Allan Kozinn, a voice silenced by the New York Times, has written a typically thoughtful piece in SFCV on the latest trends in new music. It’s the sort of piece you would no longer expect to read in a mainstream newspaper, which may be one of the reasons why newspapers are losing traction with their readers.
Debates about new music have always focused mainly on styles that have caught listeners off guard. The high energy primitivism of early Stravinsky and Bartók, for example, struck some early listeners as too brutal for the concert hall, just as those who disliked (or still dislike) serialism find it ugly and unmoored, and those who disdain minimalism hear it as simplistic, and listeners puzzled by indie classical regard it as a species of pop music.
It is only natural that the fiercest arguments are engendered by music that sets aside the old rules and looks in new directions: that there are always those who react to avant-gardes of all kinds with suspicion, as either puzzling or fraudulent, even when the music they prefer was once greeted similarly.
But through it all, there have also been composers who stood aside from the aesthetic battles, because they prefer evolution to revolution and cherish what was once thought of as the “common practice,” or musical language rooted in tonality, as it has developed from the 17th century onward….
Read on here.