Saturday, December 17, 2016

Hmm …

… The Music of the Future | Future Symphony Institute. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A radical break seems to have occurred, with two consequences that the listening public find difficult to absorb: first, modern works of music tend to be self-consciously part of an avant-garde, never content to belong to the tradition but always overtly and ostentatiously defying it; second, these works seem to be melodically impoverished, and even without melody entirely, relying on sound effects and acoustical experiments to fill the void where melody should be.
Much contemporary music is designed to disguise the fact that the composer has no gift for melody. I have heard plenty of contemporary works that are not atonal, or even very dissonant, but that have no theme and no melody, but are simply arrangements of  sound effects. When I first heard, years ago, Boulez's "La complainte du lézard amoureux," I rather liked it, though it seemed to be a kind of exaggerated Debussy. But while, to paraphrase Beecham, it penetrated the ear with facility, it left the memory with little difficulty — unlike, say Esa Pekka Salonen's violin concerto, which grabbed me right from the start.

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