I was amused, though not surprised, that some of the comments on my red state/blue state post reflected exactly the kind of factionalism I was talking about in the post. I think my main point is that it's a shame such factionalism exists, in any context.
My musings along these lines grew out of my thoughts on fidelity to the score, and the idea that there are some top-flight musicians whose musical existence centers around mining a score for clues about how it should be played. There are other equally fine musicians whose musical existence focuses on introducing new works to the public, or works that should be known better. (Since my post seems to have been widely misunderstood, let me emphasize that I think both these kinds of musicians are essential to the health of our field.)
Therefore, Byron Janis's thoughtful article in the Wall Street Journal on the question of fidelity to the score seemed to me to be very germane to my line of thinking, even if this may not be immediately apparent to readers.
(read more after the jump)
A final note on red and blue states: it's amusing that some people feel they have to pick one or the other. Note that Riccardo Muti, certainly a leader in the mainstream classical tradition, has embraced Mason Bates and Anna Clyne, two composers in what we've dubbed the alt-classical mode. The divides among listeners, who feel they have to dismiss the whole "alt-classical" thing if they like other kinds of music, evidently don't exist in the music world to the same degree; if Muti's excited by these composers, I'd think most people who liked Muti would think they're worth taking seriously.
There may actually be more factionalism between the "uptown" and "downtown" schools of living composers, though I'd say that, too, is diminishing as the Pulitzers and the establishment become more embracing of the Steve Reichs and David Langs of this world. It is true, though, that the Levine/Barenboim contemporary music axis runs along lines that are more high-church than alt-classical: Carter, Harbison, Thomas.
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