Monday, November 25, 2013

A misleading title, but a good point to discuss

Today I read an article in the Huffington post by Richard Dare.  The article can be found here.
It's titled "The Awfulness of Classical Music Explained."  This is a misleading title chosen, I'm sure, for it's shock value more than it's accuracy.  The author actual has only nice things to say about the actual music but he is angered by what he experiences as overly dull and stuffy ritual in the concert experience.  He feels that audiences should be free to applaud and holler their appreciation between movements at least, as they did in the first half of the 1800s.
I think he sometimes chooses language that's a bit overly extreme:
"A musical North Korea. Who but a bondservant would desire such a ghastly fate? Quickly now: Rise to your feet and applaud. The Dear Leader is coming on stage to conduct. He will guide us, ever so worshipfully through the necrocracy of composers we are obliged to forever adore."

However, I do agree with him to a point.  I say "to a point" because it can't really be treated the same as, say, a rock concert simply because it's not as loud.  Any audience reactions that happen during the music will obscure it much more than at an amplified concert.  So there are those kinds of practical considerations.  That being said, it would be great if the concert experience didn't feel so much like an event for the rich elite.  But, as one commenter on his article pointed out, it is the rich patrons (who are typically the ones most enthusiastic about all this ritual) who provide the donations that keep the orchestra going.  They get what they pay for.  The solutions that come to mind most quickly for me are about allocation of taxpayer dollars but I know that those solutions don't fly with everyone.  Basically, I'd just like to see more resources allocated towards arts education and exposure in school, as well as funding of the arts so they can thrive without having to cater to whatever the people with the most money want, while still keeping ticket prices affordable.
I can dream.

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