Lawrence Kramer – Why Classical Music Still Matters
I have read just but tens of pages and yet I feel I have gained tremendous insight from it. In the introduction to musicology, one always reads about subjectivity in music. I guess that is the power of music, that it is highly personal and reflective. Music speaks to each and every person. As a result, many can assert that since music speaks to each and every one of us, everybody’s reading is acceptable and right. However, let us pause and ponder over the implications of such thought. If everybody’s personal reading of a piece of music is correct, is then there still an absolute interpretation of a piece? Should we consider the original intent of composition? But then again, was there at all an original purpose for which the composer wrote the work or was it just to pacify a patron?
I can never agree with Susan McClary’s insistence of phallic references prevalent in Classical music. It is skewed and to me, too extreme and assertive a reading of composer’s works. It has never occurred to me, before reading her short article on Jack and the beanstalk, that Beethoven’s music should contain such explicit references. Having performed Beethoven’s piano sonatas a couple of times in front of a public audience, i have found during my practices that Beethoven’s sublime music speaks to me not in that I can actually identify what the music is exactly about but in that I feel a sense of belonging in that musical language and my soul cries out for more. Isn’t it reductionistic to classify works in a certain specific category? Should we take into account other factors like the political circumstances in which the work was written?
Many have suggested that Classical music is no more relevant today, especially since popular music has taken over the world. As for me, Classical music isn’t just about the mesh of sounds and how beautiful or complicated or sophisticated such music can be, but rather the history behind such beautiful music and knowledge of the composer’s life increases my love for it.
What about you? Are we in the near future going to forget such a genre of music for other more contemporary genres?
Music reflects the beauty of the soul and the beauty of the Creator