Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Preparing Music

A headline in the musical blogosphere tells us that our obvious problem is that there is too much classical music. If you were to magically remove electronically-generated music from the world, there would not be too much. There would probably not be enough to satisfy and entertain all the people who have come to enjoy music as part of their daily lives. People would have to go about making it themselves and with their families and friends. People would really learn to appreciate the people who have talent and ability, and really learn to understand all that goes into becoming a professional musician. People would have to go out of their way to arrange to have concerts in their communities, and would have to hire musicians to liven up celebrations.

[I know that I am communicating through an automated medium, and that I have learned a great deal about music through automated media, but lately, unless I am listening to recordings to review or watching a movie that has a musical soundtrack, I mostly "consume" music that I generate myself (either alone or with friends), or hear played in real time.]

I know that I am not alone when I mention that I enjoy eating good food. I enjoy eating food that I make myself, and I enjoy eating food that other people make for me. I really enjoy eating in restaurants, particularly when I can eat food that I would have difficulty making at home. Since I re-entered the world of the omnivore, every single meal is a celebration.

A few days ago I discovered a podcast called The Splendid Table, where the brilliant host Lynne Rossetto Kasper talks about food with people who grow it, cook it, and write about it. She also answers call-in questions from listeners, and gives them terrific ideas about what to make and how to prepare food. She often does it on the spot.

[Yes. I know that it is through the gift of automation that I can take this podcast on my walk with me.]

While listening to one of Ms. Kasper's podcasts today it occurred to me that if people thought about food the way they think about music, very few people would be interested in preparing food themselves. They would occasionally to restaurants (good ones and not-so-good ones) but mostly they would buy ready-made meals to eat at home.

If people asked questions about music the way they ask questions about food, with the intention of going home and "making it" themselves, we might have a very different kind of musical culture. It would be a culture where nobody would be in a position to say that there is too much classical music (or any other kind of music).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Once again you cut to the quick, making a path through the thicket of opinions about yet other musical opinions, as is Overgrown Path's musing on a reviewer's review of yet another staging of an opera. Is there too much Wagner? Too much Britten? Too uch classical music? Decidedly no. Britten and Wagner write no more, and the opera omnia is compleat. Are there too many subsidized performances? Quite likely, but as the photo at that blog showed, it was yet another stage director's offering of yet another "vision" of a central work in our musical canon. If people do not attend, it is indeed a central symptom that there might be too many subsidized performances of works, ground out by marketeers. But, Ms. Fine, the parallel to cooking is more than apt. Schubert soirees and small groups gathered to hear Haydn quartets were probably more the norm than not. Like a dinner party for friends or perhaps even a church social, classical music (new as old) can serve a delightful meal, in spite of Overgrown Path's worries that there is just too much to "eat." I eat what I need, and what I want. Not more than that, in spite of the marketing and advertisements and calls for "new and improved" and "chic" and "trendy." Too much classical music? Were that true, one should think in parallel there is too much food in the world. Malarkey is malarkey, which is one reason your blog makes far more sense than many others. You don't serve it up on your menu, while some serve it as their blue plate special. As a Wagner fan of many years but no fan of the latest crop of modern stage directors, the photo of the Freiberg production would have been enough for me to have passed by the musical Norwich restaurant. As to a Britten recording fetching a price of "less than £1.50 a disc" I say, "fine." (Pun not intended.) Britten loses nothing in the deal, does he? "Preparing music" is a fine comparative image to preparing a meal. I guess if you prepare a little new music, an Overgrown Path view must be that you are contributing to the "glut." Personally I think not. There is no glut excepting perhaps a world sated with opinions of little consequence, and perhaps this is a fine day to go out and garden a bit the rich, musical soil of today. Best wishes. Best musical wishes for something more added to your menu.