It starts like this…
“Right now i’m seriously loving classical music again. hmmf.” Nothing wrong with that.
At work coding away listening to Classic FM and suddenly it dawns on me. I like this stuff, and I’m probably going to like it when I’m 80 too. On a regular basis I also despise classical music. I’m confused.
I’ve been playing classical violin for over 2 decades. I perform in a variety of professional and amateur music ensembles across Sydney. It’s a lot of fun and a lot of work. I have long lasting troubling personal connection with classical music.
So why does classical music piss me off so much? Because it irrelevant. Classical music doesn’t seem to reflect or resonate with contemporary life. Playing my violin doesn’t directly help me come to terms with real world issues like; being mixed raced, global warming or the digital revolution. What’s the point?
Being stuck up in the classical music scene also come with the tainted and daggy connotation of being elite and self indulgent. There is something privileged and toffy about being an violinist. It’s not much of a social catharsis. It’s not much of a party trick nowadays.
Whilst I sit here at my desk in corporate Sydney I’m beginning to realise that I’m getting my arguments mixed up – as always. Perhaps Classical music serves a different purpose. If not political or social, then what?
How can Classical music be something I love? How can classical music be something I enjoy? How can classical music be timeless? All that and – How can classical music be so completely irrelevant?
Perhaps classical music is a bit like Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, or Michelangelo’s David. Perhaps classical music is an ‘ideal’. Essential emotions. Feelings that are not linked to events. A wide spread global singular sense of being. A sound that is open to subjectivity, devoid of one language or skin colour. Is the defining feature of classical music that it is abstract?
Mozart’s Don Giovanni takes place in a picturesque, 17th century Spanish town. It’s set within a set time and place but above the dialog I feel as though the real power of this opera is an experience that is not about two people falling in ‘real world’ love. Don Giovanni is ‘above’ mainstream society and every day life – which is bloody annoying.
If I accept that classical music was never meant to deal with real life then perhaps I can accept it for what it’s worth. Why bother? Well, perhaps it is the ultimate escape.
By the way – I’m a little closed minded – I reckon we all end up captivated by the depth of classical music when we hit 80. Just you wait…
As the madman behind Musomap I’m keen to find new ways to help us all spend a little more on accessible real life living local music. I continue to wonder – how does this goal meet the needs of a wide spread large middle class classical musicians or the contemporary less established unregulated contemporary music scene. From an audience perspective, the ‘live music industry’ 2009 report put out by APRA shows that the vast majority of people spend their money at contemporary music events.
“Contemporary music remains the largest sector, with a 41.3% share of live performance revenue in Australia.”
– Chris Zajko, MusicNSW