I’m still mulling over this recent piece by Philip Kennicott: America’s Orchestras are in Crisis How an effort to popularize classical music undermines what makes orchestras great. A good read, with some humorous comments regarding the recent League of American Orchestras conference in St. Louis.
I’m actually curious to hear the Ingram Marshall piece. Interestingly, most music educators probably agree that playing softly is far more difficult a task for young musicians so I’m not sure I agree with Kennicott’s criticism of the St. Louis Youth Symphony Tackling the work. And if nothing else, a piece referencing something relatively recent in history may strike a closer chord with the kids than a work two centuries removed from them.
I still get chills when thinking about reading Safe Area Goražde. despite it being in a medium (graphic novel) that is a hybrid of two very different media that’s finally come into it’s own. Of course, being a fan of electro-acoustic music and someone who composes and performs it with regularity, his remarks about just seem like so much Luddite whining: “The orchestra willingly suppressed virtuosity, spontaneity, and the raw power of its acoustic sound”–Sweet Buddha, what more spontaneity are you going to get from a composed score as opposed to, um, another composed score??
And I’ve never heard a typical youth symphony aged cellist be able to play, say, Messiaen’s “Praise to the eternity of Jesus” which takes a completely different type of sustained bowing virtuosity than the typical type of virtuosity that comes with child prodigies who whip out virtuosic showpieces. I quickly get over the quick thrill of hearing a kid do the latter, but would probably marvel for months over one who could do the former.
But, eh–I’ll mull over this more and come back to the piece later. Curious to see what some of you folks think about Kennicott’s piece.
Also check out some of the comments at Drew McManus’ post about the piece.