The second essay on the Future Symphony Institute is by a regular Slipped Disc polemicist, composer John Borstlap.
There may be progress in terms of physical means – like the types of pigment used in paint, which became more stable in the last century, or the relatively cheap paper for musical notation that became available with the advent of the 19th century industrial revolution, or the iron fittings in architecture that allowed builders to vault bigger spaces….
But expression, artistic vision, the quality of execution has never been dependent upon the physical means of an art form: Vermeer has not been superseded in terms of artistic quality by Picasso or Pollock, Bach not by Mahler or Boulez, Michelangelo not by Giacometti or Moore, Palladio not by Gropius or Le Corbusier.
And we can appreciate the brilliance of the “primitive” masters of Flanders, who lived before the great surge of 16th century inventions in Italian painting, just as we can the music of Palestrina, who had no clue of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven or Chopin simply because he lived in an earlier time.
Read the full essay here.