Sunday, June 28, 2020

What is diversity in music?


True diversity celebrates the linkages which connect different people and cultures. Gender and ethnicity are vital links in the diversity chain. But, despite received wisdom in the music industry, they are not the only links, and when torn out of context and isolated as exploitable causes, gender and ethnicity become devalued. In this extract from 'A New Map of Wonders' Caspar Henderson uses linkages impassively to probe the truly rich diversity that is art music:
As for the end, well, many of us have a general idea that, one day, the Sun will become a red giant which will incinerate and swallow the Earth. No more cloud capp'd towers and gorgeous palaces for you, pal. The full story, though, is even more awesome and beautiful. It deserves, at the very least, a great musical score. I'd like to imagine something beyond the final chord of 'Der Abscheid' in Gustav Mahler's Dad Lied von der Erde (which, Benjamin Britten suggested, was imprinted on the atmosphere) and surpassing recent works by John Luther Adams such as Become Ocean (described by music critic Alex Ross as 'the loveliest apocalypse in musical history') not to mention his Sky with Four Suns. David Bedford tried it in Star's End (1947) but it's not an easy listen. For the Sun's main sequence Brian Eno's Lux (2012) could be a starting point. Or, encompassing all, Sun Star by John Coltrane (1967).
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