Sunday, October 07, 2007

bring back the classics

today we saw alex ross, the new yorker music critic, give a talk titled "the rest is noise." it's about 20th century classical music, it's progression, the history of the 20th century seen from that purview. anyway, a boring talk, he is not a compelling speaker, but he chooses good music. anyway, they gave us a copy of his book (by the same title get it at amazon today!) and i started reading and got thinking...

so, sure, classical music isn't widely cherished today. but i also think it has a publicity problem. i can go and find out when and where daft punk is playing quite easily -- myspace! so my first thought was: why doesn't bach have a myspace page? well, it turns out he does! but it's not what i'd do with it. consider this profile quote:

I was born in Eisenach, Germany on March 21, 1685. I had a tough life. By the age of 10 i was an orphan and had to move in with my brother, who was an organist. From there i was exposed to the music scene. At 14 i was given a scholarship to a choral school and my career in music had begun. From there i worked for duke William Ernst, but after almost ten years decided to move on. Ya know, i was married, had a family, i needed more money to support them.
oh bach i know! life is hard!

then i started browsing around for other popular, dead composers. i found two interesting profiles for mozart:
- wolfy as an over the top character
- "little known" people who perform mozart

neither is what i want! i want to be able to go to one page, and see all the mozart performances coming up. sure, that might be a daunting thing to sift through. ok, make it filterable.

more interesting, myspace is predicated around privileging the performer, not the composer. the songwriter barely gets a mention if it's not the performer. but, when we think classical music, we immediately think the composer, not the performers. the general audience is happy to substitute the san francisco symphony for the new york philharmonic. now, i'm not good enough to be shocked at the magnitude of such a switch -- anyone who's anyone in classical music likely understands the subtleties that arise depending on who's performing. but on a mozart myspace page, i expect to have access to recordings by all the major symphonies as well as my high school band! wouldn't it be great if you could listen to a world class band play mozart and then hear a small band's recent rendition of a classic like eine kleine nacht musik

this has got me wondering how labels manage bands that have died. do they just not have updated myspace pages? or do they live on?

anyway for anyone who wants to waste time, true myspace pages for the classical composers -- that's what i'm looking for :)

1 comment:

seema said...

i wanted to randomly say that i am getting into classical music. i wish i had learned to play the piano!