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Critical Conversation
Classical Music Critics on the Future of Music


Tuesday, July 27
    THE QUESTION BEFORE US
    By Douglas McLennan
    posted @ 6:57 pm

     

    The Next Big Idea?
    If the history of music is the recorded conversation of ideas, then where do we find ourselves in that conversation at the start of the 21st Century? In the past, musical ideas have been fought over, affirmed then challenged again, with each generation adding something new. Ultimately consensus was achieved around an idea, and that idea gained traction with a critical mass of composers.

    Now we are in a period when no particular musical idea seems to represent our age, and it appears that for the moment at least on the surface that there is no obvious direction music is going. So the question is: what is the next chapter in the historical conversation of musical ideas, and where are the seeds of those ideas planted? Or: Is it possible that, with traditional cultural structures fragmenting, and the ways people are getting and using culture fundamentally changing, that it is no longer possible for a unifying style to emerge? Is it still possible for a Big Idea to attain the kind of traction needed to energize and acquire a critical mass of composers and performers?


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There was a time when great cities had multiple newspapers and culture was hashed out daily in the press, strongly-held opinions battling for the hearts and minds of readers. Today it's rare for a city to have more than one or two outlets where culture can be publicly discussed, let alone prodded and pulled and challenged... More

THE QUESTION BEFORE US
If the history of music is the recorded conversation of ideas, then where do we find ourselves in that conversation at the start of the 21st Century? In the past, musical ideas have been fought over, affirmed then challenged again, with each generation adding something new. Ultimately consensus was achieved around an idea, and that idea gained traction with a critical mass of composers.

Now we are in a period when no particular musical idea seems to represent our age, and it appears that for the moment at least on the surface that there is no obvious direction music is going. So the question is: what is the next chapter in the historical conversation of musical ideas, and where are the seeds of those ideas planted?

Or: Is it possible that, with traditional cultural structures fragmenting, and the ways people are getting and using culture fundamentally changing, that it is no longer possible for a unifying style to emerge? Is it still possible for a Big Idea to attain the kind of traction needed to energize and acquire a critical mass of composers and performers?
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MOST RECENT POSTS

READER: The purpose of music
- Linda Rogers (08/06/2004 10:46 am)

READER: Thank you to all
- Jennifer Higdon (08/06/2004 10:10 am)

READER: To Corey Dargel and Kyle Gann
- Garth Trinkl (08/06/2004 9:21 am)

READER: re:Where Are The Young Voices?
- Andrea La Rose (08/06/2004 9:21 am)

READER: To Justin: Art can be entertaining, but it is not entertainment
- Arthur J. Sabatini (08/06/2004 8:42 am)

Final Disinformation

- Kyle Gann (08/06/2004 8:41 am)

READER: Where Are The Young Voices?
- Corey Dargel (08/06/2004 8:21 am)

Over and out - an anti-rant rant
- Justin Davidson (08/06/2004 7:05 am)

READER: Classical Music Doesn't Fit The PR Mold
- Dennis Bathory-Kitsz (08/05/2004 9:21 pm)

READER: Eclecticism Is Better Anyway
- Hale Jacob (08/05/2004 7:41 pm)


THE MUSIC CRITICS

Greg Sandow
  The Wall Street Journal
 - To Justin: Hermetic
    Music

 - Performance ideas
 - Truly big classical
    ideas

 -
Another view

Wynne Delacoma
  Chicago Sun-Times
 - Composer bashing, female
    critics, form and content
 - Big Ideas--Who Needs Them?


Alex Ross
  The New Yorker
 - Clarification, Departure
 - The New New Thing
 - Provocation!
 - To AC Douglas
 - Pop Innovation
 -
A Potential Goldmine
 - To Rockwell: Styles, Not
     Politics

 - Listening for Passionate
     Engagement


Kyle Gann
  Village Voice
 - Listening examples provided
 - Queries for John Rockwell
 - Unfair on my part
 - Composer bashing
 - Inside a big idea
 - Names & Their Inadequacies
 - The Idea & Its Conditions
 -
The Next Medium-Sized Idea
 - Alternate Universe

Justin Davidson
  Newsday
 - Thanks, Kyle
 - proposal
 - To Kyle
 - Who's saying give up?
 - Some Things Are New, Actually
 - High/Low Redux
 - pop envy
 -
Where was THAT in Classical
    Music?

 - Apology & Comment
 - How Big is a Big Idea?

John Rockwell
  The New York Times
 - Reply to Kyle and a Plea
 - Arghhh, or however you
    spell it
 - The Magpie
 - Brahms and Wagner
 -
Question for Kyle
 - To Alex, Justin: the pedant
    at work

 - Initial Entry

Scott Cantrell
  Dallas Morning News
 - What's success?
 - Pop music precendent
 - Multiculturalism
 - Fragmentation
 - Female Critics
 - Movements & Media
 -
A Blurry Patchwork

Charles Ward
  Houston Chronicle
 - Jotting IV: Grab Bag
 - Jotting III: When John
    Rockwell...
 - Jotting II: I'd Rather Not Get
    A Call From Stalin

 -
Jotting I: We Do Have A Big
    Idea


Anne Midgette
  The New York Times
 - What's the big idea?
 - A Few Responses To
    Other Postings
 - Back to Fragmentation
    for a Minute

 - Gender footnote
 - Another preamble


Andrew Druckenbrod
  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 - Composers are Composers
    but Distinctions are
    Worthwhile
 - No apology to pop and
    film

 - Taking Issue With The
    Question


John von Rhein
  Chicago Tribune


Kyle MacMillan
  Denver Post


Joshua Kosman
  San Francisco Chronicle


FROM READERS

The Purpose of Music
- Linda Rogers (08/06/2004 10:46 am)

Thank you to all
- Jennifer Higdon (08/06/2004 10:10 am)

To Corey Dargel and Kyle Gann
- Garth Trinkl (08/06/2004 10:00 am)

re: Where Are The Young Voices?
- Andrea La Rose (08/06/2004 9:21 am)

To Justin: Art can be entertaining, but it is notentertainment
- Arthur J. Sabatini (08/06/2004 8:42 am)

Where Are The Young Voices?
- Corey Dargel (08/06/2004 8:20 am)

Summing Up
- Brian Newhouse (08/05/2004 9:26 pm)

Classical Music Doesn't Fit The PR Mold
- Dennis Bathory-Kitsz (08/05/2004 9:18 pm)

Eclecticism Is Better Anyway
- Hale Jacob (08/05/2004 7:40 pm)

What Is Live Performance, Anyway?
- Steve Layton (08/05/2004 7:34 pm)

OTHER RESOURCES

- Discography of Minimalist and
    Totalist music

- Kyle Gann on Post-Minimalism
- Kyle Gann: Following the
    Classical Script

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