Monthly Archives: August 2017

THE CLASSICAL REVOLUTION Thoughts on new music in the 21st century

 

Second, revised and expanded edition published by Dover Publications, New York, in 2017 (first edition by the Scarecrow Press / Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham / USA in 2013)

Description:

The subject matter of ‘The Classical Revolution’ is the current emerging of a new music, which is rooted in premodernist tonal traditions. In painting, figurative realism – which was marginalized by modernism (abstract art, concept art) but never entirely disappeared – is enjoying a revival; a couple of contemporary architects are increasingly successful in recreating something of the classical tradition in building (Krier, Terry, Adams, Greenberg), in spite of fierce opposition from a conventional establishment. And now also in serious music, ideas of revival and restoration are appearing – somewhat later than in the other art forms, as usual. There has already been written about new figurative painting and new classical architecture, but new classical music is still a rather virginal territory.

Contemporary music risks

There hangs around classical music, and especially around its subspecies: contemporary music, an atmosphere of initiation: the listener has to know something about it to experience it to the full. Therefore people with knowledge of classical music, and especially contemporary music, are often considered ‘special’ or / and ‘elitist’, invoking feelings of inferiority with people who never go to classical music concerts, let alone new music concerts, but who do go to the new films, know about the new fiction that is reviewed in their newspaper and occasionally visit the museums of modern art. In contrast with contemporary visual art, of which we only see in the big museums the concept art variety and not the contemporary figurative painting, contemporary art music operates in the margins of the margins of the central performance culture. Its audiences are remarkably small when compared to the visitors of concept art exhibitions. Also, the money which is going around in the ‘contemporary art market’ is astonishing, and devastatingly different from the money which is spent on contemporary music – with the exception of the Netherlands where millions of euros are spent by the government on concept music which has practically no audience at all.

Museums of modern art draw thousands of visitors, in spite of the mostly unbearable nonsense on show there. Why this abyssmal difference?