ensemble of setar (Persian lute), kanun (Turkish zither), percussion, and baroque violin and viola d'amore is far from predictable. For the exquisite Rumi settings in Persian and Arabic they are joined by Tunisian singer Ghalia Benali in an album that provides a refreshingly astute viewpoint on the over-exposed Rumi . Even further off the predictability scale is the Cons
I wonder if you are familiar with MacDonald's theory of "midcult." I question the idea that all music is or should be made accessible to everyone. At the risk of repeating Babbitt's "Who Cares if You Listen?" mistake, I rather feel that certain music can only be appreciated by those who put in the effort to do so with their full attention. Yes, future generations might be more visually attuned than aurally, but that does not mean we should give up on helping them to cultivate their ears and practice listening; the brain is amazingly plastic, after all.
I can name plenty of songs that, while musically perhaps not so exciting, became popular because of an entertaining dance or video attached to them. I don't look forward to the day when a composer's success is measured by how much they can spend hiring artists and CGI editors to mask their mediocre music.