Felsenmusick - The Weblog of Daniel Felsenfeld
The Web Log of a Certain Daniel Felsenfeld: Composer, critic, avid reader, aspiring
bon vivant, capricorn, shadowy figure, advice for the lovelorn

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

When I Need To Fuel the Fire...

"Modern music is not modern and is rarely music."

"It represents an attempt to perpetuate a European musical tradition whose technical resources are exhausted, and which no longer has any cultural validity."

"That it continues to be composed, performed, and discussed represents self-deception by an element of society which refuses to believe that this is true."

"The hopelessness of the situation is technically demonstrable, and contemporary composers are aware of it."

"What makes their own situation hopeless is that they cannot break with the tradition without renouncing the special status they enjoy as serious composers." (sic)

"That they have this status is the result of a popular superstition that serious music is by definition superior to popular music."

"There is good music, indifferent music and bad music, and they all exist in all types of composition."

"There is more real creative musical talent in the music of Armstrong and Ellington, in the songs of Gershwin, Rodgers, Kern and Berlin, than in all the serious music composed since 1920."

"New music which cannot excite the enthusiastic participation of the lay listener has no claim to his sympathy and indulgence. Contrary to popular belief, all the music which surpasses in the standard repertoire has met this condition in its own time."

"The evolution of Western Music continues in American popular music, which has found the way back to the basic musical elements of melody and rhythm, exploited in an original manner, congenial to the society of which it is a spontaneous musical expression."

"And it has found its way back to the basic musical nature of the ordinary mortal, from whom music derives, by whom and for whom it is produced, and without whom it cannot and does not exist."
--the argument from The Agony of Modern Music (1955) by the dishon. Henry Pleasants

Oh, go on Henry, do go on...


Anonymous Marc Geelhoed said...

Pleasants was laughably off-base then, and remains so. Of historical interest only, much like newspaper advertisements from the 1820s.

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