Saturday, 8 July 2017

Signaling the threat

A recent article in Grammophone observed a number of postwar trends (including very recent ones) in music which serve as a good example of the problems surrunding serious music in our times. Behind the text lie three entirely imaginary assumptions; 1) a historicist narrative stressing the urgency of contemporaneity over heritage; 2) a leftish egalitarian world view which considers cultural institutions like orchestras, concert halls and opera houses as 'privileged organisations' thereby suggesting immoral domination; and 3) a total lack of understanding what classical music as a genre is and what it means. Under the pressures of a misunderstood 'liberal democracy', leading to the tiranny of the majority where the notions of excellence and quality are felt as exploitative elitist means of suppression of freedom and personal expression, the precious achievements of ages of cumbersome struggle threaten to be thoughtlessly thrown into the dustbin, a totally unnecessary cultural suicide finishing-off what a whole age of disruption, including 2 world wars and social upheavel, has not been able to do. The masses have their right on their entertainment and free time spending, and their own ways of expression; that this should be combined with an attack upon superior art forms demonstrates the jealousy and hatred of excellence that are characteristic of the primitive barbarian, the same mentality which inspired the Goths and Vandals in the 5th century to not only take-in Rome but to plunder it and destroy everything that reminded them of their own primitive inadequacies. Let there be no doubt about the motivation of the attacks from egalitarian and populist quarters on culture and the musical tradition: it's the hatred of the barbarian, however disguised as 'progress' and 'accessibility' and 'democratic principles'.

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