Another, better view of modern music...

(Tim) From our Equal Time Department, with a few things changed to hide the identity of this dear sister who may not want to own me, publicly, particularly after my ignorant and stupid post on Shoenberg. By way of introduction, may I please say that I have listened to modern music until I'm stuffed to the gills? And it started, like Milne, "when we were very young." Mud and Dad always had our stereo tuned to WEFM or WFMT. I've put in countless hours, also, listening to this music at recitals, concerts, and children's practice sessions in our living room.

For instance, after spending six months in a funk brought on by son Joseph's perpetual practice of that dark turgidity known as Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C sharp minor, I finally came to love it. Maybe that's how thick my head is with this other stuff? Truly, I may simply have opened my mouth to parade my stupidity. I may well be that very person spoken of in the "Architect's Sketch, "Well yes, that's the sort of blinkard philistine pig-ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage."

I'm sure this much-loved sister speaks for very many of my dearest friends and I only love her more for reaming me out thusly...

* * *

Wow Tim---the most recent blog (about Schoenberg, and new music) is the first blog of yours that I don't like!

While it is all rather lighthearted (yes, I can see how many see that video as funny---yet it is woefully ignorant at the same time, but I'm not going to get on my high horse---too much---about it), at the same time, I feel like enough of these kinds of statements really do work against new music, and people immediately throw off Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire (and other "weird" pieces by other amazing composers)  because it's weird and sounds ugly and stupid, and WHY oh WHY would anyone like listening to that when they can listen to Mozart?????

Mick can probably explain the structure of that grand piece, and how it is sheer genius. (Or he might hate it, I'm not sure, but I'm sure he's studied it, and he can explain it much better than I.)

There is so much to love about this bang, pop, clank music. It's a huge generalization to even describe it as such. It requires having a mind and ears that are opened to being stretched, and that are willing to appreciate something they aren't used to. I personally don't like Pierrot Lunaire at all---but I recognize it is a totally kick [you know what] work, and therefore appreciate it.

Later on in that video, they talked about a work of Stravinsky's, and it sounded like it was just 11 bangs of sorts----funny enough though, that was from his "Rite of Spring", which in my opinion, is the most important composition of......all time so far. Rite of Spring concerts sell out like mad (the ___ Symph played that last year, all concerts were sold to the rafters, something that doesn't happen there too often.) I saw the Chicago Symphony do it a few years ago as well, and paid $120 for tickets---and oh how grand it was!!! Rite of Spring is the dinosaur music from Disney's Fantasia as well---you might have known that. This odd piece of music is now drooled over, and is a guarantee sell for any orchestra playing it. That it was included in that video right kind of annoyed me more than the other works. And that particular recording they those---that part of the music is actually one whole measure, in 11/4. (11 beats in a measure, the quarter note gets the beat---you might already know that, please forgive me if you do) and is normally played much faster. That particular recording seemed to make it seem more "ridiculous".

Maybe you are shaking your head at this point thinking "(Jane Doe)! We still love you! And we'll come to your recital even if you play Schoenberg on it, who cares! We still love each other, and we can agree to disagree!"  Yet you must understand how uncomfortable your post makes me, right? You see that, don't you? I'm a classical music critic that would give limbs HAPPILY for people to drop these kinds of attitudes and misconceptions about new music and just listen and try to learn! I want composers today to have a future, to be appreciated, and to be recognized as the fine composers they are! (not all great that are out there, I admit that. Just like back in the days there were bad composers)  Yes, I love Mozart, and I love Schubert and Mendelssohn and BACH---he's the greatest composer ever if you ask me. But we can't listen to them forever, we simply can't. We NEED a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. I am so upset by those in seats who refuse change, who refuse new ideas, simply because they are so entrenched in their beloved Brahms, and can't imagine liking much past the middle romantic era.

I was brought on board as a critic at ____ because a.) I write pretty well and b.) I love new music, and the other critic does not. (he's [older]. Not surprising, I hate to say). At age 14 was when I got my first Rite of Spring score, and was doing my hardest to be able to follow it, and it blared out of my tape deck when I drove in to school, and all the kids made fun of me for it. My first concert at the ___ symph when I was 14, and they played (shockingly enough) Bartok's "Miraculous Mandarin" suite. Definitely not your mama's music. It was weird, and I fell in love. So obviously I might not be giving an objective viewpoint of all of this stuff---and I'm certainly not sounding like an academic here. I realize this is all mushy wushy feelings and girly romantic passion, and to many, that doesn't have any substance at all, and it's not convincing. But tell me, what would it take for you to really listen to new music? To learn about it? I mean really learn about it in a way that makes you appreciate it, and not post up a blog like you have? Or if you do appreciate it, forgive me for misrepresenting you, but from your blog I surmise that you do not.

When I first read the post, no one had commented---but I see (John Doe) has, and his comment is _____. Bernard Hermann (composer of many soundtracks to Hitchcock films) is widely respected, and is an excellent composer. I have been lucky to play some of his works, and they are splendid. It's too bad he's seen just as a movie composer. But anyway---who will be next to leave the next ignorant comment about how they'd rather listen to nails down a chalkboard? Or how Berg sounds like a dying cat or something? This frustrates me to no end.

This is not the biggest frustration to me in the world---I am far more worried about Mormons taking their demonic doctrines to easily influenced people, about feminists who hate God and want you to hate Him too, and the sick perverted Christianity that says we can have our best life now, and that God wants us happy!

Yet on a blog such as yours that is such a teaching tool, such an encouragement, and such a great rebuke to many and call to repentance to all of us---it saddens me that you would put up this post. It frustrates me, because lots of people will be nodding their heads with you, but I fear they do it out of ignorance. Sure this post doesn't have eternal ramifications on us---new music doesn't call us to repent or whatever. But you have influence! And that's why I'm not a fan of this post---it will influence people wrongly.

Sigh. I'm done now. I don't' know what else to say. I wish I'd never read that post. I knew it wasn't going to be something I didn't like, but much like gruesome car accidents, I just could stop myself from looking. Now I'm grumpy.

Sigh.

I love you very much.

I also love Schoenberg, Berg, Ligeti, Golijov, Adams, Messiaen, and a host of others.

But I do love you more, I assure you.

Love,

(Jane Doe)

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Comments

Wow, what a reaming! Can't imagine who wrote it....

Personally, though, I have to say that understanding music of this sort often makes me like it less, not more. I can appreciate it, but I cannot love it. And the inevitable progression of styles in time is immaterial to me, as is the love of novelty pervading academia: I would be perfectly happy to embrace modern music that sounded like Tallis, Bach, Beethoven, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Bruckner, Rachmaninoff, Vaughan Williams, Sibelius, and Barber. Isn't that broad of me? :)

Thanks for writing this, Jane, and for posting it, Tim.

No problem, Josh. My pleasure. Although I do wish I had waited a bit longer before I emailed Tim, to compose my thoughts a bit better. And I should have proof read better too.

I don't need anyone to like or love the music---but instead appreciate it to the point that it is encouraged to be performed more often, to the point where people don't pull faces like they just sucked on lemons when they hear it, etc. To the point they will admit to that music having value, even though they aren't a fan of it. That's all.

It's a good thing Tim didn't post something trashing Gustav Mahler though, my favorite composer. I don't know if I would have ever returned to CGS!

Lenny Bernstein once said that "The 20th century is the century of death and Mahler is it's musical prophet". And he's right, especially about our "Century of Death", when the fin de ciecle finally...um goes "fin" and Europe burns with the fires of the great war, music too explodes, it's ties to tonality so strained that like the alliances of the early 20th century Europe, it is shattered into small shards of striking color and violence. That is the this music in all its precise ugliness and incomprehensibility, a natural consequence of the excess of 19th century romanticism. Big Band Jazz and later Rock 'n' Roll are an opiate and illusion telling us that "everything will be alright" when of course it won't be. It may not be fun to listen to but this music is brutally honest about the age we live in and that is worth something.

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