I have excerpted the end of the article. You can read the whole thing here. Overall, I am not totally unsympathetic. However…
I propose a radical new idea: Tell the truth!
Ah, truth. Objectivity. The polar opposite of opinion. That sounds great; tell me the truth!
Stop insisting that the classics consist of an unbroken chain of perfect masterpieces of equal worth, and let people compare, judge, and even (gasp!) dislike some of them.
No one is insisting that, at least not around here. However, more egregious is your parenthetical (gasp!). Did you learn that in writing school?
After all, huge crowds go to the movies every week and nine times out of ten hate what they see.
But they still go back, time after time. This must be, at least in part, because they feel comfortable about that fact that they are free to like or dislike the film, as they chose.
The lesson here is clear: the exercise of choice enhances, rather than diminishes, the general attraction of the medium.
It is? Well, what’s the problem with classical music?
The problem with classical music is that people too often feel that it’s a “take it or leave it” proposition. So they leave it, and who can blame them?
I…what happened to the truth? That thing you were writing about?
As a public service, therefore, I propose to close this editorial by revealing ten of classical music’s dirtiest secrets, the kind of facts that you’ll find critics and writers vigorously denying in program note booklets, articles, and reviews.
Golly gee, thanks!
But admit it folks, deep down we all know the truth, don’t we?
Um, maybe? Is the objective knowable? Is truth different than opinion? I assert that it is. Truth is different than opinion.
Judge for yourself:
Thanks! I think I will.
1. Mozart really does all sound the same.
Opinion. To boot, a really stupid opinion. In fact, a retarded, ill-informed opinion. How many Mozart pieces have you ever heard?
2. Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge is just plain ugly.
Opinion. I love that piece, which is also an opinion. But I can distinguish the difference, see?
3. Wagner’s operas are much better with cuts.
Opinion. You hate Wagner, or something. The effect of the three-hour waiting-for-one-chord deal is diminished when you shorten the opera.
4. No one cares about the first three movements of Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique.
I…you…did you ever study music? Opinion, attached to broad generalization with no research.
5. Schoenberg’s music never sounds more attractive, no matter how many times you listen to it.
Opinion! Now I’m getting mad. I love Schoenberg. So…I’m an idiot? How about: you’re an idiot.
6. Schumann’s orchestration definitely needs improvement.
Opinion, but bandied about enough. A popular thing to say, however, not fact. Probably the best of the ten, if still unnecessary.
7. Bruckner couldn’t write a symphonic allegro to save his life.
8. Liszt is trash.
Opinion. And really, really poorly worded, if concise. Pithy, even. I know plenty of scholars who disagree. Not to mention music lovers! You know, music lovers?
9. The so-called “happy” ending of Shostakovich’s Fifth is perfectly sincere.
Opinion? I have no fucking idea what this means.
10. It’s a good thing that “only” about 200 Bach cantatas survive.
Opinion. If anything is agreed upon, is that Bach was awesome.
What happened to truth? Oh, truth = opinion. Great. Nice job, professional critic. That sucked.