Haydn Symphonies threads.
If you're going to reference what I've said, it's only polite to reference what I've actually said not what someone else has said that I said.
I get the feeling that you and Ken are over in one corner of the sandbox yelling at a strawman Ken has constructed while I'm over in another corner watching you with bemusement if not horror and occasionally (as now) saying "Um guys. Over here!"
I happen to like noise music, but I would never expect a lot of people to be into it. On this forum, I have seen noise music being brought up quite often. There is a lot of ignorance due to unfamiliarity with it, which is to be expected. I don't have a problem with people not being into noise music, but when they say things that are blatantly untrue in order to make a mockery out of it, then I find that very wrong myself.
I would hope some guy would not say someone is just not listening "correctly" every time they call serialism boring after having informed themselves of the composition style and the works, for instance.
"If Higdon and Adès can give people "new" music that is nonetheless familiar, then it's the people producing new music who are out of step. Music is a product. The customer is king. Genuine innovation is increasingly marginalized, innovative composers dismissed as "obscure" and the consumer secure that his or her needs are paramount."
The tone and meaning are clear enough, so I won't interpret (or misinterpret) this further. Again, for a more developed argument along the same lines, see Babbitt:
I'd like to take that several steps further -- in the more commercially complex and driven 20th century through present, it seems an idea has taken shape that composers of 'art music' aniticipate / try to calculate what will be popular, as do film producers for the mainstream studios, or a Disney Co. team of composers of pop songs does for their on-contract performers. This is because all that business is in the modern sense in context as 'product;' and there, ancillary to product, is the calculation of what is most broadly appealing in order to make maximum revenue / profit from the least of those creative ventures... in capsule form, it is done to "Minimize the Risks." [Minimizing the risk is somewhat antithetical to a 'creative' artists' intention - imho.']
The notion that 'art' composers, even those 'musical servants for hire' of the Baroque and classical eras, were intentionally composing to please an audience I think is very much off the mark. [If composers truly had an ambition to generally please, Mozart would have composed many more serenades near identical to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Grieg would have similarly self-pirated his big pops hits from the incidental music for Peer Gynt, and Holst would have tried to write another 'planets,' etc.]
A composer is a part of their time and despite the existence of the phrase, no one is truly "ahead of their time," no matter how 'contemporary' and 'advanced' their harmonic usage and form. The composer (consciously or not) is simply one more being of all collective beings, and will, generally, compose what they can, either assuming or merely hoping it will interest others. [If Beethoven had catered to the taste of the person who commissioned his Triple Concerto as an after-dinner concert piece, we would not have a piece which knocks the proverbial socks off of the listener....]
If any 'audience' is at all considered, that would comprise the performers: if it is not interesting to the performers, it won't get done. In a way, most composers compose, then, for other professional musicians.
It is a conspiracy :-)
Babbitt's essay is so simple that I wonder how anyone could possibly misconstrue it, but it happens all the time on the internet. I'll boil it down.
1. Contemporary music and public taste have drifted apart.
2. Given the abstruse nature of some contemporary music, this should not be surprising.
3. The contemporary composer, instead of mourning his fate, should enjoy the chance to compose without need of the public's approval.
4. Therefore the situation benefits all involved.
Some Guy may disagree with 2, but I think pretty much everyone here would agree that contemporary classical music is a minority interest.
Babbitt encouraged Steven Sondheim, who specifically chose to study with him, in his work on musical theater. He loved Jazz and the popular music of his childhood. He was not the elitist that Palestrant and others have made him out to be.
I don't even like that much of Babbitt's music (I do like All Set for Jazz ensemble), but I don't like him being set up as a straw man.
The most striking similarity is the contempt Babbitt shows, at the end of his essay, for the listener. Compare this to the language at the end of the OP.
"Admittedly, if this music is not supported, the whistling repertory of the man in the street will be little affected, the concert-going activity of the conspicuous consumer of musical culture will be little disturbed."
The public also benefits, in Babbitt's view, by not being forced to listen to music it does not enjoy.
That last bit you quoted is his joking way of saying that "most people won't care".
Last edited by Mahlerian; Dec-31-2012 at 05:05.
Exactly what 'benefits' do you think the public are 'entitled' to, or have a right to expect from any individual composer?
To what degree and how, precisely, is the public "paying for all this?"
Do you really think it the job, duty, ethical or personal duty of a composer to provide more hummable / whistle-able tunes and themes for the average music listener, as per the perimeters of the average listener's ability and taste?
Should I, when I compose, consider at all the tastes or limitations of the listener's ability to, say find a particular line or interval I wrote, 'catchy,' or 'hummable?'
A portion of the audience for classical music is contemptuous of contemporary music.
This contempt is a historical fact with roots deep in the 19th century.
Mentioning this contemptuousness is in itself an act of contempt.
Wait a minute! Say what?
Well, what I'd really like to talk about myself is how to diminish the contempt if not eradicate it. Not to get everyone to like the same things. That's not even desirable not to mention impossible. (Hence a red herring every time it comes up, in any conversation.) But to create an atmosphere in which dislike is just that, dislike. Not contempt, not hostility, just dislike. An atmosphere in which no one feels the need to express their dislikes over and over again, as if failure to express them would mean validating evil and anti-social and immoral and just plain ugly music.
An atmosphere in which new things might be a little intimidating still but certainly not automatically rejected, just for being unfamiliar. An atmosphere in which exploration can be seen as a positive thing and not some hidden agenda of anti-traditionism. An atmosphere in which invitations to explore can be seen as just that, invitations, not as some concealed expression of contempt for inferior beings.
Nah. Just kidding. Let's fight!!*
Here's an excerpt: "But how, it may be asked, will this serve to secure the means of survival or the composer and his music? One answer is that after all such a private life is what the university provides the scholar and the scientist. It is only proper that the university, which -- significantly -- has provided so many contemporary composers with their professional training and general education, should provide a home for the "complex," "difficult," and "problematical" in music. Indeed, the process has begun; and if it appears to proceed too slowly...the various institutes of advanced research and the large majority of foundations have disregarded this music's need for means of survival."
Certainly he doesn't rely on the listener, whom he dismisses as "the conspicuous consumer of musical culture".
Last edited by KenOC; Dec-31-2012 at 07:17.