Monday, August 08, 2005

Blogs and Classical Music

A comment made by fellow blogger Pliable on the "combined power of blogs" reminded me of some pointed remarks by NYT music critic Alex Ross (found via a post at Brian Sacawa's blog). Ross believes that:

"Blogging will probably play a major role in the ongoing revolution and renaissance of classical music, which, I believe, will once again become a popular art in the next 20 years."

Why? That answer is suggested in Ross observation that: "In the classical arena, people are starved for a national conversation about music, because there are no regular critics at almost every magazine you could name: Time, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly, even The New Republic and The New York Review of Books. Why can't Rolling Stone or Spin publish a classical piece now and then? Rolling Stone used to, but no more. Nor is there classical music coverage on TV, except when Yo-Yo Ma loses his cello or some freak masters the tuba at the age of 3. So people have discovered the internet and created new kinds of communities there." (emphasis mine)

I belive this is very true. Not only for classical music, but also for rock and other genres where listeners seek out conversation and information beyond the PR pablum in webzines, fanzines, and various "alternative" media. But even if there were "regular critics" within the mainstream media, I'm not sure how successful they'd be reaching listeners. Frankly a good chunk of what passes of classical music criticism in today's media is a complete bore. (NPR's "Performance Today" is a real bright spot on the radio dial for classical music lovers). As Ross' sees it, classical music lovers on the net "are changing the tone of the classical conversation, discarding the old guardedness and stuffiness and pseudo-objectivity."

Read the rest here.

Check out Pliable's blog here and Brian Sacawa's is here. They're both very fine blogs. Be sure to check out Pliable's post on conductor Dudamel. It's what got the ball rolling.

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