[Marxism] When Facebook Isn't Fun, or..

sabocat59 at mac.com sabocat59 at mac.com
Sat Mar 7 06:13:43 MST 2009

Ian Pace wrote:

This is something of a devil's advocate's point: whilst in this particular case I can absolutely see the point in preserving in such music, more widely might some music be better left to die a natural death? The instinct to preserve historical music, at least in the West, only dates from the mid-19th century (with that era's strong historicising tendencies). In the classical world, I see the tendency towards preservation (and continuous digging up of obscure works and composers from past eras) as tied in with idealisation of hideously unjust former times. Presentation and appreciation of the operas of the French baroque, and styles of performance which emphasise the rigid hierarchical structures contained within the music, has undoubtedly something to do with a nostalgia for the supposed splendour of the absolutist feudal system of the time; similarly the mixture of exoticism, mysticism, canned sensuousness and de-subjectivisation in Tchaikovsky mirrors (and quite consciously so) the whole aura created around the Tsarist monarchy (and for this very reason it was despised by early musical revolutionaries in the Leninist era, though in the Stalin/Zhdanov times that music which had become part of a nationalistic construction of 'tradition', including most of the romantics, became presented as some type of 'workers' music'). I wouldn't be unhappy to see much of this archaic music die away.
You won't get any argument from me there. I'm not much of a classical buff anyway, although I am fond of some of the contemporary classical composers like Arvo Part,  Henryk Gorecki,  and Adams. Part's "Tabula Rasa" is a favorite of mine and Gorecki's third makes me cry every time I listen to it. Of course you also cannot go wrong with Glenn Gould on Bach.  

But I much prefer not to separate genres. Charlie Parker was a big Bartok fan for instance. I think the Duke had it right when he said there are only two kinds of music, good and bad. 

But back to the whole context thing. The big band music of mid century was really live dance music and when economics dictated a small band approach you had bebop etc. I think that jazz ossified somewhat when the live dance music component faded away. 

That's why I'm a big Sun Ra fan.  Sun Ra incorporated vaudeville into his scene in a brilliant manner. The live show or happening was an important current for him up until the end, and he was experimenting with controlled free form way before Cecil Taylor. 

Of course Monk had elements of that approach as well but now I'm rambling.  

Greg McD  
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