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Regarding making concert halls more informal and relaxed, I think it's worth mentioning that Boulez himself also organised his so-called Rug concerts in Philharmonia:

"Pierre Boulez, the avant-garde French composer & conductor, removed every seat from the orchestra & filled the space with red rugs & foam-rubber cushions The new decor is designed to encourage concertgoers to lean back or lie down & listen to the music in a relaxed frame of mind. Boulez commented, "There is so much formality involved in the performance of music that we make it hard for audiences to get emotionally involved." Philharmonic Hall was crowded with people of all ages. The orchestra was not on stage, & it was possible to watch the conductor from behind the orchestra. The acoustics were much improved: by moving the orchestra, Boulez created a better sound mixture in the Hall. Weber, Brahms, Ives, & Stravinsky selections were played."

I personally think that this is a pretty genius way to introduce people to a wide range of different repertoire - exposing them to composers other than Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven. I think this is important because there are people who might be a lot more hooked by modernists or contemporary avant-gardists, and making it more informal removes the "highbrow" tinge that classical music otherwise might carry.

However, I don't think that bringing classical music closer to entertainment by allowing people to actually talk and make noise is necessarily what I think is beneficial - there was a reason why this "tradition" was discontinued. I suppose any artist wishes to be respected - Wagner famously caused a huge scandal by putting the ballet section into the beginning of Tannhäuser so that anyone who was late (there was a rich, aristocratic French gentlemen's club who had made dinner plans that would have caused them to be late) would have not been able to see it. That was also the reason why Bayreuth was built the way it was. Talking in a cinema is not accepted either, although it carries a great value as an entertainment - I don't think that being able to socialise during a performance is quite ideal. So, for the time being, I personally prefer how Boulez made concerts more informal while still fully respecting all the artists involved. But then again I've never been able to experience the OAE concerts which Portamento described above - maybe I'd like them. Who knows :).
I broadly agree but I do think there would be a place for experiencing concerts as they were when the music was written - not as the norm but as some sort of HIP experience.
 

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A bit more on the accessibility of CM. I think we are all familiar with debates about very modern classical music. A commonly repeated defence of the avant garde is "you just haven't got it yet - you need to listen more", the idea being that some of that music is tough for those who are mostly experienced with the Baroque-Classical-Romantic repertoire and that it needs "work" or at least suspending disbelief to give it a chance to grow in our minds. I think that, for those who hardly know any classical music, the same difficulty can afflict their attempts to discover CM. Knowing that it is worthwhile, that the music they are missing can take them places they have only dreamed about if only they would persevere ... knowing that is what is needed. But I feel it is simply not the case that they just have to click play once on a piece and they will have a considered opinion about the music (and how it is for them). That idea is just wrong.
 

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A bit more on the accessibility of CM. I think we are all familiar with debates about very modern classical music. A commonly repeated defence of the avant garde is "you just haven't got it yet - you need to listen more", the idea being that some of that music is tough for those who are mostly experienced with the Baroque-Classical-Romantic repertoire and that it needs "work" or at least suspending disbelief to give it a chance to grow in our minds. I think that, for those who hardly know any classical music, the same difficulty can afflict their attempts to discover CM. Knowing that it is worthwhile, that the music they are missing can take them places they have only dreamed about if only they would persevere ... knowing that is what is needed. But I feel it is simply not the case that they just have to click play once on a piece and they will have a considered opinion about the music (and how it is for them). That idea is just wrong.
Does that argument ever work?

How would you respond if someone came to you and made that argument about new Classical music, or Hip-hop? Would you seriously set out to spend time with these musics, to "suspend disbelief to give it a chance?" Because, "knowing that it is worthwhile, that the music they are missing can take them places they have only dreamed about if only they would persevere."
 

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^ Yes. It has guided my earlier steps with many avant garde composers and quite a lot of "early" music, too. My listening repertoire continues to expand quite quickly. I suspect that a similar approach fed into my earlier explorations of classical music (first guided by my parents and their record collection, then by critical reviews and so on. Not everything works but recommendations from those who I have learned to trust (as having tastes similar to mine) tend to have quite a good hit rate. I follow positive and enthusiastic recommendations and tend to ignore negative opinions at this stage. As I become familiar with a composer and an era I tend to trust my own first impressions but I might still respond to recommendations, sometimes agreeing and sometimes not.

I think many of us do something similar - it is one of the main advantages of participating in a forum like this. But, of course, taking the first leap into a genre that you have previously had no interest in still requires wanting to as well as persevering.
 

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^ Yes. It has guided my earlier steps with many avant garde composers and quite a lot of "early" music, too. My listening repertoire continues to expand quite quickly. I suspect that a similar approach fed into my earlier explorations of classical music (first guided by my parents and their record collection, then by critical reviews and so on. Not everything works but recommendations from those who I have learned to trust (as having tastes similar to mine) tend to have quite a good hit rate. I follow positive and enthusiastic recommendations and tend to ignore negative opinions at this stage. As I become familiar with a composer and an era I tend to trust my own first impressions but I might still respond to recommendations, sometimes agreeing and sometimes not.

I think many of us do something similar - it is one of the main advantages of participating in a forum like this. But, of course, taking the first leap into a genre that you have previously had no interest in still requires wanting to as well as persevering.
Okay, so you expanded the kinds of Classical music you listen to - but have you added a genre that was completely foreign to your listening? Because that's what you are expecting Average Joe to do by adding Classical music to his mix.

Yes, Average Joe would have to want to add a new genre and persevere, which is what I've said all along. But until you demonstrate that it is possible with yourself, why preach to Average Joe to do what you have not done?
 

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Okay, so you expanded the kinds of Classical music you listen to - but have you added a genre that was completely foreign to your listening? Because that's what you are expecting Average Joe to do by adding Classical music to his mix.

Yes, Average Joe would have to want to add a new genre and persevere, which is what I've said all along. But until you demonstrate that it is possible with yourself, why preach to Average Joe to do what you have not done?
Yes, sorry, I should have mentioned. For example, Rap/Hip Hop was quite alien to me but I listened to a lot and found what I liked and what I didn't. The same probably also happened with jazz some 30 years ago. World music was more something I found during my travels but I was still guided by people I met and/or worked with, particularly in a variety of African countries although I was also fed by attending a number of WOMAD events - at first because they were nice small outdoor festivals which I preferred to the big events. But I do appreciate that it has long been a part of my nature to explore music, all music, and I know many don't have that tendency.

This is a long conversation that we are having and I wonder if I could ask you to be a little more polite rather than accusing me of preaching and implying that I want to bully people into my tastes. As you surely noticed (I have said it a few times now) I am not requiring any specific behaviour of AJs. My concern is for those who may be missing something that they might love and who might have the inclination to explore it if they knew how.
 

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^ The angst is not about CM being unpopular, I think, but about how in the current environment many of those who might get a lot from it don't get the chance. I think we are all agreed that they are always going to be a minority.
 

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Yes, sorry, I should have mentioned. For example, Rap/Hip Hop was quite alien to me but I listened to a lot and found what I liked and what I didn't. The same probably also happened with jazz some 30 years ago. World music was more something I found during my travels but I was still guided by people I met and/or worked with, particularly in a variety of African countries although I was also fed by attending a number of WOMAD events - at first because they were nice small outdoor festivals which I preferred to the big events. But I do appreciate that it has long been a part of my nature to explore music, all music, and I know many don't have that tendency.

This is a long conversation that we are having and I wonder if I could ask you to be a little more polite rather than accusing me of preaching and implying that I want to bully people into my tastes. As you surely noticed (I have said it a few times now) I am not requiring any specific behaviour of AJs. My concern is for those who may be missing something that they might love and who might have the inclination to explore it if they knew how.
If my tone comes across as impolite, I apologize. But I find your tone to be supercilious and presumptuous regarding the sentence I've bolded. I cannot help but be reminded of the attitude of the colonists regarding forcing Christianity on the "primitive" indigenous people.

It is my opinion that people find the music they enjoy by a process similar to the one you have described for yourself. To the extent there is the perception that Average Joe is "missing out," I object.

If he does not choose to listen to Classical music, I am sure Average Joe has a good reason.
 

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If my tone comes across as impolite, I apologize. But I find your tone to be supercilious and presumptuous regarding the sentence I've bolded. I cannot help but be reminded of the attitude of the colonists regarding forcing Christianity on the "primitive" indigenous people.

It is my opinion that people find the music they enjoy by a process similar to the one you have described for yourself. To the extent there is the perception that Average Joe is "missing out," I object.

If he does not choose to listen to Classical music, I am sure Average Joe has a good reason.
That's funny because I read you the same way - old colonial mentality (so often it hides behind a cloak of claimed radicalism) - but had accepted that that is what it is and concentrated on a discussion about how people might find CM. After all it hardly matters for our purposes here what your political views are and the forum is not for discussing such things.

I agree, and have said the same thing multiple times, that AJ can and should choose what to listen to. It is the reason that we are debating. And the nature of choice: to make a choice you need to know what you are choosing between and to have some idea what to expect from the options. I really don't know what I can say that might convince you that that is my interest here. You seem determined to see me differently.
 

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I agree, and have said the same thing multiple times, that AJ can and should choose what to listen to. It is the reason that we are debating. And the nature of choice: to make a choice you need to know what you are choosing between and to have some idea what to expect from the options. I really don't know what I can say that might convince you that that is my interest here. You seem determined to see me differently.
The difference is that I am happy to let AJ find his own way whereas you wish to interject yourself, or something, into his process.
 

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The difference is that I am happy to let AJ find his own way whereas you wish to interject yourself, or something, into his process.
And there you go again - telling me what I think and ignoring what I have written. I merely want his choice to be an informed one.

Let's drop this discussion - it serves no purpose and you seem to prefer a view you have formed of me to a view informed by what I have written ... presumably you think I am hiding my true nature (which only you can see).
 

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And there you go again - telling me what I think and ignoring what I have written. I merely want his choice to be an informed one.

Let's drop this discussion - it serves no purpose and you seem to prefer a view you have formed of me to a view informed by what I have written ... presumably you think I am hiding my true nature (which only you can see).
And I think you are denying the implications of what you have written. Just the phrase "informed choice" implies something informing AJ outside his own process of discovery. And you have described school curriculum in order to prepare the soil for the implantation of Classical music.
 

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Does that argument ever work?

How would you respond if someone came to you and made that argument about new Classical music, or Hip-hop? Would you seriously set out to spend time with these musics, to "suspend disbelief to give it a chance?" Because, "knowing that it is worthwhile, that the music they are missing can take them places they have only dreamed about if only they would persevere."
I agree that for the majority of people, this argument simply says, "The music is difficult, and you will likely dislike it for some period of time maybe forever." Most will either not listen at all or listen for a short time before agreeing they dislike the music.

However, that argument was instrumental in getting me to listen repeatedly to modern music before eventually liking a significant amount of it. I think the argument only works if the person disliking the music already believes there are excellent reasons to expect repeated listening will be rewarding.
 

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I agree that for the majority of people, this argument simply says, "The music is difficult, and you will likely dislike it for some period of time maybe forever." Most will either not listen at all or listen for a short time before agreeing they dislike the music.

However, that argument was instrumental in getting me to listen repeatedly to modern music before eventually liking a significant amount of it. I think the argument only works if the person disliking the music already believes there are excellent reasons to expect repeated listening will be rewarding.
I agree, the same has happened with me - but only when I put myself in a place where the discussion would occur: music school, going to concerts, and joining an Internet forum.

I think any music discovery process must begin with the individual, who possesses some degree of interest in the genre. They then can place themselves among a community more knowledgeable than themselves, as someone open to suggestions about where to start their journey.

Otherwise, recommendations will seem to come out of the blue with a high probability of falling on barren soil.
 
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