What is becoming the summer of the curmudgeon continues now that I’ve read an article in the New York Times regarding Pres. Trump and a remark he made about symphonies. The remark was made in Poland and it went like this, “We write symphonies.”
Mahler's Resurrection Symphony
Riccardo Chailly conducts
The context was Trump’s attempt to engage in the politics of Western cultural superiority versus what he called, “radical Islamic terrorism.” Anthony Tommasini’s Times article, in response, was a perfect example of how the “educated class” gets it wrong.
By Paul McCartney
Tommasini asserts: “Nothing impedes the appreciation of classical music — and keeps potential listeners away — more than the perception that it is an elitist art form, that composers throughout history, and their aficionados today, uniformly consider it the greatest, loftiest and most ingenious kind of music.”
Why does the classical music establishment demand that its fans apologize for loving it? I would say that nothing impedes the appreciation of classical music more than a fanbase which is constantly encouraged to consider other forms of music, which they might not even like, to be equal in profundity.
Tommasini goes on to say, “'Eleanor Rigby', I’d argue, is just as profound as Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony.” This is the part in which the educated class self-destructs. This postmodern cultural relativity is a slippery slope which can easily be applied in other areas.
First off, where do we draw the line? If "Eleanor Rigby" is just as profound as Mahler’s Resurrection then what about "Row, Row, your Boat"? Is that too just as profound? With cultural relativism there is no place to draw a line. All things are equal regardless of context.
Where does that lead? Apparently my writing is just as profound as Mr. Tommasini’s so perhaps we should pool our money and share equally since we are equally profound.
In fact, let’s have all writers of all types pool their money. Paragraphs written by second-grade students are just as profound as any writing ever done anywhere, and they should participate in the sharing of resources since they are doing equally profound work.
Once we have established that all writing or music is equally profound all we need do is add money and we get communism. This is the failure. Conservative demagogues understand this and use it to their advantage. They become the voice of reason.
On the other hand, the cultural relativist doesn’t want to apply the concept in other arenas. A knife and a jet strike fighter are equally profound. Given the "Eleanor Rigby" to Mahler statement this is the weaponized equivalent.
Classical music happens to be one of the finest and most profound of Western traditions. It should be celebrated as such. It should be placed in a position of honor and venerated for the contribution it has made and continues to make.
Instead, the classical music establishment continues to claim that classical music is no more profound than any other type of music. Why would anyone risk 80 minutes of time on Mahler when it’s just as profound as the four minutes of "Eleanor Rigby"?
Listen to two minutes of Mahler and then two minutes of Eleanor Rigby. Equally profound?