Sunday, August 3, 2014

The triumph of the editorial

A while back there was some debate if art for arts sake was dead.  It is certainly down for the count as much recent music has become a place holder, or a backdrop for something else.  Style* is not an issue, works can be consonant or dissonant as long as they are incomprehensible and associated with the current cause of the day.  Oddly, in an area of artistic discernment the more we judge musical "books" (titles),  and composers by their covers.  Before today composers were noted for their individuality, and if they belonged to certain schools or styles that were musical.  Now composers represent concepts that are extra musical.

Joining music and politics leads us down the road of grant generated art where social work can be celebrated without the artist doing any social work.   Granting organizations and the curators for the 1 percent  can be enablers for these concepts.  Its a new subset of the call to patriotism. Being a "cause" composer is the acceptance that the music is secondary to the cause.  But, music being secondary to the composer themselves is already well known.  Lets say it plainly; composers and their editorial are more important than their music.   If a composers message is ecology then listening to the music must purify water.  Everything taken at face value and listeners and critics alike abandon critical thinking.  There is no interest in abstract music except that it can be pined to an editorial.  The only possible  upside here is the long neglected discovery and nurturing of Indigenous artists unless they too are asked to represent stereotypes. 

The reality that composers could work the system is well founded, especially as critics have no interest in those who are not constantly performed.  The composer as lonely hero or heroine genius  is dead but what replaces that idea?  Everyone is an artist?  The artist is integrated into society?  Artist as yuppie?  The artist purified in the crucible of the people? Unfortunately, the jettison of composer individuality or genius does not remove careerism or the need for constant activity to prove success. 
We must not close our eyes to the dirty business of success. 

 Don't believe the hype.

 *anything as long as its not serial

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