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The Kids Could Be Alright: Classical Music Should Appreciate Its Forefathers

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Aug 11, 2014 02:06 PM EDT

Where the status of classical music is subject to a much-heated debate among listeners, it should be noted that someone, somewhere, is still appreciating and contributing to the classical zeitgeist.

Recent events, though, speak to a much more tragic truth. The Met Opera is trying to keep its head afloat and a similar battle unfolds for the Minnesota Orchestra.

And to continue, the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera cannot afford a fall season, along with the Baltimore Lyric Opera that has to cut back to a single production for their coming season.

But while some of these orchestras find ticket sales dropping, places like (Le) Poisson Rouge find success in their own ensemble, which performs tributes to some of the contemporary or modern--and not-so modern--giants of the genre (like Bartok, Greenwood and Dessner, the latter two having a popular rock background).

That said, a question posed by Tim Smith at The Baltimore Sun ponders the classical heavyweights of the musical hierarchy: do we appreciate classical, but do we also appreciate its roots?

I'd answer: sort of?

In New York, more times than not, the latest in contemp. theatre and orchestra attracts a significant demographic (a la Ensemble (L)PR doing There Will Be Blood or the Australian Chamber Orchestra Underground doing anything from Stravinsky to Nirvana, shows that did considerably well and were even streamed on WQXR's Q2 section)

So while it seems that the older and younger crowds can mingle and share a similar interest in classical music, a genre that is juxtaposed constantly with contemporary and non-contemporaries, one can maybe see that the youngin's don't share an appreciation for their musical forefathers.

In dealing with presentation, the way in which a piece is delivered (which is true with any kind of art form), is subject to a great deal of change over time. Though Bach may have penned the beginnings of music theory, these rules are in place to be broken (but, in my opinion, not to offend the past).

So if the Met can just pull itself out of the hole, and if places like (L)PR can exist at all, then it can be said that there is an appreciation for the classics. However, though, it is a landscape that is ever-changing.

And to take us out, Berlioz and Symphonie Fantastique:

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TagsThe Metropolitan Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, Sacramento Philharmonic, Baltimore Lyric Opera, Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun, Bryce Dessner, Johnny Greenwood, Australian Chamber Orchestra Underground, Bartok, Le Poisson Rouge

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