Classical Music Will Not Save Your Soul
Several years ago, I watched an interview with a world famous classical violinist. The host of the prime time talk show asked the violinist (and I'm paraphrasing), "Why aren't there any famous composers like Mozart and Beethoven these days? Why aren't there any great new pieces that we hear about these days?"
And his answer was (and I'm paraphrasing again), "Because there aren't any! It's done. The great music is done! There are no more masterpieces to be written."
Which reminded me why I love rock and roll.
Of course, in all seriousness, there are more complex reasons why we don't hear classical music beyond the traditional names of a hundreds of years ago - the incentives of the music companies, the commercial benefit from re-interpreting old works versus creating new ones, the credibility shift away from tonal to atonal music, etc. Reasons that go beyond ability or possibility.
But there is certainly a contingent that believes that the great works are done, that we will never hear a new Mozart. Because "there are no more masterpieces to be written".
Which is, of course, bullshit.
That's like saying we will never hear a beautifully composed popular song again; that there will be no more mainstream music that will inspire and move us; that we've used up all potential configurations of chords on the guitar and no one will be able to create anything original again. (Did I just compare mainstream popular music to classical music? Yes, I did. Get over it.)
Which, again, is bullshit.
The broader issue is one of belief and the boxes we tend to think within.
We tend to do what we believe, what we are taught and what we see in our immediate world around us. Regardless of the field that we are in, we tend to adopt the norms that define our space - at least in terms of conventional wisdom.
Of course, the reality is that these norms can become rigid and dogma. And that doesn't help anyone. We become paralyzed, even when we think we aren't. And then we wonder why we aren't seeing quantum progress.
That's what I think has happened to the classical contingent that don't believe there are any more masterpieces to be written.
And that's what I believe happens to us when we don't take the time to examine our own personal situation, our environment, our context, when we look to make our own personal decisions regarding what we can or cannot do.
We're limiting ourselves by someone else's rules. We're wasting our own fucking time.
Don't buy the dogma.
Look at your personal situation.
If you think you need to go left when everyone is going right, then do it.
Not everyone will appreciate your decision, or join you for the ride, but that's fine.
In the long run, you don't need them.