Links and Kinks

The miscellany of the intertubes … my post on Mahler brought up a ping-back that led me to this good article on Mahler’s orchestration … quite often, the web is like high school, full of people who’s experience and thinking are limited, and since they can’t see beyond the walls of their own enclosure, they live in smug assurance of their own superior taste and intellect. Exhibit the Nth, this boor from Toronto who feels Asian musicians have removed the ‘oomph’ that he expects from … The Messiah? Audiences like this are the ones who give classical music a bad name … I am sympathetic to the sentiment at Pentimento, but I disagree with the root problem. Culture is not a zero-sum game, and there is nothing wrong with emphasizing what is personally indigenous: everyone could use Beethoven, but if Americans truly cared about their culture they would study Sun Ra. The problem is that everything is a commodity, everything is a market, everything has a price and nothing has a value. One important political party wishes to dismantle society and leave everyone on their own, so of course they don’t want to invest any money in education, and the other is in thrall to the most material measures of mechanical achievement, which might be fine metrics for robots but have nothing do with humanity …  I was curious about The New Inquiry after this mildly ridiculous New York Times article, and now I think that it demonstrates problems with undergraduate education at some of our more clubby universities … and I never tire (well, maybe I do), of wondering why good musicians usually have fine taste in books, while good writers usually have mediocre and behind-the-trends taste in music; Vampire Weekend? Death Cab for Cutie? At least there’s Murakami.

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