New? No thanks.

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from yogafriend. Show yogafriend's posts

    New? No thanks.

    I saw this letter in the Arts section of the Globe yesterday and found it so pertinent to our discussions re: "new" music (as well as our discussions on our perceptions and definitions behind "art"), that I'm posting it for your viewing pleasure (and possible amusement).  

    Sorry if it appears a little long copied here, but it's just a few reasonable paragraphs and worth the read.    

    Hope you find it as entertaining as I did.     The bolding is mine for emphasis.  

    BTW, the letter is in response to attending a classical concert, which, IMO, makes his commentary even more amusing.   

     

    New Music?  No, thanks.  
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "I experienced an epiphany attending the Boston Symphony on Saturday, March 16 (“A delicately constructed cello concerto debuts at BSO,” Metro, March 16, Jeremy Eichler). I may never forget the anger I felt during the cello concerto commissioned and premiered by the BSO. If I hadn’t been trapped in mid-row, I would have left the auditorium.

    If contemporary music like this is so popular and highly regarded, why doesn’t the BSO schedule a two-hour concert of this music? Answer: They would lose money.

    Instead the work is slipped under the cover of Mozart and Saint-Saens. I am insulted that I’m forced to listen to “what’s good for me” like medicine I have to take for my health. I read the program notes (and the Boston Globe review) only to be reminded of catalogs for some contemporary art shows. At least there, one is free to move on to another room. The BSO should provide a half-hour presentation on a new piece before each concert. (And a post-concert discussion where the audience can ask questions?)

    The piece itself was a half-hour.  At times the noise from every imaginable percussion instrument was breathtaking. I heard and felt a ringing not unlike feedback from a mike.

    Many times I thought the piece had ended, but no. When it did end there was silence, not from awe but of fear that one might applaud at the wrong time.

    The applause was respectable, but how much was the audience congratulating themselves for having lived through it?

    Only two patrons in my row applauded.

    As for my epiphany? I have learned not to attend a concert where a newly commissioned piece is being performed. I honestly admit that it is my loss not to appreciate the music.

    The composer has had a successful career and is highly regarded by soloists and conductors all over the world. But having listened to classical music starting on 78s while standing in a playpen, I wonder how many people would appreciate it. If this music is worth playing, my suggestion is to schedule it during Pops on the Esplanade so a larger audience can experience it. How about the Fourth during the fireworks?"

    *****************

    Any comments or thoughts?   

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from MattyScornD. Show MattyScornD's posts

    Re: New? No thanks.

    Interesting.

    I'm not quite sure what the listener's qualitative critcism of the concerto was, only that (s)he didn't like it (as oposed to say, Mozart and Saint-Saens).

    We've talked before about providing an analysis in context and terms of the music itself rather than one's reaction to it...the lack of which makes it kind of hard to relate to the critic's observations.

    I admit to being a bit of an amateur re: classical music, but that doesn't preclude appreciating newer arrangements.

     

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from yogafriend. Show yogafriend's posts

    Re: New? No thanks.

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:

    Interesting.

    I'm not quite sure what the listener's qualitative critcism of the concerto was, only that (s)he didn't like it (as oposed to say, Mozart and Saint-Saens).

    We've talked before about providing an analysis in context and terms of the music itself rather than one's reaction to it...the lack of which makes it kind of hard to relate to the critic's observations.

    I admit to being a bit of an amateur re: classical music, but that doesn't preclude appreciating newer arrangements.

     



    Exactly and concisely.   

     

    Per our discussions, the writer rants on and on as to his reaction to the new commision, but he doesn't give any analysis.    He's entitled, and even says he knows it might be "his loss" but he's done with it, regardless.

    I also thought his reference to his age ("having listened to classical music starting on 78s standing in a playpen ...") was his way of stating and/or questioning his age as part of the reason he didn't (and doesn't) like newer music.    

    A comment after the letter was from a guy that said, hey, the music of Brahms and Beethoven sounded like noise to some people, too, back in their day.   The more things change, the more they stay the same --- that basic.  

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from MattyScornD. Show MattyScornD's posts

    Re: New? No thanks.

    In response to yogafriend's comment:

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:

     

     

    Interesting.

    I'm not quite sure what the listener's qualitative critcism of the concerto was, only that (s)he didn't like it (as oposed to say, Mozart and Saint-Saens).

    We've talked before about providing an analysis in context and terms of the music itself rather than one's reaction to it...the lack of which makes it kind of hard to relate to the critic's observations.

    I admit to being a bit of an amateur re: classical music, but that doesn't preclude appreciating newer arrangements.

     

     

     



    Exactly and concisely.   

     

    Per our discussions, the writer rants on and on as to his reaction to the new commision, but he doesn't give any analysis.    He's entitled, and even says he knows it might be "his loss" but he's done with it, regardless.

    I also thought his reference to his age ("having listened to classical music starting on 78s standing in a playpen ...") was his way of stating and/or questioning his age as part of the reason he didn't (and doesn't) like newer music.    

    A comment after the letter was from a guy that said, hey, the music of Brahms and Beethoven sounded like noise to some people, too, back in their day.   The more things change, the more they stay the same --- that basic.  



    I guess I just don't understand this tendency of some people to discount something "new" simply because it's "new" and not  necessarily on the artistic merits of the piece itself - however, dubious those merits may be.

    This is different, I believe, from the inclination to favor "older" art or music at a higher level given our own biases and personal reactions - which again have had more time to brew and a greater context in which to place our likes and dislikes.

    The fact that we might listen to 10 new pieces before finding one we like is incidental - a product of our own bias and not of the artist or the art themselves.

     

     
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  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from gerbs. Show gerbs's posts

    Re: New? No thanks.

    Oh yeah... the LW is not alone.  I can accept people's antipathy toward new compositions but it really does seem like there's often a total lack of interest in even considering anything written after (say) 1910.  A couple of long-time subscribers walked out last month before Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra citing their general principles.  And that's not a piece that is "hidden" between crowd-pleasers, but is invariably the featured work on a program (and IMO one of the best compositions in the last 75 years +/-).

    Is that the same phenomenon we've discussed here with rock?  I don't think so - some here do *prefer* older styles/artists but don't disdain the new as vociferously.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from DirtyWaterLover. Show DirtyWaterLover's posts

    Re: New? No thanks.

    So I guess the LW didn't like the new composition.  BSO patrons are not exactly known to be open to new ideas.  

    guessing the LW won't be in Tanglewood when the BSO (or the Pops) does the tribute to Garcia.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from yogafriend. Show yogafriend's posts

    Re: New? No thanks.

    In response to DirtyWaterLover's comment:

    So I guess the LW didn't like the new composition.  BSO patrons are not exactly known to be open to new ideas.  

    guessing the LW won't be in Tanglewood when the BSO (or the Pops) does the tribute to Garcia.



    Pops isn't the BSO, but that's beside the point.   :p

    Since Garcia is from the classic era (although I never had the impression that the GD is classic rock, is it?), the LW might well be at that concert.  

    His objection is new music, not old music.   I'd expect a very mixed crowd at that concert if you're planning to attend.   Many (original) Deadheads will be there, no doubt.  

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from yogafriend. Show yogafriend's posts

    Re: New? No thanks.

    In response to SlimPickensIII's comment:

    I didn't get the impression that the LW would have enjoyed any new piece.  If it's not a note-for-note reproduction, played just the way Bach or Mozart or Beethoven put it on paper, then it's no good.  

    You get this with every type of music,  I've been at Rock Shows when I was younger - I'm specifically thinking of an 80's Who Show as I type this,  where they did an extended, quite different intro to Baba O'Reilly, and people were complaining that wasn't the way it was played.  I don't do Arena Shows anymore,  but you'll get this mindset alot in the Blues too.  Never mind that the players never played it the same way twice, once they caught it on wax it was never to be varied ever again.

    And Bluegrass Players are some of the most rigid folks you'll find anywhere. I mostly avoid Bluegrass people.  I showed up at a parking lot picking party in my formative years, also in the 80's, up in NH.  And I had the gall to show up with a non-Martin guitar.  I was more or less shunned,  entirely because of the model of my guitar as far as I could tell, and I haven't gotten over that slight.

    But you still get it more with Classical Fans. Not all of course,  just a little more often.

     



    Good examples and balanced assessment.  I agree it's not *just* classical (and posting the letter wasn't meant to single out classical music concert-goers by any means);  we've discussed the people who attend concerts of classic rock bands who are there to hear all the stand-by hits, and are ticked off if the concert features music from a new album.   One example of that I saw recently related to a Madonna concert, where fans were not happy with her omission of many of her hits, in favor of tracks from her new album.

    And wow, now that you mention bluegrass, I can see that closed-mindedness might be a trait from those fans, too.    The bluegrass "style" is now being used in bands that fuse folk / Americana / roots lately, the "purists" are probably more territorial than ever.  

    You do see a resistance from classical music fans, but it's not the only genre that has fans that are going no where fast into the future.   I suspect with the LW, all of the "new" music has not been to his liking, and now he's jaded.   As Matty said, you may have to sit through dozens of pieces before one hits you the right way, but if you second-guess the chance of that happening, it never will.   

     
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  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from gerbs. Show gerbs's posts

    Re: New? No thanks.

    Disdain for the new and different is a time-honored tradition.  Maybe we've just gotten to be too polite about it :)

    http://classical-scene.com/2013/03/27/scandal/ 

    And for my part, 100% agree with Greg on giving exposure to living composers.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from yogafriend. Show yogafriend's posts

    Re: New? No thanks.

    In response to gerbs' comment:

    Oh yeah... the LW is not alone.  I can accept people's antipathy toward new compositions but it really does seem like there's often a total lack of interest in even considering anything written after (say) 1910.  A couple of long-time subscribers walked out last month before Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra citing their general principles.  And that's not a piece that is "hidden" between crowd-pleasers, but is invariably the featured work on a program (and IMO one of the best compositions in the last 75 years +/-).

    Is that the same phenomenon we've discussed here with rock?  I don't think so - some here do *prefer* older styles/artists but don't disdain the new as vociferously.



    Funny re the "1910" comment for "new" music ... in classical circles, that's new.  :)

    I always laugh when the conductor or the program notes say, 'the orchestra hasn't performed this piece in 5 years"  (or 10, or in the case of one I saw last fall, 17 YEARS!)--- the repertoire of an orchestra, and their ability to play / perform a given number in a season is such that many years go by before a piece may be performed again, or with any frequency, unless it is, as you call it, a standard or "crowd pleaser."

    I am always the happiest listening to a piece I had never even heard of, which happens quite often, :)   and finding myself enthralled by it, whether it's 200 years old, or a first-time commission.  I also have found this to be true of any pieces with vocals, esp. lately.   But I have to agree, while rock fans may know what they like and are not always open-minded, the sneering and jeering is far worse from classical music fans.   Who are they cheating?   

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from ZILLAGOD. Show ZILLAGOD's posts

    Re: New? No thanks.

    The impression I get from reading this letter is that the writer is probably in his 50's ( the reference to 78s), he doesn't eat peas, green beans or carrots ( the reference to "being forced to listen to what is good for me") and he is afraid to say "excuse me" and leave when he feels he is being held prisoner ( "If I hadn't been trapped in mid-row , I would've left the auditorium), and that he likes to complain.

    My answer:

    We've all been places where we had to endure discomfort ( the dentist's office, my girlfriend's daughter's wedding where the ex-husband and much of his family was on hand, funerals and wakes). We have all felt trapped but found the inner strength to endure. Many of us eat stuff that's "good for us" we'd rather be eating cake and ice cream, but we realize that carrots and green beans will benefit our bodies in the long haul....a little suffering builds character.

    Get over it.

    Sounds like a serious whiner , that he felt he needed to write this down and have it published for all to read about his miserable time.

    You had a bad time. Move on with your life and learn from your experience. Don't feel the need to report anymore of your grief to people who don't give a flying you-know-what.

    This is the kind of stuff that is best posted on Facebook. Because only people who spend precious hours of their miserable , boring lives giving details of their miserable, boring lives to other people with miserable, boring lives will read it.

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from devildavid. Show devildavid's posts

    Re: New? No thanks.

    It's not about new for me. It's about whether or not I like it. Everything is new at one time for everyone. I care about how it speaks to me, not that it is "new".

     
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