The Type of Audience Classical Music Doesn’t Need

The fundamental issue is that Jay Nordlinger is unaware that D minor is the saddest of all keys. On top of that, in the use of Beethoven and Bach on Countdown, he “senses, somehow, a defilement.”

To such crabbed, prissy conservatism, which seeks to take something earthy and vital and make it precious, effete, and to sequester it from the likes of people who don’t share the National Reviews combination of ignorant smugness and misanthropy, I must say Fuck You Jay. NRO is all about preserving a decadent class-based system of social, economic and political segregation, and if Jay Nordlinger ran into Beethoven on the street, Beethoven who was loud and hated government snooping and the aristocracy and enjoyed the satisfaction of a good shit, he would find Beethoven distasteful, as if defiled by the presence of a social lesser.

This is the kind of phony aesthete that music can do without, someone who’s pleasure is being able to purchase a ticket and wear a suit that others cannot afford, someone who doesn’t actually love music. Nordlinger suffers from the same materialistic view of art that infests American liberalism, the idea that it has some sort of ameliorative social purpose. He claims Bach and Beethoven were forces for great good in the world, which they actually were not. They were composers who produced some of the greatest art human culture can achieve. While their work has given countless people pleasure through the centuries, what great good did they force? Nordlinger’s existence and professional post, listener to the greats that he claims to be, is proof that listening to great, humane music does not produce great, humane people.


Author: gtra1n

I'm a composer and musician, and I write about music—I do that here, for the New York Classical Review, at the Brooklyn Rail (I edit the music section there) and any place else that will have me, like New Music Box and Music & Literature. I also wrote the Miles Davis' Bitches Brew book in the 33 1/3 series.

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