July 31, 2004

A response to Critical Conversation

Critical Conversation - Classical Music Critics on the Future of Music

Could it be that the current impasse in classical music is chiefly the fault of critics? Perhaps cowardice, and a lack of commitment to champion a new lion or lioness is to blame? Given the implosion in funding and audience share, given the lack of consensus amongst the academics about the health of a pluralistic contemporary music economy, is it no wonder that the criticism hasn't coalesced around a movement or a composer?

Kyle's St. Matthew Effect article was a profound guide to this anomalous situation. How can a composer rise to the top of the heap when most critics are confused, dispassionate, and often gloating about the failure of the classical music world? Perphaps the claim that a critic made that Aaron Jay Kernis was the new Beethoven had implications above and beyond his career? Perhaps there is an embarassment caused by that claim, a fear, as that was seemingly the last act of lionization before the current spate of critical impotence.

Composers take risks. Why can't the critics? Stick your head up and say who you like. We don't care who is good. We don't care who is up and coming. Who is great now?

Posted by jeff at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)