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Wednesday, July 9, 2003

Classical Music - A Bygone Art?

By Aaron T. Dingus

As an "outsider" to the classical music scene, I apologize if my comments on your article [Newsweek 07/03/03] are passť.
One of the things I think that hurts classical music is a combination of the inability of the average musical listener to discern individual variances in performances and technology. Let's take for example, the 1812 Overture. Once anyone records it capably, its etched forever into the average person's universe, and doesn't need to be performed again. I don't have the time in my life to seek out another version other than my NY Phil one with Bernstein. In contrast, a Jazz piece in particular, being of less strict form, has more room to create variance that is discernable to most people.
Orchestral classical music is kind of of wrought large - it demands structure on a wide scale. It needs a large group to perform it, and that performance is bound tightly by its formality. We live in a very informal, scalable, rapid moving society. It feels, for lack of a better word, anachronistic, to get all those people together to perform music that one has to train one's self to appreciate at all.
As an advocate of classical music, I am sure that you disagree with the timeliness of the genre, but I, personally, have trouble distinguishing it from other bygones of the past. This is, perhaps, to my detriment, but I can't help being a creature of the times and culture I have inherited.
Thanks for your time.
Aaron T. Dingus

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