Why would anyone like classical music when all they offer are old warhorses?
We need modern and imaginative music.
Because the pattern of life is ironic, the paradox of the situation is such that two opposing viewpoints will be true at the same time. We need to be nourished both by new music as well as old music. One hand washes the other as the conventional, established masterpieces set the context for the new and future masterpieces. Everything builds on what came before: this is the same with art culture. Unfortunately, since that historical and experiential context just doesn’t exist for the vast majority of Americans, we need to start all over again. We can’t expect future audience (at this point) to study up or even attend pre-concert lectures. But future listeners are interested in quick overviews of classical music history: the big picture.
The refinement, formalism and restraint which characterized the bulk of classical music for so many centuries has hardly yielded to the current demand for participatory entertainments such as rock music or video games. Classical music remains patently concert music… to be enjoyed inwardly in a quiet spirit of focused meditation. And as such, the music is expected to carry us on a journey across varied soundscapes ideally related from first note to last. The conventional masterpieces back to Gregorian chant give us this artistic model and set the highest standards for further creations. They give us the most bangs-per-buck and are easily refreshed by master performers exploiting potential within the written combinations through thoughtful exaggeration. One facet of our professionalism then is to make the music truly MATTER to our performers and audiences as organically and easily as possible.
While it may seem sad at best or personally insulting at worst to say that new audiences are not looking for challenge, education or even discernment of subtle distinctions, it is nonetheless just as true as recognizing that a subset of American culture is indeed hungry for intellectual challenge, scholarship and judgement. At issue is that the former group is perhaps 20 times larger than the latter. It is a ratio far from equilibrium.
How would you FEEL if you were quite new to classical music traditions but still curious to try a new music program. You might want many things explained that we assume everyone attending knows or can figure out. We’re not suggesting treating adults like children, rather acknowledging that inexperienced adults are curious about the same things as kids. It is such a rarified world, classical music. Setting up and clearly marketing programs as introductory can welcome new audiences and avoid offending existing ones.
The mind craves novelty… but it also craves comfort. New sounds are exciting and wonderful… but if they remain static, if they don’t develop or move the music towards other music, we must question if it is classical at all. Perhaps a composer today won’t be anxious to acquire such a label anyway: it is reviled more than it is celebrated today. But this website and its mission is to embrace and validate the aesthetic of classical music… even if our facts are not completely accurate. (Nietsche wrote, “There are no facts: only interpretations.”)
So you’ll notice when listening to new compositions featured on this website, that they may seem furthest from challenging, experimental or even worthy of critical regard. These works seem to borrow heavily from popular musical styles, classical, folk and urban, rather than offer a single measure of original invention. As a self-taught composer, Mr. CutTime admits to being so inspired by the music around him, much of which he performed repeatedly as a Detroit Symphony musician, to please himself and simultaneously “create a smooth on-ramp for curious new listeners into conventional classical forms.” This is the broad niche in modern culture he has identified to try to fill.
We endorse this effort while it supports our mission building audience for classical and encourage composers, in balance with your professional work, to open to its implications for broader relevance and opportunities for your immediate future.