How to make classical music important to the general public

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sans maitre
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How to make classical music important to the general public

Post by sans maitre » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:15 am

Who cares? just stop trying to pander to people that aren't interested. No other art form wastes so much time in pointless navel-gazing as to why more people don't like it.

great article, with the key point:

http://www.newmusicbox.org/articles/how ... -relevant/
Whenever I hear words like “relevant” or “important,” I always want to ask, “relevant or important to whom?” When that detail is left out, these words become codes or shorthands: “important” means “important to Serious Art People,” and “relevant” means “relevant to Real-World Audiences.” But “Real-World Audiences” is a code too, because the people who use the phrase seem to have a pretty narrow idea of who counts as real. Other musicians? Not real. Artists in other media? Not real. College students and faculty? Not real. People over 40? Not real. You can sell out a huge concert hall, but if everyone there falls into one or more of the above categories, you’ll still have people citing your show as evidence of classical music’s imminent demise. Because when people say “culturally relevant,” what they really mean is “relevant to young people with mainstream tastes.” And “mainstream tastes,” unfortunately, doesn’t include classical music.

No other form of experimental music-making holds itself to this kind of standard. Japanese noise artists, for example, don’t seem to worry about whether or not their enthusiastic but small audience is a “real-world” one, and I’ve never heard anyone say that in order for them to justify what they’re doing, they have to appeal to people who aren’t interested in what they’re doing. “Why should non-mainstream music reach out to wider audiences?” asked Masami Akita in a recent interview. “These days, everything is diversified and it’s OK to have many different non-mainstream musics for non-mainstream music lovers.”

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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:44 am

I had to look up "Japanese noise artists" (oh joy). A more apt comparison might be Japanese No drama.

There are (evidently) specialized listening interests that are inherently self-sustaining without being widely popular, and then there are interests that need a broader base of support than their "natural" fan base to survive in their embodiment in performing organizations. I agree that the quest to make serious classical music fans out of the broad spectrum of the population that can and will never develop the taste is philosophically wrong-headed, but it is probably based on a sense of the tenuous survival of those organizations if they continue to rely only on the personal financial support of those who really love them.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by some guy » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:56 pm

There are noise artists in other countries.

Japan just gets all the love, is all.

If there's a problem with classical music sustaining itself, it's nothing to do with the general public, which has never given a rat's fart about it.

An ossified canon, with new audiences being wooed not with new music but with old music in new presentations--that's a problem.

Let the orchestra dress in street clothes when they play Beethoven. That'll bring the masses in!!

There is an audience for new music. The orchestras of the US, particularly, have shunned those people for so long now, it'd probably be just too embarrassing to woo them now. Better to just keep the blue-hairs coming, and when they're all dead, so will classical music be. Not our fault! Schoenberg's fault!!

Yeah. A recipe for success, for sure. :roll:
"The public has got to stay in touch with the music of its time . . . for otherwise people will gradually come to mistrust music claimed to be the best."
--Viennese critic (1843)

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:09 pm

some guy wrote:Let the orchestra dress in street clothes when they play Beethoven. That'll bring the masses in!!
That's what the Catholic Church said (metaphorically) after Vatican II, and look what happened to their attendance. ;)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by Tarantella » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:42 pm

[quote="jbuck919"]I had to look up "Japanese noise artists" (oh joy). A more apt comparison might be Japanese No drama./quote]

I think you'll find it's Japanese NOH Theatre. I'm assuming your job of correcting people! :lol:

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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:02 pm

Tarantella wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:I had to look up "Japanese noise artists" (oh joy). A more apt comparison might be Japanese No drama./quote]

I think you'll find it's Japanese NOH Theatre. I'm assuming your job of correcting people! :lol:
Noh problem. ;)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by barney » Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:22 pm

jbuck919 wrote:I had to look up "Japanese noise artists" (oh joy). A more apt comparison might be Japanese No drama.

There are (evidently) specialized listening interests that are inherently self-sustaining without being widely popular, and then there are interests that need a broader base of support than their "natural" fan base to survive in their embodiment in performing organizations. I agree that the quest to make serious classical music fans out of the broad spectrum of the population that can and will never develop the taste is philosophically wrong-headed, but it is probably based on a sense of the tenuous survival of those organizations if they continue to rely only on the personal financial support of those who really love them.
That's right. The difference is that a symphony orchestra is a large apparatus. A very large apparatus, requiring a big budget. Even so, I do not believe classical music is going to die, any more than journalism is going to die, even though newspapers and TV stations are collapsing. (And don't tell me citizen journalism is filling the void, as Australian politicians like to claim!) Large and unknown adaptations await, however.

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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by Heck148 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:34 pm

jbuck919 wrote: I agree that the quest to make serious classical music fans out of the broad spectrum of the population that can and will never develop the taste is philosophically wrong-headed,
I'm not so sure about that. There is no doubt, tho, that the elimination of music programs from many school districts has had a very detrimental effect on classical music audiece attendance. When people participate in an activity on a daily basis, take part in it, play instruments, sing in a chorus, they develop an appreciation.
we can see how that works with sports - professional sports has a huge following and is worth skillions and jillions of $$.
But just look at people's experiences - they play sports in school, they participate, they develop their skills, they realize that they may never play in the NFL or NBA, but they have a great appreciation for those special ones who do play on the professional levels.
Music can work the same way - those who actively participate in good school programs will develop to the best of their ability - and will have an appreciation for those who do perform professionally.

There are some very successful school music programs being presented nationally - Music Works every Day, Music Memory, etc.
My own orchestra has been pursuing these now for several years. Most of the elementary schools in the area are on board. Children hear good music at the beginning of every school day. selected pieces are presented throughout the year. it's quite exciting....

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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:54 pm

Heck148 wrote:
jbuck919 wrote: I agree that the quest to make serious classical music fans out of the broad spectrum of the population that can and will never develop the taste is philosophically wrong-headed,
I'm not so sure about that. There is no doubt, tho, that the elimination of music programs from many school districts has had a very detrimental effect on classical music audiece attendance. When people participate in an activity on a daily basis, take part in it, play instruments, sing in a chorus, they develop an appreciation.
we can see how that works with sports - professional sports has a huge following and is worth skillions and jillions of $$.
But just look at people's experiences - they play sports in school, they participate, they develop their skills, they realize that they may never play in the NFL or NBA, but they have a great appreciation for those special ones who do play on the professional levels.
Music can work the same way - those who actively participate in good school programs will develop to the best of their ability - and will have an appreciation for those who do perform professionally.

There are some very successful school music programs being presented nationally - Music Works every Day, Music Memory, etc.
My own orchestra has been pursuing these now for several years. Most of the elementary schools in the area are on board. Children hear good music at the beginning of every school day. selected pieces are presented throughout the year. it's quite exciting....
We're not in disagreement. Significant exposure is necessary, but not sufficient, to create connoisseurs. By reducing school programs, we are limiting the exposure and thus reducing the potential future audience. But exposing everyone to some musical education does not eliminate the situation (I won't call it a problem) that most people will never develop any taste for classical music. A very great deal of formal education, not only in the arts, is intended to address the many because it is the only way to reach the unknowable-beforehand few.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by John F » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:55 am

If you watch commercial television at all, you might be surprised at how many TV ads use bits of classical music as background or even foreground for the sales pitch. Madison Avenue is neither ignorant nor idealistic about how to sell a product in 30 seconds or less, and the use of classical snippets in commercials can't be attributed to economizing via the public domain. If this is a foot in the door getting the general public into classical music, it's hard to see how it might be exploited to raise awareness from a few bars of a Vivaldi concerto grosso or the "Dies irae" from Mozart's Requiem to willingness or even eagerness to hear the whole piece.

And then there are special cases like the Pachelbel canon, an obscure and not particularly vivid piece which was cranked up to worldwide popularity (I've heard) by being relentlessly pitched by a popular DJ on Radio Luxembourg who liked it. This shows that classical music can be "made important to the general public," and one way to do it. But infiltrating pop music radio is a long and unpredictable shot.
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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by piston » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:28 pm

Oh, the general public connects with classical music when and where it needs to. Nothing more profoundly touching than the countless Chilean women who gathered to sing Beethoven's Ode to Joy outside the gates of Pinochet's political prisons, where torture was a daily routine. They risked their lives in the process of singing that song. "Following the Ninth." Check it out!
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:20 am

John F wrote:And then there are special cases like the Pachelbel canon, an obscure and not particularly vivid piece which was cranked up to worldwide popularity (I've heard) by being relentlessly pitched by a popular DJ on Radio Luxembourg who liked it. This shows that classical music can be "made important to the general public," and one way to do it. But infiltrating pop music radio is a long and unpredictable shot.
It was called 'Rain and Tears (remembering Pachelbel's Canon)' and recorded by Aphrodite's Child in the late 60's, the were a Greek Progressive Band with Vangelis on keyboards and Demis Russos on bass. Their version of Pachelbel's Canon (with words in English) was played to death on Radio Luxembourg, which as a kid I listened to via an earpiece at night on my transistor radio, it sold well over a million copies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5j9enUzwBY
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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:28 am

Chalkperson wrote:
John F wrote:And then there are special cases like the Pachelbel canon, an obscure and not particularly vivid piece which was cranked up to worldwide popularity (I've heard) by being relentlessly pitched by a popular DJ on Radio Luxembourg who liked it. This shows that classical music can be "made important to the general public," and one way to do it. But infiltrating pop music radio is a long and unpredictable shot.
It was recorded by Aphrodite's Child in the late 60's, the were a Greek Progressive Band with Vangelis on keyboards and Demis Russos on bass. Their version of Pachabel's Canon (with words in English) was played to death on Radio Luxembourg, it sold a million copies in France.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5j9enUzwBY
Thanks for educating me, guys. I always thought someone really in the obscure know used it as the background music of the Imax film To Fly and that this was the basis for its popularity.

Always loved it when some bride wanted me to play a 20 second snippet from that piece while her wedding party marched up the aisle, and then switch to a similar snippet from "Here comes the bride" for her personal procession. Talk about a reality check regarding general appreciation of classical music.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by lennygoran » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:21 am

Chalkperson wrote:Pachelbel canon, an obscure and not particularly vivid piece which was cranked up to worldwide popularity
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5j9enUzwBY
Thanks, I wasn't familiar with this piece--found what I guess is a more authentic version here--very pleasant imo: [Johann Pachelbel - Canon in D Major from "London Symphony Orchestra Plays Great Classics"]

Johann Pachelbel Canon or Kanon baroque christmas classical music song songs the London Symphony Orchestra

Regards, Len
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Af372EQLck

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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by John F » Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:53 am

I've always thought it odd that this bit of "Lohengrin" is standard for the bride's entrance. In the opera, Elsa and Lohengrin are already married when the chorus sings them into their bedroom. And in less than half an hour, Elsa asks The Question and the marriage is, shall we say, annulled.
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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:08 pm

John F wrote:I've always thought it odd that this bit of "Lohengrin" is standard for the bride's entrance. In the opera, Elsa and Lohengrin are already married when the chorus sings them into their bedroom. And in less than half an hour, Elsa asks The Question and the marriage is, shall we say, annulled.
In Britain they usually play the Mendelssohn Wedding March, not the Wagner, Queen Victoria's daughter used it at her wedding and that's the reason for it's popularity in the UK.
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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:31 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
John F wrote:I've always thought it odd that this bit of "Lohengrin" is standard for the bride's entrance. In the opera, Elsa and Lohengrin are already married when the chorus sings them into their bedroom. And in less than half an hour, Elsa asks The Question and the marriage is, shall we say, annulled.
In Britain they usually play the Mendelssohn Wedding March, not the Wagner, Queen Victoria's daughter used it at her wedding and that's the reason for it's popularity in the UK.
I was aware of that, but coming in or going out? In the US, the Mendelssohn is also the traditional wedding recessional, based on the same precedent. (It's a good thing I'm not the marrying type, because I could never make my own taste jibe with practicality at a level lower than the wedding of Wills and Kate.)

Of course, in Austria, the bride goes up the aisle to the tune of "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" ;)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by barney » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:58 pm

I have long thought Pachelbel's canon hideously over-exposed. Along with Vivaldi's 4 Seasons, it is one of the two otherwise inoffensive pieces I don't mind if I never hear again. In Australia it is even used quite widely as hold music you hear when put on hold on a telephone call to a corporation.

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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:39 pm

Here is, apparently, the first recording of the Pachelbel Canon, under Chalkie's favorite conductor, and I don't mean Simon Rattle. Don't laugh before you listen.


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: How to make classical music important to the general pub

Post by karlhenning » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:16 pm

jbuck919 wrote:Here is, apparently, the first recording of the Pachelbel Canon, under Chalkie's favorite conductor, and I don't mean Simon Rattle. Don't laugh before you listen.
I complied, and thank you. In case I had wondered before if I could be grateful to apply the adjective workmanlike to a musical performance ; )

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