Classical music ‘must acknowledge a history of systemic racism’main
That’s the strapline on Alex Ross’s nuanced and cautious survey in the New Yorker of upheavals in American universities and orchestras over supposed white supremacism in western music.
In respect of the Schenker row he writes: At bottom, the entire music-education system rests upon the Schenkerian assumption that the Western tonality, with its major-minor harmony and its equal-tempered scale, is the master language.
One could argue that case from a different angle. His conclusion, though, is indisputable:
The ultimate mistake is to look to music—or to any art form—as a zone of moral improvement, a refuge of sweetness and light. Attempts to cleanse the canon of disreputable figures end up replicating the great-man theory in a negative register, with arch-villains taking the place of geniuses.
Read on here.