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Sad but true

Discussion in 'The RedBanned Bar & Grill' started by Doug Gibson, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. When I worked at the NY Philharmonic we all heard these rumors. This was 2009-ish.
    Even then it was old news. I personally have some serious reservations about how quickly people are getting
    their entire careers tossed. Also that there seems to be a complete lack of nuance to discern what is a mistake, and
    what is a predator. To the extent that predators are getting thrown out, I highly applaud.

    From Weinstein, to O'Reily to Spacey etc.... there is enough repeat pattern of behavior to truly say this is outside the lines.

    This is one that is a long time coming and personally I am glad.


    If you don't know..... he is the best conductor America has produced in the last 100 years. Better than Lenny.
    He really is a virtuoso. Which is why this was kept under cover for so long.

    I am drawing a line here as I want to pivot to a different but related topic dear to my heart. While working for the NY Phil
    I came to a conclusion about classical music that I have not been able to shake. Just for sake of background I worked in the archives. Which means I have read literally 1000's of pages of internal docs.

    Here is my hypothesis: Capitalism has killed classical music. This is not a "conspiracy" it's a hypothesis. Meaning a assumption, a possibility, a "what if". Thus not a statement of fact, or a fixed idea.

    Why do I say this ? First ticket sells only ever account for about 50% of operating costs. The rest - individual donors.
    There is a reason it's called Geffen hall, and Koch Theater. Have you ever heard Mr. Geffen play the violin, or seen Mr. Koch dance a ballet (god help us) No. Of course not. The Met was able to break even in 2015 because two people, yes only two, each gave 30 million.

    The point is they are artificially being held afloat. Now..... think about the greatest classical masterworks.

    Actually please someone...... give me a top 10 greatest classical compositions ever.
    Now do this text: How many of those works were created under a Monarchy ? Most likely almost all. That or a de-facto
    monarchy like in Russia were the authoritarian had all the power.

    It's not because of a lack of talent. It's a structural issue. The only reason people today know of Copeland and Barber is that CBS and NBC used to broadcast them into everyones homes. Once the model shifted...... gone like the wind.

    Has there been a single American Masterpiece composed since 1955 that will stand the test of time ? Perhaps too early to tell for more recent works but, I do think 50 years is a pretty good window. Anyone have a favorite piece ( no Russians now) from 1955 - 67 of a composer who lived in a capitalist country ? Classical music died at the end of World War II.

    We might agree to disagree on Adams, Glass, and Reich. (Reich is the most innovative) I personally don't care for Adams music much. Some. Same with Glass, and in very small doses Reich is brilliant.

    It's so sad. If you look at 1900 - 1950 every few years there are numerous masterworks. Debussy, Ravel, Bartok, Strauss, Stravinsky, Copeland, Gershwin,Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Shost., Holst, Poulenc, Britten, Barber, Mahler, Sibelius, Elgar,
    Satie, Foure (died in 1924), Janacek, Schoenberg, Berg..

    ah...... fuck man.... too depressing to write more.
  2. Capitalism didn't kill classical music. Classical music, like most things - wasn't able to perpetually maintain a healthy interest for the amount of effort it requires. If it was, then people would be buying tickets - and performing groups would be much more popular, and be paid. But its hard to convince people to shell out nearly double the cost of a Netflix subscription for even low level amateur ensemble performances. Music as a whole in the past 20 years has turned into a completely passive activity - where it's never really "sat and listened to" 99.9% of the time. It's almost always while they are driving, while they are working out, while they are working, or in the background of whatever they're watching.

    People have so many interesting things easily accessible on their phone - that sitting down for 2 hours to watch a group of people perform music isn't viable.

    That said, if you still believe capitalism killed classical music - I'd take that over the alternative, which has killed hundreds of millions of people.

    lets see, starving artists, or starving everybody /thinking

    the VAST majority of composers were funded by the church in it's prime. Same with performers. I suppose if you're rather a theocracy that extorts it's followers for large sums of donations - just to fund composers and performers - that's an opinion. Might only work because the same church might also be pushing that you need to listen to their gospel live or you might not make it to heaven. Not that it matters anyways, because unfortunately - its the year 2017. Where political statements are 140 characters or less, and one of the most popular forms of entertainment was 6 second video clips. You're literally asking why no one wants to sit 2 hours quietly to watch a piece of music be performed that could easily be youtubed on the toilet. Is it sad? yes. Will we evolve with the rest of society? We already have. The vast majority of composition is now done alone on a consumer computer. Most don't work with real players anymore - and that number is getting smaller every year as both technology and tastes change(zimmeresque sounds aren't even feasible to make acoustically - and he's what the average person wants)
  3. #3 Noam Levy, Dec 4, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
    It's not the death of new music, it's the death of concerts. And well deserved.

    New classical music is dying because new music is attached at the hip to this silly concept called a "premiere." A premiere is a concert where a lay audience of people with disposable money set out to dutifully, self-edifyingly, but mostly long-sufferingly, sit through an hour of two or three new composers' bad music before the 10 minute intermission and they finally get to the Beethoven that everyone paid for.

    Nobody wanted Adams (note this is not my opinion; I like Adams) but they were willing to pay $100 for an Adams and Beethoven bundle.

    It was like cable. And just like cable, it got killed by cord cutting.

    Would I pay a median worker's daywages to hear SFS and Tilson Thomas play Beethoven 5? From a balcony at the back of Davies Hall? With people coughing? Yes, that used to be a good deal. In like 1975.

    But what about in 2017 when I can hear a much better conductor like Norrington or a much better modern symphony orchestra like Chicago, play it in perfectly mixed stereo sound at the press of a button FOR FREE on the Internet?

    A recording is superior to a concert for nearly all pieces of music. The more recordings are made the more true this becomes! Certainly the more sophisticated and accurate that recordings become, that also helps; but it's worth considering that all the ways of hitherto writing music make it so that two channel stereo recordings very easily approximate the entire experience. Surround or IMAX or whatever is overkill, and yet classical music recordings in those formats are very possible too.

    The solution if you want to write concert music is to write a piece of music such that the experience can only be experienced in a concert.

    Sorry for being mysterious with that last sentence, but I've had some fucking stellar ideas for how to make a piece of concert music that lives as concert music, and I'm not sharing them with any of you ;)
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  4. I think so, but who the hell knows.. I would feel confident that Reich's Music for 18 Musicians will probably endure. I love that piece. Another one I think if great is Schwantner's ....and the mountains rising nowhere. No clue if that will endure or not, but I think it should.
    Noam Levy likes this.
  5. there is still a cause for live performance, as musicals still do well. I know because I still see them when I have time.

    even new ones have no problem getting in. Evil death the musical, book of Mormon, and my GF wont shut up about Hamilton(we weren't able to afford it, no surprise)
  6. Stop the world. I want to get off.

  7. Ahh.... that theocracy is alive and well. They just stopped having classical music.
  8. I was commenting only on Classical music, not "live" music. Look even an open mic night is "live music" or a person practicing in their home.
    That's pretty far from my lament. Lin-Manuel Miranda lives about 500 yards from me. I see him all the time, and sometimes in front of me at the grocery store.

  9. Different trains is a very powerful. He really was inventive. The problem is, and much more so with Schwantner, is no one knows it.
    Do you think say.....7 members of this forum would know it ?

    You make a very intelligent comment. The more I think about it yes, the Schwantner and those that follow in this direction (for those who know)
    is indeed a very American break from the European cannon. Nice one ! Thanks for the great comment !
  10. Thanks for the contribution. Sounds like you at least partially accept the premise. (ie. something, whatever it was, died ---metaphorically of course)

    That's a very recent zeitgeist. This is not how it always was. Ravel was paid to do a concert tour of the US. You can still read the concert reviews btw.
    Richard Strauss had thousands of people wanting to meet him at Macy's in NYC. etc.

    I used to use his grammy as a paper weight :)

    Now we are getting at the point. If these - choose your adjective (disruption, progress, innovation etc) cut out the "premier" than in the future there will be no past.

    Sure, I get that perspective. I do understand it..... it's just not something I value (not saying you are wrong... just explaining my point of view).
    To me that is like dried fruit at best. I believe classical music is a live music phenomena. I am also too much of a pessimist.
    That same internet is also a highway of porn, and sneezing panda bears, and social media.

    Also, this is the snake eating it's tail. Film studio's have not found an answer for torrents, and if theaters go the way of subscription.....
    it could happen they fall too.

    I think a great piece stands on it's own, and as I mentioned I think ALL classical music needs to be live. We differ - shock !!
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  11. I was trying to help you out here. I wanted to assume you meant live performance being a large part of the experience. To argue specifically the lack of new material in the genre is a side effect of capitalism is ridiculous.

    it's actually quite simple... There are only so many ways to say I ii V I/I IV I/I V I/i N V i, in 3/4,4/4,6/8, maybe 9/8 occasionally?

    Not to mention - the popularity of non essential chromaticism can only go so far - and most composers weren't adept or creative enough to master essential chromaticism in a way that was still pleasing to the ear(up against the kings, like J.S.Bach/Mozart) Which was about the only thing left in that genre to truly stay interesting. But that genre was built literally on the same basic teachings mike goes by... comfortable, predictable patterns for the listener - So there is a limit to how far you can ride the modulations as a main dish.

    Are you really surprised classical is dead? Even jazz is mostly dead - it just has the virtue of being performable by very few(sometimes 1) musicians. Are you surprised Gregorian chants are dead? 12 Tone serialism must have also been killed by capitalism! What about malt shop bop? despite being created entirely under the umbrella of capitalism(like jazz) we'll assume capitalism also killed them!

    Why is disco dead? capitalism! Heck - in the time frame of 1 highschool class going from freshman to senior - post hardcore, emo, and screamo became mainstream and died. In about the same length of time - Dubstep became mainstream and died. People still listen to Debussy atleast... How many people listen to the chariot? Here is a wonderful peace from palastrina... This is literally written before we had time signatures - notes lengths were written, but no bars to separate measures. just 9087239872398723 quarters, halfs, breves, rests, in a row. (which btw is very fun to sing, when youre counting 13 beats of rest before you come in arbitrarily)

    it's not his most searched piece on youtube(it's the 2nd result if you start typing palastrina) And it was uploaded 3 years ago and has 1.7 million views.

    this was uploaded 5 years ago, only has 11k views.

    Comparing the two - it's pretty remarkable
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  12. I agree that listening to a great recording will always be better than going to an amateur to mid-level orchestra concert. But going to an LA Phil concert is always going to be better than listening to a recording of the LA Phil. Listening to the music from a pair of speakers will never be the same as sitting in the actual room where the air is moving and the music is surrounding you. I feel like we would agree on this but I can't tell because of the way you worded it.

    I see your point here. The market is over-saturated with different styles of music and everyone has specific tastes, so it makes sense that there would be much less of an audience for classical music today. So capitalism may not have killed Classical music per se, but it has killed attendance of live music in general which is a huge part of Classical music. When everyone owns a smartphone loaded with their favorite dubstep/EDM/heavy metal/pop/bluegrass/jazz music, it is no longer necessary to physically go to a place where musicians are playing music to enjoy music.

    Going off of Doug's post, I think capitalism (or consumerism rather) has turned music into a commodity that is consumed and thrown out like a Starbucks cup. It's like music is a product that is now being mass produced in China, rather than art that is created by a master who is being subsidized to create for the sake of creating.
  13. It was still a commodity when it was at it's prime. Composers were paid to produce music - performers paid to play it - all for the sake of entertainment. These composers pumped out music CONSTANTLY. Mozart died at the age of 35, started composing around 12 if I'm not mistaken - and wrote 600 pieces. Bach wrote over a thousand. Verdi was writing an opera and a half alone a year. Haydn wrote 108 symphonies FFS.

    They were mass produced, even by the ones who survived the tests of time. Just because only a small fraction of those works are even relevant today - doesn't mean there weren't a dime a dozen... and just like today - nobody remembers bands who existed around the time of the beatles... just the beatles. How many singers were relevant during Elvis' reign? How many will be remembered 50 years from now?

    There are a thousand and 1 EDM producers, and in 100 years the only two names you'll hear from that time period are excision and skrillex(unfortunately). Name a video game composer... You might hear nobuo's name - or Jeremy soule's. Everyone and their mother has written blues, how many names will survive another decade?

    this is not a symptom of consumerism, it's the misguided Idea that they had only great composers/ect. because they are the only ones left to be exposed to. It's like watching Japanese TV and assuming all Japanese women are 10/10. It's certainly not the case, but since 99% of the women that make it onto the TV screen are attractive - you get a deceptive assessment of what the average Japanese women will look like. In this case, most people here have only heard MAYBE 50 pieces that survived from centuries ago, and assume that was the NORM. In reality - we have only had 1 John Williams, and while we might know his contemporaries today - 50 years from now, it'll be mere whispers, and only a few will be remembered... and in 2089 they'll say "man, film music from the 1990's was absolutely incredible, we've really gotten worse... listen to this 1 composer - and that's just one example" simply because the other 99% was completely unmemorable - but they'll assume they were all memorable.
  14. Thanks

    And.... there goes the help. Yes, that is me, and that is what I am arguing.

    straw man
    1. an intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent's real argument.

      Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 5.52.21 PM.png


      I do appreciate you commenting and giving an opposing view. I mean this sincerely. I may have pinched a nerve as I know capitalism is near and dear
      to most Americans hearts. I stated above it was an hypothesis. Thus, I am calling it a question. Not a fact, or a right/wrong proposition. Please, by all means keep on sharing your opinions, but we are so far off from what I was commenting on originally.


  15. These are all good points, and each one points at what I am talking about, and yes we can break down "capitalism" into smaller, more specific chunks.
    We have above
    • technological disruption,
    • fear of commissioning new works,
    • a new utilitarian mindset
    All of these actually pretty much prove my point. I again will ask....... please name 10 classical masterpieces you fell were composed between .... oh 1960 and 1980. It going to be pretty hard. 1970 to 1990 if you wish, or even 1980 to 2000, or 1990 to 2010. All will be tough.
    However 1900 -1920 easy. 1880-1900....easy. 1850 -1870 ....easy. 1800-1820 ....easy. Wether one thinks this is a good, a bad, or and inevitable thing is not the point. The point is .... the thing occurred. It's seems like so far no one is arguing that I am wrong and the the classical music world is stronger and more vibrant than ever.

    Sure, dust to dust, ashes to ashes, and all great things must eventually end. I am trying to investigate the causes.
  16. strawman?

    you haven't made a single connection to capitalism. All I see is some sheeple mentality that capitalism is the boogieman, and while you're sad that it's a dying phenomenon - you haven't actually made any link to capitalism.

    you've simply stated that most of the genre was created under monarchs/theocracy/authoritarians of some form.

    What I see: failed education, the modern progressives obsession with the single most dangerous idea to humanity so far(communism) and without really knowing what caused the demise you're simply pointing to something you don't like as the cause - simply because capitalism! Has nothing to do with being American - if capitalism killed classical music, show me that.

    These are things that have faced similar challenges with technology and the access of information - and given this very easy example - you can test your "theory" by looking at non capitalist countries, and their classical music production. It's not pinching a nerve, capitalism has plenty of weaknesses that have been left unchecked(especially thanks to bill Clinton opening the back door for it) and there are definitely some disadvantages that come with the system. I would argue any day of the year that the advantages far outclass them - and the global economy is proof of that, but atleast that's a discussion. You didn't make an argument - you simply vomited the idea that classical music is dying - and then vomited your dislike for capitalism right next to it.

    While no doubt, you use libraries produced soley by the grace of capitalist incentive, using technology driven by - you guessed it capitalism. You did strike a nerve... it's called people not thinking their ideas through AT ALL and thinking they have value. Mike made a video about Trump that I disagreed with, but within it - he clearly outlined his reasons and logic for it. You can think whatever you'd like - but you never made any connection. Only loose correlations(hint, there is a very specific reason we know correlation=/=causation). My introduction of different genres is part of the scientific method - you know, testing your "hypothesis". Using controls and variables to test the hypothesis is the next step(helping you again buddy) we introduced other genres within and outside of capitalism. The same basic pattern occurs completely independent of capitalism. Welcome to being peer reviewed - that's what its called, not strawman - just in case this comes up again the next hypothesis you come up with.
  17. I'm quite sure you are correct about people being unfamiliar with Schwantner. With Reich however I find that people outside of the classical world actually do know of him to some extent. Some music hipsters I know are surprisingly all familiar with him.
    Doug Gibson likes this.
  18. #18 Doug Gibson, Dec 5, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
    Kyle...... chill out man. Take a breath. I am trying to be nice here. You are spinning out. Take it down a notch.
    At the very opening, I stated that all major orchestra's are held afloat by a few individual donors. Patrons.
    All major orchestra's, at best, cover 50% of their operating expenses by ticket sales.
    I stated this was based on my own work in the archives of the NY philharmonic, and reading over their internal financial documents.

    Thus.... I asserted this meant there really is not enough financial support from a free market for survival. I then cited that the Met was able to break even due to 2 people each donating 30 million. They run 60 million in the red every year. That was in my first post. The premise is; the free market will not bear the weight of these institutions. Good or bad.

    I then stated that due to these conditions, these institutions are very "risk averse". As such they are more likely to program a work from the 1800's then an entire concert of new music.

    I then went on to point out that pretty much all of the classical music from 1700-1900 was commissioned in a monarch - or the church as pointed out -- system.

    After World War II (1945) America became the clear cultural leader of the world. From 1950 on, there is a sudden and sharp drop in works which would be considered a masterpiece in the classical cannon.

    That's the premise. I stated numerous times it is a hypothesis. I clearly said that in the opening post. Chill out dude.

    Now I am reading some shit about Bill Clinton ? I never voted for Bill Clinton when I voted in 96. You know nothing about me.
    Also me be clear: I NEVER SAID I DID NOT LIKE CAPITALISM. You have simply made that up. I said it killed classical music.
    That is totally different.

    Look... here is the simple question I asked anyone to answer to counter argue

    That's all I want. Go for it.

    While no doubt you have not read the thread I posted last week about not using sample libraries. Again.... you know nothing about me, and have ironically walked right into it here. Again.... I never said I don't like Capitalism. You made that up.

    If you want to engage in this conversation in a thoughtful manner, I would be very happy to continue with you. If you just want to post emotional rage, please start another thread and have at it.
  19. but its a flawed idea from the very get-go.

    you say its unsustainable - and assume that's a free market issue - under the bold assumption that without free market - the institution WOULD spend the funds and resources to do it anyways. Any sweet new concert halls packed in Venezuela? We've had plenty of authoritarians in the past and in the present - none of which are funding this area of interest in a way that will produce what you want.

    Even a country the size of Russia wasn't able to produce a lasting dent in classical music during the reign of communism. Sure they had a few composers - some of them would have been pretty rad - but nothing like the greats of old. It's a symptom of a dying genre - not the free market. So again - your theory doesn't stand to any tests... I get being bitter about a genre of music slipping into the backseat, but I won't try to point fingers at the least obvious thing - and I urge you to do the same.

    I'm not sure what you consider rage - if you think simply disagreeing with you is somehow akin to actual violence, then the world must seem like a pretty scary place. I assure you - I'm fine. I just think you should expect this kind of response when your original statement wasn't exactly thought all the way through. I shoot from the hip sometimes too - and someone who really knows their stuff occasionally will blast me for it, so I get that. In this case - when we have actual people marching around as anarcho-communists, don't act surprised when someone gets on your case for trying to use capitalism as a scapegoat for a fundamental pattern in human nature. Music isn't a shred different than any other societal norm/ritual. I'm sure there are tribes that no longer eat the foreskin of their newborns - and it's not because of capitalism. It's simply a matter of fads, and the human nature to want something new and different after a while. There are about a million things people did in the 1700's that are no longer hip today. People used to blacken their teeth to show that they were rich enough to afford sugar... that was a fad. People lost interest - and no longer do it today... People do unhealthy things on a regular basis - so it's not a health thing... men used to wear wigs as a status symbol... capitalism didn't kill that.

    So if I misconstrued your views on capitalism, then forgive me - I can't see any logical reason you would come to that conclusion unless that's the conclusion you WANTED to come to. Or it was simply the first idea you came up with and didn't bother to challenge the concept at all before sharing it.

    also, never said you voted for bill Clinton, only that he did something particularly bad for the well being of our country, and economy - as well as the effects that seep out of our country because of it. Very specifically showcasing one of the weaknesses of capitalism - that isn't the death of classical music. Again, never assumed you voted for bill - I did however assume you didn't like capitalism to the point that you're willing to blame anything and everything on it. That's my bad.
  20. There were no bar lines in Palestrina's time, but there were definitely the equivalent of time signatures. Or at least mensural indicators that gave all the information you needed to know about what we'd call meter. Check the prints - that slashed C at the beginning is an imperfect, minor prolatio. By the time Palestrina wrote that, devices to tell how many notes and of what value were two centuries old, going back to the Trecento.

    And, just as an FYI - the original notation the smallest subdivision would be the minim (hence the name). So what you'd see as Breves in modern notation (when they use them) would usually have originally been Longas. Which modern notation has lost the capacity to cope with, really.

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