Jonathan Kramer’s Postmodern Music shows how our contemporary experience colors and reshapes our audition of everything, from Beethoven to new pieces he never could have encountered. And so his last book, published this month and more than a decade after his death, is not only still relevant; it’s prescient.
One side of the survivability equation is the caution-to-the-wind embrace of a personal vision, fearless of the consequences, no matter how impractical. The other side thinks outside of the individual and looks at the times.
The reputations of certain composers seem to be actually growing with time, even though conventional wisdom earlier on would have predicted just the opposite. They present one possible answer to the question of how music becomes “survivable.”
By now it’s more than a decade since Jonathan Kramer, George Rochberg, Ralph Shapey, and Iannis Xenakis have passed, so there is some time to assess where their art stands in their wake, even though it’s still very early in the eternity game.
What’s the fate of our work after we’ve left the stage? Robert Carl explores making our music “survivable.”
I am strangely optimistic right now, at least for art, despite the enormous challenges we face as a species. Part of the reason is that I feel the forces that I’ll enumerate are in fact moving us towards a sort of new “common practice,” one that is far more diverse and comprehensive.
Terry Riley’s In C seems to stand the whole idea of musical “progress” on its head.