Eugene David
...The One-Minute Pundit

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Can you name a living classical composer? Or a living painter, or sculptor? Or a living playwright? Or a living writer who writes serious books? We used to have these things. We think of this after the death of the serial composer (!) Milton Babbitt, best known to the public (if he is known at all) as a teacher of HERR DOKTOR SONDHEIM. While some composers are unjustly neglected one test of whether they will live is if they live with the people, and Babbitt will not live because he wrote experiments. (We've seen pictures of him posing before computers -- how apt.) There are too many reasons we don't have living composers, but the ultimate reason is from within: the creative types who should lead us can't because they have no inspiration, and without inspiration there is no art, cri-TICS to the frequent contrary. And serialism was a perfect excuse to submerge inspiration with mere technique, a barren, sterile technique, and it helped turn our concert halls into elderhostels.

Like Elliott Carter (still going strong at 102), Babbitt composed music that was as notable for its intellectual BRILLIANCE as for its lack of acceptance by mainstream audiences. (BRILLIANT overemphasis added)

And here is another reason art doesn't work -- the cri-TICS are too busy flattering themselves.

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