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Speaking of who will be canceled sooner or later, from Vox:

How Beethoven’s 5th Symphony put the classism in classical music

To many, Beethoven’s most famous work is a symbol of exclusion and elitism in classical music.

By Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding on September 15, 2020 9:01 pm

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony starts with an anguished opening theme — dun dun dun DUNNNN — and ends with a glorious, major-key melody. Since its 1808 premiere, audiences have interpreted that progression from struggle to victory as a metaphor for Beethoven’s personal resilience in the face of his oncoming deafness.

The famous first movement of the Fifth doesn’t do much for me, but the finale …

Or rather, that’s long been the popular read among wealthy white men who embraced Beethoven and turned his symphony into a symbol of their superiority and importance. For others — women, LGBTQ+ people, people of color — Beethoven’s symphony may be predominantly a reminder of classical music’s history of exclusion and elitism …

Today, some aspects of classical culture are still about policing who’s in and who’s out, and much of it started with Beethoven’s Fifth. When you walk into a standard concert hall, there’s an established set of conventions and etiquette (“don’t cough!”; “don’t cheer!”; “dress appropriately!”) that’s more about demonstrating belonging than appreciating the music.

As we all know, straight white men are obsessed with dressing appropriately and policing everybody else into dressing appropriately, unlike women, LGBTQ+s, and people of color. Whoever heard of a gay man or a straight woman or a person of color who was into dressing up?

Oh …

Well, here are 10,000 appropriately dressed people of color, no doubt some of them LGBTQ+-, having a blast with the 4th movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony:

For classical music critic James Bennett II, Beethoven’s popularity and centrality in classical culture is part of the problem. “As you perpetuate the idea that the giants of the music all look the same, it conveys to the other that there’s not a stake in that music for them,” he says.

After such knowledge — that the Fifth Symphony was composed by a white man — what forgiveness?

 
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  1. This is so idiotic that even Foucault-Irigaray-Cixious bunch couldn’t have written it.

    If the 5th is “about” anything, it is “about” struggle against adversity, be it material, political, spiritual, moral, physical. In the beginning- you seem to be doomed. At the end- you are purified & you have triumphed.

    And that’s it. Whether you are female or male, rich or poor, black, white, yellow,… healthy or sick, smart or dumb.

  2. Control-F “Pat Conroy”

  3. To many, Beethoven’s most famous work is a symbol of exclusion and elitism in classical music.

    I love when they start out with a howler like this one.

    When you walk into a standard concert hall, there’s an established set of conventions and etiquette (“don’t cough!”)

    Someone should acquaint these geniuses with one Keith Jarrett.

    the giants of the music all look the same

    IKR? But then all wypipos look alike to me.

    BTW, they can have Beethoven No. 5. We have much better music than that.

    • Replies: @guest
    , @Verymuchalive
  4. As Abraham Maslow said in 1966, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  5. Thanks for posting the finale of the 5th, Steve.

    It’s fun to watch as well as listen. The faces and body language of the orchestra members are something to behold: the concertmaster keeps coming up out of his chair in the ecstasy of his playing; the cellos look as if they’re about to levitate at several points; the winds and brass sway as one as they punctuate Beethoven’s flourishes.

    So many white and Asian people tasting transcendent joy in their recreation of beauty must surely be wrong.

  6. Yngvar says:

    O.T.

    President Trump have now been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times. What can Democrats do? Well, previous winners are eligible to nominate, so I see Mr. Obama submit Jared Kushner as a candidate. For one, it gets the Nobel Committee out of its bind (they’ll never going to award it to President Trump, come hell or high water). For second, it’s going to piss off the President like nothing else. That’s the play soon, I compute.

  7. guest says:

    This article uses many words to say what Judd Hirsch said with two in the movie Running on Empty: classical is “white skinned” music. Which is a bad thing?

    No. Classical music derives from European culture. Nothing wrong with that.

    Ah, but it’s also increasingly yellow. When I go to the concert hall, a sizeable portion of the performers are Model Minorities. Some of the audience too.

    The audience also has a noticeable gay element. What about the gays? Are they “out?”

    Only once did I see more than a couple black folk. Guess why. That’s right, because there was a black onstage. A touring conductor. They came to see him, or be seen in support of him. Presumably not to hear the music he conducted (written by some white guy named Debussy).

    Blacks like black stuff. I don’t begrudge it them.

  8. It starts with dit-dit-dit-dahhh, which is code for ‘V’ as in Victory over the oppressed peoples of the world, even though Germany at that point was still a largely disunited group of kingdoms and principalities with no colonial possessions to speak of.

    That was the genius of Beethoven: He knew Morse Code and the future of German imperialism long before both existed !

    • Replies: @Sue D. Nim
  9. Anon[165] • Disclaimer says:

    One of the things that the coronavirus has screwed up for me is the year-end “Dai-9” performance of Beethoven’s Ninth at my local concert hall. Cities all over Japan built these lavish, pipe-organed facilities during the boom of the 1980s, and mine was just refurbished and opened for a debut performance before being immediately shut down over Covid. But they are going to do the Dai-9 anyway. I’m not going to be there, in my usual second-level seat over the harpists and behind the second violins where I can watch the conductor’s face. It’s not worth the risk. These performances use community musicians and choir members, and boy are there are lot of professional level amateur orchestra musicians in Japan. Only the conductor and four vocal soloists, along with rehearsal pianists for the choirs, are hired from the outside. Everyone else is your neighbor, and the results are very professional.

    When you walk into a standard concert hall, there’s an established set of conventions and etiquette (“don’t cough!”; “don’t cheer!”; “dress appropriately!”) that’s more about demonstrating belonging than appreciating the music.

    You mean … signalling? You know, even white people have to learn this stuff … and only the subset who get interested in classical music do. Would it kill black people to make a stab at conformity here, as do the white concertgoers?

    I’m having flashbacks to a raucous screening of the original uncut release of Reanimator at the Culver Theater in Culver City where most of the audience members were middle class black residents of Baldwin Hills. “OH NO, BITCH IS GETTING TONGUE FU FROM A CHOPPED OFF HEAD!” “OH LORDY, SAVE ME!” “HOO HAH!” I wonder what a Beethoven symphony would be like with such an audience?

    For minorities who may think that all white people are born with “don’t cough” reflexes, I present this from two years ago in the New Yorker:

    Thoughts While Attending the First Symphony in the Series My Wife Wanted to Buy

    Wow, that was a phlegmy cough. Dude tried to hide it under the horns but he just missed.

    Are they done? Do I clap now?

    They’re not done.

    The violin section seems to be where you find the most attractive women.

    But are they just “orchestra attractive”?

    If I were involved with one of the violinists, would I have to learn a lot of stuff about violin? Like, if she asked, “How did I play tonight?,” would I have to have a specific, informed answer? Or could I just say, “Great!”

    Or maybe, “Honey, you were awesome, as always. You should totally be first chair. Babe, I know, it’s so political.”

    https://www.newyorker.com/humor/daily-shouts/thoughts-while-attending-the-first-symphony-in-the-series-my-wife-wanted-to-buy

  10. guest says:
    @Mr McKenna

    Where would one get the idea the Fifth of all things stands for exclusion? Literally everyone knows the first movement. Or at least the first four notes. No one anywhere ever used knowledge of “dun-dun-dun-DUN” to gain access to any elite club.

    —–

    Etiquette in concert halls derives from the age of concertgoers. Which on average is like 103. Not a rowdy bunch.

    I wish this weren’t the case, because every time I sit through a modernist piece I want to rip my chair out of its moorings and throw it onstage.

    Wasn’t always this way. I blame the way classical music divorced itself from popular music sometime in the previous century. (With exceptions.)

  11. Mr. Anon says:

    When you walk into a standard concert hall, there’s an established set of conventions and etiquette (“don’t cough!”; “don’t cheer!”; “dress appropriately!”) that’s more about demonstrating belonging than appreciating the music.

    Sure, because it will in no way impede your appreciation and enjoyment of the music if the guy next to you is hawking up a huge lung-oyster, or shouting “Yo, Whas-up Ludwig-B!” These concert-hall conventions are purely arbitary.

    Is there nothing of any value that the Woke do not wish to destroy? They won’t be happy until they’ve turned everything into crap.

    • Agree: Bubba, Joseph Doaks
    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  12. Something tells me the authors have never been to a venue like Blossom Music Center, where you can sit on the grass. As long as you don’t disturb other people, they don’t care how you dress or make a little noise.
    Anyway, we’re going to need more helicopters.

    • Replies: @Charon
  13. Anon[163] • Disclaimer says:

    This is a combination of two things:

    1. Saying something obviously true in a way where you imply it’s false, like people should be on time, or competence is a good quality for an employee.

    2. Treating blacks like they are children incapable of any self control.

    So when you say “At classical concerts, unlike punk mosh pits, you keep quiet to not disturb the experience of others, and black concertgoers should follow the same custom,” it’s like, How racist!

    I can’t wait until the outdoor restaurant protestors barge into a classical concert … too bad they’re not really happening. How long until the first Stradivarius is crushed by the mob? If I were an instrument insurer I’d be sending out riders advising musicians to use their backup instruments in public concerts until further notice.

    • Replies: @Joseph Doaks
  14. Beethoven was black. Mozart was black. Bach was black. Buddha was black. Augustus Caesar was black. Jesus was black. Isaac Newton was black. King Arthur was black. The Israelites were black. Cleopatra was black. Alexander the Great was black. Abraham Lincoln was black.

    10:30 into Africa Addio you can see similar theories in 60s Africa as current woke ideology … black superiority, stolen inventions, obsession with hair:

  15. @Buzz Mohawk

    As Abraham Maslow said in 1966, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

    Yes, at this point , these columns could be generated by a bot like the old Thomas Friedman generator; mix a randomly ordered set of 20-30 buzzwords around , privilege, spaces, conventions, elitism, exclusion etc. This can be used to “critique” anything from wine to baseball to Michelangelo. It would be funny if it weren’t the vandals who were the curators of Western civilization.

    • Agree: Gordo
  16. Some whites criticize East Asians for copying Western culture, but that in itself shows high adaptability in the East Asian mind. It takes intelligence to recognize that someone else has a good idea.

    Whereas blacks seem to lack this ability. They tend to mock their youngsters who try to develop white people’s pro-success habits by calling the behavior “acting white,” instead of recognizing that white people’s ideas would work for them as well, if they learned to apply them competently.

  17. Gordo says:

    Cancel Beethoven and you cancel the composer of the European National Anthem.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthem_of_Europe

    Ode to joy indeed, the EU doesn’t deserve it.

    By the way Beethoven is the German famous guy that Austrians like to pretend was Austrian, unlike a certain lederhosen wearing Austrian famous guy that Austrians like to pretend was German.

  18. “When you walk into a standard concert hall, there’s an established set of conventions and etiquette (‘don’t cough!’)…”

    Yeah, let’s limit the attendees to next Beethoven performance to BLMers who’ve tested positive for COV-19 and “encourage” them to cough their heads off.

  19. G. Poulin says:

    If they cancel the Beatles, I’m going postal.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
    , @Ray P
  20. About ten years ago, I toured southern Germany, the Rhineland and so forth. In Thiers, I visited Karl Marx’s boyhood home, a handsome 19th Century burger’s house, brightly painted, and cheerful looking. I walked in, and in the lobby there were exactly zero people. Even the lady who was supposed to be selling tickets had gone to the lady’s room or something.

    A week later, I visited Beethoven’s boyhood home in Bonn, a ramshackle 18th Century townhouse, walls leaning in, floors and ceiling sagging, in need of a paint job in some parts. But inside the place was crammed to the rafters with happy, joyous people from all over the world, Europe, the Americas, Africa the Middle East, Asia-Pacific.

    Apparently the only people who care about Marx are faculty at the wreckage of American colleges.

  21. I heard it was going to be Beethoven cancelled first, and then Tchaikovsky, but I haven’t seen your latest poll data:

  22. About ten years ago, I toured southern Germany, the Rhineland and so forth. In Trier, I visited Karl Marx’s boyhood home, a handsome 19th Century burger’s house, brightly painted, and cheerful looking. I walked in, and in the lobby there were exactly zero people. Even the lady who was supposed to be selling tickets had gone to the lady’s room or something.

    A week later, I visited Beethoven’s boyhood home in Bonn, a ramshackle 18th Century townhouse, walls leaning in, floors and ceiling sagging, in need of a paint job in some parts. But inside the place was crammed to the rafters with happy, joyous people from all over the world, Europe, the Americas, Africa the Middle East, Asia-Pacific.

    Apparently the only people who care about Marx are faculty at the wreckage of American colleges.

  23. Dr. X says:

    Are They Going to Come for Beethoven Too?

    Well, of course. Beethoven was a cisgendered white man who spoke German and moved to Vienna when he was young — just like Hitler.

    So obviously Beethoven was a Nazi, and he’s clearly responsible for the camps, slavery, the oppression of women and gays… and the deaths of Emmet Till and Trayvon Martin.

    University music departments need to cancel his white “music” and teach Snoop Dogg and Cardi B. instead.

    So, yeah, he’s gotta be next.

  24. Charon says:
    @Redneck farmer

    Ah, that takes me back. Brisk nights under the blanket at Tanglewood. Heavenly music. Dark and peaceful. (Those last two words don’t seem to go together any more.)

    You could get away with all sorts of things under the blanket, with an amiable partner and careful apparent decorum. But I digress.

    • Thanks: Redneck farmer
  25. As usual, they miss the crucial part.

    If you look at the score of the opening phrase, the famous “dun dun dun Dunnnnn”….

    The conductor raises his baton….a breathless pause…..then when the conductor’s baton comes down, there is silence. That’s how it begins. On a rest. Strange, huh?

    After the opening, the same phrase is repeated but this time, the “Dunnnnn” is held over into the next measure. A rest and then the “dun dun dun Dunnnn” is repeated again. And so on. In other words, once begun, it can’t stop. Each phrase calls forth another iteration to complete itself, only to leave the end open yet again.

    The rest of the piece, the second movement is his riding this theme, elaborating on it. The third is his trying to get off this runaway horse. But each statement calls up another uncompleted measure so it can’t be ended. That’s why the ending is punctuated with such forceful attempts to state it once and for all, to be well and done with it. But still it comes back in that haunting oboe echo. And then, up and running again until the wild ride to the climax.

    Because we no longer ride horses, classical music will never be a thing again. The strength, the power of much classical music comes from the rhythm a person feels who is sitting atop a galloping animal. Most obvious in Rossini’s William Tell overture but present in a lot of other pieces.

    My old, feeble, nearly deaf dog was sleeping when Rossini’s William Tell came on. She stood up and howled, the old gal, ready to run off in pursuit. Amazing what music can do.

    • Replies: @Captain Tripps
  26. @Bardon Kaldian

    Not to “music critic” James Bennett II, it ain’t.

    Speaking of whom . . .

    https://www.wqxr.org/people/james-bennett-ii/

  27. mmack says:

    “Are They Going to Come for Beethoven Too?”

    If they do, will he roll over, or stand and fight?

    And will he tell Tchaikovsky?

  28. Steve, what are you doing reading Vox? It can only lead to brain damage.
    I mean that literally, not metaphorically.

  29. Zoodles says:

    The structure of Beethoven’s 9th inspired Tolkiens creation mythos in what was to become the Silmarillion

  30. Dumbo says:

    Who wrote this stupidity? They seem to be a gay couple:

    https://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/think-you-dont-like-pop-music-in-their-new-book-these-podcasters-encourage-you-to-reconsider/

    Do they know that a lot of classic music performers and quite a few of composers are/were gay?

    And also that many famous musicians and maestros were/are Jews? Daniel Baremboim, Bernstein, Dudamel, all Jews.

    Classical music will never be cancelled because, even though Blacks hate it, Jews love it.

    That’s one of the reasons why Wagner wasn’t cancelled, despite his supposed “anti-semitism”, Jews love Wagner. (Although, I’ve heard it’s still forbidden to play Wagner in Israel).

  31. As David Gelernter (Ivy league computer scientist, conservative, Beethoven fanatic, Unabomber victim — it is a strange world) once put it epically:

    “You must know Beethoven’s music because no one has ever said anything deeper about what it means to be human, to look life and death in the eye, to know beauty at its purest and most intense—if you can take it. Because Beethoven asserts his own mere human self against the whole cosmos and makes it listen; he addresses God face-to-face, like Moses, whether God listens or not. And so people all over the world study and listen to and perform his music with reverence.”

    I think 2nd movement of Symphony 7 is the most haunting and the best.

  32. @Mr. Anon

    I was astounded the first time I went to the Met Opera at how quiet the audience was during the performance. Nobody coughs, nobody whispers, nobody sneaks a peek at their phone, and the acoustics are so good you can hear the foot steps of the singers on stage.

    OTOH, I once went to a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show because I’d heard how cool it was but walked out fairly soon because I couldn’t hear the movie over the audience. Still haven’t seen it.

    Vox beclowns itself once again.

  33. The people that listen to this music and attend these concerts probably think that their taste is more refined, more complex, than those the popular taste cultivated for the profane music of today.

    They may also think that some cultures and some civilizations – with their sets of norms and values differing from those of others – are more admirable, more productive of things of lasting value, and indeed better than others.

    It ought to go without saying that they are right.

  34. I clapped, reluctantly, at Putin’s victory concert in Palmyra Syria:

    I think the message was, “We’re better than you goat-fuckers, in every way.”

  35. anonymous[238] • Disclaimer says:

    Those whiners must stop with their cultural appropriation. If Adele can’t wear Bantu knots, then there isn’t need for diversity in classical music and other White cultural expressions.

  36. @Henry Canaday

    The Wokeviks will have to cancel Marx eventually any way because he read and appreciated too many of the Great Books written by Badwhites.

  37. “As you perpetuate the idea that the giants of the music all look the same, it conveys to the other that there’s not a stake in that music for them.”

    Japanese, Koreans and Chinese seem to have no problem appreciating and performing great music by dead composers *who don’t look like them* – I guess they are not part of “the other”. Again, “diverse” doesn’t mean “diverse”; it means blacks.

    The mind-reading and projection is really out of control; it must be an odd life, making up convoluted arguments against the stuff you made up about what other people are (not) thinking.

    One problem with believing that all white people are spending all their time thinking about the ways they are superior to blacks is the assumption that white people are spending much time thinking about blacks at all.

    • Agree: Joseph Doaks
  38. Let’s not even make the pedantic point to the original authors that after the 3rd Symphony that Beethoven is no longer Classical, but Romantic.

    So they’re wrong on definitions.

    It’s WesternArt Music, not Classical music.

    • Agree: Prester John
  39. @Mr McKenna

    BTW, they can have Beethoven No. 5. We have much better music than that.

    I totally agree with you on that point. And some of them were being composed well into the C20th as the picture of Sergei Vassilyevich implies. Sibelius was composing into the 1930s ( last published work , Tapiola 1926 ) as were Rachmaninoff and Ravel, among others. For many others, like Debussy, Elgar and Stravinsky, WWI was the end – in the cases of Elgar and Stravinsky not physically, but artistically.
    However, when these and other great artists died, there were no successors. Modern classical music tends to be classical in name only.

    • Replies: @Dago Shoes
  40. @TelfoedJohn

    Based on the conjecture of a mulatto.

    Exactly 80 years after Beethoven’s death, in 1907, the British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor began speculating that Beethoven was black. Colderidge-Taylor was mixed race – with a white English mother and a Sierra Leonean father – and said that he couldn’t help noticing remarkable likenesses between his own facial features and images of Beethoven’s.

    No wonder his father’s people haven’t advanced beyond mud hut technology.

    Richard Milhous Nixon said it ages ago. Blacks are so child-like. The Guardian editors are just indulging their fantasies.

  41. @guest

    No. Classical music derives from European culture. Nothing wrong with that.

    Everyone knows that.

    All this fuss is part of the ‘war on whites’ stratagem. To paraphrase columnist PCR, blacks are useful toolkits because they easily buy into the oppression dogma.

  42. countenance says: • Website

    But wait, I thought Beethoven was black, merely because one of his eight great-grandparents was from Spain, and we all know that Spain really means Moor, and Moor means black African.

    Beethoven symbols and visages are big in Bonn, one city upstream from where I currently live. And yes, I’ve visited Beethovenhaus. The savings bank (“Sparkasse”) where I have an account, Sparkasse KölnBonn, has as one its logos a mashup of the outlines of the Cologne Cathedral and Beethoven’s visage, and it’s on my debit card.

  43. Art Deco says:

    Sloan’s employed by the music school at USC “researches jazz, Tin Pan Alley, and popular music.”. Some faculties are begging to be dissolved and the professors employed therein dissolved.

  44. Ray P says:

    Schroeder will sort out these anti-Beethoven dummkopfs.

    • LOL: Bardon Kaldian
  45. Barnard says:
    @guest

    The reason they chose Beethoven’s 5th is because everyone know the first few notes. Their knowledge of classical music doesn’t extend much beyond this. Etiquette in concert halls comes from established standards not the age of concert goers. Even when elementary school students are taken on outings to hear the symphony they are given plenty of coaching about their behavior before they go.

  46. Many blacks could be won over for Beethoven. Just point out that he was, basically, ghetto when it comes to dressing; then, they could connect to his math skills. He couldn’t learn to multiply ordinary numbers, say, 5*6. He would add 6, five times.

    Then, his hair.

  47. Papinian says:

    They’ve been after Beethoven for a long time. Feminist musicologist Susan McClary published this in 1987:

    The point of recapitulation [when the first theme returns, after a section of development] in the first movement of the Ninth is one of the most horrifying moments in music, as the carefully prepared cadence is frustrated, damming up energy which finally explodes in the throttling murderous rage of a rapist incapable of attaining release.

    Musicology is an enormously interesting field. In order to be serious about it, one must learn almost every major European language, and conventions of music notation which are thoroughly alien to today’s musicians. The men who’ve made achievements in the field (Alfred Mann, Albert Schweitzer) are erudite. In case you didn’t know, we have deciphered the ancient Greek system of music notation. Because of its precision, we can hear, today, the music of the Seikilos Epitaph, fragments of theatre music from the 5th century BC, early Christian hymns, and the music of Hadrian’s court composer, Mesomedes (μεσομήδης)! This is unbelievable!

    But today, people like McClary and Taruskin have made the field completely unappealing. I once translated an untranslated 40-page Latin text of music theory from 1725 (untranslated, because of its nearly complete irrelevance. Still, there are a couple things to say about it). I was looking for a real academic to publish it with, and I found one, a guy who’d done his thesis on the music theory of the 13th and 14th centuries. To make a long story short, it turns out he had never bothered to learn Latin! In his own words, “I like to read texts side-by-side with their translations.” So I gave up my translation efforts. If someone wants to read this text, let him do the work.

    But the McClary quote has to be the worst of everything. To introduce into the public mind such an image! in such a context! It is defecation on the altar of Calliope and Cecilia.

    • Replies: @vinteuil
    , @jpp
  48. Now that Sloan and Harding have defined disrupting a performance with coughing and noise as being inclusive we need to arrange flash mobs of noisy coughers at every woke event.

  49. If they cancel Beethoven, guess that means they are giving up on him being a black African. Kinda weird since he didn’t own slaves, but I guess the counting in music is racist.

  50. The longer I live, the more I am inclined to agree with Nietzsche that much of human psychology is driven by resentment and envy.

    • Agree: Kolya Krassotkin
  51. Tom Verso says:

    I agree with your take on the finale of the 5th.

    Also, I would note that I never was and still am not a classical music lover, but I have always loved virtually everything Beethoven; and only listen to Beethoven’s classical music. Listening to Mozart et al is like watching girl’s basketball.

    Beethoven is, as the Woke crowd accurately note: a celebration of Western MAN, in all His magnificence. Comparing Mozart to Beethoven is like comparing Michaelangelo’s David with Donatello’s David.

    Michelangelo’s David depicts a mighty Western Man. While Donatello’s looks like the leader of a Gay Parade.

    Yet, it wasn’t until Youtube that I became a Beethoven fanatic -reading voluminously about him and his music. I had always listened to his music on LP records (remember them), but I never went to a concert (I didn’t know what to wear).

    Listening to Beethoven without ever seeing the orchestra was of course a pure aesthetic musical experience. But, the first time I saw a concert on Youtube, I was dumfounded at the physical dimensions of the music.

    As the above clip shows, those violin players look like they are sawing wood. And, the endurance! Just sitting through the 9th in comfortable concert hall seats is physically challenging. But, the players on those orchestra chairs and playing as they do —- so what’s up with the talk about the endurance of athletes?

    • Replies: @Papinian
  52. Say what you will about the little fudge packer but–Len Bernstein’s reading of The Fifth via the NY Philharmonic is, for me, still the gold standard (with all due respect to “Der Grosse Furtwängler”).

    Nevertheless, when he did The Ninth, Beethoven saved the best for last—-and the son of a bitch was DEAF when he composed it!

  53. @Henry Canaday

    Beethoven to Marx: “Du hast verloren” (“You lose”).

    • Agree: Bubba
  54. For others — women, LGBTQ+ people, people of color — Beethoven’s symphony may be predominantly a reminder of classical music’s history of exclusion and elitism …

    The author’s words are violence.

  55. Songs with no words just say too damn much. I will no longer listen to them, thus demonstrating that I am filled with morally goodness.

  56. @Art Deco

    Thanks Art. I have a relative in USC’s music Dept. I’ll ask him what he thinks of this new brat.

    • Replies: @stillCARealist
  57. Escher says:

    The transcendental beauty of western classical music is one of the most precious creations of European civilization. Too bad it is dying out in its home.
    Asia can preserve it, but can they build on it?

  58. @guest

    I disagree. I go to both the opera and the symphony and I always see black patrons there. At the free opera in the park or ballpark in SF there is usually a good number of blacks (granted they aren’t young). By contrast at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass concerts which have many multiples of attendance you never see a black person.
    The group missing from classical concerts are Hispanics and south Asians. Given that south Asians are the wealthiest group in the Bay area that’s kind of strange.

    • Replies: @guest
  59. DaveK says:

    It’s a well known historical fact that Richard Wagner was both black and Jewish. It’s true. It’s in the Bible.

  60. Papinian says:
    @Tom Verso

    If you knew anything about Mozart, you’d be drawing attention to the fabulous canon, “Leck mich im Arsch”. But you know nothing about him, so I will give your opinions equal weight.

    Especially since, by saying that Beethoven’s music is a celebration of men (you mean boys) you’re making exactly the same claim that the feminists do: that music is gendered, or is a celebration of a particular gender. But this must be exactly the opposite of Schiller’s meaning in the phrase “Alle Menschen werden Brüder”, “All men become brothers.” It is the universality of this sentiment, where “Menschen” stands for all people, not just for men, and “Brüder” stands for all fellowship, not merely for fraternity, which gives the poem and its symphony their enduring meaning. You and the feminists both degrade Beethoven.

    Stravinsky said in his Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons that “music is a form of speculation in time and space.” He means “speculation” in the sense of speculation for gold. This is exactly the same thought Goethe had when he described music as frozen architecture. Bach surely believed that his compositions existed in nature, placed there by God like stars in the heavens, objects which Bach, through painstaking, conscientious and unremitting labor, discovered and recorded for us, as an act of worship for the Omnipotent Father.

    This has nothing at all to do with genitals and sex! Our musical inheritance is not about sex!

    • Replies: @Papinian
    , @Tom Verso
  61. J.Ross says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    This. As an exercise, pick any sentence, imagine the editor snapping at the writer, “No, it didn’t!” and then try to defend the sentence’s idea. This piece is an egg truck crash of completely baseless, unsupported, and not really properly connected assertions. It’s like AI writing.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  62. “Are They Going to Come for Beethoven Too?”

    no. Beethoven was black. haven’t you heard?

  63. Sue D. Nim says: • Website
    @The Alarmist

    Hitler regarded Beethoven as one of the composers who represented the German spirit. Nazi propaganda promoted the composer’s music to the youth and adults in schools and concerts. During the course of WWII, the Allies ended up creating a far more famous use of Beethoven’s music as part of the “V for Victory” campaign, but it didn’t start out that way.

    By 1941, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) was broadcasting news bulletins in 34 languages. The information required quick and accurate translations several times a day. The Belgium population was divided into two language groups, French and Flemish, so the nightly broadcasts alternated between the two languages.

    The idea of using the “V” as a symbol of resistance came from Victor de Laveleye, a Belgian producer, who saw this as unifying the Flemish and French speakers. He picked “V” because it was the first letter of the French word Victoire (victory) and the Flemish word Vrijheid (freedom). As part of his broadcast on January 14, 1941, he encouraged the people of Belgium to paint a “V” on everything possible. This was their symbol for standing up to the Germans.

    The idea spread to other Allied countries and territories through the BBC broadcasts. In Morse code, “V” is dot-dot-dot-dash, or three short clicks and one long. People equated it with the opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

    That four-note motif was played on the timpani before every BBC wartime broadcast to Europe.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  64. The absurdity never ends with these woke losers… attacking the noble Beethoven!
    During the two decades that I lived in San Francisco, I regularly attended SF Symphony performances, but quickly learned to avoid what I termed “pops programs.” Symphonies by Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and other well known composers works would attract hipsters who hadn’t a clue how to behave in a concert hall. I would be very selective in my choices each season – anything by Stravinsky, Bruckner, Shostakovich or the Second Viennese School were generally safe, attended by polite, quiet, near reverent audiences.
    Live in NH now, so I listen almost exclusively to my vast CD collection, usually on the headphones… miss the thrill of a good live performance, though. As far as Beethoven goes, I generally immerse myself in his sublime piano sonatas & string quartets… so much to listen to and so little time left!

  65. When all you have that passes for “culture” are endless centuries of banging drums and painful ullulating then anything of substance must surely appear as an Everest of oppression.

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
    • LOL: Kylie
  66. Fox says:

    “For classical music critic James Bennett II, Beethoven’s popularity and centrality in classical culture is part of the problem. “As you perpetuate the idea that the giants of the music all look the same, it conveys to the other that there’s not a stake in that music for them,” he says. ”

    So, to quote Mark Twain in his witty remark about Wagner, the music that is not listened to is “better than it sounds”.

    Well, then.

    When will French Fries and Pizza become representatives of what is wrong with this world of Old White Men?

  67. I suppose it’s really been true for some decades now — but these people are parodying themselves.

    Slap a Babylon Bee banner on it and just enjoy the show.

  68. guest007 says:

    They are also coming for magnet schools.

    https://wtop.com/fairfax-county/2020/09/school-system-touts-change-to-elite-magnet-school-admissions/

    Having tryouts for sports teams is OK, having tryouts for performing arts schools are OK, but having exams for STEM high schools is a bad thing because blacks do not perform well enough. Why do so many educators want to discourage excellence in academic performance?

  69. Andy says:

    To me it’s hard to top the finale of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony

    By the way, those that said that Classic music is unbearably white and stiffy and so forth, can never explain why Asian audiences appreciate it so much (I think even more than whites, these days)

  70. dun dun dun DUNNNN

    BTW, what kind of moron translates those notes to anything ending in ‘N’ ?

  71. Anonymous[162] • Disclaimer says:

    Steve Sailer:

    “Are they going to come for Beethoven too?”

    No. To use jargon from the financial World, Beethoven is “too big to fail”. Beethoven is not only one of the two greatest composers ever besides Mozart, and probably the greatest musician ever, he is one of the top #10 geniuses ever period. He is one of the greatest *overall* geniuses in human history. He was a genius of the same level as Newton, Gauss and DaVinci. Except he was a genius in music, but his genius and relevance are in the same level as Newton, Gauss and DaVinci. Unless they discover that Beethoven raped, tortured and killed a bunch of little kids in his basement, his position in history is unassailable. Finding out that he was secretly a pedophile rapist and murderer is pretty much the only thing I can think of that could knock him off his pedestal. That is what it would take. Everything else, racism, sexism, owning slaves, being a wife beater, etc, none could demote him. He is just *too* big. He is Beethoven. Nothing else needs to be said.

    On the other hand, Beethoven had a larger-than-life masculine persona that is not looked upon favorably nowadays. He was an imposing, authoritative, domineering personality who immediately commanded respect from those around him. Such a personality might cause resentment, especially in classical music, which is dominated by gay men(a disproportional number of pianists and violinists playing classical music are gay). But still, Beethoven is quite difficult to demote.

    • Replies: @Ray P
  72. When you walk into a standard concert hall, there’s an established set of conventions and etiquette (“don’t cough!”; “don’t cheer!”; “dress appropriately!”) that’s more about demonstrating belonging than appreciating the music.

    The ordeal of civility strikes again. It is astounding how much of the wokeness is just POC and their handlers resenting common manners and behavior. Etiquette is the most basic aspect of good behavior, and even that is too much for them.

  73. JimDandy says:

    This is my favorite Beethoven work, but it probably wasn’t very helpful of me to bring it up right now.

    “The sonata was originally dedicated to the violinist George Bridgetower (1778–1860) as “Sonata mulattica composta per il mulatto Brischdauer [Bridgetower], gran pazzo e compositore mulattico” (Mulatto Sonata composed for the mulatto Brischdauer, great madman mulatto composer). Shortly after completion the work was premiered by Bridgetower and Beethoven on 24 May 1803 at the Augarten Theatre at a concert that started at the unusually early hour of 8:00 am. Bridgetower sight-read the sonata; he had never seen the work before, and there had been no time for any rehearsal.

    After the premiere performance Beethoven and Bridgetower fell out: while the two were drinking, Bridgetower apparently insulted the morals of a woman whom Beethoven cherished. Enraged, Beethoven removed the dedication of the piece, dedicating it instead to Rodolphe Kreutzer, who was considered the finest violinist of the day.”

    • Thanks: Je Suis Omar Mateen
  74. theMann says:
    @guest

    Not all modern music is bad:

    One album covering both sides of the argument.

  75. Beethoven is a miracle, but let’s not give short drift to Mozart, Haydn, and to even “lessers” like Hummel and Clementi (Beethoven may have briefly met Mozart as a 16 year old when the latter was busy composing “Don Giovanni” and really didn’t have time/energy to give to a wunderkind from Bonn, but Beethoven definitely knew all the others. In general Beethoven tented to be generous about other composers. He was for example a big gushing fan of Muzio Clementi whose school of piano Beethoven admired.)

    If you can see the beauty in the works of Beethoven’s peers, Beethoven’s own efforts will seem almost unbearably intense in comparison and you will get insight into how Beethoven’s music must have appeared to his contemporaries.

    The finale of the piano trio no. 3 in c minor, opus 1, which Haydn told his pupil that he should suppress…

  76. Daniel H says:

    Beethoven is as “urban” as hell. The author is one of these young ‘uns. He can be pardoned, he wasn’t around in the 70s disco era.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  77. Blacks are just getting back at Beethoven for removing the Mulatto violinist George Bridgetower from the dedication of Kreutzer Sonata. Bridgetower was also the first man to play that work with Beethoven.

    But after the premiere Beethoven and Bridgetower argued over a woman, so Beethoven renamed his dedication for another violinist, this time Rodolphe Kreutzer.

  78. Kronos says:

    I take it isn’t an accident that they’re going after people born (and dead) before 1945.

    I’d be very surprised if they go after The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, etc. I think even the most woke understand a Gamergate-like backlash in defense of Boomer music would be a very bad idea.

    • Replies: @JimDandy
  79. Binghamton, N.Y. features streets named for Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Handel, Schubert, Mendelsohn, Goethe, and Schiller. There’d be calls to raze the neighborhood, if it weren’t for Gay Street being right in the middle of it all.

    (There is a Wagner Street, too, but it’s across town and probably not named for Dick.)

    Much more German Cincinnati erased street names a century ago. Rockford Ave. in Rockford was originally Berlin, which seems more appropriate for a thoroughfare parallel to London, Paris, and Rome.

    Original German Street Names May Return to Cincinnati

    Rockford also has a Short Third Street, and Binghamton a Brevity Court. So enough for now…

  80. JimB says:

    Fortunately for Beethoven there are no photographs of him, so future US American elementary school textbooks can write some bullshit about how European musicologists whitewashed the fact that he was the offspring of slave on Barbados raped by a German sea captain and that Beethoven is really an ancestor of Bob Marley. Oh, and Bach is black, too.

  81. JimDandy says:
    @Kronos

    So, start a loud movement to cancel them. Lotsa red meat there for cultural-appropriation charges, amirite? 3-D chess, bro.

  82. They’re coming for EVERYTHING. By now we should all understand this.

  83. Barzini says:

    Some people speculate that Beethoven may have had some black African ancestry.

  84. vinteuil says:
    @Papinian

    The point of recapitulation [when the first theme returns, after a section of development] in the first movement of the Ninth is one of the most horrifying moments in music, as the carefully prepared cadence is frustrated, damming up energy which finally explodes in the throttling murderous rage of a rapist incapable of attaining release.

    Oh, yeah, do I ever remember that. The opening movement of the 9th as rape fantasy. This was all the rage – can it be – more than 30 years ago?

    At the time, I assumed it was just a passing phase.

  85. Anon[379] • Disclaimer says:

    I’ve noticed that efforts to cancel classical music don’t seem to get very far. Blacks just don’t listen to it and they don’t care one way or another about it. The Hispanic audience for it is almost nil. Asians aspire to it because it’s a status symbol for them (and a lot better than their native music), and the white listeners and players don’t care what liberals think about it. For example, trying to argue an opera fan out of their passion for political reasons just doesn’t work.

    Author Nate Sloan: He sure doesn’t look like a WASP.

    https://twitter.com/neatsloan?lang=en

  86. Ray P says:
    @Anonymous

    Isn’t the ‘Ode to joy’ in the fourth movement of the ninth the official anthem of the European Union? What will replace it? Jungle drums? Something performed on a jews harp? I’d prefer the opening of the first movement of Also sprach Zarathustra by Strauss.

  87. @G. Poulin

    “I’m going postal”

    The Beatles were great in a number of ways. But enough already.

  88. Bennett and the rest of that PC crowd are more absurd than the Mad Hatter. Amazing, all those years of education and less sense than the court jester.

  89. @Daniel H

    “Beethoven is ‘urban’ as hell.”

    Blacks could never compose Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, the third symphony of Saint-Saens, Porcupine Tree’s Anesthetize, the second symphony of Sibelius, Gang of Four’s I Parade Myself, and the entire oeuvre of Claude Debussy. This makes the white cult kids angry. The white cult kids want to burn down whitey’s house because blacks don’t measure up. Don’t try to defend yourself. Eric Holder’s FBI will arrest you.

  90. Papinian says:
    @Papinian

    *”. . . architecture as frozen music”, rather.

  91. I told you guys to stock up on “problematic” movies, TV shows, music, and art while you had the chance.

    I hope you took my advice. If not, start now.

    • Agree: dfordoom
  92. @guest

    I wish this weren’t the case, because every time I sit through a modernist piece I want to rip my chair out of its moorings and throw it onstage.

    Wasn’t always this way. I blame the way classical music divorced itself from popular music sometime in the previous century. (With exceptions.)

    I’ll repost my comment on the matter.

    Classical/concert music is dead from, say, the 1930s/40s. It doesn’t exist anymore except for a few, very few people who could be regarded an esoteric sect.

    Nobody, except almost sectarians, listens to that production. One can check music shops & similar areas & will find that, statistically, 99% of concert music repertory what customers buy & listen to belongs to the era that ends with WW1 or around. Early Stravinsky, some Schoenberg, Orff, perhaps some Honegger…and that’s it. John Cage, Stockhausen …hahahhah.

    This is, give or take- noise.

    Nobody cares for it. Nobody listens to it. Even if we put aside the central repertory (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Schubert, Verdi, Wagner, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Liszt, Palestrina, Brahms, …), I bet that old-timers like Hildegard von Bingen, Machaut, Ars Antiqua, Gregorian chant… outsell all composers from the 1940s on by so wide a margin that it would be tasteless to mention it.

    The point is- music, serious Western/global music has vanished because the communication has been broken. The rest is not silence- but noise.

    The same goes for visual arts where last painters worth looking at were, say, Schiele, Klee, Kandinsky, Chagall, Malevich (here, I’m not so sure), Delaunay, de Chirico, Rouault & a few others.

    Warhol, Pollock …pooh, nothing.

    Imaginative literature has been spared of that dismal fate simply because we don’t communicate in brush strokes or music notes. That’s why stories or novels written from 1950 to 2020 can- at least, some of them, still be read & enjoyed.

    • Replies: @jpp
  93. @Andy

    You don’t know many Asians I suspect.

    They are, in these benighted days, far more “unbearable white and stuffy and so forth” than are whites themselves.

    And God bless them for it.

  94. @Anonymousse

    Exactly.

    The goal is to erase the whole of human culture and replace it with the Dead Sea of the egalitarian myth.

    They seem to be succeeding with their first goal, but will get nowhere with the second.

    Inequality and hierarchy are the very warp and woof of creation.

  95. @vinteuil

    I don’t remember it because I don’t like Beethoven, except the piano sonatas and the quartets. Well, I have to admit that a certain Furtwängler performance of the 9th before a fascinatingly diverse audience in 1942 Berlin does get my undivided attention … both aurally and visually.

    As for the Fifth: it deserves better than this juvenile performance Steve chooses to present to us. I admit that the youthful performers are appealing, what with their enthusiasm and drive, but heavens don’t they need a competent conductor.

    • Replies: @vinteuil
  96. @Anon

    “Treating blacks like they are children incapable of any self control.”

    Duh…

  97. Papinian says:
    @vinteuil

    It appears to have ebbed at some point. Jan Swafford included this paragraph in the introduction to his 1997 biography of Brahms:

    I should mention that I began the book intending to explore the idea of Brahmsian lyricism as revealing the “feminine” side of of a composer who on the surface, at least in his bearded age, was a cigar-smoking, salty-talking old bachelor and man’s man, egregiously if inconsistently misogynistic. During the writing, however, I found that having undergone a decade of obsession over gender in books and magazines and academic discourse—scholarly exegeses of “gay” and “straight” cadences in music, and theories of men and women speaking different languages and coming from different planets—I no longer have any sensible idea at all of what constitutes “male” and “female.” Are lyric melody and falling-away cadences feminine, and forte dotted figures and downbeat cadences masculine? Shameful stereotypes, surely! The future can deal with the “feminine” in Brahms, if the future is up to it. Besides, I’m more interested in the sexes in their messy relations, than in their noble isolation.

    But I’ve heard from my friends that McClary is now part of graduate-level curricula. So the lack of scholarly coherence, or indeed musical interest, is beside the point. It’s the same in musicology as everywhere these days: opposition ist verboten! I have to say, I have never met worse people, people who are so self-assured that they will stab in cold blood, without a second thought, if they get a whiff of non-compliant thought. If you come across someone who had ANYTHING to do with music at Yale, treat him like someone pointing a loaded gun at you.

    • Agree: vinteuil
  98. guest says:
    @Larry, San Francisco

    If there’s a large black middle class where you live, perhaps that makes a difference.

    I live in Minnesota. There is a sizeable black population in the same city as the major concerthall, but they’re the wrong sort of blacks. Normally there are precisely zero of them at any concert I attend.

  99. @Sue D. Nim

    Thank you for your informative history. I would add that if you ever learned “ditty-bop” (black-speak for CW or Morse Code), you’d know that the dots are ‘dits’ and the dashes are ‘dahs’… I can still do 25wpm by ear.

  100. Tom Verso says:
    @Papinian

    Masculinity is by definition a trait of people who have male genitals i.e. men. And, one may leave the biological definition at that.

    But masculinity also has a connotative meaning conveying a sense of adjectives such as: power, force, aggressive, energy, etc. associated with the behavior of men.

    The hysterical audiences response to the debut performance of Beethoven’s 9th was a reaction to the incredible ‘power’, ‘force’ ‘energy’ of the music; in short, the masculinity of the music. Those are reasonable masculine characterization of the music. However, such masculine characterizations cannot be reduced to sexual connotations or gender political correctness.

    Similarly look at the masculine physical ‘energy’, the ‘forcefulness’ of the violin players in the above YouTube finale of his 5th. Players are literally rising off their chairs. I would characterize that finale as ‘masculine’; which is not to imply genitalia.

    Or, the ‘crashing’ opening of the 3rd – “Heroic Symphony” originally dedicated to that very masculine Man Napoleon.

    Of course, all judgments about art come down to subjective aesthetic judgments. My above note was simply positing one Man’s report about His experience of Beethoven and Michelangelo for that matter.

    By the way, you mention architecture. You may be interested to know that I often say the history of architecture ended with the Parthenon; everything after that is a variation on its theme or not worth looking at.

    Talk about narrow mindedness eh!

    Best

    • Replies: @Papinian
  101. Muggles says:

    Well, gonna write a little letter
    Gonna mail it to my local DJ
    It’s a rockin’ little record
    I want my jockey to play
    Roll over Beethoven
    Gotta hear it again today

    Chuck Berry, 1956

    So the Wokester mob hasn’t invented anything new. Of course not.

    For your mandatory morning calisthenics, you will not hear Beethoven. You will sing all eight stanzas of the “Internationale” sung as loudly as possible. Or else.

  102. @J.Ross

    It’s like AI writing.

    I can program a computer to write this drivel. Steve, you have my permission to give Vox, HuffPo, etc., my contact info.

  103. @Art Deco

    USC calls the Nate Sloan Beethoven podcast series a “celebration” – maybe they haven’t actually listened to it. Maybe they don’t want to tell their music students who are spending years and tens of thousands of dollars to learn to play classical music that they also are engaged in systemic racism and the othering of black bodies.

    Nate Sloan celebrates Beethoven’s 5th Symphony with special Switched on Pop series

    Switched on Pop, a podcast hosted by Musicology professor Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Hardin, is releasing “The 5th,” a four-part series about Beethoven’s 5th symphony featuring the New York Philharmonic.

    The series, presented in partnership with Vox Media, will dissect the symphony movement by movement and explore its context, legacy, and meaning. The first three episodes are currently available, and the finale will be released on September 18.

    “As 2020 marks Beethoven’s 250th birthday upon us, there’s no better time to revisit one of the most iconic pieces of classical music, and no one better to do so with than the orchestra that’s been performing it since 1842,” Sloan said.

    Sloan’s Switched on Pop podcast was the People’s Choice winner of the 2020 Webby Award for Best Arts & Culture Podcast.

  104. @Jaroslav Hašek

    “Live in NH now, so I listen almost exclusively to my vast CD collection, usually on the headphones”

    Vast, eh? My classical CD collection is 20,000 strong and growing. I admit it’s pretty much a mental illness at this point.

    Sorry you gotta listen on headphones. A good surround system powered by SACD and Blu-Ray trumps reality.

    • Replies: @Jaroslav Hašek
  105. @Jaroslav Hašek

    theclassicalstation.org streams a nice selection of classical music 24/7. They have operas Thursday nights, all request Fridays, and sacred music Sunday mornings. It is listener supported but not an NPR station so you are spared hourly propaganda newscasts and the execrable Judy Woodruff spouting the current talking points at 7pm on All Things (Liberal) Considered.

    • Replies: @Jaroslav Hašek
  106. Papinian says:
    @Tom Verso

    I just played a 4-hand arrangement of the 3rd a couple days ago with a friend! Great piece.

    Your weaker claim, that masculinity and Beethoven’s music share some qualities, is less objectionable to me than your stronger, that Beethoven’s music is a celebration of Western man.

    I think it’s enough to know that Beethoven, a Western man, did it. Similarly Forkel, Bach’s first biographer, ends his work with this exhortation:

    . . . and this man, the greatest musical poet and the greatest musical rhetorician that has ever existed, and probably that will ever exist, was a German. Be proud of him, oh Fatherland, be proud of him, but also be worthy of him!

    You don’t have to say Beethoven’s subject was Western man. I mean, I do get shivers just thinking about the prisoner’s chorus in Fidelio, “O Welche Lust” (“To draw a breath, with freedom’s air refreshing!” Ah!), but the subject there isn’t the men, it’s the nobility of political dissent. But perhaps this is a point to you, though, after all. . .

    But works like the Gross Fugue surely aren’t celebrations of man, or anything.

  107. @Andy

    It is hard for me to fathom how anyone could compose symphonic or operatic music in their heads, yet it has been done repeatedly, but sadly for the BIPOCs, mostly by white males.

    I can see why they are pissed, because they know they will never be able to do anything nearly as good. So they have to tear down those who have created the music that defines Western civilization.

    • Replies: @Charles St. Charles
  108. @Verymuchalive

    There were some additional Classical composers that you missed — Henryk Gorecki, for one — and Arvo Part for another.

    But it wasn’t just the great composers who died off — the great conductors and orchestras have gone the way of the dodo bird … 

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  109. njguy73 says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Yes, the Fifth Symphony is about overcoming adversity.

    And SJWs hate it when someone overcomes adversity. It means someone took responsibility for their life. And self-responsible people don’t need SJWs rioting for them.

    • Agree: Kolya Krassotkin
  110. Oh my God I know that Nate Sloan guy who co-authored this, we went to musicology school together. (I know, I know….). There was a whole presentation entitled “Beethoven Was Black” at the national meeting of the American Musicological Society about 7ish years ago, the relevant pop song was played and everything. I don’t know why he didn’t go to that session, guess he cared more about “The Origins of the Virelai” or some other session occurring at the same time.

  111. @Jim Don Bob

    It is hard for me to fathom how anyone could compose symphonic or operatic music in their heads, yet it has been done repeatedly, but sadly for the BIPOCs, mostly by white males.

    I can affirm, from my very limited ability compared to Beethoven, that one can reach a point where one can “hear” in one’s mind’s ear a piece of music and write it down in musical notation and know that it will sound just as you imagine. In a way it’s similar to a writer or poet who grows deaf but will still be able to write words and know how they will “sound”.

    Many trained composers (Beethoven studied with Haydn among others) write away from any instrument, they know from long training and experience how to write on a page what they imagine in their minds. It’s rather the amateur simple pop singer/songwriter who must “write” with a guitar or piano and a recording device at hand, and then hire a copyist or transcriber to notate what they have created (I’m looking at you Beatles and practically every pop artist since).

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  112. jpp says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    We partook of an exchange concerning some of these points about a month or two ago. I found aspects of merit in your responses. But in your final reply, which I never addressed, you opined that contemporary composed music is hopelessly obscure and you commented that ‘ Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, … is [the] literary equivalent of most post-1950 concert composers’ . This coincides with the sentiment of ‘guest’, who wants to ‘ to rip [his] chair out of its moorings and throw it onstage’ whereupon he beholds modern compositions. But this flippant philistinism ignores the accessibility of many mid twentieth century and onward classics. Consider, for instance, Olivier Messiaen’s ‘Quartet for the End of Time’, which is simultaneously highly intellectually progressive, heart wrenching, and universally acclaimed. I can vividly recall being instantly entranced by it’s ‘wheels within wheels’ rhythmic effect when I first listened to it as a teenager, on the recommendation of a Frank Zappa interview. Have the Unz philistines who bash modern music in the most banal manner ever listened to this piece? Are they even faintly aware of the hugely influential musical titan Messiaen comprises? As another example, I attended a concert a few years back in which Magnus Lindberg’s Clarinet Concerto constituted the main centerpiece. The audience consisted significantly of grey hairs, of the variety who usually show up to hear the likes of Mozart or Tchaikovsky. Nearly all responded rapturously to this composition, which is indeed quite modern, but also quite romantic in the sense of being striving and adventurous, rather than in the sense of being soppy and sentimental. How many Unz philistines have listened to it? As another example, consider the ominous, nocturnal, and intensely foreboding masterpieces of composers like Bartok, Penderecki, or Ligetti. Many a plebeian with no background in music theory or modern music has found himself enthralled with these works as they appear within Stanley Kubrik soundtracks. Some are even inspired to take these as footholds for continued modern musical explorations. How can one flatly proclaim that modern composed music is sterile, abstruse, over intellectually indulgent junk when there are viscerally thrilling composers like these around?

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  113. Dube says:

    Apologies for offering only one instrument, in a piece from the French Baroque.

    Arkaïtz Chambonnet plays Les Barricades Mystérieuses by François Couperin.

  114. @Charles St. Charles

    Ringo Starr tells a story about how one night he dreamed up the meldoic hook for his hit song about No, no, no, I don’t do it no more, I’m tired of waking up on the floor. But he needed to record or he’d forget it and not make millions off it. So, singing to himself so he wouldn’t forget, he got out his tape recorder. But the batteries were dead. So he had to drive to the drug store, singing all the time, and walk the aisles, singing, to find the batteries and then pay the clerk for them, all the while singing this inscrutable song.

    Beethoven had problems of his own, but he never had that problem.

    • Agree: Charles St. Charles
  115. Lagertha says:

    I’m kinda’ looking forward to underground clubs playing Beethoven, Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Wagner (oh my!) Handel, Haydn, etc., in an underground grungy club in Manhattan, London or Berlin circa 1981

  116. jpp says:
    @Papinian

    Taruskin is an interesting case. On one hand, I find his erudition extremely impressive, I find his manner of prose snappy and engaging, and I find his ‘Oxford History’ volumes deserving of their esteemed standing. There is even a blog called the ‘Taruskin Challenge’ I used to follow, which was maintained by sincerely motivated graduate students who documented their opinions of Taruskin’s epic Oxford tomes as they plowed through them. But Taruskin espouses a conceited arrogance and a tendency to indulge some of the most noxious academic tendencies as his career progresses. I find his thinly substantiated indictments of antisemitism in Stravinsky particularly odious, along with his feigned outrage of scholars who dare contest them. In these allegations there are no stimulating insights about Stravinsky’s art or the context of his art, just the indecently gleeful specter of a cat playing with its prey, and the vulgar triumph of a narcissist who has successfully manipulated certain perversities of the contemporary academy, to his personal ego enrichment, but not towards the scholarly cause. In a sense, Taruskin resembles Harold Bloom as someone who churned out impressive, assiduous scholarship into his middle years, but who, upon assuming the mantle of a primary institutional critic, lapsed into a caricature of his initially high brow originating self.

    • Thanks: Bardon Kaldian
  117. @Dago Shoes

    Gorecki and Part were post-classical composers. They were not part of the classical cannon. Their slow, repetitious, religious-inspired music has been called the “music of exhaustion”. It has always left me cold.
    The last classical composer of note – indeed, the last classical composer ever – was Joaquin Rodrigo ( 1901-99 ). He was taught by Dukas and Ravel among others. As well as his famous guitar concerti, he wrote concerti for piano, cello, harp and flute, as well as choral work. I would particularly recommend the piano concerto. Sadly, much work is still inaccessible to the public. He was blind and wrote in braille. This was transliterated into musical notation by his wife. 20 years after his death, much still remains untransliterated.

  118. @jpp

    I completely agree re Messiaen, Bartok (OK, he died, I think before the end of WW2) & a few others. But they are not prevalent, nor characteristic among post-WW2 composers. What dominates are Stockhausen, Cage & others. And no one but pretentious post-modernists would “listen” to these pieces…

    • Replies: @jpp
  119. Apparently those who think classical music is just for the “high brow’s “, hasn’t heard of Yngwie Malmsteen. The guy was transcribing Paganini pieces for the guitar when he was a kid, as well as writing his own classical rock pieces… He also happens to be a white Swede, no black!
    And whoever is analyzing things like the meaning behind the meaning of Beethoven’s 5th has way too much time on their hands and needs to get a life!

  120. @ThreeCranes

    Rossini’s Tell Overture is fabulous! But, being a former Soldier, I am partial to von Suppe’s Light Cavalry Overture, though. Not sure if Lord Cardigan and his doomed troopers at Balaclava in 1854 was an inspiration for Suppe (he composed it in 1866), but it was obviously linked with it in the minds of many.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charge_of_the_Light_Brigade

  121. @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    Wow! 20,000, huh? I thought I was mad with my 6000+ CDs of mostly classical & jazz… but you’ve got me beat by a mile…. hell, I’m almost normal!

    I do have a traditional stereo setup with an old Yamaha CD player (Made in Japan) that I picked for around $1000 at Hickam AFB in ‘92, my last year in the Marine Corps…. a modest Acurus pre-amp & power amp & a nice pair of English Mission loudspeakers, but nothing in your league!

    Lately, I spend all my money on my latest obsession of the past several years – guns & ammo. Not giving up on the crazy, just shifted focus….

  122. @Jim Don Bob

    Thanks for the tip, I’ll be checking that out soon!

  123. ES says:

    The famous first movement of the Fifth doesn’t do much for me

    Always makes me think of D-Day.

  124. halraiser says:
    @guest

    Maybe nobody ever used dun-dun-dun-DUN to gain access to a normal club, but the BBC did use to great effect during WWII to introduce broadcasts. Not only can the Roman numeral symbol for five, V, stand for victory, but those notes are essentially Morse code for V. The BBC used it to symbolize the effort toward victory in that war, a war that defeated the most racist regime in history.

  125. @stillCARealist

    Report back:

    Mr. Sloan is charismatic and full of dangerous ideas.

    Sounds like every revolutionary ever.

  126. @vinteuil

    It’s Mengelberg, Mengelberg, Mengelberg: the best Beethoven interpreter I mean.
    His 1938 rendition of the Sixth with, of course, his Concertgebouw Orchestra is transformative, at least in my case. It has, overnight, turned a respectful indifference to Beethoven’s symphonies into a startled realisation of a lifetime’s error.

    And he was Mahler’s favourite interpreter too. Now that worries me.

    • Replies: @baythoven
    , @vinteuil
  127. jpp says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    I slightly disagree with a few comments.

    To start, I must confess that one of my principal frustrations (not with you in particular, but generally) with discussing modern composed music on Unz is that there seems to be a great deal of confusion as to how and why twentieth century music became abstract. A typical Unz attitude proceeds as thus; Schoenberg introduced atonality into modern music, after that the lemmings
    followed him off of the cliff. All music devolved into an ’emperor with no’ clothes scam in which pretentious frauds spew desultory notes, analogous in visual art to a New York City hipster
    dumping some metal scraps on the floor and presenting these as deep sculpture. But this ignores the deep rootedness of Schoenberg’s music within the traditions of Wagner / Brahms, and ignores the continuity with which he self consciously extended upon this German romantic tradition. Schoenberg was indeed a German expressionist; his music was intentionally angsty, musically comparable in character to Georg Trakl or Stefan Georg poems, which he would sometimes orchestrally narrate. His infamous tone rows served less as vehicles for random fiddling than as filtration mechanisms to guard against slipping into sentimental cliches of the past. Similarly with Alban Berg. It was not until Webern that total abstraction became the end in and of itself. Then, apotheosizing Webern, Pierre Boulez and company established the Darmstadt school, thereby initiating a transient period from somewhere about 1950-1980 whereby ‘total serialism’ became the prevailing dogma in certain influential quarters. Ranking amidst this milieu were figures like Stockhausen, Babbit, Carter, Cage, Lachenmann, Kurtag, Xenakis and others who composed extremely difficult, abstract music. Thus is my extremely brief historical delineation of affairs.

    But into this picture, a few popular misconceptions enter on Unz. First, contra insinuations which get bandied about, almost none of these composers credibly embodied ‘postmodernism’ in any real way. Many Unz commentators seem to allege that modern composers are frivolous, that their music is so overtly ridiculous that they must be participants in a fraud of which they are inwardly self conscious. But this is not so. Babbit, a proponent of analytic philosophy, snidely criticized imprecise thought and averred that technical analysis is the only valid modality of music criticism and appreciation. Boulez, renowned for his precision, represents the sober, Cartesian rationalist aspect of the French intellectual. John Cage, though he naturally invites such categorization upon himself for having composed 4’33, was really more musically sincere than people credit, and to judge him exclusively on the basis of 4’33 is like judging Ravel exclusively on the basis of Bolero. Indeed, I personally rather dig compositions such as ‘Fifty Eight’. But I digress. My main contention of this paragraph is that most Darmstadt school styled high atonal music is buttressed by an intense devotion to mathematical purity and to structural integrity with underlying theories. These composers are not generally the caliber of goofs who grift off of a reputation for being artsy while churning out craftless dreck, as seems to get imputed by your invocation of ‘postmodern’.

    A second misconception, in my opinion, is the notion that Darmstadt style total serialism became dominantly influential; that it completely decimated music, or as you phrase it, that intuitively listenable music is ‘not prevalent, nor characteristic among post-WW2 composers’. Perhaps one could have gleaned this impression around the 1950’s, when Boulez and his ilk were publically bullying traditional composers, or when they succesfully pressured Stravinsky into abandoning neoclassicism to join the dark side. But really, by the late 70’s / early 80’s, the founding project had well lost its elan, and the general musical academy had fractured along many schisms. A fair number of ‘progressive but tasteful’ composers of the post 1950s period seemed to glide by total serialism altogether, and preferred to continue where Ravel, Debussy, and Bartok left off. I have namedropped such composers on other occasions, and I think it would be vulgar at the current juncture to insert a laundry load list, but here I have in mind, say, Henri Dutilleux, or Toru Takemitsu, or Alexander Goehr, or Salvatorre Sciarrino, or Witold Lutoslawksi. Even among certain initial radicals, retrenchment ensued. EG, Penderecki returned to composing in the idiom of traditional concert music, and Ligetti began doing things that might have been passe during the height of formal abstractionism, such as incorporating elements of Eastern European folk songs into his work. Today, one could boast of more than a few contemporary listenable composers (Ades, Peka Salonen, Saariaho) who somewhat disdain the Boulez paradigm and write colorful, lyrical music influenced by the the Ravel-Debussy-Bartok-Stravinsky-Scriabin axis of modernism.

    Summating, my problem with modern music hating on Unz is that it obsesses (often from a somewhat distorted perspective) with the the genre of atonalism initiated by Schoenberg and continued to extreme form by Boulez, Stockhausen, et al.. Simultaneously, it ignores the contributions of the Ravel-Debussy-Bartok-Stravinsky-Scriabin axis of musical composition and the enduring influence of this axis upon future generations of composers.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  128. baythoven says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    So now you declare who is the best Beethoven interpreter, and in an earlier reply on this thread you state, “I don’t like Beethoven, except the piano sonatas and the quartets.”

  129. That’s right.

    The other conductors to whom I had listened all, it seems to me, approach Beethoven as one does a monument. Mengelberg approaches him as a source of musical discovery.
    He was a genius, so he discovers quite a lot in Beethoven which the others don’t seem to have even dreamed of.
    They copy each other, while Mengelberg judges for himself.
    Of course he had formed an instrument in the Concertgebouw which was the perfect interpreter of his will. The other greats of the period were perhaps too peripatetic?

  130. vinteuil says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    I don’t like Beethoven, except the piano sonatas and the quartets.

    Heh – that’s a pretty big “except!”

    I have to admit that a certain Furtwängler performance of the 9th before a fascinatingly diverse audience in 1942 Berlin does get my undivided attention…

    Furtwängler’s April 1942 performances of the 9th during the celebrations for Hitler’s birthday were, to the extent we can judge, based on the surviving audio & video evidence, uniquely…charged.

    The great crisis in the middle of the opening Allegro which this silly woman wished was her being raped…no other recorded performance that I know of even comes close in sheer ferocity.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
  131. vinteuil says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    It’s Mengelberg, Mengelberg, Mengelberg: the best Beethoven interpreter I mean.
    His 1938 rendition of the Sixth with, of course, his Concertgebouw Orchestra is transformative, at least in my case.

    Thanks for the heads up, OPA. I’ve had Andrew Rose’s restoration of Mengelberg’s 1940 Beethoven cycle sitting around waiting for me to listen to it for several years now – and, I must admit, his opening movement of the 6th is a lot of fun…very spritely, in contrast to the sleepy norm established by Bruno Walter’s classic recording.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
  132. @jpp

    I don’t care what most Unz commenters think of the historical development of “modern music” (to call it that). They are, generally, prone to conspiracy thinking.

    Be as it may, the 20th C music, somewhere in the 1910- 1930 period, has undergone such a transformation that has lead to the situation we have now. And this means that nobody, except dedicated specialists & something close to initiated sectarians, doesn’t know nor care about what’s going on. Nobody listens to this. Nobody even knows names of the composers who have appeared on the scene in past 50 years. This is, having in mind Western culture in past 200-300, a situation without precedence. Sterility on steroids.

    The same goes for the visual arts, especially performances. This is nothing, basically a worthless masturbation. And again, it doesn’t matter who is to “blame”, Manet, Cezanne, Picasso or Mondrian. The result is the same – sterility & utter insignificance.

    With imaginative literature, this is not the case. If, as ever, we consider educated non-specialist public, there have been, in past 50 years, works worth reading. For instance, stories, novels, essays, memoirs by Yourcenar, McCarthy, Updike, Vargas Llosa, Canetti, Grass, Eco, Bloom, ….

    This is very different from music & painting/sculpture.

    And it is irrelevant how it all came to pass.

    • Replies: @jpp
  133. Mao Zedong’s wife Qiang Qing, when she was in charge of China’s cultural life, also banned Beethoven, at that occasion because he was labeled “bourgeois”!

  134. jpp says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    These considerations tend to circle back upon the conclusion that recent and contemporary high brow composed music is generally unlistened to, that it is not party to a meaningful and continued
    cultural consciousness. Of course, I mainly grant this, though in matters of magnitude, I dissent to a fair degree. If 2% of the 1% most educated people engage with this spectrum of the arts and form tangible sustained sub-communities, that’s good enough for me. If venerable institutions like the New York Philharmonic or the London Symphony Orchestra more than occasionally incorporate recent and contemporary works into their repertoire, that isn’t nothing.

    But there are two particular counterpoints I’d like to advance in response to your latest, one of which concerns the untenability of your assertion concerning historical “precedence”. Specifically, you write, “Nobody even knows names of the composers who have appeared on the scene in past 50 years. This is, having in mind Western culture in past 200-300, a situation without precedence.”
    With respect to musical accomplishment, France, England, Poland, Russia, Finland, Hungary, America, and Japan each had nil or at best about fewer-than-you-can-count-on-one hand truly stand out, culturally remembered, intellectually trailblazing composers prior to the twentieth century. In the twentieth century, the number of composers each of these national cultures could boast drastically dwarfed that of preceding periods. In fact, I would argue that Germany is the only major cultural entity whose institutions of musical composition backslid during this time (so much for Schoenberg’s promises about German musical supremacy for centuries to come, lol). In light of this chronological disparity, how are the general circumstances of musical achievement of recent times relative to those of the preceding 300 years “without precedence”?

    Secondly, you seem to invest a quixotically enthusiastic confidence in the influence of recent literature. You adumbrate “Yourcenar, McCarthy, Updike, Vargas Llosa, Canetti, Grass, Eco, Bloom” but you provide zero evidence that any of these figures are grist to the mill of a communicative, letter writing public which thrives on the consumption of great literature. You provide zero evidence that these figures are part of some healthy literature appreciating zeitgeist. For my part, I will admit, pardon, that I have never engaged with Yourcenar, Vargar Llosa, or Canetti. To me, the zany mannerism of Gunter Grass invites unflattering comparisons to the mixed metaphor riddled style of NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Regardless, my perception is that to an above average educated person in the West, the list you furnish consists of people he’s never heard of, a middlebrow American about whom he had to slog out an assignment on some odd occasion in primary school, and a guy who inspired a zombie movie. A person here may occasionally dabble with the poetry of Seamus Heaney. Another might prefer that of Mark Strand. But from the perspective of recognition, relevance, and unified scene, the ‘sterility & utter insignificance.’ prevails in equal measure as with music. Now, you might respond that the literary figures you have so delineated are at least more readily intelligible than those of the musical artists I have mentioned. But this would not be a fantastically convincing path to pursue. For one, many of the composers I have presented are quite understandable. To boot, intelligibility as not tantamount to cultural relevance or quality. As well, more than a few loosely supposed masterpieces of recent literature, such as Pynchon’s ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’, are even more difficult to grok than the works of many of the composers I have variously enumerated.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  135. @jpp

    It has been dragging for too long, so to conclude:

    If 2% of the 1% most educated people engage with this spectrum of the arts and form tangible sustained sub-communities, that’s good enough for me. If venerable institutions like the New York Philharmonic or the London Symphony Orchestra more than occasionally incorporate recent and contemporary works into their repertoire, that isn’t nothing.

    This is nothing. When one considers all the hullabaloo following Rossini, Wagner, Beethoven, Verdi, Puccini, Tchaikovsky,… -nothing. Verdi was a national hero; people got into fist-fights over Brahms & Wagner; Stravinsky’s Rites resulted in demolition of a theater. Now- who cares about all these composers, even if we know their names ?

    No one.

    Do they arouse passions, not only emotional, but aesthetic-cognitive? No. Do they make an imprint on a society? No. Do they inspire other artists or thinkers the way Beethoven inspired Goethe or Wagner, Proust? No.

    In light of this chronological disparity, how are the general circumstances of musical achievement of recent times relative to those of the preceding 300 years “without precedence”?

    When Beethoven died & funeral procession went on, a visitor asked a lady hawker what’s all about, why are tens of thousands of people marching through Vienna. She answered: They are burying the general of all musicians.

    Secondly, you seem to invest a quixotically enthusiastic confidence in the influence of recent literature. You adumbrate “Yourcenar, McCarthy, Updike, Vargas Llosa, Canetti, Grass, Eco, Bloom” but you provide zero evidence that any of these figures are grist to the mill of a communicative, letter writing public which thrives on the consumption of great literature. You provide zero evidence that these figures are part of some healthy literature appreciating zeitgeist.

    I am not talking about whom I (dis)like; I am not talking about possible canonical status of those authors. And I am not talking about American parochialism. Just, for countries like Italy, Russia, Denmark, Germany, France, Japan… you have 30-50% people with graduate education; and perhaps 5-10% & more have read something from Canetti, Eco or Garcia Marquez. Generally, most post-high school people know at least who these people are, and many of them had read, or tried to read a book or two of these authors.

    Unlike composers, where no one knows or cares about them.

    • Replies: @jpp
  136. @vinteuil

    I particularly like the way the first and second violinists first look startled, then disbelieving and finally give each other amused looks.

  137. @vinteuil

    I don’t find that his Ninth succeeds to anything like the same degree.

    Perhaps the players were too pre-occupied by the German planes they imagined were already roaring triumphantly overhead.

  138. jpp says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    I concur that this conversation has largely exceeded its expiration date, but I will append a few more notes for posterity.

    As evidence of composed music’s fading relevance, you mention the attentions accorded to Beethoven’s funeral. I might mention that during the publication of the ‘Brothers Karamazov’,
    which was released over several installments, each of these were publicly received with rapturous public acclaim, and continued anticipations. I have even read that whereupon Dostoyevksy was spotted in public during this period, it was not uncommon for recognizing bypassers on the street to doff their hats, shower him with applause, and exclaim their plaudits. Could one possibly imagine such an exalted reception for a public work of genuine literature today? You see, literature, concomitantly with the traditional arts, has also experienced a general diminution in public standing.

    You ask as to whether recent composers “inspire other artists or thinkers the way Beethoven inspired Goethe or Wagner, Proust?”. Well, that is an interesting angle, but I think that there are more results here than you realize. Off the top of my head, Gabriel Garcia Marquez apparently had deep interests in modern music. Olga Neuwirth has collaborated with Elfriede Jelinek on an opera rendition of David Lynch’s ‘Lost Highway’. Takemitsu has created film scores for respectably admired Japanese Films. Kaija Saariaho has collaborated on works with Finnish litterateur Sofi Oksanen.

    Most galling is your snippet “Do they arouse passions, not only emotional, but aesthetic-cognitive?”. The idea that contemporary composed music merely ‘arouses passions’ but lacks an ‘aesthetic-cognitive’ component is bogus. The entire thrust of my recent screeds has been that there exists a cannon of recent composed works which amount to much more than merely dead ended experiments in the hyper avant garde. As one example, consider Dutilleaux’s ‘Ainsi la Nuit’, which I consider to rank among the most venerable of string quartets. The music is sophisticated and challenging, by no means facile, but also richly lyrical, and, as Dutilleaux characterizes it, palpably exhibits Proustian qualities of introspective reflection. It evokes a nocturnal vibe, comparable to the famed ‘night music’ middle movements of various of Bartok’s masterpieces. As another example, consider Ligetti’s piano etudes, which I consider, along with maybe Messiaen’s ‘Vingt Regards’, to comprise one of the most seismically innovative piano suits of the approximate past 75 years. The works are technically virtuosic, and often quite complex, but also well more than merely academically rarefied. Etude 13 (“The Devil’s Staircase”) evinces elements of humor. Some of the etudes, EG “Autumn in Warsaw” manifest frissons of inner anxieties. And I could cite a veritable battery of pieces from recent composers which measure up quite rightly in quality with the front catalogs of anthologized common practice composers. My recent posts bestow more than ample points in that direction. Anyone who denies the existence of deeply artistically enriching musical masterpieces over the recent period is either being disingenuous in his acknowledgments or simply lacks an aptitude for music.

    And as for the comment about European literary habits, that one gave me a good chuckle. I don’t quite know where your 50% is coming from, but I do know that I have met (not unintelligent or entirely disinterested people, mind you) Hungarian graduate students who prefer American negro rap over the music of their national composers, Portuguese professors who think that Saramago isn’t worth a pair of boots, and so forth. Okay, I’ll admit that literature is maybe slightly more read than composed music is listened to, however, I am afraid I can but place dim stock in your assurances regarding European belletristic sensibility and sophistication.

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