From my wife Anne Midgette’s probing review of classical music in the White House, in today’s Washington Post:
…what becomes clearer, in this presentation, is that classical music
no longer automatically holds a position of predominance among today’s
power elite. The day’s message was, “Look, classical music can be fun,”
even though this message is also a tacit admission of the widespread
assumption that it isn’t.
President Obama reflected that, indeed, in his opening remarks,
joking that newcomers to classical music shouldn’t worry if they
weren’t sure where to applaud: President Kennedy had the same
difficulty, said Obama, who noted that he himself fortunately had
Michelle to cue him properly. It was not exactly a hopeful sign of
classical music’s artistic significance, though to judge from the
hearty laughs, it resonated with many in the audience.
Anne has a lot more to say, all of it true and valuable, about how classical music strains to make itself seem easy and natural, even though everyone involved doesn’t quite believe that’s true. And how classical music falls back on a vague sense that it’s passionate, in order to explain what it means and where it fits
See my last blog post. Zombieland did it so much better! Classical music really did seem natural when it showed up in that film. Also look at the sweet Amex commercial with the smiley and frowny faces, where a Bach cello suite sounds like the most natural thing in the world: