Friday, April 14, 2006

Tell Them to Zip It

That might as well have been title for this essay by Andrew Clark for the Financial Times. He is no fan of the chatter and lecture (pre, post, or during) at concerts that is increasinly common (no pun intended) nowadays. He says of it:

It signifies a fear that classical music may not be sufficiently communicative or “entertaining”. No one will admit to this fear. You don’t have to explain jazz to anybody, but the implication is that you do with classical music - for reasons that are phoney. It’s not because the music is too complicated and needs elucidating.

But, more interesting, is his contention that

"The problem for classical music in the 21st century is that it is competing with the high decibel count, the simplistic beat and the narcotic effect of rock and pop, beside which it seems “boring”. No wonder it is considered a minority interest. Demystifying the concert experience is part of a desperate attempt to give it more street-cred and develop enough support to sustain it.

If that's the problem, I don't see that shutting 'em up, if you will, is going to prove much of a solution (not that that's at issue here). More, I don't see that it hurts things one bit as far as classical music is concerned. Rather, I think the stultifying pretension of a belief in the "sanctity of classical music" is part and parcel of the current miasma. The real problem and it's solution are elsewhere. In the meantine, such complaints just seem plain snarky.

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