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Thread: "Permission" to like unfamiliar music

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    Senior Member dgee's Avatar
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    Default "Permission" to like unfamiliar music

    Overgrown Path is a terrific music blog and this is a terrific article on the issue of concentration/constipation of repertoire and how it might be overcome for the benefit of music as a whole. The links to his other blog post are well worth reading too (I do and don't agree with him on the expanding the potential of the existing audience being the way to go - as I cling to a desire for an expanded young audience!):

    http://www.overgrownpath.com/2015/02...n-to-like.html

    Enjoy!

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    I read that article and found it interesting as well. The music world does need more expansion of the repertoire beyond the same familiar pieces by the same familiar names. I'm not sure focusing on symphonies is necessarily the way to go, though.

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    Senior Member Blancrocher's Avatar
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    I agree with the article's diagnosis, though I'm uncertain about the cure. It's seldom mentioned that the problem of the shrinking repertoire is not just endemic to classical music: the same thing seems to have occurred in all the arts. Best-selling books, Hollywood blockbusters, celebrity artists, and "starchitects" all account for disproportionately large shares of their respective "markets." There is probably an economic law lurking in all this data if one could just find it. I don't like conservative classical music programming either, but it's a symptom of large trends and not just the myopia of music venues and institutions.

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    I fear overcoming concentration/constipation could easily lead to dissipation/diarrhea

    I scanned the article and it appears to be a plea for more British composers in the limelight. To increase the audience, the type of music performed would likely have to change and this, in my view, would inevitably lead to a loss in the standards that most of us appreciate. I have championed for a wider performance repertoire since I began listening many decades ago. My listening reflects this. Is this what audiences want? Seeing the direction many orchestras have gone to fill the seats, I think not.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Another list of the usual suspects, composers who knew how to compose, but are arch-conservative symphonists.
    Talk about condescending... "here are a bunch of composers and pieces which are of the sort where you tour a very traditional house, the sort with which you are completely familiar. Please note the mildly and safely updated modern wallpaper in some of the rooms."

    This is a common pitch which I think wholly underestimates the intelligence of 'a class of listeners,' i.e. "This is all the old stuff with a slightly modern touch." None of this type of recommendation is going to help or invite a listener to step out of their listening habits enough to begin to access and enjoy more truly modern music.

    Same ole same ole, dull as ditch water, safe as houses, already comfortably familiar, because it must be -- in the estimation of those recommending this music -- "all the poor dears can handle."

    I wouldn't treat a kindergarten student that way.

    I think this path of recommendation is about as ineffective as it gets. Introducing people to the much more 'modern' yet older, and brief, The unanswered Question by Charles Ives would do more to open ears and doors than a list of later conservative / modern symphonies.
    Last edited by PetrB; Feb-15-2015 at 01:24.
    ~ If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. ~

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    There is a strong possibility that you are right. I even suspect that the safe, incremental approach would result in the 'it's OK, but a little bit off' diagnosis. IMO the main reason for Ives' 2nd Symphony not getting the appreciation it deserves is that it's... a little bit 'off'.
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Senior Member science's Avatar
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    I've read several posts on that blog now and I like it very much.

    He's playing with fire, though. If people get permission to like whatever they happen to like, we might find the New Age music market swelling at the expense of classical music.
    Liberty for wolves is death to the lambs.

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    I agree with the gist of such articles, but only as they pertain to individual growth--interest, consideration, listening, preferences. To try to short-cut, propagandize the masses with specifics, easily runs contrary to the grain of original premise and/or objectives. Wishful thinking that encourages, and guidance to sources is all the can-do initially needed.

    He didn't mention Rawsthorne!

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