3/26/09

This Year's "Ouch, My Logic Bone!" Award Goes to...

Cheryl North of the Contra Costa Times:

Sadly, most contemporary compositions these days just aren't readily likable at first hearing.

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[cricket, cricket]

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[Ugh. I’m too irritated to type anything nice for the moment; so I’ll just let it be]

This one was different.

Uh huh.

The old "here's a straw man to show people how much this piece defies the common wisdom that contemporary music sucks" tactic.

In what way does it not suck, Cheryl?

The way it formed an arc from atmospheric mystery through tension, and then onto a breathless resolution that ultimately evolved into a heavenly sense of peace, reminded me of Samuel Barber's beloved "Adagio for Strings" — and if enough people hear this new Vask [sic] work, I predict it will share a similar popularity.

Fair is fair. Let’s see if my logic bone is broken: Cheryl was previously familiar with the Adagio for Strings. She likes the Adagio. She heard something that reminded her of it. Thus, she liked what she heard.

And while I'm at it, maybe I can rephrase that first sentence:

Sadly, most compositions just aren’t readily the Adagio for Strings.

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What's more, Vasks’ music (here) reminds me of Barber, too (here).
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4 comments:

Gustav said...

Yes, yes, the Gorecki/Part/Minimalism tonality is quite palatable to the ignorant, biased classical music "lovers" of the world. Barf. I'd almost rather you hated that to. And seriously, comparing it the Adagio for Strings -- might as well say it "reminded me of that piece from Platoon...you know at the end when everyone dies and there's that helicopter."

Empiricus said...

I was taken aback by that for a while. But as cooler head prevailed, I conceded that she could like whatever she wants to like. If that's the Part/Goerecki/minimalism/Adagio for Strings paradigm, so be it. (In my old age, as it were, I'm slowly beginning to think that they're not dumbing down the music more than they are choosing an established (perhaps easy) way of doing things. I don't have to like them and I don't. But that's only my opinion.) While I wish the level of general American music education in listeners was higher, I can easily leave that music for those who find some worth still left in it. I mean, heck, I listen to renaissance music all the time--I don't want to play the hypocrite.

Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to highlight the word(s) in that first sentence that irked me (still without comment):

1. SADLY, most contemporary compositions aren't readily likable [...]

2. Sadly, MOST contemporary compositions [...]

3. Sadly, most contemporary compositions THESE DAYS [...]

4. Sadly, most contemporary compositions these days just aren't READILY LIKABLE [...]

5. Sadly, most contemporary compositions these days just aren't readily likable AT FIRST HEARING.

I still have to temper my commentary because of all the all unforgivable problems in this horrible sentence. "Ouch, My Logic Bone!" Award indeed.

Sator Arepo said...

I think I find the false nostalgia for the days when most new classical compositions were likable the most disturbing thing of all.

The imaginary notion that, during (what is now, in retrospect) seen as the Common Pracitce Era (TM), all music was accessible and immediately loved is (at least) aggravating. All new art, revolutionary art, challenging art, has usually been met with disdain, suspicion, and/or befuddlement, if not outright contempt.

Also, it's been 100+ years since the turn of the last century. Let's try and get ourselves caught up, shall we? No? What then? More Barber sound-alikes? Until The End of Time?! Freaking great.

source said...

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